Jenny Jones is an elected member of the Greater London Assembly for the Green Party. She is also the first Green Party member to enter the House of Lords.
Below she talks about her close links to Moulsecoomb and the Kemptown constituency:
“I grew up in Moulsecoomb and lived there with my parents from 1949 to 1968. It was a new estate then, built by post war politicians dreaming idealistically about supporting the poor and vulnerable. My family was part of the working poor. My Welsh dad was a cook at Brighton General Hospital and cycled to work every day, pushing his bike up Elm Grove on the way there and hurtling down it on the way home. My mum worked as a waitress at Fortes on the seafront and as a dinnerlady at my school, Moulsecoomb Primary, and, when it opened, as a Sussex University dinnerlady.
Although most of our neighbours were relatively poor too, thanks to my careful parents insisting on saving up for things rather than having them on the never-never, we were the last in the street over the years to have a fridge, a tv and a telephone, and we never had a car. We took no holidays, just one or two day trips in the summer, one of which was to Guildford to visit family.
But the first time I realised we were poor was when I started at Westlain Grammar. We had a school Christmas party and I was the only girl who didn’t have a party dress. Even then I wasn’t worried – I though it daft to have a dress you hardly ever wore.
Way back in the fifties and sixties we children played in the street because there were so few cars. We could cycle, play ball games, tag and hide and seek, running across the road between our houses quite freely. We also went as a little gang across the big road to Wild Park and would play Cowboys and Indians or more hide and seek in the trees and bushes.
When I first heard I was to be appointed to the House of Lords and was told to choose a place name, I immediately thought of Moulsecoomb. I then had second and third thoughts, about using places that had more recent relevance to me, but I came back to the name that formed my world view, gave me a permanent belief in egalitarianism and being socially responsible, and just as importantly, gave me a very happy childhood.”