Sunday, 2 July 2017

Temple Street’s tragic anniversaries

Today marks an unhappy anniversary in Temple Street. Every street has had its tragedies, and as the years pass, memories fade, people move away and die, and life moves on. But delve in the coroner’s reports at The Keep*, East Sussex's new repository of local records, and you will find glimpses of sad events which must have been the talk of Temple Street in their time.

The cliffs at Black Rock

83 years ago Arthur Spilsbury threw himself off the cliffs at Black Rock. The records show that on July 2 1934 Arthur Richard Silsbury of 12 Temple Street, Brighton, electrical engineer; 57; on the Undercliff Walk, Black Rock; found dead, laceration of the brain and shock due to throwing himself over the cliffs at Black Rock whilst of unsound mind; suicide

James Gow Brock, 58; 6 Temple Street, Brighton; coal gas poisoning, self inhaled, 25 Oct 1937, suicide

Virginia Ann Sabey of 17 Temple Street, Brighton, old age pensioner, widow of William Samuel Sabey, paper hanger and decorator; 88; at Brighton Infirmary, 250 Elm Grove; shock following fracture of the right femur caused by a fall at [home] on 16 Dec 1928; accidental death

Mary Ann Elizabeth Banister of 19 Temple Street, Brighton, wife of Thomas Banister, retired police inspector; 65; dislocation of the spine between the 1st and 2nd cervical vertebrae caused by a fall down stairs at [home] on 12 Feb 1913; accidental death. No warrant

Florence Evelyn Renton Bird of 22 Temple Street, Brighton; 84; widow; at Brighton Municipal Hospital on 24 Nov 1944; myocardial degeneration accelerated by injuries sustained after a fall at home; accident

Edward Tyrell of 36 Temple Street, Brighton, painter and decorator; 24; at Sussex County Hospital; fracture of the skull caused by a fall from a window at [home]; accidental death 23 August 1905

Anne Katherine Archer of 37 Temple Street, Brighton, widow of John Chapman Archer, banker's clerk; 79; at the Royal Sussex County Hospital; uraemia following shock and fracture of the left legs caused by deceased having been knocked down and run over by a motor omnibus driven by Harry Victor Buckman in Western Road on 28 Dec 1921; accidental death

William Arthur James, riding master, 39 Temple Street, Brighton, 50; pneumonia following injuries caused by being knocked down by a bicycle; accidental death. 1924


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Snowstorm on the Street

No sign of any blizzards yet in 2016 apart from one enclosed in a small glass globe

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Crump the Builders and 'The Day Sussex Died'

Some interesting information about Crump the Builders, who used to have a yard at the top of Temple Street, number 24. You can see Crumps' sign painted on the south-facing wall in the best-known (and seemingly almost only) photo of early 1920s Temple Street.

The Crump sign at the top of Temple Street
Our oldest resident, Enid Gray, lived next door at number 23 before she moved over the road with her hairdressing salon to number 37, and she remembers being woken up in the morning by the Crumps barrows clattering about in their yard. See her story here

George Crump
...George's wife
George Crump and Sons worked all over the Brighton and Hove area, and built some of the large houses on Dyke Road which have since become Nursing Homes. One of the Sons was Clement Crump, who is seen below in uniform aged about 16. Chris Kilby from Southampton has contacted us about his personal connection:

...and Clement Crump, one of their sons
“Clement was my Grandfather. He was enlisted in the 13th Battalion Royal Sussex regiment, one of the Sussex 'pals Battalions’, most of whose men lost their lives in a diversionary attack the day before the Somme.

“You can read more about it if you Google 'The Day Sussex Died' or the 'Battle of the Boar's Head.'

'Pals kept together': a Southdowns recruiting poster

Men of the Southdowns Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, in 1915
The 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment, consisting of approximately 4,500 men, were known colloquially as “Lowther’s Lambs”. This was a reference to local MP Claude Lowther, who had taken personal responsibility for raising the battalions. 

The 12th and 13th Battalions, supported by the 11th, were sacrificed in a diversionary raid on the Boar’s Head salient at Richebourg on 30th June 1916 in an attempt to draw German attention away from the main Somme battle area further south. 

The Battle at Boar’s Head lasted less than five hours, but the Southdowns Brigade lost 17 officers and 349 other ranks. Over 1,000 men were wounded or taken prisoner, and the 13th Battalion was all but wiped out. June 30th 1916 was subsequently known as “The Day Sussex Died”. See the Royal Sussex Living History website for the full account.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Nobody's been here as long as Martin....

Meet Martin Kearley, of 15 Temple Street. Born in 1947, Martin has lived in the Street since birth, he’s our only Lifer. Martin has shared some memories with us.

* Martin’s parents, Hilda and Jack, bought the house from his grand-dad, on his father’s side, just after the War. His grand-dad died in the bathroom. “He went up to the bathroom, and my Mum was in the kitchen and eventually she thought ‘he’s been there a long time,’ and she went up, and she found him dead on the floor. It must have been a tremendous shock.”

* ”As far as I know I’m the last of the Kearleys.”

* “My parents had a lot of work done on the house and Mr Crump of Crumps the Builders, just up the road from us, used to come along and discuss things with my mother. One day she asked him why a house near us was called Brook House. Mr Crump said there used to be a farm here years ago, and there was a little stream running down.’

* “When I was growing up there was a dwarf who lived in the street on the same side as us, further down. What he did, I don’t know.”

* “They once found a door lintel next door at Number 16, which makes me wonder if the houses may have been connected at some stage.”

Martin's parents, Jack and Hilda Kearley

* “Remember the Great Hurricane of 1987? The only damage to the street was to the red house, the one at the top of the street that’s built in a different style. All the chimney pots came down.”

* “When I was growing up the pizza takeaway on the corner used to be a television repair showroom. There was a greengrocers next door. Where now there’s a newsagents further up on the corner with Norfolk Road there was a milk bar. I remember being sent there by mother to get milk. She impressed on me the need to cross the road with very great care. The roads were quite quiet compared to now, but of course, me being an only child, she was doubly careful. ”

One Christmas with Mum and Dad

* Martin worked for 17 years at a basket making factory in Robertson Road, until the company went into liquidation. “At that stage they did what they called soft baskets, baskets on wheels.”

* Martin followed his old boss west, and worked for a ship repairers in Shoreham, but he left them to look after his mother in her last years, his father having died some while before. They let out the top floor of the house to a lady called Brenda. ‘But as long as my mother was alive she insisted on calling her Miss Trustler, she never called her Brenda. Brenda paid a peppercorn rent, my mother never put it up. A few quid a week, if that.”

* “One day I came home from work, and went up to see Brenda, and she said that my mother had come up the stairs and said there was a man in the kitchen. There wasn’t any man there. We reckon she had seen my father. So I thought ‘I can’t have this’ and I gave up my work.’

* “I cared for her for six years, and after she died I didn’t have a job. Robert from Inmans, the auctioneers just over the road from me, came over one day and asked me if I’d like a job. He said they wanted a man to make sure nothing went missing from their showroom, which was five doors down. The house directly opposite me was their offices, and five doors down was the showrooms, which had been Hamiltons, a firm that serviced engines.”

A teenaged Martin and his Dad at the back of Number 15

* “You can’t tell now that there used to be a garage there, but you will notice just outside the house a metal plate in the gutter which must have been put there to help the vehicles to drive in.”

* “Inmans used to be in Kemp Town but moved up here around 1963. I still work for them, although I don’t do that much for them nowadays, just helping out on a couple of viewing days every month. They stayed here until 2005 but moved because the parking is so awful in Temple Street. I’m glad I’ve never had a car!”

* Martin has never been tempted to leave Temple Street. “It’s so central,” he says. “The bus service is great and we’re only fifteen minutes walk from both Brighton and Hove train stations. I can travel anywhere from here. I have been all around the country, but whenever I come back home I think ‘Why would I ever want to move from here?’

Never tempted to leave: Martin Kearley

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Elephants at the bottom of the Street

Thursday 13 July 1899 was a very special day in Brighton. 

Over excited children hadn't been able to sleep the night before and expectant adults lined the streets three deep. 

The circus was in town! 

There goes The Greatest Show On Earth

The lucky folk living in Temple Street could just stroll out of their houses and there it was, slowly going past the bottom of the road, making its lumbering, noisy, fantastic way along Western Road into town. 

This wasn't any old travelling amusement either – it was Barnum and Bailey's, the most famous circus in the world on its grand tour of Europe.

The American show was travelling around the country by railway that year and, as was the custom by then, on leaving its special train, it paraded through town to advertise that night's show. 

The crowds lapped it up. That year Barnum and Bailey's procession was three miles long and included a menagerie, exotic horsemen, dozens of elephants, clowns, acrobats, jugglers, an enthroned king and queen, a military band, 70 horses, untold sundry beasts and a collection of 'living human curiosities'. 

Here are two interesting old photos showing the southern end of Temple Street, looking west, as the procession rumbled by, and one shot taken from Bedford Square looking east.

   In the two photos featuring Temple Street there is no sign of Temple Bar on the corner, showing a shop called Pullars instead.

The third photo shows the less exotic back end of the parade. An omnibus is following on and many of the crowd are starting to walk behind it. You can see that all the houses on the north side of in Western Road, looking east, still have their gardens at this time, before they lost them in its gradual widening. The Council started to buy up houses on the north side in 1906 but it wasn't until 1935 that the final property came into line, all gardens were gone, and the widening could be completed.

Looks like it might have been a sunny July day judging by the parasol on the top of the omnibus

  Photographs thanks to the Regency Society and James Gray Collection

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Fighting against the closure of our Post Office

We're being told to use the Melville Road PO up the hill in Seven Dials

Our local Post Office branch at 22 Western Road is under threat. Is it already a done deal? The Post Office claim not, saying that a public consultation, which ends on 16 September 2015, will be taken seriously.

The Post office is a priceless asset in our area, and its closure would be a great loss. What can we do?

Sign the petition in local shops and online. Go to and search for 'Brunswick'.

The petition says: “Brunswick Town in Hove is a densely populated area and the post office proposed for closure is at the centre of the community, is very well used and has won many awards.

“Post Office Limited states that alternative provision will be accessible to residents but this provision is a mile away up a hill.

“We worry about elderly and infirm residents being able to access the new ‘merged’ post office in Melville Road.

“Our Post Office in Brunswick Town provides an essential public service where people need it and we wholly oppose plans to close it.”

Fill in the consultation form. At a recent public meeting, the Post Office Representatives said this was key. They will take notice if we tell them how useful this branch is and how closing it will create problems for many of us. Go to and enter branch code 010907

Write to Paula Vennells, CEO of Post Office Ltd.
Your letters and postcards can be taken into CITY BOOKS, next to the Post Office, or send to FREEPOST Your comments

Contact you local media and get busy on Twitter.

Spread the word and maybe our Post Office can be saved.

Friday, 31 July 2015

The value of a Temple Street house - in 1936

An old Auctioneer's note of Particulars from 1936

So houses in the street were fetching around £750 in those days. That, by one method of reckoning here, is the equivalent of £47,596 in 2015 allowing for inflation – which is less than a tenth of the going price now (in some cases, much less).

It was leased from The Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries who owned a number of Brighton pubs at this time.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Of goats and kids

One of the most popular images on our website – judging from the number of times we’ve seen it copied –  is that of young Reg Grey driving a goat cart down the street in 1919. Reg later owned a hairdresser’s at Number 23 and his wife Enid Grey still lives in the street over the road at Number 37.

Reg’s mum or dad, or perhaps an indulgent uncle, would most likely have hired the cart nearby on the seafront next to Hove Lawns. Goat carts had been a popular attraction in Brighton since the 1830s, according to the Francis Frith website, but they were expensive, costing one shilling per hour by the mid 19th century.
Reg and his little sister Rita driving their goat cart down Temple Street

A flower girl and goat carts for hire near Hove Lawns, c.1890

A goat should only pull about 1 ½ times its own weight, according to experts in the field, so the little carts were perfect for carrying young'uns up and down the front, but they were also used for more workaday duties by tradesmen of the time, delivering items such as milk, vegetables and barrels of water.

Many of the carts, few of which have survived, were beautifully made by craftsmen and two motor companies of later renown, Peugeot in France and Studebaker in America, manufactured them before moving on to more glamorous vehicles.

Sadly the goats were often abused and ill treated. Local councils at seaside resorts later licensed all operators giving goat carriage rides and conditions improved somewhat.

In Brighton, the last known Harness Goat Licence was issued in 1953.

A couple of Victorian children take 'Our Morning Ride' on Madeira Drive

Saturday, 28 March 2015

It's Number 3 in '83

This is Number 3 Temple Street in 1983 when the Jinks family bought it. It looks much the same today. Reg and his family had originally started renting it in 1961.

Now, in 2015, Number 3 awaits its first new occupants for 54 years.

And they've arrived! See below.

Number 4 looks like it could do with a little attention

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Very Old Postbox in the Wall

Pre 1890: the interesting postbox set in a wall

There's an unusual  postbox around the corner, set in the wall of Montpelier Terrace, in which many Temple Street residents still post their letters. All we knew about it was that it was Victorian, and looked interesting. Roger Amerena of the Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission, was consulted. He is not only a fount of knowledge about our area, but lives just feet away from the box in Montpellier Hall.

Mr Amerena has provided just what we needed. He writes

'The two identical Montpelier Terrace and Temple Gardens wall letter boxes are from the 1887 series known as "the Jubilee Boxes".

W.T.Allen and Co of London were awarded the contract to make them in 1886 and that company continued to produce these same styles for another 75 years.

Allen's produced three sizes which were in production for this period. Type A, the largest; Type B WB/85 (formerly No 1) which are in situ in Montpelier Terrace and Temple Gardens; and Type C (No 2).

Type B is fairly common nationally but still important in postal history. In Brighton it was rare. The style was installed in Brighton prior to Hove Corporation being established in the 1890's. Thus there are not known any to be placed in Hove.
I understand the Montpelier box was installed for Alderman Sir Joseph Ewart JP MD, who was Mayor of Brighton three times from 1891 to 1894.
Alderman Sir Joseph was ex Irish Militia and Deputy Surgeon General of the Bengal Army, and been in service during the Indian Mutiny. He later became Surgeon General of the Indian Army, and after contracting typhoid, retired to Brighton in 1879 to live in Montpellier Hall. 
For mayoral duties this box would have been important to him – in those days you could post a letter in the morning and get a reply in the afternoon. The Brighton telephone service had not quite arrived.'