Monday 7 October 2019

100 up!

Many congratulations to our oldest resident Enid Gray who will be celebrating a significant birthday
on Thursday 10th October. This very special lady will be 100 years old on that day.

Enid has lived in Temple Street since the late 1930s and her mother-in-law was actually born at
number 46 so no one can claim to have a better connection with the street. She and her husband
Reg ran a very successful hairdressers at number 23 and later at number 37 – you can read all about
her life here in the Temple Street Irregular.

Many happy returns Enid!

Enid –Temple Street's oldest resident

Read about Enid's life here

Saturday 14 September 2019

'You shouldn't have to breathe someone else's pollution'

Dr Jordan White, a data scientist with air quality experts EarthSense, has looked at the current situation in Temple Street and given his view. 'Shutting it off is a really good idea,' he says, 'you shouldn't have to breathe somebody else's pollution.'

He was talking on Neil Pringle's Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Sussex on Thursday – earlier in the show two Temple Street residents, Amanda Baxter  and Karen Boyd, told listeners about the current Rat Run Effect and consequent high pollution levels in the road. You can hear them talking here

Dr Jordan is featured a little later and you can hear him here

And please remember the public meeting about shutting off The Rat Run of Temple Street – upstairs at The Temple Bar, on the corner of Temple Street and Western Road, at 6.30 on Monday 16th August to hear the views of residents and what the Council is prepared to do about the situation.

Tuesday 3 September 2019

'Our street is a street canyon'

Calling all residents who would like Temple Street to become a safer, healthier, quieter road – please mark 6.30pm Monday 16th September in your diaries, and hear everyone's views on permanently closing Temple Street to non-residential traffic. We have reserved the upstairs room in the Temple Bar on Monday 16th September at 18.30 hrs. We will be there until 19.45 hrs, so please do come along if you are free to hear the debate and hopefully listen to what the council is able to do.


Our two local Green Regency Councillors, Alex Phillips and Tom Druitt, have been invited, as well as Andrew Westwood, Head of Transport Management, and Mark Prior, Assistant Director of City Transport.


This update on the state of play so far has been written by Aidan (7 Temple Street); Ian (12); Gavin (16); Karen (17) and June (20).

Summer 2019 – a brief respite from the incessant noise

A number of issues have been highlighted since we started campaigning: 

1) The first is very serious and related to pollution and air quality on Temple Street. According to the MappAir100 by EarthSense information shown on the BBC website, Temple Street has a score of 3 out of 6 for nitrogen dioxide levels, which exceeds the annual legal limit, with long-term health concerns for people spending long periods in these conditions. Surrounding streets, such as Norfolk Road, Borough Street, Spring Street, Lansdowne Place and even Western Road score 1 out of 6, with the average for Brighton and Hove also 1 out of 6. This is alarming stuff! We have asked the council to urgently act and even asked them not to reopen Temple Street because of the health risk, but to no avail. Our street is a street canyon (tall houses and narrow width, with nowhere for the toxic fumes to go). The fact that we score 3 out of 6 is a grave concern for us all, and we need the road closed to bring the level down. 

2) The council could have kept the road closed for up to 18 months, but chose to reopen it, despite us alerting officers and councillors to the pollution problem. We are therefore back to square one with the Deliveroo bikes racing up the road, speeding cars and taxis, as well as very many vans and lorries using the street as a cut through. This is extremely disappointing as the roadworks are in place along Montpelier Road for 8 months, meaning the road could have been kept closed whilst they were carried out and the council assessed the impact of the closure on traffic flow on neighbouring roads. They chose to ignore our request. 

3) The temporary closure proved that a permanent one would work. We no longer had non-stop traffic racing up the street, but residents and visitors could still park outside houses and deliveries could still be made to homes on the street. Traffic moved fine on surrounding streets, which was a concern highlighted by the council. We saw the temporary closure as a trial - if it worked, it should be implemented, and it did work, very effectively. 

4) Taxi drivers all know that Temple Street is a rat run. They regularly use it as a fast route to the station as it is quicker than waiting at the lights on Western Road. They have been doing this for decades and will continue to do so unless the council acts. They are turning a blind eye to this well-known use of the road by B&H taxis.

5) The motorbike delivery drivers are noisy and non-stop, driving at speeds of 40+mph and even mounting the pavement to access the street when closed. This situation is worsening as demand for takeaway deliveries increases, particularly as there are so many takeaways on Preston Street and Western Road using the likes of Deliveroo to deliver across the city. The motorbike/scooter park at the bottom of the street was opened without consultation with the residents and is clearly a key cause of the issues. 

6) Vans, lorries and HGVs all use the street, yet they have no need to drive up it. Many of these work vehicles are not local or delivering to the street, just using Temple Street as a convenient cut through, sometimes even as a GPS shortcut, rather than considering the impact that they are having on residents' quality of life. Deliveries that are made by Tesco, etc, frequently block the road too, causing beeping from frustrated drivers and jams behind them as the road is not wide enough to allow traffic to pass. 

7) The noise from traffic is incessant. We are in a conservation area, with houses built in the 1800s. We are therefore not living on a street built to carry the traffic volumes we are seeing today. The road and pavements are narrow. No one has double glazed windows or front gardens and the noise really carries, particularly when a lorry or motorbike drives by. Endless toxins and fumes are being emitted causing us all to inhale life-changing pollutants. If we can close the street, traffic noise will virtually end and environmental damage will drop dramatically, allowing us to return to opening windows as when the street was closed. 

8) Crossing the road is hazardous. Families with children live in fear that they will be hit by a speeding vehicle and elderly and disabled residents are at risk when struggling across the road or getting in and out of their cars. Our parked cars are so close to the speeding traffic that getting small children in and out of cars is an accident waiting to happen. 

9) The council is not worried about safety. We have warned them about the dangers associated with the traffic volumes and speed on the street, but we have been told we need there to have been three serious accidents before they will spend any money on traffic calming. We want them to be proactive and act before this happens, rather than react once people are seriously injured. 

10) No one knows whether the street is one or two way now. The council has failed to clarify the situation, deciding to reopen the street without warning a few days ago. We are now seeing vehicles travel both up and down the street, with many near misses when they come face to face, as many drivers are not aware that it is back to one way. The decision to make the road one-way northbound with traffic parked on both sides is outdated and does not work in today’s traffic. We are unfortunately being penalised for being the last road northbound before the Western Road lights and this needs to change. 

We have a paper petition signed by 43 households out of 54 on the electoral register and an online petition signed by 159 people, showing the overwhelming support for the permanent closure. If you still feel this way and have had enough of the traffic problem on the street, please do join us in the Temple Bar and show your continuing support. We need to prove to the council that the closure is a move that everyone is strongly in favour of. 

Many thanks for reading this. We hope to see you all in the Temple Bar next month.

Saturday 29 June 2019

Goodbye to dangerous traffic?

Who needs all this traffic roaring up our road from Western Road, using Temple Street as a convenient short cut to Seven Dials and beyond? It's causing  pollution, hold-ups, constant vehicle noise and most importantly, a danger to residents.

The recent temporary closure of the south end has shown what a difference that would make to our lives.

Could we make this closure a permanent one?

 If you would like to see it happen, please sign the online petition to Brighton and Hove Council started by Temple Street resident Karen Boyd. 

You'll find it here: Temple Street Petition

Please sign now and help improve the quality of life in our Street!

Peace in our time – can we make this permanent?

The text of the petition reads:

We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to permanently close Temple Street (BN1 3BH) at the junction of Western Road and make it two way from the top, allowing access for residents only (and delivery to houses on the street) from Montpelier Place. The road has already been closed on a temporary basis to try and stop the high levels of traffic travelling up it, with this working very effectively and greatly appreciated by people living on the street. The quality of lives of Temple Street residents has long been detrimentally affected by the use of Temple Street as a rat run. We are therefore asking for the temporary closure to be made permanent.

Temple Street has been used as a rat run for many years, with drivers cutting up it to avoid sitting at the traffic lights at the Western Road/Montpelier Road junction. It is a narrow, one-way street, with many young families and older residents living on it. It is purely residential and there is little reason for vehicles other than those owned by people wanting to access their homes (and visitors) needing to drive up it, yet it is used by taxis, HGVs, vans, motorbikes, cars and daytrippers as a cut-through. The very many non-residents that race up it every day are doing so to save time, often driving above the speed limit to find a quick route north towards Seven Dials or the station. There are no front gardens on Temple Street and the pavement is narrow, meaning that it is therefore dangerous getting in and out of parked cars, with the number of vehicles travelling up the road at speed.

The road has been temporarily closed off since 17 June as too many vehicles, including HGVs, taxis and motorbikes, were using it due to the SGN roadworks being in place for 38 weeks on Montpelier Road. This new scheme is working very effectively and we are therefore petitioning Brighton & Hove Council to make this a permanent closure, like the closure on similar roads in the area (Spring Street and Castle Street) in order to make the street safer, quieter and less polluted. We’d like to see this happen now while the road is already closed, rather than wait for an accident to occur and prompt the council to take action.

The proposed permanent closure would be cheap to implement as it would just require a sign at the top saying Access Only and a barrier at the bottom (for emergency vehicles to gain access if needed). The suspension of a couple of pay parking bays at the bottom (to allow larger delivery vehicles to turn) would also be needed. Residents and delivery vans have been accessing the street without issue since 17 June, so the residents would like to see this continue in order to improve quality of life and make the street a safer place to live.

There would be no knock-on effect if the road is permanently closed as Borough Street and Norfolk Road do not see traffic travelling up them. There are many other wider, 2-way roads in the area that are better suited to cope with the volume of northbound traffic that Temple Street endures, such as York Road, Lansdowne Place, Brunswick Place, Holland Road and Montpelier Road. With Temple Street positioned as the last northbound road before the lights next to Montpelier Road, it is inevitable that it will continue to be used as a rat run by significant volumes of traffic unless the council intervenes and allows a temporary scheme that is already in place to be made permanent.

Please sign it as soon as possible - the petition closes on 24 July 2019.

Monday 27 August 2018

So. Farewell then, Sam

Who would have thought Temple Street was a hotbed of musical talent? And that a UK Number One single was partly recorded at Number 36? Sam Preston's departure has thrown a spotlight on a surprising side of the Street

 Sam Preston – ex Big Brother star, ex Ordinary Boy, now a successful songwriter 
So farewell then, Sam Preston. Or just Preston as the world knew and loved him on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006. He met Chantelle Houghton in the Big Brother House and their unfolding romance was the highspot of the show.

When he came to live in the street, he was still attracting the attention of the tabloids, still prime celeb mag fodder. Patient papperazzi sat outside in their cars, waiting to spring out to take a lucrative pic or two when he ventured out.

Eventually, it all quietened down and Sam – the name he now prefers – has lived at Number 36 on and off for 11 years and now, along with his partner Emily Smith, he is decamping to a four-bedroomed house in Brixton. Soon after Celebrity Big Brother finished, Sam he had married Chantelle in 2007, but the couple announced their separation a year later.

"It all seems so long ago, and as if it all happened to someone else," he says, "although I do still get reminded. The other day a man in the street shouted 'Oi! Preston! My sister named her son after you!'"

Onstage with The Ordinary Boys
Chantelle and Preston – as seen on Big Brother
When he signed up for the TV show, Sam was the lead singer with the Worthing-based rock band The Ordinary Boys, who scored a solid string of chart hits from 2004-7. After they split he launched a solo career, which unfortunately stalled when he broke both his arms coming off his bike and had to cancel his debut tour.

It must be said he does seem to be rather accident prone. Sam's most recent mishap (and his last, we hope) was on September 1st last year and it was no laughing matter. He plunged off a hotel balcony in Denmark, four stories up, and broke his arm, shoulder blade, leg and pelvis. "I'm metal right through from here," he told us, pointing from his ankle up to his shoulder. "I went to the toilet in Temple Street – or so I thought, half asleep in the middle of the night – and woke up days later in a Danish Hospital. I was barely conscious for a week.

"I had tubes sticking out of me everywhere, and my leg, which had been pushed right back behind my head by the fall, wasn't at first actually attached to my body. When I opened my eyes one day I saw a nurse quietly weeping in the corner of my room. I asked somebody why, and I was told she'd been to a 'grief meeting' about my death, and then she'd come in here and found me still alive."

As soon as Emily heard about the accident, she took the first flight over, and she looked after me from that moment," he said. For six months residents of Temple Street saw her gamely pushing him around in a wheelchair. It wasn't an easy recovery. At one stage Sam says he was told he'd be seriously disabled for life 'but I wasn't going to give in to it.' September 1st is s significant date to him for another reason – he hasn't touched alcohol since.

Sam and Emily in August last year
After the accident Sam had to give up playing the guitar because of the damage done to his fingers and he now makes his living as a songwriter. He's been rather successful too, co-writing Ollie Murs' number one hit Heart Skips A Beat  – some of which was actually recorded in his soundproofed recording studio in Temple Street – and penning songs for Enrique Iglesias, Cher and Kylie Minogue.

Ollie Murs – Sam co-wrote his second Number One single

Temple Street's connections to the music industry don't stop there. For a year, Sam's maisonette was rented out to a friend, the singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan, who was the only contestant on the X-Factor to score a top 40 single and album before the live shows had even aired. Her career is currently very much on the up, says Sam.

Lucy Spraggan – spent a year at Number 36
Then there's Peter Stein, an Australian musician, who lives next door at number 35. As well as making his own albums, Peter has written for legendary gospel band The Blind Boys of Alabama amongst many others. Peter's another Temple Street muso with a soundproofed studio in his house. His daughter Juanita is lead singer with another band – Howling Bells – whose name you can see set into the concrete outside number 35. Yes, music history is literally etched into the fabric of this street!

Juanita Stein and Howling Bells
Finally, Sam told us that another of his friends, Joseph Mount, founder, vocalist and keyboard player of Metronomy, another excellent Brighton band, lived above our pizza takeaway, La Cucina, at the top of the road.

Metronomy's Joseph Mount, who used to live above the pizza takeaway 
There could be more in our midst, sitting quietly at keyboards and plucking thoughtfully at guitar strings. What future talent is brooding in dark as yet-undiscovered studios in the Street? We will keep you in touch as they emerge.

Meanwhile Sam and Emily are flitting this nest of musical talent for South London, and they have announced that they are going to be married next year. So it's goodbye, good luck at avoiding future accidents and many congrats from us.Many congrats to the happy pair from the staff of the Irregular!

Before we left him to get on with his packing, Sam said the nicest thing: "Leaving Brighton is hard," he said, looking down our road at the shimmering sea. Then he looked at the colourful little terrace of houses across the road.  "But it's not half as hard as leaving Temple Street."


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?’

(We're sad to report that Martin passed away in early 2019)

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