Friday, 14 February 2014

'The street was a lot grimmer in those days'

June Holloway has lived here since she was a child – and she's told us of what life was like in Temple Street in the 1950s. Here's the first part

June moved into the Street in 1954
We arrived in 1954, and my mother having bought this house, no. 20, for £2500. We got a £500 mortgage and my grandmother said at the time 'you'll never get your money back on that'.

The street was a lot grimmer in those days, the houses weren't painted, they were all the colour of cement. It was only 10 years after the war, and there was paint peeling around the windows, and a lot of brown, dark green, and black, no colour in the street at all. There weren't any flowers outside or anything like that, and we still had the Victorian lamp posts which had been converted from gas.

The lamp posts had a bar sticking up at the side, and when you got to a certain size as a child, you were tall enough to climb onto it, reach up swing on the bar. That was a sort of rite of passage. Actually there were few children in the street then, just as there still are, it's never been a family type of street, and those that were there didn't play out.

Thomas Kemp, who owned the land, sold my plot to a sea captain, no 20,  and he lived in the house until he died – I think he got a loan from Thomas Kemp in order to build it.



The three Gothic-style  houses at 3,4 and 5 were for the Reverend Gentleman who ran the school which was over in Borough Street, and they also housed the lady who ran the girls' school, and I think No. 5 was a school for the girls, where they could learn to be domestic servants. Renee Shulman, who used to live at number 2, did quite a lot of research on it.

No 1 was in use as a shop – 25-30 years ago it was a hairdresser's. Karen the hairdresser told me at the time that there was a cellar underneath with a floor with gulleys in it and  big hooks in the ceiling – they thought it was probably a butcher's shop and they would have hung the meat there. It was a turf accountant in 1967, and then a hairdresser again - there were all sorts of little businesses coming and going in the street.

There were two Jewish tailors – Mr Altman, who worked from home at no. 7, and Mr Crook (next door at no 8) who had a business down in Bedford Square - there was a quite a large Jewish community in Hove and the area around in the early years after the War. Cissie Crook was a great character and we'll come to her later.

No. 41 is a private house now, but was previously part of Inmans, the auctioneers, and before that, an engineering works called Hamiltons – they had a crane and used to take engines in for repair.

When we moved in back in '54 the corner shop opposite the Temple Bar (formerly Classic Lighting and now the Martlets Charity Shop) used to sell fireplaces - 'fyreplaces' as they called them. They went broke and a shop selling tiles moved in – that would be in the 70s.

There was an auctioneer's in the street for a long time and they only moved out in 2005. They were called Perry's when I was little, and they sold on to Inmans. They owned no. 35, and they took over Hamilton's the engineering works at 41, so there was an Upper Inmans and a Lower Inmans. They had some very good bargains and we bought a couple of very good pieces of art there, that went for a song. I always used to leave a bid there, rather than bid in person – never brave enough to bid in person I knew I had no self-restraint!

Sale days were busy and exciting. In those days Brighton was a great antique centre, and there were some very dubious characters. They gathered out in the street before and after to fix prices among themselves. I think it was called a Ring, and it was illegal – very Graham Greene!



At the top of the road on Montpelier Place there was a complete parade of shops – an electricians on the top corner, next to that a greengrocers, then a newsagent, next to that there was a junk shop, then there was The Montpelier pub, which is still there now.

Across from that on the Borough Street corner there was a sweetshop, which also had a little library, next door to that was a delicatessan, then there was a little gap, then on the corner of Norfolk Road there was a dairy, where there's a little grocery shop and off-licence now.

On the other side was a boot repairers and a butcher's, so you could just go up there and do your shopping, except my Grandma would always insist on going to International Stores and Sainsbury's on Western Road, and have a cup of coffee in Lyon's while we were there.

Western Road in the 1960s

In those days, Western Road was still quite Victorian in its way. The Sainsburys was a corridor-style shop, with marble slab counters on both sides, and you queued up for each item. They gave you a little docket, and you went up to a lady in a paybooth at the end. The butter was a big slab, and they chopped bits off, then they did mysterious things with two wooden patters to make it into a square, and wrapped it in greaseproof paper.

You waited in a series of queues, different ones for the bacon, another queue for the was still the wartime mentality and people expected to queue up.

It was just the women who shopped - I used to go out with my grandmother when I was about seven to do her shopping,  because there was no fridge, just a larder which was outside on the roof, and a meatsafe with a perforated thing on the side. You'd go out every day with your string bag – it was only the women you'd see out, the men were all at work, and the women were doing their marketing.

My grandmother never went out without a coat and a hat on, you were respectable when you went out shopping, none of this casual stuff. It was all still very formal, and you addressed your neighbour as 'Mrs So-and-So'– you could live next door to her for 30 years and still call her 'Mrs So-and-So.'

When my mother died in 1976 she was still calling other people in the street 'Mrs So-and-So'. I suppose it was in the late 70s and early 80s it loosened up...


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