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

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