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Remembering the 'Crook Chook'

North Place from North Road
Reproduced with the kind permission of the Regency Society

I was born in Brighton in 1944, with my earliest recall being of living in North Place, just down North Road from Gardner St. where Mum did a lot of her shopping. In North Place cul de sac, we lived in a bed-sit with Mum cooking over an open fire. Eventually somehow or other she bought the house & became a ‘Sea-side landlady’ operating a B+B along with several other in that street; always a bit of competition!

My weekend job

Coming into Gardner Street from North Road I recall ‘Ross the Chemist’ on the corner [with the Channel Laundry drop-off/pick-up outlet just prior to that]. On the same side of Gardner Street was ‘Silverthorne the Fish Shop’ and also an open front greengrocer’s. As a kid I worked in the greengrocer’s over pre-Christmas weekends, earning pocket money. Cooking & peeling beetroot particularly sticks in my mind [my hands became the same colour!], moving crates, sweeping and other odd jobs.

The crook chook!

I recall the Biscuit Shop, selection, often wrapped in paper cones [no paper bags]; the ‘Egg Shop’ with the crook chook – well past display age, the ‘Cork Shop’, various clothing outlets, a radio come electrical outlet shop [bought my 1st reel to reel tape recorder there] & Dockerills at the far end. I recall hearing that Gardner Street in past years had held Saturday night gas–light markets; just what era I don’t know.

Good fish and chips

The Dorset Arms on the corner of North Road and Gardener Street was yet another of the many premises that Fred Pigott was the licensee, [he of Pigott’s Hotel, Sussex Cricket Ground Hotel, Devil’s Dyke Hotel etc.] Going back down North Rd, you would pass the laundry – I do recall there was a nice Fish & Chip shop, run by the Williams family I believe. Further down there was a pet shop on a corner and before you reached North Place you came to Sayers Electrical shop ‘The Black Bowl’ café [Steerman family, if my memory is correct.]

Wow; where did all that come from? I’ve lived here in Western Australia since 1969 so why that should flood back in I don’t know? If anyone remembers me from then, I would love  to hear from you.

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