Old Brighton celebrities

Interesting donation

Just before Christmas we received a very interesting donation of material from Mr Peter Hunt. These old postcards of ‘Brighton Celebrities’ were part of it. Unfortunately the accompanying notes to the postcards were very sketchy and so we have very little information about them.

Can you help us?

Have you any information on these wonderful characters? Do you know when they could be seen around the streets of Brighton? If you can give us any clues please reply to jennifer@mybrightonandhove.org.uk  We will of course publish any contributions we receive.

Beach orator

William Henry Shoosmith was the beach orator. Apparently he would talk for ages about any subject you cared to suggest. He always wore the black gown he is pictured in.

Wheelers Band

‘Wheelers Band’ – we think were a man and and wife team who entertained around the town. Do you know anything about these colourful characters?

Brandy ball man

Finally we have ‘The Brandy Ball Man’ – we know nothing about him other than he sold his wares around the streets of Brighton.

We are looking forward to hearing any more you can tell us about these Brighton Celebrities!

Comments about this page

  • During the 1940s there was an old lady who used to sell matches who stood on the corner of Ann Street and London Road. She had good clothes on but used safety pins and string to make them look tatty. If you paid for the matches and took a box she would mutter under her breath. She was there in all weathers and would have been on that corner for many years including the wartime. Anybody else remember her?

    By Jennifer Goddard (nee Norrell) (23/01/2007)
  • I was too young ever to see him in action. He looks a little like Oscar Wild.    The location can easily be identified: this is about 50 yards west of the bandstand on the Promenade (you can see the connecting bridge in the background top right) and near the Hove boundary.

    By Adrian Baron (23/01/2007)
  • During the ’50’s I would stand and watch two old guys, one with a violin and one with a full size harp, playing in North Street. My mother told me thay had been playing there since before the war. Does anybody remember their names?

    By Ian Tracy (22/02/2007)
  • My mother talked about the Brandy Balls Man. When my sister, who is some 4 years older than me, was a baby, she was known as ‘Brandy Ball’s Baby’ as he used to make a fuss of her whenever he came round.

    By Pat Brewerton (07/03/2007)
  • The two musicians were Marc Antonio who played the harp, and Alexander on violin. They played most days and brought great delight to the passers by up to the early 60s. I think Marc died first but Alexander carried on for a while. Greatly missed.

    By Alan J Piatt (30/03/2007)
  • What about the Knoker boys of Brighton? They brought so much character to the town; it used to be the antique capital of England but no one liked them.

    By Stephen Quilter (13/07/2007)
  • The two musicians who played harp and violin were Frederick Alexander on the harp, and Marc Antonio on the violin. My nieces and nephews are four of Frederick Alexander’s grandchildren (my sister married his son), and they still have the harp in their lounge in Brighton, it’s beautiful. There is a portrait of Frederick and another harp he used on show at the Royal Pavilion.

    Mr Frederick Alexander’s son Boshi, my brother Phil who would have been about 12, and myself at about 5 years old, used to do comedy acts in a competition at Sherry’s and do different shows around Brighton. We were called the ‘Three Black Bows’, this would have been in the late 1920s, our faces wear blackened with boot polish, and we tap danced. I wore boots way too big for me, hair in rags and I was called Topsi. I followed on doing tap dancing at Jack Sheppard’s, on the stage above the Aquarium, and on the Palace and West Piers, and the Grand Theatre. Does anyone remember us?

    By Olive Hooper (12/10/2007)
  • Does anyone remember Violet Hunt and her father who used to push a pram around with an old gramaphone in it? Violet would dance around it for pennies. They used to be along Grand Parade at the bottom of Edward Street and St. James’s Street. This would have been around the 1930’s. Great stories….keep them coming!

    By Olive Hooper (12/10/2007)
  • I remember another wonderful old character of Brighton, she used to go around Edward Street, Carlton Hill, John Street to name but a few, knocking on doors selling old rags tied in an old sheet. She herself was dressed in rags, her name was Fluffy Flo, this would have been in the 1920s to 30s. I wonder what happened to her.

    By Olive Hooper (12/10/2007)
  • Love these pictures and another reproduced on the MB&H site showing Blind Harry Vowles. Does anyone know whether the set of “Brighton Celebrities” only consisted of five cards, or are there others we have yet to see?

    By Roy Grant (06/03/2008)
  • Does anyone remember Jack Howe who used ro compare the children’s shows at Peter Pans on the Brighton seafront during the 1950s? I believe he was a school inspector during the week. He wore a striped blazer, had a long moustache and would bang on the wall in time with the child who was singing or dancing. How I loved those shows.

    By Jackie Soutar (nee Gladwell) (08/04/2008)
  • I remember the two musicians playing outside the fashion shop I worked in, in North Street in about 1959/1960. It was called ‘Tao Modes’ and had a sister shop ‘Pigalle’ at the bottom of St. James Street – anyone remember them? The music they played was beautiful, especially Santa Lucia. Happy memories.

    By Jackie Soutar (nee Gladwell) (08/04/2008)
  • Jackie, I remember him well – Uncle Jack, who used to give you a lollilop if you sang a song! He must have been doing it a long time as I was born in 1962 and was singing there at about the age of 4! Happy days!

    By Melanie (16/04/2008)
  • Yes, I remember so well the wonderful days we used to have down there with my sister Pam and brother Roy. We used to sing and dance and even if you were rubbish you still got a lolly! Wonderful memories of my childhood 🙂  My party trick was ‘There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza’.

    By Jennifer Tonks (nee Smith) (24/07/2008)
  • I remember Jack Howe very well. My mum and dad used to take my brothers Graham, Roy and me to watch the kids in the talent shows that Jack had been putting on for the Brighton kids for 25 years. I remember my brother Roy going on stage and becoming very shy and rubbing his eyes, Jack still gave him a lollypop. Jack died in 1977; only last year Brighton and Hove Bus Company dedicated a bus to him, his name is on the front.

    By Maralyn (02/08/2008)
  • Thank you for your information Maralyn. Being in Australia I didn’t know. A lovely man.

    By Jackie Soutar (14/08/2008)
  • Mr Frederick Alexander had 5 sons, and lived in Queens Park Road: Joseph, Boshi, Chinni, Levi and Augustine who was my stepfather and the last of the sons. He died two years ago aged 95 years – a really lovely man.

    By Maureen Croke (15/10/2008)
  • I remember winning a yo yo competion at Uncle Jack’s at Peter Pans.

    By terry (17/12/2008)
  • I lived in Queen’s Park Road until the mid 60s having grown up there and I can remember my Mum pointing out Alexander with his Harp and telling me that he was of nature’s true gentlemen. I also have fond memories of Peter Pan Playground and the talent show as my cousin, Eric and I used to love going and we won a ‘Mr. Potato Head’ game for some song we sung (goodness knows what it was like as neither of us have ever been able to sing a note!) Lovely happy, innocent days.

    By Pam Malekin (01/01/2009)
  • Does anybody remember two of my relatives? One was a concert pianist who also used to choreograph shows in the Hippodrome. Her husband was a comedian and singing tramp. They were Sonia and Bernard Lesley.
    After Bernard died, my aunt Sonia Lesley (her stage name), also used to accompany Max Miller, Frankie Vaughan and Hilda Baker and many more well know stars.
    This would be between 1920-1960. She was stunning looking, with black hair and blue eyes. Also her elder brother Louis Levittus, who was a child prodigy, played at the age of eight with Sir Arthur Rubenstein, and went on to conduct his first orchestra at the age of nine. He paired with Sir Thomas Beecham to co-found the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He lived in Boyces St as did my mum and my aunt Sonia.
    If anyone has any memories, please let me know. My mum is the last in her family and I am trying to find any photos for her memories, as hers were destroyed.

    By Nina Jaiherm (07/01/2009)
  • Does anyone know anything about the character we used to see whilst queueing to get into the SS Brighton in the late 40s and early 50s? He was dressed in a once blue raincoat, pushed a baby’s pram along the gutter in West Street picking up cigarette ends and loading them into the pram. What a way to make a living!

    By Ron Charlton (18/06/2009)
  • I remember the lovely Jack Howe – Uncle Jack. For two consecutive summers - 1973 and 1974 (or it could have been 1974 and 1975!) - every day throughout the school summer holiday, weather of course permitting, Mum, Nan and I went to Peter Pan’s laden with sandwiches, drinks etc so I could belt out Jolson songs like Mammie, Red, Red Robin, Rock-a-By-Your Baby with a Dixie Melody on Uncle Jack’s stage. Uncle Jack always referred to me as “The Star Turn”. There was a real community spirit there with the Young family coming down from Richmond and staying in seaside digs for a few weeks. Amelia Young played the piano and sang “old tyme musical” songs like Two Lovely Black Eyes, while her younger sister, Angelica, sang songs like Oh Mr Porter with Amelia accompanying on the piano. Uncle Jack himself would always sing songs accompanying himself by banging out the beat of the song on the wall of his stage, songs like Little Jackie Horner and Bo-Peep too. Then there was the lovely family who would come along from Portsmouth each day, just to be in this wonderful community Uncle Jack had achieved at Peter Pan’s. His loyal and supportive wife Edna would be there with sandwiches, thermos flask and crisps each day to keep Jack and her going. His premature death came as a great shock to all of us devotees of this truly wonderful “gentleman” and childrens’ entertainer. There could never me another Uncle Jack.

    By Jayne Fewell (nee Moore) (20/08/2009)
  • Does anyone remember my grandfather who was called Percy Wilkinson but had a stage name Percy Delevine? He was part of the three Delevines and was a friend of Max Miller. He later opened a boarding house in Waterloo Place. My father George Gordon Smith was a photographer in Brighton and took photos of Rex Harrison whom he resembled.

    By Peggie Salaun (07/10/2009)
  • The Brandy Ball Man. He regularly visited the North Moulsecoomb area with his bag of brandy balls and playing a guitar, for quite some time before WWII. By about 1937 he had failed to appear anymore. My guess is that he travelled by ‘bus to his destinations, although all I ever saw of him was when walking along the centre of the road and playing his tunes.

    By Ron Spicer (18/11/2009)
  • My postcard ‘Brighton celebrities’ of the Wheeler band is dated 1906 and was sent by my great-grandmother to her home in London.

    By JULIA KING (16/12/2009)
  • i remember some of the people mentioned on this page. What about old crolla the ice cream man that used to push his cart around the streets, shouting out ica crema? Us kids would all run into mum asking for money. Also we had a lorry come around from Corona soft drinks, rag and bone men, goldfish in exchange for rags, Old Winkle kelly going to pubs selling the winkles that she picked from the rocks and cooked. Dpider Mitchel and his wife used to live in Riding School lane- does anyone remember it? I used to walk up there on my way to Saint John’s Junior. Schoolhappy days

    By Duffy Newman/Watkins (12/01/2010)
  • I remember the winkle lady we used to get a pint of winkles for my dad on a sunday. Kids being kids, we used to sing out “Old Mother Kelly with the bamboo belly”. Never did know who made that up. Does anyone remember the pub the Black Lion in Mighell street? We used to live next door to it and there was a man used to sing very loudly I discovered – a boom boom boom. I think the landlord was Mr Liverland and had a son called Melvyn

    By wendy jackson (nee woodham) (27/01/2010)
  • Regarding Duffy Newman’s memories: That takes me back! I lived in the Lion and Unicorn (the Blue House) Sussex St in the 50s / 60s, went to St John’s then Queens Park. Left Brighton in 1978, but coming back to stay this year. Looking forward to seeing all those great places.

    By Alan South (04/02/2010)
  • Another colourful character, usually seen at the racecourse, was Prince Monolulu. Shouting ‘I gotta horse!’ he was dressed in some kind of stagey african clothes with feathers on his head, as far as I can remember. My encounter with him was when he lifted me onto his shoulders to see the horses. I should add that I was about five years old at the time.

    By Ian Tracy (24/04/2010)
  • My great grandfather was Percy Wilkinson/Delevine. My grandmother was Hetty/Esther and my dad was David Hopping. I have done a lot of research on the Delevines and have alot of interesting information and even some pictures. Please contact me Peggy – I think you’re Auntie Joan’s daughter. My email is darceydrive@aol.com

    By Claire Wilkins (30/04/2010)
  • I can remember in the late 1950s the Glass Animal Man. He worked near the Aquarium and later in Queens Road. I would stand outside his shop for hours watching him make all sorts of animals out of heated glass.

    By Vee Walton (22/08/2010)
  • Does anyone remember a house opposite the Royal Pavilion, where in the basement window were an ever changing display of the most beautiful dolls that the occupant had made. I loved looking at these as a child.

    By Jackie Soutar(nee Gladwell). (15/02/2011)
  • I remember the song about Ma Kelly that a previous person said. It went as follows: Old Mother Kelly with the bamboo belly was sitting on the grass with her finger in her … ear!! Singing polly wobble doodle all the day. Sounds daft now but rude at that time. Ma Kelly’s son Trevor was one of my best friends, he went to live in Australia. After joining the Merchant Navy, he jumped ship and stayed. Now he’s in America,

    By duffy watkins (23/04/2011)
  • On the subject of knocker boys around Brighton, I would like to say that my cousin was one of them along with a few colourfull characters. One was called Mousy White, a funny little guy with cock-eyes, another was Beaney the Bookie? My cousin was called Monkey, his real name was Jimmy Newington, he had the loudest voice in town, shouting in your ear from two feet away. Sadly gone now. We mustn’t forget Bimbo Hayes the Barrow Boys little mascot.

    By Duffy Watkins (18/05/2011)
  • A postcard of Old Charlie was auctioned a couple of years ago. In that image he was accompanied by an improvised sign on which he declared himself to be “YE OLD CHARLIE of the 3 corner copse (Dyke Rd). ESTd over 40 years”. He had with him a large basket from which he was selling bananas and was wearing a simple (brimless) light coloured conical hat. An article in an anniversary edition of the Brighton and Hove Herald on 8/9/1956 included a brief article on Charlie. An irrelevant “aside”: why was the simply linear form of this line of trees ever called Three Corner Copse?

    By Peter Booth (31/05/2011)
  • The whole area of Three Corner Copse is triangular in shape, I assume this is where the name came from.

    By John Cording (03/06/2011)
  • Does anyone remember a vegetarian restaurant that opened in the late 60s in Ship Street called “Ceres”? I would go there with friends for coffee and lunch on a Saturday and I remember they served this fabulous crispy vegetarian casserole that I would love to have the recipe of. The owners were two young fellows but I do not remember their names. The decor was light pine wood with lovely stoneware cups and dishes.

    By Gwen Healy (17/06/2011)
  • To Jackie Soutar – I remember the window with the dolls in it – she always had it lit up at night and, as you say, there was a wonderful collection of ever changing costume dollies! It was a fantastic spectacle to a little girl of four!

    By melanie (05/09/2011)
  • I do not know if it has any connection with this man, WH Shoosmith, but there’s a WW1 grave of a soldier from the 2nd Bn Royal Sussex Regiment with such name in a military cemetery in France. Could be him, who knows?

    By Claudine L'Heritier (11/10/2011)
  • I remember the glass animal man from the sea front and Queens Road. I’d stand there for ages watching with interest. Does anyone remember a fella called Tish who used to visit the schools. He always seemed well known and well liked but I never did find out who or what he was. I presume a teacher or similar. What about the two brothers that had a horse and cart who worked out of a lock up at the bottom of Bear Road. the horse’s name was Jeanie but I cant remember whether they did scrap, logs or coal. Another one was Jim the milkman who did the round at Coombe Road, Milner Road, etc. I used to try to get to him before the other kids because the first one on the float was allowed to help him and got an apple afterwards.

    By Danny/Dave Kimberley (19/10/2011)
  • Danny/Dave. The person you refer to as Tish is still around but he retired many years ago, he lives behind Sussex Square in Kemptown. Tish was a supply teacher and college lecturer around the Brighton area. When I was at Queens Park secondary school in the 60s, I had him for a few lessons. Unfortunately Tish was the brunt of many a prank because he was a mild mannered man- school children used to take advantage of his character. I used to live for many years not far from him and I often chatted to him in the street, away from the classroom he is an articulate and highly educated man. I don’t remember his real name, but Tish is an anagram thought up by some naughty schoolchildren, but he was well aware that it was his nick name. I always thought he was a quirky character with a big coat on a summer’s day, but the world needs characters so I always say hello when I see him.

    By Michael Brittain (20/10/2011)
  • I grew up on Brunswick Place, Hove, in the 1970s. I always remember a lady who would walk up and down Brunswick Place towards dusk, shouting at the top of her voice “Goodnight, sweet ladies”. If you took the time to talk to her (as my Dad did), she was apparently very well spoken and rather cultured. I’m 43 years old now, but can still remember her.

    By Andrew Morris (20/10/2011)
  • I grew up in Argyle Road and I remember a gentleman called Totter, who came round with a barrow for old clothes.

    By Peter Cooper (28/02/2012)
  • Duffy, I remember Mousy White and Monkey Newington along with quite a few other characters of the same ilk around the town in the 50s/60s. Does anyone remember “The Gentleman Totter” who used to have a natty moustache and be really smartly dressed in pin-stripes, a crombie overcoat and wearing a trilby hat? He used to be seen regularly around Brighton streets pushing his barrow and shouting “Any old rags or lumber”.

    By Dave Hamblin (18/03/2012)
  • Yes, I remember Jack Howe down at Peter Pans. We used to get on to the stage and do competions. Great days. We called him Uncle Jack.

    By Tony Brachman (23/04/2012)
  • During the 1970s and early 1980s there was a very tall character aged about late 30s/early 40s who would ask for, and I quote, “Ten pence, Sir?”. He spoke in an educated voice and could cross East Street if you were on your way to the cinema there in about three swift paces on an interception course in order to request the (then) relatively new 10 new pence. I cannot think that any visitor to Brighton can possibly have forgotten this very colourful character, let alone have avoided him even if they had wanted to. He was really very funny, and a class act. If you turned him down he would be very apologetic too. He had a beard and wore the general aspect of a 1960s refugee and must rank as the most polite beggar in history! Where is he now? Sadly missed along with all the other Brighton characters.

    By Laurence McMurdie (28/05/2012)
  • To Jackie Soutar, I remember the dolls in the window. My Granny lived in Grand Parade so I often passed the window. The basement was more or less opposite the Astoria and just up from Morley Street. I believe (though cannot be 100% sure) that the dolls were owned by a lady called Madge Drinkwater. She lived with another lady who used to dress as a man in a smart suit. I believe ‘she’ is still seen in the town. Madge used to be in charge of the drawing office at Pulllars in Hollingbury.

    By Tony Norman (04/06/2012)
  • Yes I remember the dolls in the basement window. I used to pass there on my way down to the front. I think they were lit up at night, they were beautiful and I always wanted one. I don’t think she sold them though, they were her ornaments. I usually spent a few minutes looking at them especially when she changed the window.

    By Anne Newman (05/06/2012)
  • Does anybody remember Tish’s real name – he’s owed that dignity I think. However, I remember him as a supply teacher throughout my time in Brighton schools. He was indeed articulate and intellectual but much abused on account of his gentle manner – he never seemed to resent the treatment he received. I was amazed and delighted to meet him again in 2003 at my uncle’s wedding in Rottingdean, although I’m not sure what the connection was.

    By David Blundell (19/08/2012)
  • Does anybody remember the very polite gentleman dressed as Maurice Chevalier complete with straw boater and white gloves, who would promenade up and down the seafront in Hove greeting anyone who he passed. I’m sure King Jerry should be in this category.

    By Simon Massey (19/08/2012)
  • If the person referred to as Tish is the same one that I knew, his name is Philip Stevens and he was a former pupil at Xaverian college. I remember him as a kind and generous man who never said an uncharitable thing of anybody. 

    By Tom Paul (19/08/2012)
  • Thanks Paul. This would figure, my Uncle’s wedding was at the Catholic church in Rottingdean and I suppose Philip Stevens came along as a member of the congregation. The Xaverian link is also, of course, a Catholic one. I remember it before demolition and that our neighbour’s son, Stephen Hornsby also attended the College. There was also a seminary or Catholic hostel near us in Franklin Road – does anyone know about that? Our family roots were at the other end of the candle and Brighton’s religious history is so interesting and diverse, I suppose because rapid growth in the 19th century challenged the Church of England’s grip on the populace and invited evangelists of all persuasions.

    By David Blundell (20/08/2012)
  • I remember the man making glass animals, although not where it was in particular. I grew up in Hove, which was separate from Brighton then. I also remember a guide dog that used to wander around the shopping streets in Brighton at Christmas, with a box on his back to collect donations for the blind. Presumably his handler was always nearby but, as a kid, the dog was just there on its own. I remember one Christmas my brother and I begged my mother, as we always did, for a penny to put in the dog’s box. We were ecstatic because she gave us a silver penny each. But…we didn’t get Christmas dinner that year. It must have been half crowns, she never remembered, other than how upset she was when she later realized her mistake. I have fond memories of the lagoon in Hove, and the many hours spent there as a kid. I live in Canada now, have since the mid-70s. I was last home in March this year, sadly for my mother’s funeral, and spent one day wandering along the sea front in Brighton (I stayed at what was the Old Ship Hotel). In some ways not much had changed on the sea front – kids still jumping off the groyne by the pier.

    By Sylvia Lee (18/10/2012)
  • Bill Axcell was the name of the glass animal man.There is quite a lot about him on this site – just type his name into the search box. I have a little lamppost that he made. It has Siamese cats perched on the top and 2 dogs barking at them from the base. Very cleverly made. The Old Ship is still ‘The Old Ship’!

    By Diane (18/10/2012)
  • The Maurice Chevalier impersonator, depending on the era, could be the same person who, in the late 1960s, used to roam along the coast road from Hove to Southwick on either a sit-up-and-beg bicycle or a pre-war motor bike. Always immaculately dressed in period costume, including white gauntlets, old fashioned helmet and goggles for the motor bike, he would be bolt upright, head held high and with one hand on his hip. For the bicycle he would wear a 1940s-style pin-stripe suit and straw boater, again sitting upright and with one hand on his hip. He had a small close cropped white moustache and would have been in his 50s at that time I would imagine. He also used to greet people with a somewhat formal tilt of the head in their direction as he went by. I think I remember seeing him along Hove promenade on one occasion with a white cane, walking just like a dandy.

    By Alan Phillips (19/10/2012)
  • Born in Whitehawk Road, I am now aged 85 and recall a character who called himself Broncho Bill. In the early 1930s he had a horse and stable in Eastern Place, Brighton, about half way up on the south side. I often saw him in the Roedean Road area (in those days it was called Rottingdean Road) heading towards East Brighton Golf Course. He dressed in typical cowboy style, with a stetson and a bandana round his throat. A string of donkeys, on which children had beach rides, were also stabled on the south side of Eastern Place, but nearer Arundel Place.

    By Ted Brooke (21/10/2012)
  • Hi to Peter Booth, did you live in Richmond Buildings in the 50s? I lived there with Mrs Cooper and her son Micheal Cooper, there were a family called Booth, I used to play with thier daughter Pat Booth. By Pat Richards nee Marshall.

    By Pat Richards (23/10/2012)
  • I’m afraid Pat Richards is scaling the wrong genealogical tree in connection with the May 2011 comments re “Old Charlie”. The Peter Booth in question did not decide to live permanently in Brighton until the early 1960s having migrated from the Essex marshes via London. He, that is I, am fascinated by local history and have one very tenuous connection with Richmond Hill – namely, that as a student I was employed as a general dogsbody during a summer break by the firm of Rice & Sons when they were involved in the building of the blocks of flats in that area – my one claim to fame, or should that read Hanover shame?

    By Peter Booth (31/10/2012)
  • i remember poor tish being bullied by the local gang the level mob headed by Lenny white who used to take money off him , they once tied him up and locked him in a room at my school , poor thing , but i guess it was pretty harmless stuff compared to today . The posh well well dressed gentleman who was always out the Hove to Shoreham seafront was known locally as Burlington Bertie , thats all i knew about him

    By peter paolella (06/01/2013)
  • Hi Duffy, I remember you as I also used to go around with Trevor Kelly. Do you remember when he painted Nat King Kelly on the side of the house with red paint; the house next door had been bombed. I also knew Monkey Newington – he used to go around with my brothers Les and Bod always down the Aquirem dance hall dancing to Ted Heath’s band. Last time I heard of Trever was when he got arrested in America for selling  pictures of himself on the beach. Those were the hard but happy days.

    By Mick Hussey (27/01/2013)
  • Does anyone remember Uncle Abbra who lived in Marlow Road Whitehawk in the 60s and had a small theatre in his back garden where he did puppet shows?

    By Wendy Lawrence nee Dawson (31/07/2013)
  • Does anyone recall the gentleman tramp, known as “Sunshine Joe” he used to frequent the Old Steine and St. James street area. He was your stereotypical gent of the road, battered old hat, full length tatty coat, tied up with an old belt, which in turn, had a piece of string hanging from it, with an old white tin cup tied to it. quite a tall, slim man, with a grey beard. He was a very shy man, and always polite. This would have been the early 1960s. He used to wander up George Street daily, where I lived.

    By Alan Purton (30/08/2014)
  • Yes Alan I remember Sunshine Joe! I grew up just off Lewes Rd and we saw Joe most days, always a smile & a wave to everybody, lovely man. Sadly he passed away in the seventies and it turned out he left a lot of money to children’s homes which apparently he grew up in. Found out few years ago that I’m related to Max Miller, he was my Nan’s Uncle , I’m interested in any info anybody has please . 

    By Donna Elliott (Long) (05/06/2015)
  • Does anyone remember the lady who always dressed in black and would scowl at everyone on their travels. She looked like a witch with dark mascara and black lipstick. I thought she was quite frightening. The last time i saw her she walked into the Theatre Royal scowled at every one and walked out! This would be in the eighties. Also the tramp who used to hang about outside the Royal and wash cars. No trouble to anyone and always polite.

    By David Tyler (15/02/2016)
  • I think I know the lady, David (although, there could be two). Did she used to walk around the Lewes Road area? Does anyone recall the elderly couple who lived in Hollingdean, the husband being known as “Spider”? Very eccentric and always arguing. In fact, I think (sadly) that the wife used to be quite violent towards him.

    By Janet Beal (15/02/2016)
  • I don’t think so. He was my grandfather’s brother and was a bottle washer in The Pilot in Eastbourne!

    William               Henry

    Lance Corporal, L. 9698 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 1st Division.               Wounded on the Marne and died in hospital at St. Nazaire 16 September               1914. Aged 19 Regular Soldier. Son of John & Harriett Shoosmith   of 1, Harts Cottage, Meads, Eastbourne. Born in Meads Eastbourne               and enlisted in Eastbourne. Employed as a bottle washer. SJ. Buried     in St. Nazaire Toutes Aises Cemetery

    By P Shoosmith (21/02/2016)
  • The comments relating to Tish Philip Stephens: He was indeed a highly intelligent man. He passed away last year on November the 5th. I used to go out on drives with him and another friend on a Saturday. He would have been at the Rottingdean church as he played the organ for weddings / funerals and on a Sunday in church for years; his regular church was St Josephs at the bottom of Elm Grove. He was a lawyer and when finishing his studies at Brighton College, was asked to stay on to teach, which he did for many years. While studying he was also having to care for his mother and grandfather so would have to rush home to give them lunch. His mother did not want him to study so he would have to sit in the toilet and study in secret when home! He bought a house in Hove and hoped to marry his sweetheart but caring for his mother and grandfather soon ended the relationship, especially as his mother was eccentric and would stand at the gate shouting at people with her stockings around her ankles. Due to being duped several times by builders, they had no trust in outsiders, builders especially, resulting in the house falling into disrepair. It was damaged by a bomb that landed in Whitehawk Road and caused a large crack to appear, it was left, the kitchen floor fell through and if you stood in the cellar you could look up through the house to the roof. It was eventually repaired following a hospital admission and he was delighted! He was a wonderful kind man who did nothing to deserve the treatment he received but never a bad word passed his lips. “Everyone was wonderful, tell em they’re wonderful”, he would say. When offered a drink refill he would hold out his glass looking away saying, “ohh no, no I shouldn’t!” Beautiful, wonderful man! His funeral was well-attended by many whom he had played for at weddings. He is in a better place now and fond memories live on.

    By Marina (06/10/2016)
  • Does anyone remember or heard of a  family of Chinese descent who lived in a house not very far from the Pavillion? They first moved there in 1913. 

    By Marc (18/02/2017)
  • Hello, I am trying to find some information regarding my great grandma Leah Waterman, nee Gousick from Poland. Apparently she was quite a character, a small dark lady, who owned a sweet shop just near the station in Brighton. I would really appreciate any information regarding her. Many thanks, Gaby

    By Gaby (30/07/2017)
  • I am looking for any info about  Winifred Nora Langley, she was a painter in Brighton and Hove and she was my Grandmother. Born in Eastbourne  1904 but died in Brighton   my memories of her, she was always in black with  black hair and ciggie in her mouth very flamboyant, she lived in the flats  by the sea front  and died in  nursing home 1991   she made it in the who’s who of artist  but not much info about her, would be interested  to know anyone who  remembered her maybe  to find any surviving works.  I know she left some arts to the church,  just trying to sort out family tree but got no photos  which is a shame. 

    By Winifred Nora Langley (29/03/2018)
  • Mr William Henry Shoosmith

    This morning I was reading a Middlesex newspaper from 1939 when I came across a story about a William Henry Shoosmith from September 1886 who might be the same person or a relative. He was referred to as Southall’s first Socialist orator and got into a great deal of trouble in the local community for this; on one occasion Hanwell ‘roughs’ pelted him with coloured flour, rotten eggs and ‘other filth’. The author of the story notes that he could not find any more information after 1887 about Mr Shoosmith. I have photographs of the original story if anyone would like it.

    By Julian (16/04/2019)
  • Is there anybody still living that used to work in the up market store called ‘Barrance and Ford’ on Brighton sea front very near west street?

    By Colin jordan (15/09/2020)
  • Barrance & Ford features elsewhere on this site, dig around for it.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (16/09/2020)
  • Just a note about 10pence. I seem to remember that he wore Dunlop Green Flash plimsoles that were in good condition… an unforgettable man.
    I was taught by Tish and will never forget him, a gentle man and excellent teacher…. he would often mutter “savages” but not with any malice.

    By NEIL SUMMERS (06/04/2021)

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