A very special place to live

Kemps, High Street, Portslade Old Village
photo taken by R.J.Harrison

“Kemps is a very special place to live. The Old Village really does feel tranquil. Standing outside in the High Street, looking at the sunrise, my mind often wanders back a few hundred years, imagining the generations of the Blaker family who stepped out and saw the same view.

Famous members of the Blaker family
Portslade has changed considerably since their time, yet a lot of the character is still evident. Some of the descendants of the Blaker family have become famous and successful by today’s standards, although I do think that Harry Blaker’s father was probably not as impressed as you or I by Harry’s appointment as one of the first surgeons at the hospital. However as they had been associated with the nobility for many years, I imagine that his father was pleased by his son attending Queen Victoria and other members of the royal family.

Time to stop and stare?
The High Street used to be a busy and bustling street, especially in the early years of this century. As I walk down to collect my papers in the morning, I sometimes see people walking up the Street, and yet looking down or straight ahead. I wonder if they ever stop and pause to admire what is around them.  There is an elderly gentleman who I often see standing just opposite Kemps, looking wistfully around. I often wonder if he is remembering times gone by, and imagining the old days, or merely pausing for breath after climbing the hill.”

Comments about this page

  • I had (and still have) the same feeling as you when standing at the top of High Street. I attempted to record a chronological history of the Blakers back in 1982 when I worked in Portslade, and I have recently revisited the place and the Blaker/Borrer houses there. The monuments in and around St Nicholas church were a challenge I had to meet since compiling the family chart, but on the whole it was very rewarding as an ‘outsider’. I shall retain these memories when I finally leave the county later this year for my roots in the Staffordshire moorlands. Best wishes for your own project.

    By Des Brailsford (18/06/2003)
  • I was born at 27 Mile Oak Road. I remember the old village well: the off licence which is now an Estate Agent, and Mr Earnest Olive who was our next door neighbour. His shop was next to the pubs on the corner by Le Carbon. Also Mrs Button who had the little shop on the corner before you went up the hill to the new estate Of East Hill Drive, lots of memories.

    By Elizabeth Edwards (nee Carole Newell) (13/01/2008)

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