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The Peace Statue

The Peace Statue
Photo by Brian Dungate

Grandfather’s business

The statue marks the shared boundary of Brighton and Hove. Its importance for me is that my maternal grandfather – who had had one leg amputated after a fall from a roof when working – just about managed to get enough to live from a shoe-cleaning service he provided at the north-western side of the wall, by what was, at that time, the sunken garden.

Fun to see him ‘at work’

To visit him ‘at work’ was always fun. He had a metal stand on which customers positioned the foot that was currently the focus on my grandfather’s attention. This was emblazoned with a large metal Cherry Blossom logo and it housed a prized collection of brushes, dusters, polishes and creams.

Marvellous mix of aromas

The regular customers always chatted to me and there was a marvellous mingling of smells of well-looked-after leather, and the scents from the flowers in the adjacent garden. The days of Brighton Racecourse meetings were always the best for business, when a host of bookies and larger-than-life characters would come to ensure they looked their best, especially if they had female company.

Eccentric characters

When I was a little older, the nearby beach opposite Brunswick Square was to be my favourite; it always seemed to attract a host of eccentric characters from the immediate area.


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