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A small one bar pub

White Hart c1951

A very small hostelry

The White Hart public house was situated approximately half way up on the left side York Hill, looking up from London Road.  Opposite the White Hart  was Tamplins’ Brown Jug, which was an even smaller hostelry. Bill Croydon’s newsagent shop was also on the opposite side of the road to the White Hart. On the corner of York Hill with Elder Street was Hillman’s grocers shop.

What about the ladies?

The White Hart was a one bar public house only licensed for beer sales. This was fine as far as the male customers were concerned, but it created difficulty in attracting the women folk. This was until ‘Babycham’ made its appearance as an attractive drink in a posh glass for the ladies. Babycham was, in effect, a pear cider attractively presented.

Distinctive brewery liveries

In those days all the ‘tied’ pubs had a distinctive brewery livery. United pubs were dark green, Tamplins  brown & cream, and Kemp Town brewery pubs were dark blue. Customers tended to get used to the taste of a particular brewery brand and mostly only visited pubs within that group.

Drunk as a rat?

My dad took over the White Hart circa 1951 but as he still had a business to run in Surrey he was absent during weekdays. So it was left to my mum to run the bar, and I was delegated as the cellarman.  I was fortunate in being shown how to tap barrels by Frank Boswell, cellarman for the Hare & Hounds, also the Fitters Arms. The first barrel I tapped without Frank being there, blew the tap out of my hands and half the beer went down the drain. I imagine there were quite a few drunken sewer rats around?

I was a strong lad

I was only aged 14 at the time but Frank, a really nice chap, was a great help to me.  The other duties were bringing up crates of bottled beer from the cellar, also coal for the fire in the bar. I must admit all the heavy work made me into a strong lad which made sure I was not bullied during my Fawcett School days. The photo taken (by me using a Kodak box brownie camera) of the outside of the pub, shows the outgoing landlord on the right of the doorway, with my dad and younger brother.

White Hart Darts Team

Back row l-r

1.  Roy Stevens lived in Elder Street he worked as a boiler maker for the Brighton Railway Engineering Works. He played piano during weekends at the White Hart.
2.  Nelson Ancell married to Dolly
3.  Bill Croydon – owned the newsagents shop opposite side of the road to the WH
4.  Mr Watts – manager of Mac Fisheries shop in London Road
5.  Stan ??? lived in Elder Street. He operated a mobile cinema around the outlying villages. He also had a fine tenor singing voice and played drums
6.  Mr Jennings – worked with Mr Watts
7.  Bill Boxall – lived in Elder Street. Worked as a vehicle paint sprayer

Front row l-r

1.  Can’t remember his name
2.  Charlie Ancell, brother to Nelson. Lived in Elder Street married to Ivy.  Market trader in fruit and veg.
3.  Percy Searle (my Dad) Landlord of the WH
4.  Sid Farrow, Painter and decorator. A Brighton & Hove Albion supporter.
5.  Jack Tarr, a Devon man married to Joan Tarr
6.  I believe his name was George Williams but not sure. He was a french polisher who lived in London Street


Comments about this page

  • My brother, Norman, has identified the outgoing White Hart landlord (Outside of pub picture, 3rd from left) as Ralph Irons.

    By Barrie Searle (03/03/2011)
  • I am a member of the Brighton Trades & Social Club (the former Labour club). Jack and Joan Tarr were members for years. Both served on the committee. They lived in Stephens Road, Hollingdean. In 1985 they both moved to Devon. Sadly a year later Jack developed lung cancer and passed away. Joan returned to Brighton but she too passed away shortly afterwards. Jack was in the Burma star association with a wealth of knowledge of military matters. I really enjoyed talking with him. They were a nice couple.

    By Richard J. Szypulski (05/03/2011)
  • That is very interesting Richard, they were a very nice couple. During the mid 1950s I ran a three piece band and used to play at both the London Road and Elm Grove labour Clubs, also the Hove British Legion. Jack and Joan lived near to our pub in York Hill at the time I knew them. Joan used to help out with cleaning the bar area. She was also in the ladies dart team. Jack had a very infectious laugh.

    By Barrie Searle (05/03/2011)
  • As these old pubs closed many of their regulars joined clubs. Sadly that does not happen these days. What was the name of your band? I may remember as I joined the old Labour club in 1980. It was weird how Jack Tarr, a Devonian, went home to die. Joan was not keen on the idea and only reluctantly agreed to move to Devon. When Jack died she felt so isolated as she had no family or friends nearby. I notice you went to Fawcett School at York Place. I went to the new school at Patcham between 1965/70. Very Interesting!

    By Richard J. Szypulski (06/03/2011)
  • My band at the time was called the Rhythm Revellers, but later I changed the name to The Barrie Group. My gigs were curtailed when I joined the RAF in 1955. I left Fawcett School around 1952 to go to Preston Technical Institute and then on to Brighton Technical College. Jack and Joan weren’t just customers they were also good friends of our family, as most of our customers were in those days. Did you recognise any other of the White Hart regulars in the photo?

    By Barrie Searle (07/03/2011)
  • No! I only recognise Jack Tarr. It was sad what was demolished to make way for the monstrosities that are there now – New England House and a car park!

    By Richard J. Szypulski (07/03/2011)
  • Hi there! I am Joan and Jack Tarr’s niece Susan who used to stay with them every other weekend and attend the labour club. My Auntie sold bingo tickets and I remember lots of bands playing. Rose Piggot also was a commitee member. My Mother was Lilian and sadly passed away last September. I would love any information on either of them.

    By Sue Glossop (11/05/2011)
  • Hi Sue. When, and where, did you stay with Jack & Joan? I knew them when my Dad was the White Hart landlord circa 1950/54. Our family then left to live in Hove

    By Barrie Searle (13/05/2011)
  • Rose Piggott lived in Beale Crescent, Hollingdean and later moved to Upper Lewes Road. She was a committee member at the Brighton Trades and Labour club for decades! She died in 2001. Her certificate of merit issued by the Club and Institute union (CIU) still hangs above the bar at the Lewes Road premises.

    By Richard J. Szypulski (18/05/2011)
  • Hi Barrie, I stayed with Joan and Jack in Stephens Road, Hollingdean. They lived with my Nan, who also used to go to the Labour Club. She was Elsie Paynter, Joan’s Mother. I used to alternate with my brother Steve and stay with them. As children we also used to go to the Christmas parties, they were great.

    By Sue Glossop (24/09/2011)
  • Hi Barrie, I stayed with Joan and Jack in Stephens Road, Hollingdean. They lived with my Nan , who also used to go to the Labour Club. She was Elsie Paynter, Joan’s Mother. I used to alternate with my brother Steve and stay with them. As children we also used to go to the Christmas parties, they were great.

    By Sue Glossop (24/09/2011)
  • Hi Sue, I can’t quite remember where Jack and Joan lived at the time, it could have been Elder Street or very nearby. Joan and Elsie were both members of the White Hart ladies darts team. Joan also had a younger sister but I can’t remember her name, did you know her?

    By Barrie Searle (26/09/2011)
  • Hi there Barrie, I am glad you remember my Nan, Elsie – I remember her being a good darts player! My Mum was Joan’s younger sister Lily. Jack was from South Molton in Devon and was somewhat a horse whisperer, he loved his horses and always had a flutter at weekends. Joan and Jack lived in Elder Row with my Mum Lily and Elsie before moving to Hollingdean.

    By Sue Glossop (26/09/2011)
  • Hi Sue (again) nice hearing from you, I remember your Mum Lily. I can picture her quite clearly now although names do not always come to mind. She used to come into the White Hart with a young chap and I used to serve them when I worked behind the bar. If I remember correctly your Mum was slightly younger than me. We were all teenagers together in those days. Jack and Joan, I believe, were in their mid thirties at that time. They were a very nice family and pleasure to be with. You have really stirred up memories for me – many thanks.

    By Barrie Searle (28/09/2011)
  • Hello everyone, I wonder if anyone has any memories of “Hillman’s Grocers shop” that is mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, as I believe that it belonged to my great grandfather, Alexander. Did anyone know him, or my Grandad Kenneth?

    By Leia (23/01/2012)
  • Hello Leia. Yes, I lived in the White Hart opposite Hillman’s. We used to buy our groceries from Mr Hillman circa 1951/’53. I remember Mr Hillman being quite hard of hearing, he had a hearing aid that made rustling and whistling noises. A lot of the loose groceries were stored in barrels and Mr Hillman used a scoop to scoop out what was needed, such as flour etc, before weighing. Rationing was still in operation. I don’t remember Mr Hillman’s name but I would guess he was in his 60s.

    By Barrie Searle (24/01/2012)
  • Leia, I am trying to help a friend out with her family tree. Her great grandmother was called Eliza Hillman, she had a daughter called Dorothy. We think Eliza’s parents was John Hillman 1839 and Susan Jackson 1840. Are they any relation?

    By K Skears (12/04/2012)
  • Hi Barry, I was born at 20 Elder Street 1945, my dad often went to this pub and I stood outside. Nelson Ancell was my next door neighbour, 22 or 18. Alan was in my class and we were all great friends. I seem to remember that they were bothered with a poltergeist, and Bill Boxall lived directley opp, his daughter Susan was also in my class. Alan.

    By Alan Cribb (25/04/2012)
  • A relative of mine Ernest C Robins was registered as living at this pub in 1943 when he was killed on active service. Does anyone have a list of landlords of the pub in the 40s? Did it take lodgers? Any help would be gratefully received.

    By Paul Larken (19/11/2013)
  • A little correction to Richard (18/5/2011). Rose Piggott (my Nan) lived in Oxford Street, then the Linkway (we lived in Beal Crescent, not Nanna) before she moved to Upper Lewes Road. The Labour Club was her and grandad’s second home.

    By Clifford James (06/03/2018)
  • I forgot to mention in my note in response to Richard (18/5/2011). Rose Piggott moved from Oxford Street to Horton Road, before living in the Linkway, where her husband Charlie “Sonny” died. Later she moved to Upper Lewes Road, to live with Frank. Nanna liked her Guinness. A party at our place when I was a kid meant a crate of Guinness and a bottle of gin besides Nanna’s chair. All gone before the end and you wouldn’t know she’d had a drink.

    By Clifford James (06/03/2018)

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