A posh sweet shop

Making your mouth water
HelenOnline - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0: Wikimedia Commons

In the late 1950s, a new sweet shop opened on the corner of Prince’s Crescent and Ditchling Road, in the Roundhill part of town. As a child, I was entranced by the jars of sweets on the wall behind the lady that opened and owned the shop. Apart from the sweets, themselves, I envied her being able to use a little shovel to dig them out to weigh them on traditional scales. I also liked her toffee hammer.

A snooty proprietor

I told her that I liked her shop. I can still remember her reply: ‘there is a need for a good quality sweet shop in this area’. Even as a child, I thought this was a bit snooty. Was Dalton’s, further up Ditchling Road, not of particularly good quality? How did she know about the ‘need’? I felt a bit affronted by her apparent dismissal of Dalton’s.

My wayward pronunciation

My fears of her snobbery were confirmed when I asked her for a bar of Galaxy chocolate. ‘A bar of Gerlacksi’, she replied’, as if to correct my wayward pronunciation. What she had invented, though, was a traditional and probably old fashioned sweet shop. Despite her leaning towards the posh, I hope the shop did well. Her’s must have been one of dozens of sweet shop around Brighton, at that time.

Comments about this page

  • I lived in Hollingbury Park Avenue in the late 1980s, and in Ditchling Rd opposite HSBC was Mrs O’Brien’s sweetshop, a very superior sweet shop. There were small glass cabinets with high class individual chocolates to choose from and the shelves around were lined with the nicest (mostly European) chocolates of every variety, pricey but top quality. Brands and varieties I have never seen elsewhere but always ones you took to dinner parties to much acclaim. She had the best and most sophisticated collection of greetings cards, so posh they had no inscriptions but were classy in the extreme. Luckily the plant shop opposite now has taken on the mantel of superior card purveyor.

    By Geoffrey Mead (10/05/2019)

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