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Fish and chips and doodle bugs

Argyle Road: 43 is second from the left
Photo by Tony Mould

What a lovely smell

I was born in 1940 at 43 Argyle Road. As a child I remember Bostock’s the fish and chip shop. My mother would take me there and two things stick in my memory; the lovely smell and the incredible height of the counter as I was only small. We would also go to the butchers for our rations, and the floor between the door and counter was covered in sawdust; like any small boy I could not resist making tramlines everywhere.

The demise of our chickens

On the opposite side of the road, between Campbell and Argyle Roads, was a row of small shops I cannot remember which shop, but we used to take our ‘Accumulators’ there (lead acid batteries) to be recharged for the wireless. The houses only had gas in those days. One shop there I remember well was the green grocers. Apart from the daily visit for vegetables, once or twice a year we would take a chicken from our back garden to the grocer, who would wring its neck for us; mum did not have the heart to do it. I vaguely remember my mum holding me up to see the first train going over the viaduct after it had been rebuilt following a bomb that brought down one of the piers.

The joys of frost outside the windows

I can remember diving into the bomb shelter in the basement front room every time the sirens sounded, or a doodle bug flew over, those were the days. In 1950 we moved to Patcham and what luxury that was. We had a bathroom and toilet, no more tin baths with the water shared between four of us, no more walking down the garden to the loo but still only one coal fire to heat the house like Argyle Road. There was one other improvement, as the house in Argyle, was three stories high, with large rooms and the coal fire in the basement, the frost in winter was on both sides of the window. In Patcham, a smaller two floor house, the frost stayed on the outside.

Comments about this page

  • My Grandfather Charles Edmund Cording lived at 54, he died there in 1951, I never knew him as I was only two when he died. Did you perhaps know him?

    By John Cording (23/10/2012)
  • I lived in Dyke Rd Drive from 1949-1982 and Bostocks in New England Rd was one of two nearby chip shops; we always went to Rolf’s across the road and up a bit from Bostocks. Nothing to do with the quality of the chips, my mum would cross me over to the south side of DRD and then I had no roads to cross to and from Rolf’s until I was opposite our house.

    By Geoffrey Mead (24/10/2012)
  • Rolfs was a good chip shop always cooked in dripping, I think they had a bad fire there at some point. My dad used to get chips there after seeing his friend Bill (can’t remember his surname) in the cycle shop, which was where I got my first racing bike for £10.

    By John Cording (24/10/2012)
  • I lived in Campbell Rd between 1953-1965. We always went to Rolfs for our fish and chips as I didn’t have to cross the road. Bostocks had crinkly chips as I remember and we preffered Rolfs, my dad always had huss as there was only one bone in it. I think they call it rock salmon in London but, I’ve never heard of huss outside of Brighton, it looks like an eel. I remember the green grocers, two newsagents, a grocery shop on the corner of Campbell Rd, the bike shop next to Rolfs and was there a hair dressers as well? Was Rolfs related to a fishing family that I have read so much about on here?

    By Anne Newman (27/10/2012)
  • My Nan and Grandad used to own Rolf’s Fish and Chip shop in New England Road, they were a Brighton fishing family. It did suffer a fire, caused by my grandad setting light to the chip fryer. Seems quite poignant as I am a firefighter and served at Preston Circus Fire Station.

    By Jon Cater (23/06/2013)
  • I agree with the general view that Rolf’s was the better of the two fish and chip shops. Incidentally, farther up New England Road on the same side as Rolf’s, just before the large overhead area of the main London-Brighton line was an MDFCTA horse trough, not listed on the MDFCTA website and a gents’ convenience – both of which are seldom seen now.

    By Brian Dungate (23/04/2017)
  • Can anyone tell me in New England Road between New England Street & Elder Street, past Elder Row, there was a pub that was a long bungalow building with a slate roof and a low wall in front with the name carved out in the wall, I always thought it was Old Hoss, but that was on the corner of Elder Street.

    By Terry Hyde (24/04/2017)
  • Was it The Merrie Harriers?

    By Brian Dungate (26/04/2017)
  • The Merrie Harriers was in New England Street on the corner of Cross Street. Terry is correct, the Old Hoss was on the corner of Elder Street, not Elder Place as is stated elsewhere on this site. The buildings on that side of New England Road were demolished at the beginning of the 1960s and I have a couple of photographs of these properties just prior to this. The range between Elder Place and Elder Street contained a butcher, a ladies’ hairdresser, Bostock’s fish and chip shop, a circulating library which went out of business in the mid fifties, and the Old Hoss at number 4. On the other side of Elder Street, at No. 5, was a watch repairer, Jock’s snack bar at No. 6 (does anyone remember that), a confectioner and a tailor at No. 7, a tobacconist at No. 8 and at No. 9 on the corner of New England Street was another ladies’ hairdresser. None of these buildings resemble Terry’s description.

    By David Packham (27/04/2017)
  • No, Brian – the Merrie Harriers was in New England Street.

    By Terry Hyde (27/04/2017)
  • Could Ralph Packham kindly contact me at

    By David Packham (31/03/2018)
  • I have been trying to trace my Great Grandmother whose marriage to Romeo Jenkins in 1938 (albeit she was still married to Thomas James Allen) cites 41 Argyle Road as their address. Does anyone remember them?

    By Julie Allen (14/01/2020)

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