I lived at 44 Bute Street from 1947 to 1953 when we moved around the corner to Evelyn Terrace, right over the top of the Kemp Town railway tunnel. I remember lots of the families that lived in the three streets, Hendon Street, Bute Street and Rochester Street, the area was commonly known as ‘Baker’s Bottom’, taken I believe from the location at the top of Sutherland Road/Rochester Street of the old Grooms Bakery. Grooms was a large working bakery and still did bread rounds with horse drawn vans. When I was a kid, I used to get sent out with a shovel to collect the horse-poo for the allotment. What were the allotments is now Craven Vale.
Some of the family names I remember from Hendon Street were the Wells family where I spent most of my childhood being looked after by Joyce Wells, Mum to my mate Brian, Terry, Jean, Lynn and little Malcolm. She had her hands full with us lot but never complained and shared whatever she had. Others in this street were the Pontings, the Taylors, the Pithers and Townsends. From Bute Street were the Marshalls, the Kenwoods, the Townsends and the Bolches. From Rochester Street were the Ruckmans and more Townsends. Most of us kids went to St.Lukes School and I passed the 11 plus and went to Varndean Grammar School in 1952 to ’56. I was in the church choir at the old St Mathews and the Vicar was the Revd. Taylor.
Hot water from the copper
When I was a kid I remember that our hot water was boiled up in the copper. The copper was used for the weekly boil wash, as well as providing hot water for the old tin bath. Most of us kids were sent to Queen’s Park Baths on a Friday after school. It was 4d including soap and towel, whether we needed a bath or not. I remember Chapman’s greengrocers and Capper’s sweets and grocery shop in Bute Street. Chapman’s was the old Bute Arms Public House which was open before my time.
Nobody locked their doors
Other shops were ‘Jelly’ Williams scruffy old shop in Rochester Street, ‘Whacker’ Dorrington’s fish and chip shop at the corner of Cuthbert Road/Sutherland Road opposite the Post Office. There was also a butchers and a bakers at the Sutherland Road end of Rochester Street on each corner. Great days never forgotten and nobody had to lock their front doors either! Now living in Shoreham-by-Sea and love it, but my heart remains in Brighton.