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Happy memories of the 1950s

Number nine Crescent Place is painted blue
Photo by Tony Mould

A house without electricity

In 1958 I married Philip Compton, and we lived in the top flat of his parent’s house, number 9 Crescent Place until 1961. Philip’s parents bought Number 9 in 1943, and he has many memories of people who lived on the street, including the famous actor Lawrence Naismith. The house next to the old pub at the top of Crescent Place, maybe number 13, or 12, was one of the last in Kemp Town to have no electricity. I was amazed to see gas lamps when I was a district nurse in training in 1954.

One thousand pounds for a house

I became friendly with Dora Bryan the day she and her famous cricketer husband moved in to their nice house across Crescent Place from Number 7 in 1960, with their son Daniel, and then two more children. Daniel and my older son Anthony were friends until we bought our first house on College Street in 1961. At that time the price was one thousand pounds, difficult to imagine that nowadays.

Ice cream at Woolworths

In those days we shopped at Brampton’s the butchers of course, Leach’s the greengrocers, and the newsagents, sweets and tobacconist shop, owned by two brothers. Once a week friends of mine and I – all young mothers – would walk with the babies in their prams along the sea front down to Woolworths on St James’s Street, for ice cream, after going to the Health Clinic at the bottom of Eastern Road for the children’s check ups. We would leave the prams outside any shop, and know the babies would be safe. Can you imagine doing that now? Happy memories. We moved to the USA in 1962.

Comments about this page

  • What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing

    By Andy Mountford (24/08/2013)
  • The tobacconist shop mentioned was run by the brothers Stuart and Tudor. I used to have a paper round with them 1964-1966. There also used to be an off-licence at the corner of Crescent Place, handy for a bottle of fruit juice on ther way home from Peter Pans.

    By David Gillam (24/08/2013)
  • To Colinette: You mention District Nurse training – may I ask where you did your State? If it was at the Brighton General Hospital have a look at the website This site contains many photographs and memories of the BGH from the mid 1930s up to the 1970 with contributions from lots of BGH SRNs. You can also find my contact details as I am in touch with many, and some now live in the States and Canada. Over many years I have organised reunions and pictures of these are on My Brighton and Hove pages.

    By Ken Ross (25/08/2013)
  • Hi Colinette, great to see a photo of dear old Crescent Place with your memories. You have of course already commented on my “Crescent Place – Childhood Memories” page. Interesting to see when Dora Bryan came to the street – I couldn’t have named the exact year. I was 10 in 1960, so a few years older than Daniel and (presumably) your son Anthony. You probably saw me frequently playing outside with Sarah Pausey from no. 8 and Louisa Silverson from the house with the gas mantles. I was tall and had long fair hair in a ponytail. About Dora Bryan: a few years ago she appeared in a popular and long-running TV comedy series called “Last of The Summer Wine” – not something I can imagine being shown in the USA, so you may not have heard of it. Since then, as far as I know, she has retired due to ill-health. She must be about 90 now.

    By Sylvia Schwarz (27/08/2013)
  • Nice to read these memories. I lived in Hartington Road but knew Sarah Pausey as we were in the same class at St. Luke’s and remember going to her birthday party. I think Louisa Silverson was also in our class. We left St. Luke’s in 1963.

    By Jane Knapp (nee Bennett) (11/12/2013)

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