Fisher folk families

My grandmother had a second hand clothes shop in Edward Street, as well as a fruit and vegetable stall in Upper Gardner Street on a Saturday, where my sister had to help out. My paternal grandfather was dead by now so these enterprises were her main sources of income.

When I was around twelve months of age we moved to my maternal grandparents’ house in Ivory Place. My grandfather was a fisherman; fisherfolk families in those days were invariably large and it was not uncommon for uncles, cousins, and neph­ews to have the same Christian names. Therefore for identification purposes nicknames (which usually referred to an individual’s physical appearance) were used.

The living to be earned from fishing in those days was precarious to say the least. Fishermen were away from home much of the time, because it was the practice to follow the herring and mackerel shoals as they moved down the Channel, and land the catches wherever, until it was time to return to Brighton. In the meantime the fishermen’s families had been living on credit, sometimes the earnings only just covered the credit. My grandfather eventually gave up fishing and became a coach painter at Lancing Carriage works.

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