Memories of a bygone time

A photograph of Kensington Gardens, Brighton
A photograph of Kensington Gardens, Brighton

I can remember Kensington Gardens before it became “trendy”. There used to be lovely, homely shops, where everybody knew everybody else. At the Gloucester Road end on one corner was Cramphorns, a pet food shop, and on the other corner was Steers the greengrocers. At this end of the gardens there was the Kensington public house, a newsagents owned by a chap called Gus, and a family butcher’s. I haven’t been to Kensington Gardens for over twenty five years now,and I doubt if I should recognise it now.

Comments about this page

  • What year are you talking about because when I first came to Brighton in 1985 I remember Kensington Gardens as already quite trendy.

    By Jackie Ilett (19/02/2005)
  • I too have many memories of Kensington Gardens. The butcher was Charlie Eggelton (opposite the Kensington pub) and Barney took over the Cramphorns shop. He sold all manner of items. I had the electrical shop near the Kensington for many years (Washing Machine Rentals) and around 1960 rented out small Hoover washing machines – delivered to houses, mainly in the Hangleton Estate for 2 shillings and sixpence an hour (can you believe that?). Maybe there is someone who rented from me?

    By Eric Noble (08/03/2005)
  • Carol, I also remember Kensington Gardens. I lived there from the 1930’s to 47. My Mother had a shop there, I know the shops that you mentioned. Brighton/Hove was a great place.
    Love to hear from you. I love reminiscence.
    My e-mail address

    By Anita (25/10/2007)
  • Yes definitely trendy in 1985, I remember first going there about 1969/70, it was trendy then! If you wanted run-of-the-mill then Burtons at the Clock Tower, but if you wanted “tie-dye” “flared jeans” or “hippy gear”, then Kensington Gardens was the “place to be”. Probably it became trendy (along with much of North Laine) mid 1960’s, Brighton’s answer to Carnaby Street.

    By Peter Groves (28/12/2007)
  • I was born in Kensington Gardens in December 1945. My father Eddie Robinson had a greengrocers shop at number 34, above it he also had a bookmaking office. He ran the two business until he retired in the late 60s.
    I beleive that number 34 opened in 1835 as a umbrella shop.

    By michael Robinson (03/12/2008)
  • Please does anybody remember Stan & Florence (Jean) Wood that had the second hand furniture shop in Kensington Gardens, opposite the washing machine shop/Kensington Arms. in the early 60s? They previously traded in the open market next to the blacksmiths shop.Any information into this matter will be gratefully recieved, thank you.

    By Ray (04/09/2009)
  • As a sales rep in the electrical wholesale trade, I called on Kensington Electric, which was opposite Roses Music shop. Len Athleton ran this shop for approx 25 years and after selling it to Ivan Soutter, died very shortly after. It closed after two years and became a cheese shop.

    By Tony Lidbetter (03/01/2010)
  • My Granddad was born at 27 Kensington Gardens in 1903. I would love to know if anyone knew anything about this property.

    By Steve Gilbert (04/02/2011)
  • From about 1915 Louis Lancia and his wife Amy Alice (nee Sawyer), my great aunt, ran an ice cream shop in Kensington Gardens. Does anyone know of them or their shop?

    By Tom Sawyer (19/02/2011)
  • In response to Michael Robinson: no 34 was an umbrella and parasol makers from approx 1879 until 1888, run by Mr Edward Quait. Then a William Marlow, china merchant, had the shop; the business seems to have been taken over by a Mr J Ashley or Ashbery from 1893 until 1895 where I’m afraid my research has temporarily halted. This information comes from the various street directories held in the local history library. I believe that prior to this period the house was a private residence; the street directories don’t take much interest in these! See another page of this website ‘An exiled Kensington Gardener’ for a comment about residents at no 34 in the mid-19th century. To Steve Gilbert: similarly, I expect no 27 was a private residence until its first entry in the street directories in 1884; it was then listed as ‘J B Peters, general furnishing warehouse’ until 1895 (where I’ve stopped research, for the time being). I suspect that the premises continued being used for the same purpose until relatively recently; I have the 1960 Kelly’s (directory) which lists nos 26-29 as ‘Parkes, furniture dealers’, while the 1972 Kelly’s lists the same group of properties as ‘Kensington Furniture (Brighton) Ltd, complete house furnishers and furniture dealers’. And in fact, if you look at photos of Kensington Gardens online there is one from approx 1970 which shows this property apparently for sale. The image belongs to the Museum, but I found it through Google images. By the way, I’m researching the history of the street for the project ‘My House My Street’.

    By Catherine Clement (31/12/2012)
  • Further to my the above comment, my Great Great Grandfather was Edward Quait who had the shop at number 34. He is also listed as having a shop at number 2 Kensington Gardens and 29 North Road.

    By Denise Cross (01/09/2013)

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