A love hate relationship

Christiane Niemeyer on Lewes Road
Photo by Sally Ann Clarke

Living on Lewes Road
I’ve got a really love/hate relationship with the Lewes Road area. I’ve lived sort of around Upper Lewes Road [and] now I live directly off the Lewes Road. Seeing how its changed over the years, I used to think, it’s a dump, I don’t like it here, I need to get away, but it sort of grows on you.  Over the last couple of years [they have] actually … put in quite a bit of effort, to make it a bit more trendy. You’ve got coffee shops actually springing up on the Lewes Road and you see chairs that people can sit out side, not that I would really do that but just the thought of it.

Losing its rough edge
And there seems to be a lot more young families who have moved around the area as well. It’s loosing, it’s really, really rough edge basically. It just seems a bit more open than it used to maybe, a couple of years ago. I mean even a little Turkish shop opened there the other day, I was really quite surprised to see that, amongst the big Sainsbury’s and the usual Co-op and Spars. So that’s quite nice. And it’s really handy to get to, there are loads of buses that go around there because I used to study, I suppose it’s a real student area, so it’s easy to get to University. But it’s also only, like, a ten minute walk into the North Laine.

I’m not sure I could move to Hove!
I’ve always lived in the Lewes Road area so I haven’t really ventured out and the thought of moving to a place like Hove scares me. It’s just a different feeling isn’t it.  I work in Hove now and I just keep thinking, no, moving to Hove, I’m not sure if I could really do that. It’s just compared to Brighton it all feels a bit stiff. I like being close to town, and more in the midst of things … especially when you get to the Portslade area, that’s when it gets a bit dull I think.

Christiane Niemeyer interviewed by Sally Ann Clarke 11th April 2006.

Comments about this page

  • It is interesting that Christiane mentioned ‘Spars’ as this has sparked some memories. When I was 14 years old in 1971 (my parents lived in Upper Lewes Road) I was very fortunate to get a part-time job at this shop which was then called ‘Foodrite’ then later on ‘Vivo’. I used to stack shelves and work the check-out, I did this for 1 hour after school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and for 3 hours on a Friday then all day Saturday. The shop closed at 1pm on Wednesday for half day closing, as did most of Lewes Road. I used to get around £2.50 for the week. It remained part of a chain of stores until around early 1973 when it was bought by Alan Berriman, he was one of the best bosses I ever had, does anyone remember him? He was very pleasant to all the customers and very good to his staff. I remember him getting quite excited when the turnover of the shop reached £2000 for 1 week which was a considerable amount in 1973. There were some other nice shops in Lewes Road, my Mum used to use ‘Platts Martins’ for her wool, ‘David D.I.Y’, ‘Kenneth Smart (estate agents), ‘Carters Newsagents’, ‘The Bake and Take’ and ‘Eddowns’. Does anyone remember them or any other shops I have forgotten about?

    By Paul Clarkson (22/02/2012)
  • I remember Carters the Newsagents and also the ‘offie’ and Undertakers at the bottom of Hartington Road. There was also the Co-op butchers, and the Chemists (Brownlow’s?) opposite. Thinking back into the 60s there was also a Timothy White’s and Deveson’s greengrocers a bit further along towards town and a hardware store.

    By Geoff (23/02/2012)
  • I was wondering if anyone remembers Mason Scooter Shop which I believe was on the corner of Franklin Road (possibly now a Spar)?  Thanks

    By D. Dee (28/01/2013)
  • I vaguely remember the scooter shop but I can confirm it was definitely on the site of what is now ‘Spars’. As I commented last year, I worked at the shop between 1971-73 and I found out in my time there that it used to be a scooter shop. The site then became ‘Foodrite’ then ‘Vivo-Spar’ then just ‘Spar’. On the subject of Lewes Road, does anyone remember a shop called ‘Lion Wallpapers’ which was opposite ‘Platts Martins’ (now an estate agents)? My Dad used to do the odd decorating job for the owner and when I got married I remember buying all my wallpaper and paint from that shop.

    By Paul Clarkson (29/01/2013)
  • I pass through Lewes Road most days and always think of that part from The Gladstone to Elm Grove as the graveyard. Just how many undertakers are there? Not as many as there used to be but still quite a concentration.

    By Ken Valder (31/01/2013)
  • Paul Clarkson! Were your late parents Denis & Eileen? Did your wife work at K.T.M. (Hollingbury)? My wife and I knew Den & Eileen very well. We knew them in the old Labour club. Also Den was a Buffalo and a Littlewoods pools collector. Sadly, Den passed away in the mid eighties and Eileen moved to Yorkshire. They were a nice couple!

    By Richard J. Szypulski (01/04/2013)
  • Hello Richard, yes they were my parents, thank you for your kind comments about them. My Mum returned from Yorkshire in 1990 and sadly died in 1993. My wife did work at KTM but, as you know, that is now long gone. As you knew my Dad well you would be well aware that he was a bit of a character, I have written a couple of stories on these pages about him. (Colourful Characters-Coopers for Haircuts & Hanover Terrace School-Later to be Brighton Secondary Technical School). He also did a lot of decorating work for Lions Wallpapers which was in Lewes Road.

    By Paul Clarkson (03/04/2013)
  • Paul, I am sorry to hear about your mum. I hope your wife and yourself are well.

    By Richard J. Szypulski (06/04/2013)
  • Here is a photo of Mason’s Scooters in Lewes Road, Brighton that my nephew has just sent me.

    By David Johnson (08/10/2013)
  • Hi, regarding Franklins Motorcycle shop on Lewes Road, I believe one of the three mechanics was Gerry Ingram who set up his own shop in Hollingbury Road.

    By Clifford Marlow (26/05/2014)
  • Do you remember the small joke shop?  I think it was next to the Arcadia cinema, or maybe a bit further along the Lewes Road going east, back in about 1950/55.  A small shop  full of jokes and tricks, stink bombs, itching powder, cap bombs, spud guns, catapults – a young school boy’s dream. What fun!

    By Joe Mann (13/07/2014)
  • My Grandparents ran a mixed business (shop) in the 1960s at 137 Lewes Rd. There was a bus stop outside which contributed much to the business and I remember selling cigs & tobacco in those days. I went there during my summer holidays with them and well remember going with Grandad to Heywoods suppliers. I now see it is very different and seems sad, I found this out when visiting in 2005.

    By Rob Body (20/01/2020)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.