Photos and articles about Brighton and Hove in the time of coronavirus. See our collection and add your own!

Memories of a 'latch key kid'

Houses on the west side of Spring Street, Nos. 5-11 boarded up prior to demolition, 19 June 1966
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Rose tinted spectacles?

I lived in Spring street for the first eleven years of my life from 1954 to 1965. Perhaps I am looking back with rose tinted spectacles, but it does to me represent the perfect English nostalgic upbringing. It was mainly residential with the shops you needed on the top corner. You had the grocery shop first owned by the Cummings, then the Ledbetters; on the same side going down there was a greengrocers, then there was Charles Mussins the tailors. After that was a cafe, halfway down a few houses, then a hairdressers, more houses, then the Rob Roy café, and the back entrance to what was then Boots.

A mysterious door

On the other side going up the Western Road shop side there was a small door when women would go for ‘haute couture’, which was a great mystery to me. After an alley there was the Shakespeare’s Head run by Sydney Burger, over the road to Forfar’s with its windows which I used to be able to stand in. After these was a house, then a newsagent. I know there are now a series of houses there next but they are not original. I grew up in number 6 and at the time the houses went all the way up to the church buildings at the top.

Houses demolished in 1965

We were moved out in 1965 when they knocked them all down to extend the school playground. I am not sure when they rebuilt the few that are there now, but the scale is wrong and my old front door is at least a whole house out. Those were happy times; I knew everyone and every house was open to me. Being a latchkey kid didn’t matter then as I had many other families to choose from. You could play on the street because there was a lot less traffic. My dad even parked his cab outside our house at the end of the day, no problem. Handy for town, handy for school, but I don’t miss the outside loo at the end of the garden.

Comments about this page

  • What a lovely picture! I would have been three or four years into desperately trying to get my one-man business off the ground, flying around all over Brighton & Hove in my Mini-Van (in fact that one second from the bottom could well have been mine!). I wonder what was behind that rather ornate tile-capped wall with the arched doorway, together with the incredible cement detailing on the end wall?

    By Brian Hatley (29/05/2013)
  • In the late 50s a work colleague of mine called Stan Forster lived right opposite the Shakespeare’s Head. We both worked around the corner in Crown Street at Panto & Co. which was right at the top of the street. He was a driver and I was a van boy. Many a Friday night after work was spent drowning our sorrows in the pub.

    By Mick Peirson (30/05/2013)
  • My Father used to have his suits made at Charlie Mussens and as a birthday present he arranged to have my first tailor-made suit. Charlie was your typical Jewish tailor! As for Panto & Co., my father used to buy big tins of Roses Quality Street for the family (yum!). I used to go to the same school as Panto – who was a very good chess player. Ah! memories.

    By Martin White (03/06/2013)
  • I remember as a very small girl being taken to Forfars halfway up Spring Street where I had a doughnut and my mother always bought me a miniature Hovis brown bread roll which I had for my lunch. I used to have it carved into mini slices and buttered.

    By Lesley Miles (nee Goddard) (01/03/2021)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *