A very high-class street

St James's Street

This is St James’s Street and it’s the oldest shopping street in the town. It was built by Kemp to service his estate that he was building in Kemp Town. In 1826, a traveller came to Brighton and he went into St James’s Street and he describes the street as the Bond Street of Brighton. He said he had never seen such luxury. So it was very, very popular – very, very high-class shops of all descriptions.

Comments about this page

  • I have memories of Gizzi’s ice cream parlour and cafe, Hallett’s optician’s opposite, a corner hot pie shop that after WW2 had plastic birds that dipped their beaks into water glasses (really), Martha Gunn’s fishmonger & the newsagents at the bottom end almost next to Lyons where I bought the the first issue of The Eagle.

    By John Sullivan (16/10/2003)
  • I remember when there was a Lyons Corner house at the junction of St James Street and Old Steine. It was converted into a large Jobcentre and I was one of the two managers there when it first opened.

    By Jean Bishop (27/12/2005)
  • Does the writer remember when the old Lyons Corner House was converted into a Jobcentre in the 1970s? I was the Jobcentre manager.

    By Jean Bishop (27/12/2005)
  • During the 1940s there was a chemist shop on the right hand side of St James Street, going up. The only one where schoolboys could purchase saltpetre and sulphur – the ingredients for home made gunpowder! Much pocket money was spent there – but I never did manage more than a rather damp squib!

    By Dave Blackford (04/03/2006)
  • Anyone got an old picture of number 127 – it is now Nobles Amusements? It was inhabited by my great-great-great-grandad in 1840 and looks a lovely building still. Would love to see it without the modern ground level, sorry Nobles.

    By Dr Steve Morris (21/07/2006)
  • Does anyone remember the hot pie shop?
    I can still taste the Beano pie fresh from the oven, a rare treat indeed.

    By Peter Miller (29/02/2008)
  • Can anyone remember what the Deli was called which was near to Sainsburys and the drapers on the opposite site of the road to 9 St James’s Street. It is bugging me. Can someone please help?

    By Yvonne Taylor (20/08/2008)
  • Oh those lovely beano pies, I can taste them now!! Did Tesco have its first store in St James street?

    By Den King (22/09/2008)
  • The Deli about 3 or 4 doors down from Sainsbury’s in the 1950s was Meade Bros. I lived over Clarke’s Bread Shop and Tearooms and we often shopped at Meades. I can remember the tiny Drapery/Ladieswear shop which was next door to Meades.

    By Jennifer Goddard (nee Norrell) (24/09/2008)
  • Yes I do remember those lovely hot beano pies. We used to go over to Brighton every Saturday just to buy the pies. Are there any such things nowadays? if so where?

    By denice leverett (18/02/2009)
  • Does anybody know what The St. James’s Tavern was called when the Bulldog held the name The St James’s Tavern?

    By Bradley Taplin (25/04/2009)
  • For anyone interested, I found an old Kellys directory that states it was the St James’s Hotel. During the 20s-30s the bar (now the pub) was nicknamed “Piggot’s” after the landlord Frederick Oliver Piggot.

    By Bradley Taplin (27/04/2009)
  • Yes I remember those lovely hot beano pies “what a treat,” I make my own today for my kids and they love them too!
    Yes, you can buy them today. There’s a small pie shop in Bakers Street, London Rd, Brighton but they are not as nice as those years ago. Maybe i’ll start making them and selling them! I also remember “Eversheds” if thats how it’s spelt and Sainsburys with its large wooden counters and tiled flooring. All the assistants wore white with white caps very hygenic. The butter was bought loose sliced and patted with wooden ladels, you could only get butter in those days! Memories.

    By Joy Panteli (01/05/2009)
  • We remember the beano pies very well and just recently have tried to make them but they’re not the same. What’s the secret? We used beef mince, mashed potato and baked beans in flaky pastry.
    Did we leave something out or use the wrong proportions?

    By Eileen Yarrow (24/05/2009)
  • I use stewing steak, chopped onion, mashed potatoes, baked beans. Cut the stewing steak into small size pieces and put in saucepan with chopped onion and beef stock cube and cook on hob on low heat about 2hrs or until tender. Let it cool and make short crust pastry. Line a plate dish with the pastry and prick the pastry with a fork. Put in enough of the cool or cold cooked meat, then half tin beans.  Now put some mash potatoes spread on top of that. Put the pastry on top, brush with beaten egg. Make small slash in the middle of pastry. Bake middle shelf until golden brown..about 20 minutes…on 180/200 depends on oven. Hope this helps!!

    By Joy Panteli (20/06/2009)
  • Thanks, Joy, very much for that. I’ve only just seen your reply and I shall be trying it out very soon. I’m sure we’re not the only people to benefit from this. Does anyone have any other old recipes from that time?

    By Eileen Yarrow (26/07/2009)
  • You’re welcome Eileen. Did you make the pie? Did it turn out alright? If so hope you enjoyed it. Let me know !

    By Joy Panteli (25/08/2009)
  • I lived in Brighton until 1982 and enjoyed many happy evenings at The Bulldog Tavern ( a completely different type of pub now!) I also loved the pizzas from the restaurant Pie in the Sky! Never tasted pizza like theirs! Sadly the restaurant is long gone. Can anyone remember these two places?

    By Maggie Williams (26/02/2010)
  • Hot pie shop top of St James’s St - great after an evening down the seafront!

    By John Dine (24/03/2010)
  • Chatting to a fellow walking companion this week, he mentioned this wonderful pie shop in St. James’s Street in Brighton that he used to frequent (we had both moved away from the area many years ago) and I immediately piped up that I’d taken a photograph of The Pie Shop just before it closed on 25th April 1970! I still have it, and it brings back many fond memories of our student days.

    Editor’s note: You can see Diana’s photo here

    By Diana Lambing (22/05/2010)
  • Does anyone remember Vogel’s, the Jewish bakery in St James’s Street? It was certainly there in 1969 / 1970, but I think it closed down soon afterwards. I have great memories of coming back to our student digs in Charlotte Street after Saturday night parties and being able to buy fresh bread on Sunday morning, way before the days that shops were allowed to open on Sundays.

    By Diana Lambing (23/05/2010)
  • I remember the pie shop well. I used to work a few doors away in a shop called Alexandra Sloans. We used to go into the pie shop a lot.

    By Beryl Thompson nee morley (14/07/2010)
  • Really good to see photo of the Pie Shop. I have researched St. James’s Street from 1800 – 1910, as well as the side streets in 3 volumes. I also researched the St. James Chapel and later Church in St. James’s St and Chapel St.

    By E. Miller (19/10/2010)
  • There is an amazing pie shop in Baker Street, Brighton – they do a lovely beano! They do many flavours such as steak, chicken and mushroom, chicken curry, chilli beef, bacon leek and mushroom, lamb and mint, vegetable and they also do pork apple and stuffing pasties! And you can see them being made and they are made fresh daily. Highly recommended!

    By Megan (31/05/2011)
  • Hi Sue, yes I worked at Sloan’s. I am trying to remember if there was someone called John but nothing comes to mind. Do you know if he worked in the shop or if he was a tally man? We had quite a few people work there. I remember all the little green vans. If you have any photos of him I might recognise him

    By beryl thompson (19/03/2012)
  • Hi – my Nana who recently passed away and lived in the St James’s Street area since the 1940s used to work at the Lyon’s – her name was Kathy Williams – and my Grandpa, her hubby Bill Williams, was a very lively character from the area who used to be a ‘street’ photographer for tourists in his youth – does anyone remember them?

    By Sarah-Jane Scrase (27/07/2014)
  • I was born in 1948 and we lived in Mighell St, under where the Amex building is now. My mother worked in Gizzi’s ice-cream. I remember well the Fortes at the bottom of St James St, up a little bit was the post office.

    By Gavin Williams (16/10/2014)
  • You can still buy Beano pies in the pie shop in Oxford Street Brighton. They taste the same just down from Bardsleys fish and chip shop.

    By Sandie Stone (18/11/2014)
  • I remember Vogels well; he must have been a master baker – the best doughnut ever.

    By Richard Mears (06/05/2016)
  • I remember Vogels, we lived opposite in a flat above a betting shop (Ernie Hayes) in the late 60s.  He used to start working about 4am and there was just him and his wife who ran the shop. You can still get a good doughnut at Ravens in Ditchling Road and also very good currant bun.

    By Tony Smith (11/07/2016)
  • I was born in 1951 and lived at 51 Mighell Street with my parents Jean and Roy, my grandparents Hilda and Bert Booker and my 3 siblings until  the lower half was demolished to make way for Amex. I went to St Johns school in Carlton Hill until I was 11. Mr Hambridge was the head teacher. I remember Gizzis factory very well. The girls from the factory used to exit at the back entrance in Mighelll street. Sometimes they gave us ice creams which was a real treat to us poor kids. I also remember the pie shop in St James Street, I’ve never tasted anything quite like them since. We used to go to the Salvation Army in Edward street so we could go on there outing. There was a bakers on the corner of Mighell Street where we would buy day old cakes and broken biscuits for 1p. We used to live next door to the Douglas family. I remember my Nan and grandad going to the pub which I think was called either the red or black lion and they used to send out a lemonade and one of those big arrowroot biscuits to us kids waiting eagerly for a treat. Those were the days children were never allowed inside a public house. Very fond memories of these poor but happy days.

    By Susan Merchant nee Virgo (03/01/2018)
  • There are a couple of comments above referring to Meade Bros Deli. I worked there as a 16 year old general dogsbody between leaving Stanmer School during May 1962 and joining the RAF in the September. My aunt’s boyfriend Gordon Titcomb from nearby Wentworth St got me the job as he and his father knew Mr Meade. I remember cycling from the shop to Lower Bevendean for lunch at home and back in under an hour. Great times. Young and fit.
    Gordon worked with his father Arthur Titcomb as registered painters and decorators. Their yard was located in nearby George St. A local community. Best wishes.

    By Chris Redford (17/04/2019)
  • Hi, I lived at 51 St James street over my uncle’s greengrocers ‘Crouchers’ in the 50s and 60s.
    It later became a fish and chip shop.
    We were right next to Woodhouse furnishings.
    Left there in the late 70s such a great place and easy to reach everywhere.

    By Ann Croucher (09/04/2020)
  • My Grandfather Dr. Percy Adkins, a Physician, lived at 37, St. James’s Street, Brighton. He died in 1908.

    By Christopher Adkins (02/05/2022)
  • My Great Grandfather, Benjamin Adkins, Architect at “Newton Lodge,” 7, Newton Road, Faversham, Kent, retired to Brighton, Sussex, where he died in 1908. His son, Dr. Percy Rutherford Adkins, a Physician, lived at 37, St. James’s Street, Brighton, with his wife Blanche Adkins (nee Hennis) and died (correction) in 1917. Previously, at 39, Upper Rock Gardens, Brighton. He had a sister Harriet Sophia Adkins, and younger brother Benjamin Ratcliffe Adkins. The son of Benjamin and Sarah Adkins.

    By Christopher Graham Minnitt Adkins. (03/05/2022)

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