The tale of a butcher's boy

Bakers butchers shop, Sydney Street, Brighton, 1994

When I was a boy there used to be (I think) five butchers’ shops in Sydney Street. There is just one shop left now, Baker’s. It was run by a chap called Ernie Baker. My first job when I left school was as a butcher’s boy in Sainsbury’s and I worked with his wife. When I said ‘How come you work in a butcher’s, but you don’t work with your husband?’, she said: ‘It would be too dangerous with all those knives around !’

Comments about this page

  • About 40 years ago I worked for a company called Transatlantic Plastics in Sydney Street. I remember well on a Saturady afternoon meat being knocked down by Bakers. It was usual to hear the calling out of the meat prices which went on between 3pm and 6pm. Many bargains were to be had and the street was often filled with regulars who came down just for the meat sale.

    By David Broad (18/12/2004)
  • In fact there were at one time, seven butchers’ shops in the street. Five were owned by Frankie Share and two by Freddie Baker. I was manager of one and my father was manager of another. The meat and poultry we sold were of a second class nature but, for people on a limited income and who knew how to cook properly, it was a God-send.

    By brian hussey (23/07/2005)
  • I also remember all the butchers’ shops in Sydney Street back in the 1974 when I was first married. We lived in Upper Gardener Street and as we didn’t have much money I used to buy all my meat in one of the shops (usually when it was being sold cheap). I don’t live in Brighton any more but still enjoy visiting Sydney Street. I find it’s changed beyond belief though. It’s lost all its cheap shops and is now much more trendy and expensive. Still good fun though. Much better than Churchill Square and Western Road which are like all other main streets in every town in the country.

    By Marilyn Coates (15/12/2005)
  • My mum, Eileen Dowds, used to work for Fred Baker in Sydney Street back in the 1950s. Does anyone know if he’s still alive?

    By Bridget (13/03/2006)
  • A wonderful street – I loved to go there on Saturday afternoons to meet my mates and buy meat for the week that only cost a few pennies.

    By Colleen Cox (08/08/2006)
  • My father Bill Blake, known to most as ‘Len’, was Frankie Shares’ manager and worked in all of his shops at one time or other. I remember that Frankie Share had a ‘cooked meats’ shop opposite his butchers shop under the name of Elsie Share. Saturday afternoons in Sydney Street in the 60s was a thriving, bustling environment and the offers being shouted out from around 3:30pm onwards drew all sorts of strange deals. But the everlasting memory is the smell from the sawdust and meat…happy memories.

    By Malcolm Blake (27/08/2006)
  • Does anyone know how to trace a bookshop at 28 Sydney Street, Brighton in 1946? Who was the proprietor etc?

    By Trev (16/10/2007)
  • Does anyone remember a greengrocer by the name of Carlsson? She had 5 children and would be in her 80s today. One daughter was called Sandra and I am trying to trace her. Any information would be very welcome. Thanks.

    By Zara (03/12/2007)
  • My husband’s great grandfather owned RB Lane butchers in Sydney Street in the early 1900s (now Off Beat Cafe) also one in Bond Street (now Badgers). Does anyone remember them?

    By Philippa Lane (26/07/2008)
  • I lived in Gloucester Street (No. 29) from 1955 to 1975.  I can remember the fishmonger in Sydney Street, John Rolf, eventually he sold out to MacFisheries. Does anyone remember Warmingtons the grocers?  The Warmingtons moved up to Hangleton, probably about 1961. Or Heads the cigarette and sweet shop, sold out to Mr & Mrs Gorwood?

    By Roger Green (01/09/2008)
  • I don’t know where Mr Green is getting his information from but when my father bought 34 Sydney St in 1948 it was already a fish shop owned Charlie Humphrey. We eventually sold the business to another fishing family by the name of Peter Leach, although still continuing on the wholesale side of the business from Brighton Fishmarket. I still own the shop which is now operating as a second hand clothes shop named Immediate Clothing. When we bought the shop there were only six other shops in the street, the rest were terraced houses. If Mr. Green wants any further facts about Sydney St I would be happy to supply information. Yours

    By John Rolf (25/04/2010)
  • I remember a John Rolf (fishmonger) who played drums with myself and others at the Beachy Head hotel in the 1960s.

    By Barrie Searle (20/12/2010)
  • To Brian Hussey: If you see this note email me on to catch up on old memories

    By Tim Davies (08/12/2011)
  • To Trev: You should find some Kelly’s Directories in the Reference Library, Jubillee Street from 1950 onwards (until the 70’s of course, when they ceased). My dog-eared 1949 edition is still showing “Fredk. Ball, Bookseller” at number 28.

    By Brian Hatley (19/03/2013)
  • Hi Brian/ Trev. The production of directories was halted during the war years and, so far as I’m aware, there were only directories for 1947 and 1949 released thereafter in the 1940’s. However, Brian’s information is correct and the same occupant was shown in 1947. Regards, Andy.

    By Andy Grant (20/03/2013)
  • Does anyone have any knowledge of no 36 Sydney Street?; history of, personalities, stories, pre-1998. I’m the present freeholder since 1999, I’m really keen to know more, mhms have given some insight too. Thank you.

    By John Kean (02/12/2015)
  • My father Derrick Curd was co-owner of Bakers the butchers. On leaving school in 1976 I worked with him for three years. Saturday afternoon was auction time. I used to wrap and collect the money. Derrick Curd is still living in Brighton and we often talk about all the antics that used to go on.

    By Malcolm curd (22/05/2018)
  • For Brian Hussey’s  son. If you see this please e-mail me. I now have old photos of Brian for you.

    By Tim Davies (15/06/2018)

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