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Memories from the 1970s

When we opened Solstice Bookshop at No. 28, Trafalgar Street was the last vestige of civilisation before entering the hinterland that was Cheapside and the New England Road area.

Variety of shops
Most of the north side of the street was empty of shops, bar a few gems such as The Pottery Workshop run by the indefatigable Peter Stocker. The Golf Shop which later moved out to the Lewes Road, and GB Liners were there too.  On our side of the street, there was the Steam Bakery at the bottom, where you could get lovely bread and top ‘Dog Rolls’. Of course there was  the Lord Nelson pub for your pint or three of Harveys.

Great bookshops
Bioscope Books
were next door to us, selling a fantastic range of books relating to film plus a great general second hand section; then another second hand bookshop which I think was called Trafalgar Books. A great newsagents was next door to us, they must have thought we were very weird…we were.

‘Solstice’ in Trafalgar Street

Sydney Street
Sydney Street, around the corner, had vegetable shops, butchers and all sorts of useful stores. No comment about some of the shops there now. Clippers Barbers was there too, and still going strong in 2009. A great toy shop, called Gamer, was also there. They were the original independent toy shop, and first sellers of computer games.

Remember the hippy food stall?
Other businesses in the Trafalgar Street included Bernard Luper, quality tailors, near the Station. I also remember a small department store on the corner of Pelham Square, which became Plumbwells; I cannot remember the name.  Nearby was Baron Langham the insurers,who used to have a variety of veteran motorcycles in their window for many years into the ’90s. There was a funky hippy food stall just opposite Cheapside, where you could get a bean stew and bulgar for next to nothing.

Anyone remember any more shops and businesses I have forgotten?

Comments about this page

  • Yes I remember Bioscope Books very well as it’s owner, Ross Mc Kinnon-Chorlton, was an old school friend and I spent many a happy hour there. Unfortunately I have not seen him these many years. Anyone know where he is is?

    By Edward (09/08/2009)
  • I remember a cafe near the steam bakery (was that bakers called Duddridge’s?). The cafe seemed to specialise in hot dogs as in the window there was always a pile of cooked sausages and a pile of cooked onions. Smelt good!

    By Jan Hill (09/08/2009)
  • The name of the pub at no 44 Trafalgar St was The Western Star.

    By D Etherton (11/08/2009)
  • The shop on the corner of Pelham Square was Adams and Broadbridge and was still there when we opened the pottery, Christmas 1980

    By P.Stocker (28/08/2009)
  • Down at the bottom of Trafalgar Street,on the south side,was the Regent Garage. This was run by Lou Goldberg and his brother. Lou was disabled and walked with difficulty, with the aid of two sticks. He was a prominent member of the Brighton Tape Recording Club.

    By Ron Charlton (31/08/2009)
  • That’s right, it was Dudderidges bakery. The pub at the top of the street is now the Prince Albert- very busy as ever. When the NF attempted to smash our windows at Solstice one Saturday (they did not like the fact that we stocked the Brighton Voice and Socialist Worker (they are not very keen on free speech), a police car happened to be driving up the street and we chased the miscreant into the car park behind GB Liners and cornered him-idiot! He was charged. I cannot remember his name.

    By Paul Bonett (04/12/2009)
  • Does anyone remember Jarman’s the curtain shop? I think it was on the corner of Pelham Street and Trafalgar Street. It was very popular cos it was the only place you could buy net by the yard.

    By Jan (20/12/2010)
  • Can anyone tell me anything about Whale & Company, Tobacconists? My grandfather Henry Wade Stiles who died in the 20s was a director of said firm. He was a friend of Julius (?) Volk who had the railway at Rottingdean which was featured on Coast BBC TV some time ago. I would be grateful for any information. Thanks.

    By Roger Shaw (06/01/2012)
  • Hi Roger, Whale and Co Ltd were wholesale and retail tobacconists located at 73 Queen’s Road. Although the company claimed to have been established in 1850, the earliest record in Brighton is of Thomas Wakeman Whale around 1859 succeeding another tobacconist at the same address named Robert Clarke. On 15th June 1896, Whale became increasingly unable to continue due to illness and the partnership (between Thomas William Whale, William Evelyn English and Henry Wade Stiles) was dissolved by mutual consent. Your grandfather agreed to continue the business thereafter under its original name and acted as an executor for the will of his former partner, when he died in October of that same year. Regards

    By Andy Grant (09/01/2012)
  • I refer to the lengthy post at the beginning. I can only tell you that I always thought the chap who owned it was a Mr Spencer. He did not live on the premises. However as I was only a small boy at the time it would have appeared he was the owner as he was our landlord to whom we paid the rent for our flat.

    By John Wall VK2 (09/01/2012)
  • A couple of memories raised by this photo: One of purchasing my very first tarot pack from a bookshop in Trafalgar Street. I recall Solstice book shop well but cannot swear it was here I bought my cards. It would have been around the early 70’s – 71, 72 maybe? My second memory is of a sweet shop, Maynards maybe, on the right side at the bottom of Trafalgar Street. Dad would stop off at the sweet shop after stepping out of the train, pick up a quarter of Victory V gums on a Friday evening after pay day, then catch the 26 bus to Hollingbury. That quarter had to last us a week probably. But that was even further back, somewhere like the 50’s when we were out of rationing but still being frugal. I remember being sad when we could no longer get that gum variety of Victory V. They were black and full of liquorice – mmmm!

    By Sandra Bohtlingk (nee Baldwin) (11/01/2012)
  • My mother-in-law Patricia Marchant (now Townsend) grew up in Trafalgar Street /St Peters Street. Her father had a furniture shop there and the family also owned the greengrocers, with Orchards, in Peacehaven (will check facts!), but the Trafalgar Street shop was still there until the 50s, plus the flats they owned. They moved away from St Peters Street late 60s when they knocked the houses down.

    By Claire Townsend (12/01/2012)
  • If you find ‘The James Gray Collection’ website (Google will get you there), click on volume 25 for Trafalgar Street, (great pictures of Jarmans). Great web site.

    By Martin Phillips (04/11/2012)
  • I went to the Margaret Hardy School in York Place opposite St Peter’s Church. On really cold days we would get hot baps from a bakers near the bottom of Trafalgar Street at 1 penny each. They weren’t to eat but to put inside our gloves to keep our hands warm!

    By Maureen Sweet (12/11/2012)
  • Great page full of memories. I used to work at Bernard Luper in the Mod days. The ‘solstice’ bookshop pictured used to be the ready made shop for ‘Sammy Gordons’. The made to measure shop was on the corner above, it is now a newsagents.

    By Bill Marlow (10/12/2012)
  • I remember Solstice well. In the mid 70s, I was living with an astrologer and we’d spend many hours browsing in the Astrology section, before popping off to Infinity to stock up on brown bread. Later in the 70s I recall that my wife used to frequent Solstice as being one of the few stockists of female literature – paperbacks with dark green spines.

    By Marc Turner (21/01/2013)
  • Dudderidges the bakers at the bottom of the street, referred to above, sold the perfect bread roll, there is nothing like it at all now. The crust was firm but not crunchy and the interior was soft and full of flavour, I loved just eating the bare roll! They never got home for any type of filling. On cold days it was always a good wheeze to stand in the little side road of St Georges Mews with your back to Dudderidges side wall, the ovens were behind and the wall was wonderfully hot. Sammy Gordon’s also mentioned was THE place for Mods to buy the latest ‘gear’. It was a tricky business to try and browse Sammy’s window as there was always an assistant standing in the doorway with a tape measure hanging round his neck. Whatever you were looking at he would try and inveigle you into the shop to try it and something to match and something else to complement it – it could be an expensive browse!

    By Geoffrey Mead (23/01/2013)
  • Anyone remember the awful perming smell from the hairdressers under the arches of the station at the top? It was so strong it made your eyes water.

    By Jacqueline Thomas (03/05/2013)
  • Does anyone know anything about Adams Bros. Ironmongery stores at 11 and 12 Trafalgar St. Brighton?

    By Celia Warman (17/05/2015)
  • I think at one time it was called Adams and Broadbridge, and Mr Adams owned our house at 17 York Villas before us and we moved in in 1957.

    By Marilyn Jones (19/05/2015)
  • It may have gone by the early 1970s, but there used to be a second hand cycle (and cycle repair) business in Redcross Street, just a few yards in from Trafalgar Street on the right hand (east) side. It was not a true shop, but a small warehouse, open to the rafters. The business appeared to be run by a husband and wife.  I bought a very smart red and black Coventry Eagle touring bike from them, and used it for several years before I bought my first Lambretta.  Does anyone remember this? Is it listed in any of the old directories of Brighton between, say, 1965 and 1970?

    By Alan Hobden (20/05/2015)
  • Just read a few great updates. Bernard Luper – wanted my wedding suit from there in ’75 but couldn’t afford made to measure. Still, the one I wore worked ok, a bit Saturday Night Fever, but hey! Dudderidge’s dog rolls – that place left a mark. Back to the bookshop; what goes around comes around and what we were sells NY then as alternative culture is now the norm in Hanover and N Laine. Then we were passionate; now is it just lifestyle materialism?

    By Paul Bonett (23/02/2016)
  • We used to get our suits from Sammy Gordon in Trafalgar Street. Good Teddy  Boy suits and, later, Italian Milano  suits. Bum freezers – got your money’s worth, but cheap. Pay weekly.

    By 1234567Hatkins (27/02/2016)
  • Duddridge was written above the bakery in gold separate letters as I recall. It was painted blue and had a bay window. There was a step up to the door on the left. The step was decorated with blue and white tiles. I remember the rolls too. They sold ‘long tins’, ‘short tins’ and ‘bloomers’. At the corner of the street with London Road on the north side was a stationery shop called Embling and Bird that had a unique and wonderful smell. As did the newsagent next to Duddridges – fresh newsprint and string.

    By Andrew Edlin (08/03/2016)
  • My father, Bert Redbourn, became the owner of Adams Bros & Broadbridge after he married the boss’s daughter, Doris Broadbridge.  He ran it for about 50 years and was the cause of much entertainment on a Saturday morning if the queue outside was anything to go by!  I worked there in the early 1970s for two years. He sold the business in about 1979.  What does Celia want to know?

    By Minty Samways (nee Redbourn) (09/03/2016)
  • Hello Minty, I am looking to uncover more about the history of the Adams Bros & Broadbridge building. What did your father’s company do there? Andy

    By Andy Morgan (02/03/2017)
  • Hi Andy, my father ran a plumbing, electrical and heating business and the shop was also an ironmongers.  The basement was full of stock the ground floor had ironmongery and bathroom/kitchen fittings and first floor was offices and top floor was a flat.  If that helps.

    By Minty (27/11/2017)
  • I remember in 1976 walking through Kensington Gardens and seeing my mate, an artist called Graham Strong painting a shop sign he had recently designed for a friend called Anita! This was actually the first Body Shop, he introduced me to Anita, who was stacking the shelves. I bought a bottle of green shampoo, maybe I was her first ever customer?! Imagine if Graham had patented that Body Shop symbol he created?!

    By Peter Paolella (03/12/2017)
  • Hi, very informative. I was wondering if anyone remembers the name of a book shop in Brighton Square?

    By sandra Smith (07/09/2019)
  • Not in Brighton Square, but Robinson’s Bookshop was very nearby in Meeting House Lane.

    By Geoffrey Mead (11/09/2019)
  • As a young child,I loved to stand outside the pottery shop and look at all the wonderful figurines.I believe the shop was called Pete’s people.I would regularly walk from Hanover Street, to see the latest creations.What a talented man! I wish I had been older and able to purchase one for myself but the memories stay etched in my mind.They appeared to be characters of all trades etc.My favourites were the soldiers,hairdresser,graduate and midwife holding a baby wrapped in a blanket.

    I also recall the lovely smell from the roasted coffee bean shop and getting my ears pierced in Kensington Gardens when I was 10 and spending ages in the bead shop.It had a real hustle bustle about it and I loved to shop around there in my teens, you would always discover something different.Memories are wonderful!

    By R.White (06/08/2020)
  • Does anyone remember the Name of the Jeweller / artist who made Perspex jewelery and was based in Trafalgar St? I still have a few items I bought there.

    By Val (11/10/2020)
  • 50 years ago Freddie Baker of Bakers Butchers, Sidney street told me he had bought a piece of 2″x1″ batten from John Ede Butts in Trafalgar Lane, took it to his shop and weighed it, he said it cost more per pound than his best prime steak. I remember that to this day every time I go to B&Q for wood!!

    By Colin Wares (07/03/2021)
  • Colin the quality of timber has also declined in the last 50 years, probably the quality of steak as well!!! I always remember when mum fried bacon years back and the lovely fat that come out of it, great for dipping dried bread into, now white muck comes out when you fry bacon, what are those supermarkets doing to us?

    By Peter Groves (07/03/2021)

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