The flea pit, pease pudding and faggots

I remember another cinema in Lewes Road, half way between the Elm Grove end and The Gaiety, which as children we called The Flea Pit. There was a small shop in Lewes Road which sold pease pudding, black pudding, fried onions and faggots. What a treat to call in on a cold winter night for these delicacies.

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  • I remember the Arcadia as The Scratch, and the shop that sold pease pudding and faggots was run by a family called Humphrey. It was located on the west side of Lewes Road, about midway between Devesons the greengrocers, and Twitchins [?] a food store.

    By Eric Feast (01/07/2001)
  • It was the ‘Flea Pit’, and a horrible place it was! And yes, the grocery store was Twitchins. I know for a fact because my mother worked there. What was the name of the butcher’s shop on the corner of St Martins Street, and was the pub named ‘The Bugle’?

    By June (30/03/2003)
  • I remember the Arcadia well, it was sometimes known as the ‘scratch’. Does anyone remember the Jungle Jim films? Johnny Weissmuller was the star of these far fetched stories.

    By John Wignall (19/09/2003)
  • I was born at 45 Ladysmith Road in 1942. I went to St Martin’s Church as a choir boy in the Lewes Road in the early 50s. The faggot shop Eric Feast is referring to was 47 Lewes Road and called ‘The St. Martin’s Tea Rooms’. My most vivid memory was walking home with my twin brother Ken after choir practice. We used to gaze longingly into the faggot shop with faces hard up against the glass shop front (risking a boll*!*!*, as one did). But on this one memorable occasion, to our total disbelief a kindly stranger took pity on us and bought us each a faggot. So many stories to relate! (P.S. as an artist my work is specifically about memories of my childhood in post war Brighton.)

    By Roger Phillpot (22/02/2004)
  • It cost 3d. to get in. If it was an A film you had to pester an adult to get your ticket.

    By Dennis Andrews (11/03/2004)
  • I lived in Coombe Rd and I had to collect a bucket of horse dung and sell it to a neighbour every week to get the tuppence so that I could go to ‘The Scratch’ on a Saturday morning. I can remember seeing the Lone Ranger there.

    By Colin Webb (06/04/2005)
  • The Arcadia had three prices in the 1930s.  Seats were 3d, 4d and 6d.  It was a cinema well used before the Gaiety was opened about 1935/6.  Saturday afternoons were always cowboy films.  I remember a person who was called Jack the ‘chucker out ‘ and he was a busy man! Later this building was bought and became the shoe repair factory for the Brighton Co-operative Society.

    By Cyril Pelham (26/09/2006)
  • Re the pease pudding and faggot shop on Lewes Road, as memory serves it was Mr Martin that used to be the owner. And while his faggots were good, the mouth watering item to me was the ham sitting in the shop window. Only once as a boy did I ever sample the same goods and all was well with the world. Thinking back now the two shillings and threepence it cost was money well spent. Not so nice down Lewes road any more.

    By Peter Miller (28/11/2006)
  • I well remember the Arcadia (‘The Scratch’). I think every town had a cinema like this. As a school boy growing up in Brighton in the 1950s and living on the other side of town, going to The Scratch was quite an outing.  I well remember films like ‘Jungle Jim’ and most of the serials, some of which I have been able to obtain on DVD. Then came the sudden move to London and, low and behold, I discovered another cinema like The Scratch – only this time it was known as The Bughole. Happy memories.

    By John Wignall (03/02/2007)
  • I remember the faggot and pease pudding shop. We lived at 128, Lewes Road, just by the arches. Our mum would send us off to the shop with a pudding basin. It would be filled with faggots, pease pudding and onions gravy. That would be our Saturday night treet. That tasted absolutely delicious. I also remember old ‘Twitchen’s’ shop. He’d stand by the door with his white apron. There was also a Home & Colonial store along the Lewes Road. Does anyone remember the pie shop that was up Bear Road? They used to make lovely domed meat pies.

    By Ron Trott (26/08/2009)
  • Hi June: the butchers was Hollis’s.

    By Harry Atkins (26/10/2009)
  • I am Ron Trott’s twin sister. I expect everyone would remember Bradshaws the toy shop at the bottom of Elm Grove. I remember saving my paper-round money to buy a bike. We both did a paper round at Scofields sweet shop at the bottom of Edingburgh Road. Also Marco’s sweet shop, Our mum used to work there for a while and we would help out. We both used to go to Sunday School at the Connaught Mission just along from where we lived. I went to the Girls Guildry. Does anyone remember Mrs Pitman and Mrs Burtenshaw who used to run the Guildry? And of course old Mr Pitman who took us for Sunday School. We always thought he looked like Old Father Time.

    By Jackie Cannons (nee Trott) (06/05/2010)
  • I have been showing my friend your site. She used to live in Franklin Street and she remembers the butcher’s shop on the corner street, Martin’s Street, about 60 years ago called Hollis’s.

    By Kathleen Catt (18/02/2011)
  • My Grandparents Mary and Reginald Wells ran “The Bugle Inn” in St. Martin’s Street. My Grandfather had lived in the pub since he was born. The Wells family left “The Bugle” in 1962/63 after my Grandfather died.

    By Joannne (05/03/2011)
  • Yes the pie “shop” was in Riley Road, the Bear Road end and the pies were the best, my mum used to buy them hot and we would all eat them at her friend Bobbie Barries at 77 Riley Road. Those were the days and also of course Martins cook shop. I remember back in the 50s going to fill a basin for my brother, it all smelt so good- I kept dipping my finger in and by the time I got it home to him there wasn’t a lot left, I remember he was not very pleased about that.

    By Nola Rolf (25/06/2011)
  • I too remember the pie shop in Riley/Bear Road  and waiting for them to open. They were called Millers Pies, domed and full of tender meat and gravy……lovely.

    By June Hadaway (26/08/2011)
  • The butchers on the corner of St. Martins street was Hollis’s. I lived at Coldean. The son, Bob Hollis, married our next door neighbour. My parents when they realised who Bob was used to order their meat from him. Things were so neighbourly in those days.

    By Richard J. Szypulski (22/10/2012)
  • It’s so lovely to read all your memories. My Auntie Vera Davis married Sidney Twitchen (the shopkeeper’s son) in 1948 and they lived in Riley Road. I can remember (Grandad) living with them until he died. My Grandmother also lived in Riley Road (Coombe Rd end) and had a boarding house. I also had another Auntie who lived in Ewhurst Rd and whose husband still resides there.

    By Karen Bryant (08/08/2013)
  • There also was a greengrocer on one of the corners called Blackmans.

    By Michael Cowley (31/05/2014)
  • I think the grocers shop at the bottom of St Pauls Street was Keels. It was run by two brothers, they always used to wear trilby hats. The bacon they sold was just fantastic. I think they lived around Baden Road area of Brighton. They always tipped their hat to ladies. 

    By Rodney Fowler (24/06/2015)
  • Back to the topic – Cinemas.
    I recall my late father taking me to see a classic Russian film called “The Battleship Potempkin” at a small cinema on Brighton sea front going towards Hove. Can anyone recall this cinema and it’s name? If you can help, please E mail me at the address below.

    By John Snelling (08/10/2019)
  • I consulted my old Brighton Street Plan and located a cinema on King’s Road just to the East of the Grand Hotel. Although this plan shows all the cinemas in Brighton c1950s unfortunately the names are not shown. However reference to the site ‘’ gives it as 132 King’s Road and various names down the years from when it opened in 1896 as The Victoria Hall (or Pandora Gallery ?) By the 1950s it was The Gem Cinema 1954/5 and I do remember this in the Evening Argus of the time which used to have a half page of cinema listings in those days probably as many as twenty. You weren’t lost for choice!

    By Tim Sargeant (08/10/2019)

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