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North Brighton c1915

These two views are the front and back of the same house in north Brighton c1915.

Local historian, Roy Grant has provided the photos and knows the details – but – do you?  Can you identify the house – what was its address?

North Brighton c1915
From the private collection of Roy Grant
North Brighton c1915
From the private collection of Roy Grant

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  • The above photo’s were taken c1911 at The Cottage, Fairlie Place, Surrenden, Patcham, Sussex.

    By Linda Knight (31/01/2009)
  • Is it what is now a retirement home for the elderly in Patcham?

    By Pamela (01/02/2009)
  • Oh dear, I had hoped to have a lot of fun with this picture which was sent to me by Audrey some fiveyears ago, for I thought it to be very difficult. I had however, clearly underestimated the knowledge and resources of the ‘MB&H Messages’ reader, for Linda Knight hit it right on the button after less than a day. She should be highly congratulated for it was Fairlie Place Cottage, off Surrenden Road, and the two people were probably the gardener, Mr James Hill and the cottage owner Mr Emile Moreau. The year however was nearer 1915 than 1911, but that is really quibbling over small points. I will have to try and find something else that is more of a challenge.

    By Roy Grant (02/02/2009)
  • I can add a bit to this, Moreau was a wealthy publisher; he published Kipling’s first works in India. He was an internationally known pre WW1 racing driver here and on the Continent. Not only did he have a gardener but also a chauffeur. Jesse Higgs, whose grandson John Higgs, lent me some photos of the very grand pre-WW1 limousines Moreau owned, mostly with Jesse in resplendant uniform alongside them. Sadly Fairlie Place was demolished after WW2.

    By Geoffrey Mead (03/02/2009)
  • You are correct the man in the photo was James Hill the gardener who lived in the cottage in 1911 with his wife Hepzibah and son Laurence. James Hill was my Great Grandfather. I would be most grateful if anyone has any information on the Hill families from both Patcham and Preston, also the Doggett family from around the Brighton/Hove area.

    By Linda Knight (03/02/2009)
  • An observation only, but the gentleman in both photos looks identical (clothes, cap, rolled up sleeves, stature).Could it be the gardener in both? He lived with his family at the house and seems to be showing off ‘his’ front and back gardens for the photographer.

    By Terry Metherell (04/02/2009)
  • Terry, on reflection I think you may be partially right. It may not be Emile, but I do think both pictures were taken on the same day. The man in the doorway appears to me to be too dapper and slimmer than the gardener, so perhaps it may have been the gardener’s son.
    Linda, I will go through my files to try to find my earlier research and Audrey’s surname. You two obviously share a common (no social pun intended) ancestor.

    By Roy Grant (04/02/2009)
  • I’m more interested in identifying the variety of onions he’s grown. I wish I could get mine to grow so well. And who can tell what leafy vegetable grows behind the onions?

    By Max (06/02/2009)
  • For large onions, presumably you need an early 19th century environment where motorised petrol driven transport has yet to gain a stranglehold, and horse drawn vehicles are commonplace. So, even if Mr Emile Moreau had a number of early motorcars, I feel sure his gardener could always obtain natural organic material and as can be seen, retained his rural skills to get the best results from its application.
    Incidentally, seeing the onion stems being left on and drying out, I wonder if they were then platted together in the French way to make Mr Moreau feel at home?
    Who remembers the French onion sellers on their bikes?

    By Roy Grant (06/02/2009)
  • In response to that last note: I do remember the onion sellers, though I always thought they were Spanish for there seemed to be a connection between the words Spanish and onion in my young life, they were often called Spanish onions. I could not understand how these men could afford to get on a boat with a bicycle loaded with strings of onions (was that how they grew, I wondered), and travel over to Brighton to ride around the streets and sell them for a penny each, or so. (I was born in 1922 so was 16 when the war started in 1939, and I lived in Brighton until 1950 (with breaks for WWII). The onion men that I remember were active in the 1930s). These onion sellers rode bicycles with what we called roller brakes that pulled upward on the horizontal braking surfaces of the Westwood rims. Caliper brakes were reserved for racing bikes in those days, when Colonel Bowden was still working on his cable applications and perhaps designing Endrick rims with vertical braking surfaces that were squeezed sideways by caliper brakes. Of course, Westwood rims had fatter tyres with knobby treads that were great for crossing wet tramlines, whereas the thinner racing tyres on Endrick rims would slide sideways on the tramlines and bring the rider crashing down. What memories!

    By Robert (Bob) Green (20/08/2009)
  • Am I right in thinking that Fairlie Place was the much larger property behind the cottage? I think Fairlie Place became a Secretarial College and I have seen a photo of the school which looks like quite a large building. [Editor: See 1960s photo here.] My great aunt, Annie Chandler, worked at Fairlie Place from about 1905 to 1910. She was apparently Nanny to Emile Moreau’s daughter, Bonnie. We have several postcards to her during this time. I guess it’s too much to hope that anyone has photos of the staff at that time. Any information would be most welcome.

    By Chris Wallis (21/08/2009)
  • Hi, I have a book at home called “Flowers I Love “by Katherine Cameron- there are hand painted flowers inside the book . The hand writing says ‘to my beloved little daughter “Bonnie”with all her mothers Hearts love on her birthday August 11 1917!”. I can send you some photos if it helps you in any way .


    By Tom Vickers (27/05/2014)

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