Peter Wood: born in 1920

Streets of tough characters

By Peter Harry Wood

 
Photo:Bread Street in 1937

Bread Street in 1937

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Poverty stricken families

On the corner of Bread Street was my favourite sweet shop where they sold marvellous homemade toffee for a farthing a quarter pound, and had a lucky-dip bran tub for a halfpenny a go. But the delights of Bread Street began and ended with that shop. The rest consisted mostly of unbelievably small houses in which lived large poverty stricken families who bred real tough kids. For me to walk along Bread Street on a summer evening, when they all spilled out over the front steps and narrow roadway, required a great deal of courage. But I had my paper round to do for Mr Waters and earn my three shillings a week.

Very tough characters

Bread Street was filled with tough characters, but Tichborne Street, the one below was even worse. This was a wider street with larger tall houses. The houses were usually populated by two or three different families, as well as a great many ‘lodgers’. These 'lodgers' were very much a floating population who came and went regularly. It seemed that this street housed a great many individuals from the criminal population; it was certainly a regular calling spot for the local police. So this was a very tough neighbourhood and not one to venture along unless you really had to.

This page was added on 28/04/2015.
Comments about this page

This is a very interesting listing as both the streets mentioned are part of an area that until the 1860s was known as 'Pimlico', a district that was one of Brighton's poorest slum quarters. Although it was demolished and rebuilt it is obvious from Peter's comments that the traits still were very apparent. The Cresey health report for 1849 lists many of the streets and twittens in Pimlico with hair-raising descriptions - "Pimlico.The two-roomed houses let at 1s 6d have no water supply; the privies are bad; the cesspool is very deep, and seldom emptied. Fever rages here frequently."

By Geoffrey Mead (29/04/2015)

You're a bit out with the amount of toffee for a farthing. A Golly Bar for a farthing was the limit in those days... thanks for the memory though. Ron

By Ron Spicer (09/08/2015)

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