Baker Street

Grant family business

By Roy Grant

Pre history:

The area of Brighton once known as The North Butts was initially used for market gardening, but around 1808, it began to be built on as Brighton extended northwards to Marshals Row.  Although building ceased temporarily in the 1820’s, by 1840, the railway had arrived and some small scale development was again taking place a little further north on Rose Hill.  Plans for Baker Street were also in hand by then, but its out of town centre position meant that occupancy did not pick up until around 1848.  That development included a spur road parallel to London Road called 'Little Baker Street', which was soon renamed Chichester Street and became Kingsbury Street later.

Early residents

One of the earliest residents was John Vigor, a seedsman, who remained at 1, Baker Street until the mid 1870’s.  The first pub, ‘The Mitre Tavern’ at number 13, was founded by former wheelright, James Packham around 1853. By that year Baker Street had developed into a thriving street of shops and artisan’s houses, and was favourably responding to Brighton’s ever growing need for accommodation and the many local services so important to the town's further urban expansion.
The above written by my colleague Andy Grant

My family's brief spell in Baker Street

My father moved from Hays second hand furniture shop, at 15-16 Edward Street, which was owned by his in-laws between 1913-1935. and opened his own second hand furniture shop at 23B Baker Street in 1931-1934. It was just before the Depression when few people were buying new items. So business was initially brisk, but eventually hardly anyone was buying anything at all.

Photo:Grant family business 23B Baker Street

Grant family business 23B Baker Street

From the personal collection of Roy Grant


Keeping the business going

Dad kept the business going by collecting London newspapers from the station, doing deliveries and removals and using his lathe to level off the worn areas on the wooden rollers on Acme mangles.  Eventually my parents moved to a smaller shop at 101 Gloucester Road which had the added advantage of accommodation over the top for the family. 

Photo:Grant's Removals

Grant's Removals

From the personal collection of Roy Grant


Taken over by Champion's

Their former shop in Baker Street was taken over by the Champion family, and no doubt many of you born locally and reading this have either purchased or have been pushed around in a perambulator bought from that very establishment.

This page was added on 23/05/2010.
Comments about this page

Amazing to think of Baker Street as "out of town centre". Just shows how small Brighton was in those distant days. I recall the street vividly from the early sixties, especially the Co-op, the pet shop, the pram shop and the gents' hairdressers. From 1962-1967 I did paper rounds for Walford's newsagents just around the corner, and Baker Street was part of my morning round which also covered Viaduct Road and all the streets in between. Wonderful old motorcycles in the top picture - I reckon the far one is an 1930s Ariel or Velocette, but I'm stymied on the nearer one which is clearly much older. Any suggestions, transport buffs?

By Len Liechti (27/05/2010)

Dad always loved speed, even though he could ill afford it. His mate was on the one with a fishtail, but I am informed his was an old Brough Superior.

By Roy Grant (28/05/2010)

Does anyone remember Caulderwoods, on the corner of Baker Street and Ditchling Road in the 50s? Me and my mates would all pile in there early in the morning to get yesterday's stale cakes to take to work. Lovely Beryl the shop girl used to serve us. It was always good banter with her, a very happy person.

By Harry Atkins (31/05/2010)

I certainly remember 'Champions'. It was a great shop for gazing into as a small girl. There would always be something for me to fall in love with. In 1949 as I became three years old, I was given a dolls pram for my birthday. It was a surprise. I had no idea it was coming to me but I always remember waiting outside Champions while my mother went inside. She was probably going in to pay for it and maybe even paid for it over a period of weeks as funds would have been low back then. As I waited for her to come out, with strict instructions not to move one inch, a crowd or family gathering came to look in the window and before I knew it I was being herded around the corner out of sight. Too small to push forward and too shy to shout out I stood round the corner totally bewildered. Mum came out of the shop and had a panic or two in not seeing me. Within a second or two we were re-united but it probably seemed an eternity to me. It was a very posh pram with a bag attatched for girly shopping. The next bewildering part was, whilst having photos taken at my birthday party outside the house where we lived, my friend across the road, Janice, was allowed to have her picture taken holding MY new pram. This was all too much for a three year old to grasp. I guess there are a lot of things to learn when you are three. It is probably called 'Growing Up'. One thing I never thought about was that my own pram maybe came from Champions too. As we live just around the corner in Shaftesbury Road it would have been so simple to just walk things back from Baker Street. I no longer have pictures of my own pram but do have a photo of my birthday gift at three. I'll send it in for fun and maybe it jogs some other folks memories. Further on from prams there was a jeweller next to Champions. We always went there to have our watches fixed. New spring inserted for example. No batteries in those days. It was run by a very nice gentleman whose name I can't quite recall and later his son joined in the running of the shop there.

By Sandra (03/06/2010)

'Sinnocks' was the name of the Jewellers in Baker Street.

By Eileen Valder (07/07/2010)

A very interesting page and photos, Roy - especially as the Champions who took over the shop were my grandparents. I'm currently trying to track down a photo of the shop after it became Champions, as I don't seem to have one - when I finally find one I will create a page about it. I have many memories of visiting the pram (and toy) shop as a child. I seem to remember my grandmother used to sit in the shop at her treadle sewing machine, making silky coverlets for the prams, which presumably could be bought separately. As for the baker's on the corner, I remember my mother buying me a freshly baked floury bap there once, that was still warm and one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted.

By Honor (13/07/2010)

I also purchased a pram for my daughter, born 1971, from Champions. My mother came with me and I can remember we were, very kindly given discount, as mother was a relative of the owner. I have since attempted to find the relationship but no luck so far. My main line in Brighton were Wiseman folk. Does anyone have any more detail about the Champion family please? Kind regards Jill

By Jill (09/02/2013)

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