Trafalgar Street

Photo:48 Trafalgar Street: undated

48 Trafalgar Street: undated

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

Memories of the 1930/40s

By John Wall

Kids with a 2d bag of crisps

As a small boy I lived at No. 44 Trafalgar Street during 1937-1947 - the side entrance was in Over Street. I knew Bernard Luper ‘The Tailor of Taste’ as he advertised, whose shop was on the opposite corner. Behind him going towards the station was a very large garage that was the home of ‘Unique Coaches’, and just a little further up there was a pub - I cannot remember the name – it had concrete steps leading up to the entrance. I always remember this as there was a constant group of small children outside, usually with a 2d bag of Smith's crisps, while the parents were inside drinking until closing time.

A 'greasy spoon' cafe

Going down Trafalgar Street from 44 on the same side there was what I can only describe as the original 'greasy spoon' cafe. It used to fill up after the pubs closed with those who had imbibed a little too much. If the noise got too bad my Mother would empty a large jug of water that she kept by the top floor window. When she threw this out, the noise was quickly silenced. Next to this there was a shop on the corner of Trafalgar Terrace. It was known simply as a sweet shop. Inside were shelves of very large bottles full of various types of sweets. There was also a limited supply of groceries. I do remember specifically that a tin of '3 Diamonds' pink salmon cost 3 1/2d whilst the same tin in the London Road was 3d. There was also a 'penny punch' where you pushed a steel rod into a paper covered hole and a coloured ball would come out at the bottom. The colour of the ball would decide your prize.

House with a long history

Number 44 Trafalgar Street had quite a history. Way back in the 1800s it was a public house and the moulded border on the high side of the wall, now covered by an advert, can still be seen. I believe there was a painting depicting the actual name of the pub contained within this border. Originally the cellars had a hatch that opened onto Trafalgar Street where the beer barrels were lowered into the cellar. On the opposite side leading down to Station Street was a mass of hoardings and two I remember were for Guinness and Brylcream. Behind the hoardings was the goods station yard and in the early days of the war one could watch, from the top windows of the house, the Local Defence Volunteers [LDV] practising with brooms in place of Lee Enfields. Later they were designated the Home Guard otherwise known as ‘Dad's Army.’

This page was added on 06/03/2013.
Comments about this page

I now live in the US, but I remember buying my first three-piece suit from Bernard Luper (made to measure for three guineas), in 1940, soon after I left school (St. Luke's), at the age of 14. I also remember using Brylcreem (note spelling).

By Robert (Bob) Green (24/03/2013)

I was interested to read John Wall's message. My grandparents, Charles and Elizabeth Bassett, lived in Trafalgar Terrace during the war and until their deaths in the 50s. I think the pub you referred to was The Hollybush. Opposite it was a brewery.

By Linda Buckley (nee Bassett) (18/04/2013)

"The Hollybush "was opposite "The Prince Albert" on the corner of Frederick Place. In the image shown "The Hollybush" would be where the glass office block is. 

By Graham Staley (10/01/2016)

My Great Grandfather ran the tobacconist's shop at 75, Trafalgar Street.

By John Mann (14/01/2016)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.