Gloucester Road

Heart of the antiques trade

Text from the 1994 My Brighton museum exhibit

Gloucester Road marks the boundary between the Second and Third Furlongs of the North Laine and was the access road or leakway between these fields. Currently it is the heart of the second hand furniture and antiques trade.

This type of trade used to be located in the Lanes area of the Old Town prior to the area's development in the 1960s, which caused land values to rise. This resulted in a movement of the antiques trade to the former industrial area of the North Laine. The Gloucester Road warehouses and yards are ideal for recycling the wealth of architectural fittings stripped from Brighton dwellings as the town undergoes change and renewal.

Photo:101 Gloucester Road c1930s

101 Gloucester Road c1930s

From the private collection of Roy Grant

Photo:101 Gloucester Road c1990

101 Gloucester Road c1990

From the private collection of Roy Grant

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

I am the current tenant of this building. The shop is numbered 101 Gloucester Rd,and has traded as Retail Therapy since May 2002. The flat above it is now known as 101a Gloucester Rd (or even 101 Tidy St. by some!). The building is not obviously of flint construction; no evidence of it remains, even in the unplastered cellar and attic. If it has been rendered over, that was done prior to the 1950's when it was Jen's hairdressers, and exterior photos show it rendered as it remains today. The flat surface on the upper parts of the building is now brightly painted with flames and bubbles, partly to enliven the corner, but mainly to overcome the modern day traffic problems of illegal parking and congestion that we have to cope with almost daily. How else do you make yourself visible when you are trying to sell to the public, but 'boxed in' by high-sided vans? How else do you persuade pedestrians to walk a different route through the North Laine?

By Joni Donoghue (06/12/2004)
My great great grandmother, Ellen Gravett, lived at 24 Gloucester Rd in 1889. I don't know how long she had lived there as I believe my great great grandad had passed away by then as I have him at a former address.
By Patrick Collins (Catswhiskas) (14/03/2005)

50 Gloucester Road was also the site of the Unicorn Bookshop owned by Bill Butler, a beat poet,occultist and publisher. It was described in the sixties by the local Conservative Party as "a place where hippies and perverts gather". From time to time it would be raided and copies of Jean Genet would be taken away. I must have missed all that.

By Edward (01/06/2007)

Can anyone remember the milk bottling factory which was in Gloucester Road (Place)? They used to let me have long lengths of silver foil from which the bottle tops had been cut, we used it at Christmas as decorations. Is the museum still there? As children, we weren't allowed in unless accompanied by an adult, my friends and I tried everything to get in, we tried looking really quiet, grown up and sensible (difficult when you're 9) but the man at the door always caught us.
I went to Pelham Street School and then on to Central School but I don't think the latter is there now, (I had two friends: Anita Moonlight and Diane Fashom). I can't even remember quite where it was, does anyone have stories of the school? There always seemed to be a lot of tar on the beach, my mother used to rub butter on our skin and then the tar washed off easily, not quite as easy on our clothes though. Between 1947 and 1951, I seem to remember something large washed up on the beach, a ship or a whale, can anyone else remember this or what it was? As we didn't have a garden, just a small yard, we always used to cross the road to 'The Level' a large piece of open ground. Here people would light their bonfires on Guy Fawkws night - I know the memory can play tricks but I seem to remember many bonfires all burning at the same time? Across the road from our house was a shop and inside was a lady with a peculiar machine with nylon thread to a needle, she would stretch stockings across a small cup and then darn the ladders, I would watch her my nose pressed against the glass and then dash home, stretch one of my mum's lysle stockings over a cup and with a needle, pretend to mend the ladders, what fun. I now live in Bletchley in Buckinghamshire, just up the road from Bletchley Park, the home of the Codebreakers but I still miss the sea even after 55 years.

By Sandra Waite (19/08/2008)

Glad you took the opportunity to show my photo of 101, taken about 1938, when it was my parents' furniture shop.

By Roy Grant (13/06/2010)

My grandfather Charles Frederick Davis ran a butchers shop in 1928 at 101c Gloucester Road. Later that year his son Walter Stanley Davis took over 101 Gloucester Road and he was still there in 1931/2 - 101 & 101c Gloucester Road. My grandfather moved his shop to 25 Gloucester Road later in the 30s after running other shops in Brighton. I have been told that my Aunt Winnie had an antique / secondhand shop next door to 25 Gloucester Road and that in the cellar there was a trapdoor and stairway which led to Frederick's shop. Does anyone know if the trapdoor is still there? Also any memories of Winnie's shop? Her husband was Francis Gillow, I don't know if the shop would be in the name of Davis or Gillow. I have a photo of 101 Gloucester Road in the early 30s which I would be pleased to add to this page if wanted. Best wishes.

By Sara Brooks (30/11/2010)

In the 1950s, my father pointed out to me two shops just above Kensington gds in Gloucester Rd still covered in white tiles that had been a pub. My father was born in a pub 1893 in Montauge Place, Kemptown and spent some of his childhood in this Gloucester Rd Pub. He told me that in those days a bucket of beer cost 4 Pence.

By Viv Webb (04/10/2012)

Hello,  just wondering whether anyone knows any details about an antique shop owned by the Ledger family in Hove.  I understand the family were one of the few who used a truck to transport their wares.

By Susie Webber (23/07/2017)

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