St James's Street

Shopping in the 1960s

By John Leach

This is a photo that I took in the 1960s. It show St James's Street when it used to be two way traffic. This is when Sainsburys used to be in St James's Street. It used to be on the corner of Dorset Gardens and next to Woolworths on the opposite corner.

Photo:St James's Street

St James's Street

Photo by John Leach

This page was added on 02/09/2006.
Comments about this page

Are there two policemen in this photo?  It looks like there is another one just a few yards down.

By J (04/11/2006)

I remember in the late fifties I was at Avondale College for girls in Hove and I had a friend who's father had a drapers shop in James Street, it was called Harris's. We used to go there after school, it was a fantastic shop with lovely old counters and glass and wooden cabinets. It sold everything. There were two adjoining shops and underneath there was a huge cellar and upstairs a flat where her grandmother used to live, decorated in a very Victorian style.

By Diane (Hove) (08/11/2006)

Between Sainsburys and Dewhursts was Clark's Bread Shop. An alley-way to the left led up to the back of Dorset Gardens Methodist Church. There was also a Spiritulist Church up on the left. I lived over Clark's Bread Shop from 1947-1954. My parents bought a lease and it had about 60 years left. I was amazed to see the photo taken in the 60s. Mead Brothers was similar to Dewhursts. I would think that where I lived, was built early 1800s and had been at its time quite 'posh'.

By Jennifer Goddard nee Norrell (13/02/2007)

Diane, looking at the photographs of St James's Street I came across your comment about my father's drapers shop Harris's. I wonder if you are my friend from Avondale College. If so, it would be great to hear from you after all this time.

By June nee Harris (12/07/2007)

I went to Avondale from 1946 to 1958. I would love to find someone from those days. I have completely lost touch.

By Jennifer Rudman (04/03/2009)

I went to Avondale College from 1951 to 1955. Headmistress was Mrs Cobbold and we had a lovely teacher Mrs French. Has anyone got any photos of Avondale College?

By Ann Jakeman (20/09/2009)

Interesting to see the scooter going the "wrong way" down St James Street. I do remember it being a two way street, but how? Remember taking the "provident" vouchers to (Browns?) on the corner opposite the new Starbucks to buy my Levis/Ben Sherman and Sta Press. Remember old Fortes tea rooms at the bottom on the left going up.

By Barry (02/10/2011)

Hi Barry, The shop you refer to on the corner of George Street was Silvers. I used to buy my Levis and Ben Sherman/ Leon Patten shirts there. My shoes, brogues and loafers, were from Ravels on Western Road. It's hard to believe that buses used to pass each other on such a narrow St James's street that was full of shoppers. There were very few cafes and second hand shops then, it was a proper shopping street with butchers, fishmongers, grocers, bakers and of course Woolworths.

By Michael Brittain (03/10/2011)

I remember the spitualist church that Jennifer Goddard mentioned above. I was 10 years old when I went there. 1956 that would have been. Every Tuesday afternoon I visited my Grandmother by myself n the holiday period. On one of these visits Nan said to me, 'Come along, Ducky, we are going out'. We took the bus to the Old Steine and walked a short way up St. James Street. Turning into a narrow alley on the left side of the street we approached a wee little church and went in. There was just a small group of us and a lady who sat by a table. She invited us to place something personal on the table. There was a variety of rings and watches there so I followed suit and took off my watch and placed it on the table. There were no names attached so I watched closely so I would see when my watch was picked up. The woman proceeded to give a short reading for each person. I am not conscious of what she shared with me but I do remember feeling totally at home with such an event. It was all very calm and peaceful and clearly people were there to recieve help. The following Tuesday we made the same journey to the wee church. This time there was a lady giving hands-on healing to each person present. Again I had no particular questions about this. It all seemed natural enough. It was what it was. Grandma had been quite poorly for many years although not one to show it. I took it that she found comfort is these proceedings and feel certain comfort came. I don't recall thinking about this any further than that but at the age of seventeen I began my own interests in the spiritual aspects of life. I began to dig very deeply and found I had a very natural talent and true feeling for it all. It was not scary nor was any of it airy-fairy. It was something that required serious study, lots of practice and an openess for real adventure of the best kind. Today I have my own practice helping people with many issues and that is what has carried me since that tender age of seventeen. I found something that made total sense to many sides of life that without it would have remained quite boring and really very disconnected. So sweet Grandma was not just having to take me to a meeting because I happened to coinside with her church days. She was actually sowing seeds for my future work. Niether of us would have thought about it at that time but this was clearly my very own particular calling. Thank you Grandma.

By Sandra (04/10/2011)

I was at Avondale College until 1957 - Jennifer Rudman and Diane Edgerton sat behind me in Mrs Cobbolds classroom. I am still in touch with Pauline Nichols (now Pulham). I remember Janice and Rosemarie Sadler, Penny (the dancer), Patsy Alexander, Deidre Wasser and others. My sister Elizabeth was in Mrs Denman's class.

By Muriel Jayne (02/03/2012)

For about six months in 1967-68, after leaving school and before going to Uni, I worked as a storeman and delivery driver for a wholesale catering equipment distribution company called Newson's which operated from a former brewery in Chapel Street, just off St James's Street, and remember the Street well as a hive of shoppers' activity. Recent visits suggest it really hasn't changed that much, apart from a lot less traffic! Same rather bohemian, down-at-heel atmosphere with lots of little independent shops - great! Yes, it was two-way traffic in those days, and Brighton Hove & District operated some specially slim buses on the routes along St James's Street - if I remember rightly, 7ft 6in wide instead of 8ft. There still wasn't a lot of space to spare when two passed each other.

By Len Liechti (03/03/2012)

Very interesting to see the comments about Avondale College, I went there with my sister Muriel Jayne. Ann Wilkinson, was there at that time, and Elizabeth Bennet, and Carol Hampil. I was in Mrs Denman's class and then Mrs Cobbold's. Minnie and Emily worked in the Kitchen, making coffee for the teachers. Mr Cobbold was the Gym master.

By Elizabeth Jayne (03/03/2012)

Do you remember that Avondale College allowed boys up to the age of 7 years? I was there 1945-47. Funny how names stick in your mind from those days. Other boys there with me at that time were Christopher Nobbs, Alan Poole and Raymond Brooks. I recall just a couple of girls, Hazel Tapp and Pat D'Arcy. Our teacher was Miss May.

By Pat Benham (06/03/2012)

I went to Avondale in '50s, my best friend was (and still is) Geraldine Butler. The other girls I remember were Janet Coe, Jane Richardson, June Harris, Susan Elkin, Sandra Salvidge, Janet Mercer, Susan Atkins Christine Clough, Hilary Abbot and many more. I remember Mrs Denman, Mrs Davies and Mrs O'Toole; Mrs Cobbold was headmistress. We had speech days at the old Hove Town Hall, I remember dancing round in a circle to Sur le pont d'Avignon in front of all the proud parents. I remember Emily in the kitchen with her cats, and the cabbage!! At school dinners, but she made some lovely steamed puddings in great big pudding bowls. It was a lovely school and I have very fond memories, especially when I drive down Wilbury Road. 

By Diane Millard (formerly Merrett) (15/07/2012)

Just to add to what Diane put in her message on 15th July, we've been trying to remember funny incidences that happened when we were there. One particular year during speech day at the Hove Town Hall Mrs Cobbold the headmistress was on the stage reading out notices when the elastic must have gone in her knickers (or should I say bloomers!) and they fell down on the stage! I can't remember how the poor embarrassed woman dealt with the situation but I know we were all in stitches. I started at Avondale in 1951 when I was four and I remember asking on my first day to sit next to a boy called Nigel Hudson. I can't remember where I would have known him from before I started school! I also remember all the names Diane has mentioned and am still friends with Hilary Abbot (known as Willum) and Christine Clough her cousin. Good times.

By Geraldine Pratt (nee Butler) (18/07/2012)

I was at Avondale College with my sister Marjorie from about 1948ish. We had ballet lessons with Dorothy Isaacs and took gym with Mrs Cobbold's son in his gymnasium at the bottom of the middle section of Holland Road. Wonderful school dinners cooked in the basement by Emily - I can still taste her pastry.

By Barbara Goble nee Hutchinson (19/01/2014)

Hi, my mum was at Avondale College, probably late forties early fifties. Does any one remember her? She was Miriam Brewis and her family owned Divalls by Brighton station before moving to Worthing to open a sweet shop. She then had to run from Avondale to catch the train to Worthing at lunch time. I'd love to hear from someone who knew her.

By Caroline Cooper (08/02/2014)

There was a great pie shop in St James's Street in the 1960s. There was  always a lovely smell coming from it and they made and baked all the pies on the premises. They also sold lardy cakes, which you can't seem to buy nowadays. Does anyone remember what it was called?

By Dave Crockatt (17/01/2015)

I've just been remembering Mr Cobbold's gymnasium which I attended on a Saturday morning in the late '60s... the class before mine was for deaf children, so there were some funny sounds coming out. He gave me confidence to do a back flip over the horse, and I met Sophie (Sockshop) and Richard (Olivier) there who have gone onto great things - he was a lovely man. Denise Backhouse

By DFM Backhouse (nee Turner) (10/05/2015)

I lived in Edward Street in the late 50s above my father's business. It was called 'Virgo Engineers' a plumbing and heating firm. I remember shopping with my mother in St James's Street. Sainsburys was on a corner and further down the street on the same side was a family grocers called Meads. The owners John and Elsa were friends of my parents

By Jennifer Terry (nee Virgo) (08/06/2015)

I did my apprenticeship with Virgo Engineers in the 70s, great tradition and and people. I believe your father's name was Ian?

By Phil Lambert (09/06/2015)

This is for Caroline Cooper. I went to school with your mother. I was there from around 1941-1951. I loved Avondale and my favorite teacher was Mrs French.

By Angela J Covey (nee Hudson) (09/08/2016)

As this seems to be the site for Avondale College, I wonder if anyone knew a girl called Valerie Miller who went there 1955/56?  We used to walk our dogs together in Dyke Road Park in the mornings before school. I sometimes used to meet her after school and walk her home. She had a friend - a tall ginger-haired girl who I think lived in Malden Road. Valerie lived in a flat in a big house on the corner of Highcroft Villas opposite the Dyke Road Hotel. Her mum's name was Eve and on Sunday evenings her mum, her, me and other dog owners used to walk our dogs in the park.  The only other people I remember on those Sunday walks were the Stanwicks who ran the Dyke Road Hotel. I remember the school uniform was maroon with bottle green (almost black) piping, very posh. The last time I saw Valerie was up the Regent Dance Hall on those teenage Thursday nights in 1960. A couple of years later, 1962/63, when the school closed, it was converted to flats and I carpeted one of the flats when working at Hills of Hove.

By Terry Hyde (11/08/2016)

I remember John Cobbold. He was the nephew of Beatrice Cobbold, headmistress of Avondale College. He held a gym class at the school as well as a fencing class. Also remember Mrs French who taught at the school. She was a very popular teacher.

By Judy Fasanelli (11/09/2017)

Re Barbara Gobles' post.  I also had ballet lessons with Miss Isaacs and her assistant teachers. The ballet school was near the old town hall in Hove. I was five and very shy so did not enjoy being left there by my father. My sister, Elizabeth and I well remember Emily's lunches in the basement of Avondale College. We sat, very bunched up, at little tables there. Also remember the cats. I was made a senior prefect before I left the school aged fifteen. The tassel on my beret was changed from wine coloured to gold. Janice Sadler was head girl. Her sister was Rosemary. I arrived at Avondale aged thirteen and sat next to Pauline Nichols, who became my close friend. She became a dancer and was in many shows in Brighton and all over the UK and Europe.  She became Pauline Pulham and, very sadly, died recently after a long illness. My name during my school days was Muriel Jayne. If anyone was in my class with Mrs Cobbold during those days, mid 1950s, I would be interested to read their posts.

By Judy Fasanelli (Muriel Jayne) (13/09/2017)

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