Richmond Buildings

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Living over the shop

From an interview with Beatrice Kessler

My father, Harry Croydon, opened a newsagents shop in Richmond Buildings in 1912, and he stayed there until Richmond Buildings and the area round it were con­demned in 1958.

Some of the people in the street during that period were: Harry Sinden, undertaker; a greengrocer; fish and chip shop; cat and dog's meat shop; wholesale clothing; barber; secondhand shop; haberdasher; grocer; another secondhand shop; another fish and chip shop; boot repairer; gas fitter; watercress seller; herbalist; Mrs Wragg, secondhand clothes; sweet shop; Gates, timber merchants; Lennox Arms Pub; greengrocer; another greengrocer; another boot repairer; retail clothing; tailor; butcher; tin smith; another boot repairer; hairdresser; another boot repairer; another sweet shop; Dr John Vance's surgery; John Marshall, chimney sweep; St Peter's Church Hall; watch repairer; secondhand clothing. The Boys Brigade met at St Peter's Hall; when they paraded in the street they would march blowing their bugles.

I was born in 1911, and my father moved to number 53 Richmond Buildings in 1912. We lived above the newsagent's. We had the shop and an office behind, two bedrooms above, a big living room below the shop, and a kitchen and outside toilet. In the office at the back we did all our booking and took bets, before betting was legal, it was all under the counter, we even took bets off a policeman, and he said un­less they had complaints they didn't do anything. We always kept our punters hap­py because in those days it was only sixpences.

Reproduced with permission from 'Back Street Brighton' published by QueenSpark Books and the Lewis Cohen Urban Studies Centre
This page was added on 03/11/2006.
Comments about this page

What a family the Croydons were. I was a paper boy in the early fifties and the area covered by the boys stretched from Sussex Street, right across to Islingword Road and up to Queens Park Road. The Croydons were well known for their cricket team which at times had eleven Croydons on the team sheet. As I used to score, it was a difficult job at times. Their home pitch was at East Brighton Park and they played on sundays with all the families. It was just a good social afternoon. I was paid sixpence and given free tea for scoring.

By D Redgrave (23/11/2006)

I lived in Richmond Buildings from 1951 until 1954. We were Pat and Christine Marshall.  We were fostered by Mrs Cooper who had a son Michael and she also fostered David and Freddie Perkins.  John Marshall, the sweep, was my uncle.  That's where my Granny Marshall lived.  My father was Len Marshall.  I remember a Julie Patmore - they had a bad fire at their house and Julie had to jump from the bedroom window.  Does anybody remember us?

By Pat Richards (18/06/2007)

Hi, trying to get in touch with anybody who remembered my grandad John Marshall or my gran Rose.

By Glen Marshall (27/06/2007)

Hi Glen, John & Rose Marshall were my uncle and aunt; I'm the daughter of Marjorie, one of your grandad's sisters. I remember cleaning brass for my Aunty Rose and I remember Uncle John's motorbike and sidecar. My mum now lives in Haywards Heath and I'll let her know I've seen your message and posted a reply.

By Wendy Marshall-Dilloway (06/08/2007)

Hi Glen, I must be your cousin. my dad Len Marshall was John Marshall's brother. I can remember when he was a sweep he used to have a trailer on the back of his push bike with all his brushes in and he would come home black and everywhere he sat would be black. The other brother Bert had a garage on Albion Hill on the side of the house, you had to go down in the basement under the house for the toilet it was so dark and damp down there. I didn't know Rose very well,we went to live in Somerset and lost touch. I heard about them from time to time from my dad, but i did meet John's two sons at dads funeral.

By Pat Richards nee Marshall (19/08/2007)

In 1916 a relation of mine George Richard Jefferies was living at 59 Richmond Builings. In 1859 his father George Richard Jefferies a direct ancestor was living at 8 Richmond Buildings.

By Adam Dennis (26/03/2008)
I have just found out from the Kellys directory that my grandfather lived at No. 8 Richmond Buildings in 1930. He was a furniture dealer (probably second hand) and would have lived there with my grandmother, Elsie, and their two young daughters and possibly their son who would have been a baby at the time. I don't expect there is anyone reading this who would remember him. The photos and stories are fascinating, it sounds like it was a great place.
By Vanessa Hannington (20/07/2009)

Also if there is anyone out there reading this who might know of Percy John Raymond, I would be happy to know of the family as I have been searching for anything on him for 12 years. He also was a furniture dealer in the same street.

By Helen Hadland (08/09/2009)

I married Margret Croydon, Harry's daughter, in 1956 and we lived over and under the shop, still with the outside loo at the end of the yard! John Marshall let me keep my moter bike in his garage at weekends when home from national service. Played on the odd Sunday for the "CROYDONS".

By Ron Knight (04/04/2010)

Hi Ron Knight, John Marshall was my uncle and my dad Len Marshall used to help John in the garage. My sister and I lived in Richmond Buildings for 4 years 1951 - 1955. We lived with Mrs Cooper, she had a son Micheal - did you know them? We were fostered and she fostered David and Freddie Perkins. I knew Julie Patmore and Patricia Richards nee Marshall.

By Patricia Richards (05/04/2010)

My father was born at 9 Richmond Buildings Brighton and grew up with adoptive parents in the same road, Violet and Charles Parsons. His own father George Otway had a hairdresser's business in Richmond Buildings. I remember Mr Marshall the sweep, he came to my grandparents' house in Franklin Road and our house in Edinburgh Road- it was always such an interesting day when he came and hard work for gran.

By Coral Luke (née Parsons) (25/04/2010)

Does anyone remember the large Gladwell family who lived in Richmond Buildings? My father Charles was a son, he was born in 1900.

By Jackie Soutar (17/05/2010)

Does any one know where I can get a list of who lived at 26 Richmond Buildings in 1911? I am looking for a William Thomas Brown, who married a Caroline Louisa Richardson in that year.

By Tina Grevett (28/05/2010)

My mum Lottie Laker live at 45 Richmond and my nan Annie Laker. She was marred to Percy. Does anyone remember them?  You can get me on email.

By Carol Robinson (12/09/2010)

Does anyone remember a fishmongers shop at 3 Richmond Buildings? William J. Way and his wife Louisa had the shop and also lived above the shop until the street was demolished due to bomb damage and for slum clearance.

By Margaret Stewart (02/11/2010)

I went to school with Roger Croydon. His birthday was on the 5th December 1940 and mine was on the 9th. We were in the same class. I remember his younger sister also. I lived in Ashton Street which is now long gone.

By Bob Munro (23/11/2011)

I remember Bill Croydon. He had a newsagents shop in York Hill opposite our White Hart pub. Bill played in our mens darts team, he appears in the darts team picture -see under 'pubs'/ 'White Hart'.

By Barrie Searle (24/11/2011)

My great great great aunt Harriet Packham lived at number 3 Richmond Buildings, married to Grainger. She had a son before this marriage. Number 3 was a fish shop, and Harriett made hats or caps. Must have been rather a squeeze there because her brother Frederick lived with them, and her father Thomas - besides Grainger's family.

By Maurice Packham (14/12/2011)

My father (Reg Croydon) and my mother's maiden name was Packham. My father was part of the Croydon newsagents family and lived over the shop in Richmond Buildings, he was like most of the Croydon family, a member of the cricket team.

By Sylvia Croydon (04/07/2012)

Neighbours of my family, the Whitemans lived with another family at 6 Richmond Buildings (listed greengrocers) in 1881.

By Kelly (20/07/2012)

I see a message, living over the shop Nov 3, 2006, interview with Beatrice Kessier. It said that my mum was Lottie Laker and my nan was Annie married to..? My mum was Lottie born 1917 and her mum was Annie married to Percy. They lived at 45 Richmond Buildings. I'd like to hear from you, I will let you have my email. Carol.

By Carol Ronbinson (08/10/2013)

I have just received her birth certificate showing that my paternal grandmother Mary Gladys Chilton was born 23 Apr 1894 in 50 Richmond Buildings, Brighton, Sussex, England. She had a brother, Wilfred John, and a sister Elna Grace. 

By Rosie Godwin (13/06/2014)

My father was Roger Croydon, Grandfather Les Croydon and my Great Grandfather owned the newsagents in Southover Street. My Grandad Les and my Nan Elsie lived in Grove Street bringing up my Dad and my Aunty Janet. Either side of their houses on both sides lived my Great Aunts, Molly and Cis. I would love to know if anyone could give me more history on my family. 

By Lee Croydon (03/03/2015)

My grandmother Annie Tree lived in this street, she was a watercress seller. Any one have any recollections of her and the family?

By Tony Tree (04/03/2015)

My great, great uncle owned one of the secondhand clothes shops at 6 Richmond Builfing. His name was Algenon Polkinhorn. Interestingly one thing of note was, when he died, he left money to each of his employees in his will. I wonder if the sense of community here played into that in any way.

By Rowan Lill (01/05/2016)

My great uncle John Henry Campbell had a second-hand shop at 61 Richmond Buildings where he lived with his sister Rebecca (Becky). He died in 1923. Does anyone have any information about the shop, Uncle John or Becky please?

By Pat Aldridge (08/10/2016)

Hi Lee Croydon. I can't give you much more info on your family other than your dad Roger was a little older than me and I think he was in one of my sisters', Rita or Jean Clark, classes at Finsbury Road Junior School. I also remember your Aunty Janet - she was in my class at the same school. Bit of a good looking girl if my memory serves me well. If and when you see her ask her if she remembers the twins Brian and Michael Clark from Finsbury Road.
Also my brother and I did paper rounds for your grandad Les and his brother Harry who rode a green BSA Bantam motor cycle at the time when they had the shop in Richmond Buildings. I seem to remember that they had about 10 or maybe more evening paper boys, that's not including the morning boys - quite a business. I believe Les lived in the Freshfield Road area. I can't think of anything else at present so I hope this has been of some use to you.

By Brian Clark (06/07/2017)

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