Shirley Street

Memories of the 1940/50s

By Marion Baldwin/Upton

I lived at 112 Shirley Street from 1947 to 1955, we lived in the basement flat and all you could see were people's feet as they walked by. We had an outside toilet and tin bath.

Local traders calling out their wares
I used to play with my friends the games of Five Stone, Jacks and Marbles in the gutter. There was not any cars around then. The Rag and Bone man and the Fresh Fish man would push their carts along the street calling out their wares. On the corner of Sackvile Road and Shirley street was a chemist on the right and on the left a general grocers. Further along was a green grocers run by a nice family. I also think there was a vets shop.

Our local sweet shop
Half way along on the right was a sweet shop run by three spinster sisters by the name of Butt. One had a black patch over her eye, one was a very severe lady and the third one was a nice jolly lady. When you entered the shop a bell would ring and a strong smell of cooking would greet you. The sisters lived behind and above the shop. I always hoped the friendly sister would serve me as she was more generous and your half penny seemed to go further.

Lovely cold batter scraps
Opposite was another grocers called Doughertys where we used to buy a lovely doughy penny roll and we would walk along picking out the inside. Crossing over the road was a fish and chip shop and a gang of us would go along in the mornings and buy a bag of cold batter scraps that had been scooped off the fryer the night before, we would share these out between us.  I think the chap that sold them to us was called Phil.

Has anyone else any memories to add to these?

This page was added on 13/02/2008.
Comments about this page

Nice memories, a bit early for me, but I lived at Livingstone Road, road above, and I remember using the chemist (have pictures) and the grocer on the corner, now Eddys. Recall the rag and bone man. The vet's shop I remember was on my street and, just next to the Shirley Press, was my nearest chip shop, probably the one you mention. There was another shop in Shirley Street south side just a few doors along from the chemist, although I don't remember it myself, I have pictures of that too. Anyone have memories of that shop would be useful to add to the caption one day?

By Gordon Dinnage (21/02/2008)

Next to the chemist was a clock/watch repairers and then a greengrocer. For such a short road it is amazing how many shops there were. I can remember at least two greengrocers, a second hand shop, a used car saleroom where I bought a clapped out Austin A40, a shoe repairers who also charged up accumulators for our steam radio, two chip shops, a butchers, hairdressers, a general store and a dairy. Add to that the British Legion, Welfare building with the NHS dentist, the Shirley press, the old stables with the joinery works and wood turner, and stable for the mobile greengrocer's horse and I'm surprised there was anywhere for residents!

By Vic Stevens (22/02/2008)

Hi, from a long-time Canadian ex-pat! I was born in Prinsep Road, and went to Ellen Street School, probably around the time you were living on Shirley Street! I remember the chemist shop very well, it was owned by a Mr Foulks, (Foulkes?) and was in the same class as his son Geoff. I recall very well sitting right behind him when we did our 11+. On the other corner, was indeed a grocery store operated by Mrs Sinkfield where my Nan would go to buy warm buns on a Saturday morning, and what I seem to recall was called Breakfast Sausage, pale pink sliced meat with big chunks of fat in it, a big treat. I don't recall the other stores mentioned, except may be the clock repairers. Wasn't the Shirley Press bombed?
I was more familiar with the stores closer to St Barnabas, especially the sweet shop next to the Hall, where a lovely old couple, Mr and Mrs Bullen, used to sell half-penny and penny drinks, and cut up the sweets, then rationed, to make it seem as if there were more! At the end of the same block, on the corner of Ellen Street, was a bakery where we'd buy small Lardy cakes on the way to school. Oh the wonderful smell coming from that basement bakery early in the morning. Next along was Mr Ball, the butcher who managed to offend Nan by offering her pigs ears one day when she had no meat coupons left! He also used to sell the most disgusting stuff, whale meat, ugh! Outside was a horse trough, inscribed "A merciful man is merciful to his beast" - I never forgot that. There was also a lower trough for dogs, but neither contained water unless it rained. We used to have the rag and bone man come round, also a knife grinder, probably the same ones you recall. Every spring it would be the Gypsies selling paper flowers and clothes pegs etc. Do you recall the Breton onion men with their onion braids festooning their bikes? I haven't met anyone else that does.
I guess I'm wandering a little far from your stomping ground, but it would be very interesting to correspond with some-one who was familiar with that old area. Chances of my returning to UK are slim, but it's good to look back and remember the old haunts, and a time when we had so much more liberty to wander safely in the neighbourhood, unlike today.

By Patricia Overs (11/03/2008)

Hi Patricia, I would love to have a chat about the old days my email address is macthomas@ntlworld.com would love to hear from you Marion. Have a look at the latest photo I have posted about Goldstone Road, you never know you might be on there.

By Marion Baldwin/Upton (12/03/2008)

Vic Stevens mentioned the stable for the mobile greengrocer in Shirley Street. Upto 1939, when he was called up for army service, my father was the mobile greengrocer Ed Green whose family lived a 5 Wordsworth Street, and when he married, my parents' first home was in Goldstone Road. During the war a bomb fell on the Goldstone crossroads and I can remember the old council steam engine using chains to pull the buildings down.

The fish and chip shop on the east side of the junction was owned by the Claires. It traded under the name Witherdons, who had a fresh fish shop in George Street. The Claires didn't live at the premises, but further along Shirley Street midway to Sackville Road on the south side. Virginia was their 'lovely' daughter! Another daughter was Lucy.

For Marion Upton, do you recall Ann Steyning who lived on the north side of Shirley Street, any knowledge of her or about her?

My parents eventually moved to 14 Prinsep Road and both remained there throughout their lives.

By John Green (19/04/2008)

For John: Sorry, I don't remember the name of your friend, but my memory is not that good. I do remember the Stevens family (I lived opposite them) and I used to play with the girls sometimes in the stables you mentioned. I am in contact with Patricia Overs from Prinsep Road - she is now known as Annie Grant, see above. Sorry can't help anymore.

By Marion Baldwin / Upton (25/04/2008)

How old are the houses on Shirley Street? When were they first built?

By Clair (11/07/2008)

I lived at 38 Shirley Street from 1946 when I was 6. My surname was Thomson, my younger sister is Frances. I remember Pat Foster who lived opposite us, also Marie and Peter Perry. Next to us was the dairy owned by Vi May and Olly Loadsman. He used to deliver milk on his barrow.

By isabel steward (20/12/2008)

I don't expect anyone really can help, but I am looking for descendants of the Bardens who lived in 38 Shirley Street in 1911 for my family tree research. Also has anyone got a picture of this street about this time?

By Jennifer Gray (03/03/2009)

Does anyone know how long the Royal British Legion has been in Shirley Street, and can anyone remember anything about its history?

By Zoe Brierley (04/03/2009)

Jennifer, I have left message for you on other site. Good luck.

By Isabel Steward (06/03/2009)

My name is John David Ierston. We lived at 120 Shirley Street, Hove 1943-45. My dad had a second hand shop which he then turned into a greengrocers shop. Michael Stevens was in the same class as me at the school in Connaught Road at the end of the war in 1945. I remember they had a street party with tables along the north side, and served sandwiches, cakes and drinks. Half way up the street at the cross roads, two bombs dropped on the two corner buildings and smashed the windows of a house over on the other corner. As kids we played with a stick and string, and a spinning top, or a screw top out of a Tizer drink bottle. On the north side up the street was Todd's the general store, and Blakes the green grocers. If Gordon Dinnage has got a photo of the shop at 120 Shirley Street, could he email me one please. My email is, johni@wideband.net.au. Do you know David Hackett, he was my friend. His sister was Heather Hackett. They lived on the north side of the street, not far from the Stevens family. Do you all remember the air-raid shelters you had in your homes during the war? Do you remember Veronica Lake? She lived in the closed shop, over the street from 120 Shirley Street. I also went to the George Street school.

By John David Ireston (15/08/2009)

I am trying to find a)any pictures of Shirley Street from late 1800s to 1950s, b)pictures of 46 Shirley Street, c) anyone that knew the Sackett family that lived there.

By Chris Small (09/02/2010)

I remember Big Bill from one of the chip shops and Stan Blaber from one of the green grocers, he used to deliver with horse and cart and later with a van. I lived in Clarendon Villas and remember the pig bins put out for collection and the rag and bone man coming round.

By John Cording (29/05/2011)

Stan Blaber was my great uncle.

By Jacqueline Stevens (09/05/2012)

My great nan had the green grocers.

By Jacqueline Stevens (10/05/2012)

The 'Pike's 1938 Street Directory' shows my Great-Uncle Thomas Bryan (wardrobe dealer) had a shop at 58 Shirley St between a newsagency No 50/52(?) and a greengrocers at No 46. Later- 'Kelly's 1949 Street Directory' shows Thomas Bryan and/or wife Laura (Foster) were 'peat agents' at Cnr Shirley St/Goldstone Road. Does anyone have memories of my 'Bryan's? 

By Valerie Kehoe (13/05/2012)

My mother Edith Timms nee Richings was born in Shirley St. in 1920. I think her parents just rented a couple of rooms. She started school at College St. The family moved to Ingram Cres. when she was about 5 or 6 years old, she then attended West Hove school in Portland Road. Her father was a bus conductor for Thomas Tilling of Hove. Does anyone have any information about this bus company? My mother is still alive and is now 92 so it would be nice to have some memories which I could talk to her about.

By Barbara Giggins (15/05/2012)

I am putting together a collection of photos and memories for my Mother- in-Law Joyce's (nee Lynn) 80th Birthday. She was born at 6 Shirley Street in 1933 and moved to 33 Ingram Crescent soon afterwards. What shops and families were there at that time? Sisters Brenda and Joyce Lynn went to Portland Road Infants and Junior schools and on to the Knoll. It would be wonderful for names from the past to relive old memories

By Chris Pellett (17/02/2013)

I am writing from Canada and would like to know if there are any more memories of the Local Sweet Shop run by the three Butt spinster sisters at 60 Shirley Street? The three spinster sisters were my great-aunts; Ada (Ade), Florence (Flo) and Mabel (May). According to family information, Aunty Ade bought the small general store and sweet shop then her two sisters joined her. I’m guessing she might have been the more serious of the three. Aunt May had sensitive eyes and wore tinted green glasses but sometimes wore a patch over one eye. Aunt Flo might have been the jolly one, but I don’t know for sure. I have a picture of the shop called F & A. M Butt. I only met them once in 1956 when I was 8 years old and I remember being told I could pick any candy from the candy jars on the counter! Ada died in 1960, Flo in 1972 and May in 1974.

Editor's note: Perhaps you could scan and send me your photo of the shop Judy and I can publish it on the site. We might get some info for you. Contact me at jennifer@mybrightonandhove.org.uk

By Judy Labossiere (09/04/2013)

This is a message from Marion Baldwin/Upton. I wrote about your aunts in the heading of this page and I remember them very well. It was nice to read your description of them and it matched my memories exactly. My email address is in an earlier entry on this page- would it be possible for you to send me a photo of the shop, I would be thrilled if you could.

By Marion Baldwin/Upton (06/05/2013)

Hi. I am trying to get information on my mother's, father's fish and chip shop. It was number 184, Sackville Road. He ran it from the 1940s to 1958. His name was William Ede or it could have been Bill. If anyone has old photos or information that would be great. I am trying to get as much as I can as it's my mother's 70th Birthday very soon and wanted to take her down Memory Lane. Thank you in advance.  

By Matt Slater (12/01/2016)

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