Upper St. James's Street

Photo:Top, Upper St. James's Street c.1971, bottom dusk over Hampshire Court 2008

Top, Upper St. James's Street c.1971, bottom dusk over Hampshire Court 2008

From the private collection of Peter Groves

Redeveloped in the early 1970s

By Peter Groves

Upper St. James's Street was probably never as important as its close neighbour St. James's Street, of which it is an extension.  However once shops and businesses extended right along its length into Bristol Road and St. George's Road.

Machine tool manufacturer CVA
Prior to the early 1970's redevelopment, on the north side of Upper St. James's Street, hidden behind the shops and small businesses was the 'tool room' of Hove based Machine Tool manufacturer CVA.  This was squeezed in behind the shop fronts and Warwick Street, which ran parallel at the rear.  Due to the high demand for its 'engineered' products during WWII the company expanded from its Portland Road headquarters and in 1940 the Kemp Town factory was it's first acquisition, many others were to follow.  It closed in 1952, following the post war development of the Hollingbury Industrial Estate.

Early 1970's redevelopment
The photo shows the view just prior to July 1971 when the bulldozers moved in to clear the area for a £371,000 redevelopment by Brighton Corporation.  As well as the old CVA factory, shops, businesses and Warwick Street were bulldozed to make way for new flats, now Hampshire Court.

Upper St.James's Street Mystery
The mystery is, what's the name of the Watneys pub in the foreground?  Probably frequented by many CVA employee as the factory ran right along the back of this stretch of Upper St. James's Street!

This page was added on 15/03/2009.
Comments about this page

The pub on the corner of Upper St James's Street and Bedford Street was The City of Hereford. I lived in St George's Terrace in the early 1960s and my father often visited the establishment at weekends. I do remember the old factory and school buildings in the Warwick Street area and often used to play around the disused buildings. Of all the shops along the frontage of Upper St James's Street, one shop sticks in my mind; it was called Fogles (spell?) Bakery run by a large Polish man and I think his wife, they made the best cakes and bread in Kemp Town. Another memory about Mr Fogle was a tattoo, a collection of numbers on his arm, I realised later that he must have been in a concentration camp in the Second World War. It was a shame those shops were all demolished as it was a hive of activity in the 1960s. I'm sure the new flats could have been built behind them and the character of the area could have been kept.

By Michael Brittain (17/03/2009)

Was the pub called the City of Hereford? I think that used to be in Upper St James's Street but unfortunately it's impossible to make out the name in the photo.

By Alan Hobden (17/03/2009)

They sell a type of wrapped seeded loaf in Waitrose, which is labelled 'Vogles'. I wonder if there is a connection, or if that was indeed the correct spelling of the baker's name?

By Stefan Bremner-Morris (19/03/2009)

We moved to Brighton in 1969 and I attended St John the Baptist Primary School in Bedford Road. One of my strongest memories of that school was looking out of the first floor windows and watching the great big demolition ball smashing the old buildings to bits to make way for the flats in your picture. There were also prefabs to the north of the site.

By Angela (19/03/2009)

The correct spelling of the baker's name was Fogel and his shop was called Fogels Patisserie.When we were first married in 1961,my wife and I would always buy those fantastic seeded rolls for Sunday breakfast,and they were always hot and straight out of the oven.My mouth is watering thinking about them...Happy days!

By Barry Broomfield (24/03/2009)

I have a picture dated approx 1945-50 of the local residents standing outside City of Hereford on the corner of Upper St James's Street and Upper Bedford Street. This pub was run by, I think, Tamplins brewery. If you would like a copy please email me pickles1953@live.co.uk

By Steve Humphrey (28/01/2013)

We used to live next door to the pub for two years in 1959-1961 and ran the newsagents. 

By Eileen Hewitt (17/05/2015)

I have an old picture of G A Paris's hop at number seven and next door was an off-licence or grocer's shop, possibly Hugget & Co's. In the 1911 census, Arthur Paul was at number six and Florence Bath was at number eight. Neither of these were grocers but Arthur was a tobacconist & stationer. 

By Glynn (26/01/2016)

Just along from the City of Hereford pub, towards St James Street,  was a second hand shop. Opposite there was the Celon Tea Emporium. Next door was a café where I spent many a time playing on the pin table and eating spam fritters. Also in the area was a shop that sold Swedish furniture.

By David (05/12/2016)

My father had the carpet shop across the road from Fogels. I went to St John the Baptist and I would go to dad's where he always bought me pastries and jam doughnuts from Fogels. He loved that bakery. I then went to my ballet class in St Anne's Hall. We were also great friends with the Webbs who owned Webb stores. We did the pantomimes with Dora Brian at the Dome. My dad had all the visiting theatricals at the time and I had a career in the theatre. My dad bought up five children and we had a nice detached house in Chichester Drive West. He put my brothers through school at De La Salle and paid for me privately to go to ballet school in London. Unfortunately knocking down the lovely village shops opposite destroyed his livelihood and he never recovered. It had a huge impact on us as a family, you wondered the destruction that goes on and how it is allowed - destroyed, that whole quaint interesting area. I don't think they would get away with it now.

By Marie Gribbon (29/04/2017)

I started work at CVA Jigs, Moulds & Tools Ltd. in April 1949 at the Kemp Town factory , which was at the junction of Upper Bedford Street and Upper St. James’s Street.  The Director was Mr Brookes and the General Manager was Mr Percy Steer.  The factory was on the north side of Upper St. James's Street, the drawing office was opposite at the top of corner of Charlotte Street.

I started work in the machine shop and worked under various foremen; Ernie Vinall (Milling) Pat O’Flynn (Turning) Mr Terry (Grinding) George Lovegrove (Gear cutting).  The Workshop Manager was George Solly, a large imposing figure with a bristling white moustache.

My next move was to the Inspection Department under Jack Cooper, an ex army man who eventually left to rejoin the army.  I then moved to the Toolmaking Department under Cyril Moss, where I worked alongside Freddy Harwood; a very skilled toolmaker.  Other names I remember in the tool room are Geoff Berry, Don Timms and Brian Stavely.

The Company then took a large order from ROF (Royal Ordinance Factory) Radway Green who manufactured small arms for the British Army.  The order was for a very large quantity of bullet dies; it should be remembered that this was at the height of the Cold War, and there was a huge demand for ammunition.  This order was so important to the Company that a section was set up under Norman Feast to handle these dies.  After manufacture each of the dies had to be individually polished to a very high standard and 3 women were employed just to do the polishing.  It’s quite ironic that 2 of the women were German; Gisela and Anna, married to British soldiers after the war, and now polishing dies to make British bullets!

Other names I remember from this period are Doug Bonniface, Tony Herrington, George Berriford, Taffy Lloyd, George Pettit and Len White.

Around 1953 I moved to the new Hollingbury factory, and promotion to a Planning Engineer.  The department manager was George Francis, others in the office were Jack Hampson, Tom Crowther, Bert Rushton, Norman Feast, Bert Crastin, Keith Dinnage, Bob Down, Dickie Bedwell and Valerie Thomas, some other names now escape me.

In 1956 I moved into the Drawing Office where the Chief Draftsman was Jack Galway, others in the office were Jim Gaywood, Dave Darch, Phil Rose, Gordon Bainbridge, Charlie Crowhurst, Arthur Blanche and Sam Russell.

The General Manager at the Hollingbury factory was Percy Steer and the Assistant Manager was Les Smith.  I remained in the Drawing Office until the summer of 1961 when I went to work at E. W. Bliss in Derby.  I am now nearly 90 and live in Cheshire.

By Peter Henry (02/10/2017)

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