Schoolboy's memories of '60s Kemp Town

Photo:St Georges Terrece looking east

St Georges Terrece looking east

From the private collection of Michael Brittain

Photo:10, St Georges Terrace

10, St Georges Terrace

From the private collection of Michael Brittain

Photo:A business card from the Carol Ann Guest House.

A business card from the Carol Ann Guest House.

From the private collection of Michael Brittain

The move from Birmingham

By Michael Brittain

In 1961 when I was 6 years old my family lived in Saltley, Birmingham. The area was dominated by heavy industry; almost next door to our home were the smelly Saltley Gas Works and the noisy Saltley Locomotive Works. My mother decided she wanted to be near her twin sister, Evelyn Hodgekinson. My Auntie had moved to Brighton with her husband Clifford and son Clifford-John a few years earlier, after visiting and falling in love with Brighton on their honeymoon.

Purchased a guest house
My Auntie and Uncle purchased a guest house at 35 Upper Rock Gardens, they called the guest house ‘Evercliff’ This name was chosen because it was the combination of both their first names, the name has now been changed to “Amblecliff” by the present owners. We moved from Birmingham in the autumn of 1961 and purchased the Shangri la Guest House at 10 St Georges Terrace. The first thing my parents Harold and Marjory Brittain did was change the name of the property to the ‘Carol Ann Guest House’.

Named after my sister
The guest house was named after my eldest sister Carol Brittain (later Mahoney), who was to work there as chamber maid. Bed breakfast and evening meal was £1.00 and the advert for the guest house stated that there was hot and cold water in all rooms. My other sister Susan Brittain (later Meacock) was still of school age and was to attend Queens Park C.S.S, I was sent to attend Queens Park Infant School.

Conversions in the 1970s
Lots of houses in St Georges Terrace, like many of the mid-sized Georgian and Victorian properties not far from the centre of Brighton, were converted into either guest houses or split into residential flats. There were several guest houses along the terrace, some of which are still there, like ‘Roland House’. Our guest house which was number 10 is now divided up into flats, this probably happened because the rooms were too small to be converted into modern en suite guest house facilities. Flats probably made sense for the then owner of number 10 in the property boom of the early 70s.

This page was added on 19/11/2009.
Comments about this page

Michael, I have read entries by you on other pages that reflect on life in Kemp Town. Given the dates that you mention above and the fact that you attended Queens Park school, I wondered if you might remember my brother Pete. He would have been the same age as you and he, as I, both went to this school. I remember fondly all the businesses that you mentioned as we lived at 82 Eastern Road at that time (opposite Parsons) and Pete had a short spell at Kearney and Trecker before going to Brighton college on a carpentry course.

By Phil Lambert (24/02/2012)

Hi Phil, I do remember a Phil Lambert; if it's you, were you in Paul Thomas, Tony Holbourn's year at Queens Park? Was Pete older than you because I remember a Lambert a year or two above me at Queens Park. I know a few years means nothing now, but two years in senior school is vast enough for pupils not to communicate and know each other.

By Michael Brittain (25/02/2012)

Michael, Pete is two years older than me but I'm afraid I don't recall the names you mention so it may be that they were in Pete's class. There were two other Lambert's I knew of in Brighton called Paul and Gary but I don't know if they were at Queens Park. I'm 54 now so a lot of school memories have faded a bit but as a reference I was there between 68 - 72.

By Phil Lambert (28/02/2012)

Hi Phil, I have had a chat with my mate Paul Thomas, he remembers when you lived in Craven Road. Paul lived in Craven Road with his mum and dad Connie and Bill and sister Sheila; Paul was in the year below you at Queens Park. You was in the the year below me with Kevin Douglas Molly Mercer John Mears etc. I was in the year above with Gussy Gunn and Terry Tailor, who I still see now and then. I do remember you and your brother, but as I said before being a year above or below at school there was not much communication. Queens Park was quite a tough school in the 60s and they were not my happiest of times, but it did set you up for life after school.

By Michael Brittain (29/02/2012)

Now I know who Paul is! Please say hello for me, I remember hin and his sister vey well. You are spot on with my old school mates names. I worked on quite a few sites with Gus, me as a heating engineer and him installing glazing. Funny how things come back to you when you discuss memories with other people.

By Phil Lambert (02/03/2012)

Hi Michael and Phil, I know that I have no connection with you guys but I was searching for information about Eastern Road and came across your comments. It's really nice to make contact with old mates, it provides a connection with what was when most of it has gone under the bulldozers in the name of 'progress'. I lived at number 59 Eastern Road but went to school in Hertford Road as we had just moved from there. We were only at '59' for a year then got a council flat in Hollingbury but it was one of the happiest a ten year old could have. Take care.

By Paul Winch (29/01/2013)

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