13 May 2017

The Jolly Sailors, Wellington Road, Portslade.

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2017)

 copyright © G. Osborne
This exceptionally rare and fascinating photograph is well over 100 years old and most probably it is the Peters family standing in the doorway.
The Jolly Sailors was situated on the corner of Clarence Street and Wellington Road. In the 1890s the pub was numbered at 15 & 16 Wellington Road. But when the road was re-numbered it became number 19.

Portslade-born Martin James Peters ran the pub from at least 1873 and he was still there in 1891. By then he was aged 54 and lived with his wife Elizabeth who was born in Southwick. Also resident at the pub in the 1891 census was their 18-year old daughter Rose, a dressmaker, their 17-year old son Albert, a cab driver, plus a groom. It is interesting to note the census enumerator called the pub Three Jolly Sailors although in the Directories it is always just Jolly Sailors.

The family did not just rely solely on profits from drinks sold in the pub. The fa├žade of the pub also advertised that Mr Peters was a cab proprietor and hired out boats too.

copyright © G. Osborne
The Jolly Sailors can be seen with its flag pole outside,  just right of centre in this early 1900s photograph

Mrs Elizabeth Peters died on 8 April 1904 aged 67 and Martin James Peters died on 18 July 1911 aged 74 and they were both buried in Portslade Cemetery. It seems the pub stayed under the management of the Peters family and in 1910 William Peters was behind the bar.

The pub was the headquarters of the Portslade Bonfire Boys and in 1901 the members were all dressed in fancy costume when they burned their guy opposite to the Jolly Sailors. 

copyright © G. Osborne
The Jolly Sailors can just be seen with its flag pole outside, right of centre on the corner of Clarence Street in this early 1900s photograph

On 27 February 1922 Mrs Louisa Peters, wife of the licensee William Peters, died as a result of a road traffic accident opposite Princes Hotel, Kingsway. Her son George was driving her to Brighton market in a horse and trap when a motorcycle struck them; it was travelling between 20 and 25 mph. There was no other traffic on the road at the time of the accident. But it appears the motorcycle driver was distracted, looking down and fiddling with his coat. Mrs Peters and her son were thrown out of the trap while the horse bolted.

An inquest into the death of Mrs Peters was held at Portslade Fire Station on 11 March before the East Sussex coroner Mr G. Vere Benson. The jury decided that Mrs Peters, aged 56, had died from shock arising from the accident and that the motorcyclist ought to be censured. Around 300 people later attended her funeral in Portslade Cemetery and the Baptist pastor Revd Thomas Burritt conducted the service. 

 copyright © G. Osborne
Portslade Fire Station the venue of the inquest into William Peters death

William Peters stayed on at the Jolly Sailors after his wife’s death. By 1930 John Fletcher was running the pub and he was still there in the early part of the Second World War. Walter Alfred Hood was the next landlord; he was there in 1947 and still behind the bar in 1954. In 1958 George Masters was the publican.

The Peters family were involved in the running of several pubs at Portslade including the Bull Inn (The Stag's Head), Gardener’s Arms Abinger Road,  Railway Inn Station Road and The Southern Cross at Southern Cross

Abbey & Son owned the Jolly Sailors in 1901 but by 1927 Kemp Town Brewery owned the premises and in the same year made some alterations to the pub. In 1935 Kemp Town Brewery wrote to Portslade Council drawing their attention to a footpath near the pub that needed some repair. The Jolly Sailors was demolished in the 1960s.


Census Returns
J.Middleton Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Thanks are due to Mr G. Osborne for allowing me to reproduce four of his wonderful photographs.

Copyright © J.Middleton 2017
page layout by D.Sharp