12 February 2015

Trafalgar Road, Portslade

Judy Middleton (2003 revised 2022)

 copyright © J.Middleton
The north east side of Trafalgar Road was photographed on 23 January 2015.

A Memorable Name

The Battle of Trafalgar took place on 21 October 1805; it was a major British victory in the Napoleonic Wars. The British fleet comprised 32 ships-of-the-line and five frigates against a combined French and Spanish fleet of 33 ships-of-the-line and five frigates. Not a single British ship was lost but seventeen enemy ships were captured and one was sunk. Admiral Lord Nelson was in command of the British fleet and he was killed during the battle.

There is a local story that John Moorey, owner and driver of the cart that plied between Shoreham and Brighton, saw a vision of the battle as it was unfolding. This experience took place half a mile from south Portslade (then known as Copperas Gap) near a pub called Bo-Peep. Moorey’s cart used to leave Shoreham at 9 a.m. reaching the King’s Head, Brighton at noon. Moorey was also well-known for the cures he could provide for various ailments. Perhaps Battle of Trafalgar pub was named after Moorey’s experience or perhaps it was just because the battle was a famous victory. As the pub was built in the 1860s, it pre-dates the majority of houses built in Trafalgar Road.

In the 1873 Ordnance Survey Map of Portslade, Trafalgar Road is shown in splendid isolation with no roads leading off it, either to the west or to the east. On the east side the only building was Battle of Trafalgar pub but a little further north there was a line of mature trees leading up to Southern Cross. On the west side Southern Cross pub was present and heading south, there were some nine houses with one on its own much further down but there were few trees. Three wells were marked in the back gardens of a group of houses.

Continuing with the Naval theme and according to the 1886 Directory, the houses next to Southern Cross Mission were called Nelson Terrace.
The 1881 census recorded a Trafalgar Villa in south Portslade occupied by William Wood, a 41-year old farmer of 110 acres. He lived with his wife, two sons, two daughters and a servant; he also employed two labourers and a steam engine.

Houses were built in Trafalgar Road at different times and in various styles. This is obvious from the irregular layout of the frontages. If the road seems narrow today, it was worse in times past. In 1903 a piece of land in front of Battle of Trafalgar pub was added to the highway in order to make the road a little wider. In 1905 there were further moves to widen the road. Mr Steele gave up around 5 feet of land and the west part of Mr Eager’s garden was set back for which he received £15 in compensation.

copyright © J.Middleton
This coloured postcard dates from around 1905. Mr Coustick ran his bakery from the shop on the right and his horse and cart can be seen nearby.
 copyright © J.Middleton
This view was posted on 22 September 1910. Mr Coustick has moved to the shop around the corner while Peters & Co, furniture dealers, occupy his previous shop. Note the wall-mounted post box next to the shop.

Traffic Problems

copyright © J.Middleton
Photo Left:- Mr J.S. Hills took this photograph and the next one from an upstairs window of number 86 where he ran the post office and would then have them made into postcards. It shows a winter view with practically no traffic.
Photo Right:-  It was summer when Mr Hills leaned out of his window to record this scene. Note the fine gate piers and walls of the garden opposite and the street lamp in the corner.

There was once a speed limit of 10 miles per hour in the north part of Trafalgar Road approaching Southern Cross, which was a notorious traffic black spot. The density of housing meant that vehicles travelling up Trafalgar Road could not see traffic coming along Old Shoreham Road. This speed limit was imposed in 1912 but became inoperative later on due to the Road Traffic Act of 1930. In 1931 Portslade Council decided to request East Sussex County Council that the speed limit be retained.

copyright © A.L. Shepherd
A peaceful conversation piece in the 1940s; note the lack of traffic. 
Perhaps a shopkeeper has come out to talk to a customer or friend.
The Southern Cross area at the north of Trafalgar Road was dramatically altered in the early 1970s when there was a wholesale demolition of houses under the Old Shoreham Road widening scheme. In Trafalgar Road shops and houses plus Southern Cross pub were lost in the name of progress. Many people will have fond memories of the shops; the small grocer’s where hard-up mothers could buy a bag of broken biscuits cheaply, or the pet shop called Oakleigh Animal Supplies where in the summer the window displayed tortoises for sale.

By the 1980s Trafalgar Road was clogged with traffic and the fumes generated gave the road the unenviable record of having one of the highest rates of air pollution in the whole of Brighton and Hove. Heavy lorries coming from Shoreham Harbour aggravated the normal flow of cars and buses. But it is a designated link road from the docks. Various schemes have been put forward for relieving the congestion but all of them of necessity involve demolition of scare affordable housing or the loss of green space. The ideal solution would be a road constructed underground to connect with Old Shoreham Road and Brighton by-pass but as the costs would be prohibitive, it is unlikely to happen.    

Thus Trafalgar Road remains a major route for traffic travelling north from the docks and buses and cars heading south from Portslade Old Village. When road works are necessary, there is major disruption. For example, when a new gas main was laid in Trafalgar Road in 1999 the part between Victoria Road and Vale Road was closed to all traffic from 12 April to 29 May 1999. Likewise, when necessary road surfacing was carried out in more recent times, the road was again closed to traffic. For bus users it meant a detour through Southwick or a detour along Old Shoreham Road.

Local Heroes

It is interesting to note that with such a martial name Trafalgar Road has more than its share of heroes. There were several sad casualties during the Great War.

Number 42 – Private William Watkin Wynn died at home 19 August 1916.
Number 56 – Private John Harold Curtis Wareham killed in action 9 May 1915.
Number 70 – Private Albert George Booker killed in action 31 July 1917
Number 72 – Steward Emmanuel Tester SS John Miles drowned 22 February 1917
Number 74 – Guardsman Percy Steele killed in action 26 December 1916
Number 76 – Private Ernest George Pratt died of dysentery 13 December 1918
Number 87 – Private William James Timms killed in action 25 March 1918
Number 132 – Lance Sergeant Neil Murray Campbell killed in action 30 September 1918
Number 143 – Private Alfred Frank Strevens killed in action 3 September 1917

The following men served in the Second World War

Number 52 – Sergeant Llewellyn Jones must have been born under a lucky star because during his adventurous career as a Royal Marine he survived the sinking of three vessels. The first two incidents occurred on the very same day during the Dardanelles Campaign in the Great War due to the vessels being mined. In the Second World War he was aboard HMS Courageous when a U-boat sunk her on 17 September 1939. Jones’s peacetime occupation was as a postman.

Number 74 – Unlike a previous occupant of this house Driver J. Laiskey of the Royal Artillery returned home safely. His active service did not last long because the Germans captured him at Dunkirk; then he had to endure four years and ten months as a prisoner of war. Neighbours were excited about his return and flags bedecked the house to greet him.

House and Shop Notes

East Side

Number 1 – Mr S. Griffin once lived in a large house on the land here. He ran a market garden nursery on the opposite side of the road (before the Royal British Legion hall was built) and this land extended to Shelldale Road. There was a large greenhouse from where fruit and vegetables could be purchased but most of the produce went to Mr Griffin’s shop at Prince Albert Street, Brighton. His delivery van was a familiar sight in Portslade because there was a snow-white horse between the shafts.   

 copyright © D.Sharp
Advance Screenprint business premises in 2005
In the 1950s Jehovah’s Witnesses purchased the land and built their Kingdom Hall there. The title was rather grand for a building that closely resembled an extended Nissen hut. The congregation flourished and the hall was extended three times over the years. By January 1999 it was claimed that the premises were too small for the congregation and so it was decided to sell up. The main hall measured 56 feet x 33 feet and there was office accommodation and cloakrooms. Offers of £50,000 were invited. Jehovah Witnesses Marriage Registers from 1958 to 1988 were lodged in the Record Office.

Eventually, Advance Screen-print Services set up business there. When they moved out, it seemed no other business wanted to move there. But building land being such a precious commodity in the area, it was soon utilised to build two houses; the billboard advertising Advance Screen-print Services surrounded by ivy remained in the bank rising to the railway line for some time.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Number 35 is a spacious detached house looking down Shelldale Road. The house with the white-painted wall on the left was built at a different angle.

Number 37 – This house was originally called Cemetery Lodge for obvious reasons. Plans for its construction were approved in 1894. The house has a fine flint exterior with raised bands of mortar between the stones in a style similar to work still extant on the stable block at Easthill House and boundary wall at Foredown Isolation Hospital. In 1936 Albert Laker lived in the house and he was Portslade Cemetery Supervisor.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Number 37 is a charming house dating back to 1894 and was known as Cemetery Lodge, probably not a name in the top ten today.

77. Battle of Trafalgar Inn – The pub was built in the 1860s and stood on its own with a small piece of ground in front but that was lost in 1903 so that the road could be made a little wider. Tamplin’s owned the pub right from the early days until the 1960s. In the old days the pub must have been a convenient watering hole for the labourers in the nearby brickfields and flint pits.

 copyright © J.Middleton
The Battle of Trafalgar was photographed on 23 January 2015.

In 1870 Gabriel Wells was the landlord; when the census was taken the following year his age was recorded as 40 while his wife Georgina was thirty-one. They were still there in 1874.

By 1878 George Eager had taken over. In 1881 he was described as a licensed victualler aged 38 and he lived with his wife and one servant. George Eager was born in Ditchling and in 1891 he and his wife with their one servant were still in residence.

Charles Homewood had a brief appearance as landlord in 1895 because by 1898 Mr Abraham was in charge. The Directory called him Edwin Abraham while Hove Gazette (5 February 1898) identified him as Edward Abrahams. It transpired that Abrahams employed a labourer, Henry Godley, to do some work and when the ‘prisoner left on the 19th … so did two coils of lead’. Godley sold the lead to a marine dealer. He was committed to trial for stealing ten shillings’ worth of lead piping and in April he was sentenced to one month’s hard labour.

In 1898 there was a Slate Club at the pub, which allowed customers to save up their money for something special such as an annual treat or just as a nest-egg for a rainy day.

In 1905 A.J. Diplock was landlord and the Diplocks held the tenancy for the longest time. A.J. Diplock ran the pub until the 1920s and Mrs A.J. Diplock was in charge from around 1930 to the 1950s.


In 1900 an inquest was held at the pub into the death of a labourer. His name was Edward Gray and he was killed by a fall of earth while digging in the flint pits. Flint digging was a dangerous occupation because the soft clay soil in which they were found was liable to cave in suddenly. On 7 November 1900 Edward Gray, his son George, Richard Sharp and Robert Woolgar were working in W. Hillman’s flint pits when a huge mass of earth weighing around 30 tons suddenly collapsed on Gray and Sharp. Sharp was extricated fairly quickly and taken to Hove Hospital where he later died. But Gray was already dead when they reached him; they were both labourers from Portslade. It transpired that Mr Hillman had told them they must have a look-out man at the top to warn them if the soil showed signs of cracking. This precaution was often disregarded because the men were on piece-rate work but conditions were already unsafe because of recent heavy rain.

Another inquest was held in the very same year, which must be something of a melancholy record for the pub. Inquests were usually held in the nearest large building to the scene of the accident but obviously the Stag’s Head was too small for such an event. On 3 October 1900 Arthur David Brazier, landlord of the Clifton Arms, Worthing, his brother George, and their father David were out on the Downs at Mile Oak enjoying some sport hunting for rabbits. The landlord was lying on the ground watching a rabbit hole when he made the fatal error of standing upright suddenly at the exact moment when his father fired his shotgun. The inquest verdict was that it was an accident and there was no blame attached to the father. Arthur David Brazier had a long connection with Portslade because his father and his maternal grandfather had both been publicans at the Stag’s Head.

copyright © A.L. Shepherd
This interesting photograph dating from the 1940s shows the corner of Trafalgar Road and Victoria Road. There is a handsome lamp-stand outside Battle of Trafalgar and the people are probably waiting for a bus that used to run along Victoria Road.

 1950s-60s Business card 
Recent Times

On 3 January 1988 a fire broke out in the private rooms above the pub. Landlord Nick McNeil, 36, and his wife Karen, 31, were fast asleep but they were roused by the cries of their two-year old son Daniel shouting ‘Mummy, Mummy, burn, burn’. Leading Fire-fighter Paul Robb from Hove Fire Station said ‘What that boy did was exceptional.’ The fire alarm was not functioning because the battery had been inserted the wrong way round.
 copyright © D.Sharp
Battle of Trafalgar in its 2001 'green phase'
In June 2000 the pub was being renovated but no scaffolding had been erected. On 12 June Michael Roberts from Southwick was engaged in stripping off paint when he suddenly fell off and was killed. The inquest on 1st August recorded a verdict of accidental death.

By 2001 the pub’s exterior was painted dark green with black window frames – no doubt very practical but somewhat sombre. The inn sign also left something to be desired because it just had the pub’s name in lettering whereas the old one had a splendid depiction of battle ships in action.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Photo Left:- This photograph dates from 2009 with the dark paint gone and a new sign. 
Photo Right:- An up-to-date view of Battle of Trafalgar shows several changes have taken place. Note the pendant sign has been moved further south while large lettering occupies the central space; note too the copper lanterns and blackboard-style notice-boards.

By 2009 the dark paint was gone and a new inn sign featuring fighting ships installed. By 2014 the pub had been renovated once more with a cream-painted exterior, lovely copper lanterns, and blackboard-style billboards carrying details of the food on offer.

 copyright © D.Sharp
The Battle of Trafalgar with its new 2022 pub sign

copyright © J.Middleton
This postcard dates from the 1950s.  On the left is part of Battle of Trafalgar but the view south today lacks the tower and small spire of the Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and St Denis because this Roman Catholic church was demolished in 1992. Note the ornate street lamp and the small, white vehicle in the centre, which was horse-drawn.

Number 79a – This property stood on the corner of Trafalgar Road and Victoria Road and its postal address was formerly Victoria Road. Originally it was called Victoria House.
On 29 May 1923 seventeen lots of Portslade land and real estate were auctioned at Old Ship Hotel, Brighton and Victoria House (Lot 12) was one of them. It was described as a freehold corner property, brick-built, slate-healed with a frontage to Trafalgar Road of around 26 feet, return frontage to Victoria Road of around 115 feet and a frontage to Beaconsfield Road of around 26 feet. On the second floor there were two good attic bedrooms; on the first floor there were three good bedrooms with register stoves; a bathroom with fitted bath and heated linen cupboard; a sitting room measuring 15 feet 9 inches x 12 feet 6 inches with a register stove. On the ground floor there was a corner shop measuring 15 feet 6 inches x 13 feet 9 inches with two large shop windows and a mahogany top counter, a side entrance and a passage. In the second lock-up shop there was a dining room measuring 12 feet 6 inches x 10 feet 3 inches with a register stove (by then it was in use as an office). There was a kitchen with range, high-pressure boiler and cupboards; a scullery with sink and copper; a larder with shelves; an outside WC; a cellar with grate in access to pavement. At the rear of the house there was a brick-built and tile-healed garage measuring 38 feet 9 inches x 18 feet 6 inches with sliding doors, cement floor and workshop over. Lot 12, except the lock-up shop, was let to A. & F. Russell, motor and cycle engineers at £70 a year. The lock-up shop was let to F. Webb at 5/- a week. The garage tenants had permission from the vendor to erect a petrol pump between the pavement and the garage.

 copyright © J.Middleton
F.W. & C.A. Hart established their Gramophone and Radio Stores at number 79a in 1937 and this postcard must date from that time. It is probably another photographic effort on the part of J.S. Hills from the Post Office on the opposite side of the road. Note the vegetable van with an advertisement for Ffyfes, at one time famous for their bananas.

In 1937 Frank Hart established his radio and gramophone stores on the premises and the business was known as F.W. & C.A. Hart. His brothers Albert and Reuben Hart worked in the family butcher’s shop opposite at number 88. Hart’s business lasted until the 1950s but by 1966 L.A. Marchant had taken over and by 1974 it was G.P. O’Connor. However, it was still in the same line of business although it had progressed to being a TV and radio dealer enterprise.
Next door in the 1930s was Frederick Webb, boot repairer, and the shop maintained the same trade until the 1950s although by 1947 C.G. King was in charge and by 1951 it was A. Walls. By 1960 Miss B. Clark ran a completely different business there as a china dealer.

Eventually both premises were converted into the Southern Cross Club. In the 1990s it contained a ground floor bar, a function room and a one-bedroom flat.
In November 1998 the premises were on sale for £150,000 and in May 1999 came news that the Hindu community had purchased it. It was to become the first Hindu headquarters south of Streatham and was expected to be used by up to 50 Hindus on a daily basis for worship while the nine major festivals in the Hindu calendar would attract up to 100 people. It was called the Shree Swaminarayan Temple and His Holiness Acharya Maharajshri blessed it on 18 September 1999.    
 copyright © J.Middleton
Number 79a was photographed in January 2015 and it looks as though the part jutting out on the corner is badly in need of some support. A Hindu Temple now occupies the building.

Number 79 – In 1912 the Chandler family, originally from Suffolk, came to live in this house and the rent was ten shillings a week. Mrs Chandler was a widow and her children were Ethel aged 17, Hilda and Horace. Ethel found employment in domestic work but in December 1916 she took the bold step of joining the Women’s Legion, later renamed Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. It was a busy but useful life being an Army cook for hungry soldiers. There was also great camaraderie with the other girls. They were a support to each other when their boyfriends marched off to war to the inspiring sound of a military band. Ethel too found a sweetheart but unhappily he did not survive the war. She never did get married because she always said nobody could replace him. She did not forget him and kept a framed photograph of him beside her bed for the rest of her life. Ethel returned home to Trafalgar Road from the Army in December 1919.

 copyright © E.Chandler                                                                      copyright © J.Middleton
Ethel Chandler and her sister stand outside their home at number 79, Ethel Chandler lived in this house for many years. In 2015 it is pleasant to see that the little decorative piece of ironwork around the upstairs window is still in place.

She was devoted to her brother Horace and fortunately he, his wife Amy and their son Brian lived only two or three doors away. Ethel was the strong one of the family, nursing first her mother and then her sister Hilda who suffered from ill health. According to the 1974 Directory Miss H.M. Chandler was recorded as the occupant but Ethel was still in residence too. The longer she lived there, the prouder Ethel became of her long association with the house. She was described as ‘a gentle person, very unassuming and always ready with a smile’. Ethel regularly attended 8 a.m. Mass at St Nicolas Church. She died when she was over a 100 years old although by that time she was in St Helen's Nursing Home, Portslade.

copyright © D.Sharp
David Sharp wears the uniform of the
 Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders 
in Winnipeg, Canada in 1915.
Number 81 – David Sharp occupied this house for 37 years but he was not locally born. Indeed he travelled hither and thither before settling here. He was born in 1897 in Kelvinside, a tough area of Glasgow. By the time he was fourteen, his parents had decided to try their luck at making a new life for themselves in Canada. There was even the exciting possibility of taking passage aboard a brand new ship called HMS Titanic. But the cost involved was too much for their slender purse and so they sailed from Liverpool in 1911.

When the Great War broke out Sharp wanted to return to Europe to do his bit in the armed forces. But under Canadian law young men had to be aged 19 before they could enlist. Sharp did not find it difficult to persuade the authorities he was old enough and besides he was a tall lad. Thus in June 1915 he found himself aboard SS Grampian with the 32nd Battalion of the Canadian Light Infantry. It was terribly frustrating for him, when on arrival in England he became ill with pneumonia, which affected his eyesight. The upshot was that he was given an Honourable Discharge and sent back to Canada. Nothing daunted as a soon as he was fully recovered he enlisted again and in 1916 sailed aboard SS Lapland with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. In England he served in different hospitals before being sent to Brighton in 1917 where he worked in the Kitchener Hospital, the Indian Military Hospital in York Place and the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Hove. He also conducted a whirlwind romance with  Mabel Perrin and they married on 2 September 1917 at Brighton.
copyright © D.Sharp 
David Sharp and his wife Mabel on board SS Grampian in 1919.

After the war the young couple sailed for Canada but found they could not settle there and so it was back to Blighty in 1920. Six children (Sheila, Iris, Raymond, Gordon, Maureen and Hazel) were born while they were living in Brighton and two more (David and Pauline) were born when they settled at Portslade. Mabel died in 1954 and her husband died in 1967. Their children produced 24 grandchildren and out of that number 22 were born at Portslade. It is interesting to note the house did not enjoy the benefits of electricity until the 1950s.

copyright © D.Sharp
In this unique photograph taken from 81 Trafalgar Road in the late 1940s, the Corpus Christi procession from Our Lady, Star of the Sea, can be seen passing the Battle of Trafalgar on its way to St Marye’s Convent. At the front of procession are acolytes with a processional cross and candles, followed by young children, a group of nuns, a large group of girls in white dresses supervised by a nun and the monstrance and canopy is just coming into view.
 A policeman is standing in the middle of the road with his bicycle to stop any cars coming out from Victoria Road and the shops in Trafalgar Road are hanging out bunting and flags to mark this special day.

Numbers 83, 85 and 87 – In around 1903 the bakery business of Gigin’s owned these three properties. The bakery was situated in Franklin Road where they had been located since 1893 and they had a shop in Station Road.

Number 91 – In 1980 a small cannon ball was found in the garden.

Number 93 – In 1997 it was rumoured there was a large hole in the garden. People liked to speculate on the possibility of a smuggler’s tunnel but it is more likely to be the remains of an old cesspit.

Number 99 – Older people will remember that there used to be a branch of the Brighton Co-op here, which was built in the 1930s. In the 1960s they had a most useful service in operation whereby a man would arrive at your doorstep on a Monday morning to collect a notebook containing your order of groceries, which would be delivered later on that week. No payment was involved then but your notebook was returned with the item price listed and added up; then you went in person to pay your bill, while remembering to give your Co-op membership number to a member of staff so that it could be recorded and count towards the annual dividend payout. It has been said that just as a serviceman never forgot his Army number so no Co-op member every forgot their membership number.
Today it is home to the Wooden Flooring Centre.

Southern Cross Mission – Albert James Gill, gentleman, of 56 Westbourne Street, Hove was responsible for the establishment of the Mission Church. On 2 April 1889 he purchased a piece of land in Trafalgar Road for £40; it measured 22 feet x 129 feet and it formed part of the estate of the late James Holes, brick-maker. It is interesting to note that Beaconsfield Road was originally called Holes Road in his honour. When a new building for St Andrew’s School in Wellington Road was in the course of construction, Holes donated thousands of bricks.

In 1891 Gill purchased a second piece of land of similar size to the first purchase and this cost £35. It is on these two plots of land that the church and manse now stand, the latter being numbered 105.
The first church building was made of corrugated iron and was registered for worship on 20 October 1890. In the vestibule there is a plaque, which reads In Loving Memory of Ellen Catherine Steele, the first member of this Christian Mission, who exchanged earth for Heaven October 3rd 1889 aged 64 years.

In 1898 the Mission Hall and Manse were transferred to William Willett and others for a nominal fee of £1 Perhaps this was just as well because Gill had mortgaged the first plot of land for £300 in 1892 despite the fact it had a Mission Hall on it. William Willett was a highly regarded builder who was responsible for many a fine house at Hove. But he was also a philanthropic gentleman given to good works and supporting evangelical missions in the local area such as the Clarendon Villas Mission in Hove. He was a friend of General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, who once stayed with Willett at his house in The Drive, Hove.

On 1st November 1906 plans for a new brick-built church were discussed. Estimates were accepted on 30 January 1907 and the church was officially opened 6th June 1907. The cost came to £1,200 and there were enough sittings for 250 people. It is said the building was constructed around the iron one, which was then dismantled and re-assembled in South Street, Portslade for a couple of years before being moved to Southwick.

The church prospered and Sussex Daily News (25 February 1914) reported that Southern Cross Mission had in its Sunday School 63 infants, 103 intermediate scholars, 15 senior scholars and 16 teachers.
However, when Mr Steed became pastor in 1937 he worked on a part-time basis because the congregation was small. In his day job he was a milkman. But he must have been blessed with charisma because two years later his flock had increased to such an extent he was able to register as a full-time minister.
His successor, Mr Hewitt, came from a Salvation Army background, and enjoyed leading the singing.
In the 1950s the manse was extended, a new Baptistery was added to the church and a prefabricated hall was erected on land that was once part of Mr Stannard’s Nursery.

On 7 June 1967 the church was renamed Southern Cross Evangelical Church.
In 1989 Mark Gladwell became the youngest minister to officiate at the church because he was only 29 years old. He was married with two children and had been educated at Portslade.

On 5 January 2002 Revd Stephen Packham was inducted as the new pastor. He came from Okehampton in Devon. On 15 February 2003 a youth rally was held at the church and more than 100 young people were expected to attend.   

 copyright © J.Middleton
Southern Cross Evangelical Church was photographed in January 2015. On the right-hand side is the
 Wooden Flooring Centre, once home to a branch of the Brighton Co-op.

Number 135 – White & Sons were an old established firm of builders and they occupied these premises from 1929 until demolition c. 1975 under Old Shoreham Road widening scheme.

West Side

 copyright © J.Middleton
Royal British Legion, The Earl Haig Memorial Hall, 24 Trafalgar Road.

Royal British Legion – Portslade, Southwick and Fishersgate branch of the Royal British Legion was formed in 1925 with 60 members. The site in Trafalgar Road was donated to the Legion but there was still money outstanding on the building during its first year of existence. Captain Irvine Bately, a well-known local figure in Portslade, designed the building (architecture being one of his many interests) and he was also the vice-president of the branch.

On 9 November 1929 the premises were officially opened although in the early days it was called Earl Haig Memorial Hall. Major General W.A. Watson, president of the Sussex Council of the Legion, and Brigadier General Ball, president of Portslade and district British Legion, were present at the ceremony. Captain G. Smith stated that working to establish the hall had been an uphill task for the previous ten years and the successful outcome was largely due to the tremendous efforts of Mr Richardson, honorary secretary.
A club was registered at the hall at a cost of £3 at the same time as it was opened. The accounts between 9 November 1929 and 30 September 1930 revealed the club expended £590-10-8d on the purchase of beers, wine and tobacco while the receipts from billiards amounted to £27-13-2d. By 30 September 1934 there had been a loss of £16 in connection with the Tontine Club while the receipts from billiards and other entertainments amounted to £34-17s.

  copyright © G. Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection.
Portslade's War Memorial in the early 1940s before being moved to Easthill Park in 1954
In 1932 an extension was built to the hall. Portslade War Memorial was affixed to the exterior wall of the hall but the volume of traffic in Trafalgar Road made it impossible to hold a solemn act of remembrance outside in November and in 1954 the memorial was removed to the more tranquil surroundings of Easthill Park.

Number 30 – For many years there was a small barber’s shop on the corner of Trafalgar Road and Shelldale Avenue. On 8 October 1940 the shop lost its plate-glass window to machine-gun fire from three German war-planes. The bullets smashed the glass and travelled on to pit the large mirror.
In 1954 Ronald John King was the barber and twenty years later it was Joseph T. Edwards. The business remained in operation until the 1990s. Then it closed and remained boarded up for some time until it was converted into a residence.

Number 78 – There was once a shop on the south corner of Trafalgar Road and Bampfield Street.

In 1910 Hector Read opened a shop on these premises. He was certainly branching out because he was already running a thriving shop at 56 High Street in the Old Village. In around 1919 young George Steele went to work in the Trafalgar Road shop. Steele was only aged thirteen years old and he earned eight shillings a week. For that small amount the hours were incredibly long:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – 8. a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday was a half-day

Friday – 8.a.m. to 8.p.m.

Saturday 8.a.m. to 9.p.m.

However, it must be recorded that George Steele was desperate to leave school and start earning some money; in those days, if you had reached a sufficient level of learning, such an action was allowed. But you had to prove your worth, and Steele applied to take the labour examination without telling his parents. Thus a government inspector arrived to test him on his reading, writing, arithmetic, history and geography, and gave him the go-ahead to start his working life. His father was furious when he found out, and insisted George stayed at school longer, but at Easter he relented when George was thirteen and a half. George’s father had the notion that working in a shop might be an easier life-style than his own work as a market gardener.

In 1980 Maurice Simmons purchased the business when it was just a laundrette. But more and people were buying their own washing machines and business declined. Mr Simmons endeavoured to find different ways to improve the situation. First he tried videos and when that area was hit by the introduction of satellite TV, he turned part of the shop into a sandwich bar. By 1991 the establishment was called Hi-Jean. When Mr Simmons decided it was time to retire he wanted to sell the place as a going concern but there were no takers. Eventually the shop was converted into a house.

Number 80 – On 29 May 1923 seventeen lots of real estate and land in Portslade was auctioned at Old Ship Hotel, Brighton and this property was Lot 11. It was noted that it was let to Mrs Inskipp, draper and milliner for a rent of £28 per annum. It was described as a freehold, corner business premises brick-built, slate-healed and partly cement-faced; it had a frontage to Trafalgar Road of around 16 feet and a return frontage to Bampfield Street of around 84 feet. The living accommodation comprised three bedrooms with fireplaces, a lavatory, a living room with register stove and double doors leading to a verandah. The shop was double-fronted and there was a half-basement with kitchen, range, dresser and cupboard; there was also a small garden.

Mrs B. Inskipp, a widow, was as thin as a reed and dyed her hair black. As she had a son to bring up on her own, she had to be careful of the pennies. She sold a variety of items in her shop ranging from corsets and stockings to hats and dresses.
Gladys Ellis went to work for Mrs Inskipp in 1927 after she had left school at the age of fourteen. Her wages were five shillings for 55-hour week. The hours were from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. but on Saturdays the shop stayed open until 9 p.m. Wednesday was the high spot of the week because it was a half-day. Gladys’s abiding memory of working in the shop was how dark and cold it was. Although the winters were bitterly cold, there was no heating to take off the chill. Gladys suffered badly from chilblains as a result. Her brother George Ellis worked just up the road in the butcher’s shop at number 88. 

  copyright © J.Middleton
Mrs Inskipp’s draper’s shop used to be on the corner at number 80. 
In 2009 when this photograph was taken there was a bookmaker’s in the premises.
  copyright © J.Middleton
This photograph was taken in January 2015 and there is now a fish and chip shop in number 80. The frontage of the Post Office / Convenience Store has had a make-over and it is interesting to note that there are now four matching gables instead of the three visible in 2009.

Number 84 – In 1988 there was a bakery here called The Merry Baker. But environmental officers did not find the place merry at all; the owners were fined £820 after admitting sixteen charges under the Environmental Health Act. The shop closed down and remained empty for some time until the people running the Post Office next door decided to expand their premises to sell more products as a convenience store.

Number 86 – There has been a Post Office in these premises since at least 1936 when J.S. Hills ran the business; in 1925 the shop was just a newsagent’s. Mr Hills wanted to cash in on the popularity of picture postcards and he would use his camera to take local views and then have them printed as postcards to sell in the shop. Some photos of Trafalgar Road were taken from the upstairs windows of this building. 

copyright © G.Ellis
This memorable photograph was taken in around 1926. 
Left to right, the men are Frank Hart, George Ellis, Reuben Hart and Leslie Garrard.

Number 88 – Mrs Wicks owned the shop; she was the widow of a master builder and speculator who built the large houses in Trafalgar Road with their Tudor-style gables.
In 1924 George Ellis left school at the age of fifteen and went to work for Frank Hart, butchers, at these premises. He started off earning 10/- and this rose until he was earning £1-10s a week – far more his sister Gladys earned at Inskipp’s shop down the road at number 80. But he had to purchase his overalls and striped apron out of his wages. There was a meat vault underneath the shop, which was always cool, even in hot summers. Ellis left Hart’s in 1931 to work at another butcher’s, Hobden’s in Victoria Terrace. The pay was about the same but the perks were better.

In 1935 George Ellis was offered back his old job at Hart’s for £2 a week and so he returned. Hart’s was a thriving business in those days employing six men and a boy. The staff consisted of George Ellis and his father, Frank Hart and his sons Reuben and Albert, Bill Brotherhood and the boy Fred Smith. The shop sold English meat and plenty of locally caught rabbits. 
One Good Friday George Ellis nearly lost two fingers. He could not expect any sympathy from pious people who considered he should not have been working on such a sacred day. The shop was shut to the public that day of course and the blinds were drawn down but there were still many joints to be trimmed and prepared for the weekend. Ellis put his fingers under a lump of suet to cut off the required amount and somehow managed to bring his knife down through the lot but fortunately not right through his bones.
In 1954 Frank and Reuben Hart were still running the show but twenty years later the butcher’s name was J.N. Malpass.

Number 90 – In the 1930s and 1940s William Alfred Sears ran Aldrington Dairies from this shop. In June 1940 Olive Walter went to work there, joining several other girls because the men had been called up into the armed forces. Naturally, they were dubbed milkmaids. It was a seven-day week job and Olive had to learn to ride a heavy trade bicycle in order to make deliveries twice a day on her Portslade round. She delivered milk in bottles containing half a pint, 1 pint, 1 ½ pints and 2 pints. After making deliveries she had to return to the depot and wash out all the empties. Next morning found her busily bottling the fresh milk, which she capped with a cardboard disc that had to be pressed down firmly. At first she earned £2 a week but eventually she earned £3-3s, which was a satisfying amount being equivalent to a man’s wage. Aldrington Dairies remained on the premises until the 1960s.

Numbers 110/112 – Mr P. J. W. Barker was obviously a man of wide interests because in Kelly’s Directory he is recorded as trading under the name of the Southern Cross Drug Store; whereas today he is remembered for selling china souvenirs sporting the Portslade Crest, which he designed and copyrighted. In this design, the shield is surmounted by a Roman galley, which might have stood for Portus Adurni because at that time this Roman name was thought to be relevant to Portslade, although now disproved. In the top left corner there is an appropriate cornucopia or Horn of Plenty as an acknowledgement of the fertile produce from local market gardens, and beneath it a bunch of grapes to signify good health. In the top right corner there are six Sussex martlets, and beneath it an oak branch to signify strength. (No doubt, Mr Barker would be astonished to see all the houses in Mile Oak today). At the foot there is the Latin motto Vive Valeque meaning ‘here’s health and strength to you’.

The Brighton Herald (5 July 1915) provides a fascinating footnote to this address. It stated that Mrs Barker of Trafalgar Road, Portslade, had presented Brighton Museum with a helmet once worn by a member of the 17th Lancers during the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854, immortalised in Tennyson’s poem. The helmet must have been almost a holy relic because of its association with the immortal 600 – 673 cavalrymen in fact, from the 17th Lancers and the 13th Light Dragoons. The helmet also emphasises the British tendency to celebrate a glorious defeat (think of Dunkirk).

Martin Leonard Landfried (1834-1902) – spelled Langfried on the Brighton 'named' bus – joined the 17th Lancers at the age of fourteen as a trumpeter, and served with them for seventeen years. He was one of the men who sounded the fatal bugle call to charge at Balaclava. Landfried was right in the thick of it. He was wounded when a bullet went through his right arm, glanced off the pouch he wore at his side, and killed the horse beneath him. In 1865 he retired from the Army and lived at 4 Portland Road, Hove. He became a celebrated local hero, and his party piece was to sound the bugle call while the famous actress Amy Sedgwick (1830-1897) recited Tennyson’s poem – there was not a dry eye in the house. When Landfried died, he was given a grand ceremonial funeral and was buried in Hove Cemetery, the white cross having a sheathed stone sword draped over it. Is it beyond the bounds of probability that the helmet once belonged to Landfried?

copyright © J.Middleton 
Harvey’s is now in its fourth decade of business at this address of 110, something of a record for Trafalgar Road.

Actor Ralph Harvey and his wife Audrey established Harvey’s of Hove in around 1974 and by at least 1981 it was at this address and still going strong in 2015. There are rooms bulging with over 15,000 outfits that are hired out to amateur theatre groups or fancy dress partygoers. In 1981 it was stated that some costumes dated back 150 years but most of them hailed from old Hollywood stock

 copyright © J.Middleton 
Wayne de Streete inside his shop.
Their son Wayne de Streete and his wife now run the business. Wayne has another string to his bow with his company Stunt Action Specialists, which carries out historical fight re-enactments in full costume. Wayne is also a qualified diver and a keen member of the Sussex Amphibian and Reptile Group, which manages several ponds and dew-ponds on the South Downs. There are two ponds in the garden in the back of the shop and at the height of the breeding season there are 110 frogs, toads and newts plus thousands of tadpoles with which he re-stocks local ponds.

Number 114 – In 1903 Mr Dudeney owned this shop as well as numbers 86, 88, 90, 108, 110, 112, 116, 118 and 120. In July 1931 Portslade Council received letters from five residents complaining about the fried fish shop at number 114. In 1936 this shop was a butcher’s run by E.S. Saunders & Son; in 1974 it followed the same trade and C.J. Saunders was in charge.

Numbers 128, 130 and 132 – In 1902 Miss Patching owned these premises, which were private houses.

Numbers 162, 164, 166 – In 1902 Isaac Holland owned these houses. He was a well-known figure because he was also landlord of George Inn in Portslade Village. He was a man of considerable industry because in addition he followed the trades of builder, plumber, paper-hanger, wheelwright, shoeing and general smith; he invested the money he earned in property. He owned other houses in the village and the row of flint cottages called Robin’s Row. He died on 28 May 1908 aged 64.
In the 1950s number 166 was the receiving office for the Star Model Laundry whose premises were in Wellington Road, Portslade. This laundry is famous in aviation circles because of its connection with the gifted Miles brothers, pioneers in the design of early aircraft.

 copyright © J.Middleton
This is how the north part of Trafalgar Road used to look with Southern Cross pub on the left. All these buildings were demolished.

Number174Southern Cross Inn  - In 1870 Edward White was the landlord followed in around 1874 by Samuel West. By 1878 Brighton-born Thomas Nye was behind the bar and the 1881 census recorded him as being aged 40 and living with his wife Elizabeth and their son Thomas, an 18-year old carpenter. By 1887 Thomas Peters was the landlord. Chapman & Co owned the pub and in February 1890 F.N. Tasher of Brighton produced plans on their behalf for new stables to house three horses plus a coach-house. 
On 8 May 1891 an inquest was held at the pub on 34-year old labourer Thomas Evans. He had been ill with pneumonia and was quite delirious. He asked his wife to pass him his white-handled razor so that he could cut his corns but later on she found he had used it to cut his throat.

  copyright © G. Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection.
The Southern Cross in the 1960s

By 1904 the pub had passed into the hands of Rock Brewery. In 1905 George Ashman began his long association with the pub because he was still there in the 1920s. His successor remained even longer; Louis Carroll was there in 1930 and he was still behind the bar in 1954.
According to William Grinyer (born in 1909) the landlord used to run a charity football match for his regulars on Boxing Day. There was one rule as to the contestants and that was they had to be over 70 years of age. But it was all good fun and it seemed nobody dropped dead. Afterwards, generous refreshments were laid on.

The pub closed down in October 1973 and was demolished shortly afterwards due to Old Shoreham Road widening scheme. The inn sign was not at all colourful being a somewhat prosaic cross. It was taken down and propped against a wall. But it soon vanished – perhaps appropriated by a nostalgic regular.

 copyright © J.Middleton
These are the last houses on the west side but before the Old Shoreham Road widening took place, there were more buildings to the north.

Tate’s – After the demolition of shops, businesses, houses and Southern Cross pub, Tate’s acquired two corner sites on Trafalgar Road and Old Shoreham Road, one site formerly occupied by the pub.
The Tate enterprise started out in a small way with Tate’s Laundry on the corner of Foredown Drive, Portslade. In 1919 their garage opened at Southern Cross on the north west corner of old Shoreham Road and Locks Hill; it has expanded from a modest outfit to a large business over the years. Tate’s diversified and the pub site once housed a display of greenhouses but unfortunately when the great gale of 16/17 October 1987 occurred they were all smashed to bits. Moreover, the wall of an adjoining house crashed through their car showroom demolishing several brand new cars. In total their businesses in Sussex suffered £ ¼ million of damage and it fell to John Tate, by then retired, to sort put the complicated insurance details. The Tates have had more than their share of hard knocks; in 1954 the old laundry premises at Foredown Road burned down; in 1971 there was a fire in the garage at the foot of Applesham Way. But they keep on going. In 1990 their Paradise Park in Newhaven opened while Mayberry Garden Centre in Portslade has opened in recent years. Meanwhile, the old Southern Cross pub site has become a car repair specialist and M.O.T. centre.  

  copyright © G. Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph from his private collection.  
Tates Garage on north side of Southern Cross on the Old Shoreham Road in the early 1920s
Portslade Council Planning Approvals

1885 – Mr Holes, cottages
1894 – Cemetery Lodge
1898 – G.W. Miles, shop and house
1898 – J. Dudeney, four houses and shops
1898 – J. Dudeney, one house
1898 – Mr Collins, two houses
1899 – A. & J. Peters, two houses
1900 – J.C. Hall, Victoria House, shop and house
1902 – H. White, seven houses (92-104)
1906 – J. Dudeney, Dairy
1907 – J. Faulkener, Southern Cross Mission
1907 – Mr Willett, Chapel
1923 – F.J. Edmonds, nine houses (55-71)
1925 – Miss A. Harrison, one house
1926 – I. Holden, one house
1928 – J. Stannard, greenhouse, plant house, adjoining number 123
1928 – White & Sons, shop with flat above
1929 – White & Sons, workshops
1929 – F.J. Edmonds, garages in place of shop
1929 – F.J. Edmonds, six shops
1929 – F.J. Edmonds, two houses, one shop
1929 – British Legion, Club Room
1932 – British Legion, extension to Club Room
1932 – Mr Greenfield, block of three shops (140-144)
1932 – Mrs McConnochie, one house
1934 – H.W. Weller, shop
1935Brighton Co-operative Society, shop (number 99)
1950 – Church Hall
1956 – Two bungalows
1959 – One bungalow
1959 – Southern Cross Mission, Meeting Hall

Directory 1936 – Shops and Businesses

East Side

3.   Albert John Heather, florist
37.  Albert John Laker, Portslade Cemetery Superintendent
61.  Miss Gladys King, hairdresser
61.  Misses Key, tea rooms
77.  Battle of Trafalgar, pub, Mrs A.M. Diplock

(Victoria Road)

79a. Frederick Webb, boot repairer
89.  Edward Machell, window cleaner

(to Beaconsfield Road)

103. Southern Cross Mission
105. Revd Henry William Ball
107. John Edwin Jagger, ham and beef shop
111. James Stannard, nurseryman (Trafalgar Nurseries)
123. James Stannard
137. A. & H. Patching, general shop
145. Henry Williams, confectioner
147. William Hughes, baker

West Side

Douglas Haig Memorial Hall
30.  William Rogers, hairdresser

(Shelldale Avenue)

32.  Mrs Grace E. Pattison, general stores
34.  A. & I. Catt, wool shop
38.  Mrs Rose Robins, shopkeeper

(Shelldale Road)

40.  Frederick G. Collings, grocer
42.  Peter J. Wynn, electrical engineer

(Elm Road)

58.  Joseph John Wilson, greengrocer
78.  Hector Read, grocer

(Bampfield Street)

80.   Mrs B. Inskipp, draper
84.   James Hills, grocer
86.   J.S. Hills & Son, stationers and Post Office
88.   Reuben Hart & Frank Hart, butchers
90.   Aldrington Dairies, William Alfred Sears
108. Frederick Puttock, tailor
110. Cecil B. Burnwell, chemist
112. Arthur Gill, outfitter
114. E.S. Saunders & Son, butchers
122. Miss Doris Lee, confectioner

(Footpath to Abinger Road)

138. Greenfield & Son, Depository
140. Gerald E. Moppett, grocer
142. Herbert Allfrey, greengrocer
144. Jackson & Lovett, draper
162. Frank Fuller, hairdresser
170. W.H. Green & Son, builder
174. Southern Cross Inn, Louis Carroll

Directory 1974 – Shops and Businesses

East Side

Kingdom Hall
99.  George Rose & Sons, office equipment, stationery
77. Battle of Trafalgar, pub
103. Southern Cross Mission
107. M.H. Cannon, shopkeeper
135. White & Sons, builders

West Side

30.  Marshall, hairdresser
32.  Winsors, grocer
34.  Mrs G.G. Wiggins, cafĂ©
36/38. The Trade In, second-hand goods
38.  William Payne, shopkeeper
64.  St Theresa’s Catholic Repository, Miss F. Roberts
78.  Washeteria / Laundrette
80.  Steve Griffin, turf accountant
84.  Holmwood, grocer
86.  Newsagents and Post Office, C.A. Moores
88.  J.N. Malpass, butcher
108. Home Security, locksmith
114. C.J. Saunders, butcher
140. Knott’s, furniture dealers
142/144. F. Short, grocer
162. Oakleigh Animal Products
174. Southern Cross Inn

Shops and Businesses – January 2015

East Side

32.  Walker Brown, accountants and tax consultants
40.  New Star Tandoori
80.  The Best Fish and Chips
86.  Southern Cross Convenience
108.  Scorpio, Fire and Security
110.  Harvey’s of Hove

West Side

77.  Battle of Trafalgar, pub
99.  Wooden Flooring Centre
103. Southern Cross Evangelical Church
103.  Southern Cross Pre-School


Census Returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Ford, W.O. Southern Cross Evangelical Church (1989)
Middleton, J. Hove and Portslade Through Time (2009)
Middleton, J. Portslade and Hove Memories (2004)
Worthing Pub History (Clifton Arms)

The Keep

CHC 59/2 Portslade, Southwick & Fishersgate Royal British Legion 1930-1938
DO/A35/1 et seq. Portslade Urban District Council Minute Books from 1897
Auction at Old Ship Hotel 29 May 1923 of freehold properties and land at Portslade offered in 16 lots.

Copyright © J.Middleton 2015
page layout by D.Sharp