09 April 2019

North Street, Portslade.

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2019)

copyright © G. Osborne
North Street in 1911
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

In the Ordnance Survey Map of 1873 North Street only stretched as far as Clarence Street and West Street, while further on it was called Western Road.

An extract from the 1881 Annual Report on the condition of the Combined Sanitary District of West Sussex:-
 
In a house in North Street, Portslade, containing six rooms, there lived two families, Mr. S.A. with his wife and four children and Mr. C.J. with his wife and four children, in all four adults and eight children. All of these persons had been successfully vaccinated in infancy, except for S.A., who had small-pox when he was 11 years old. 

Mrs. J. was taken ill with small-pox on 28 October; she had well-marked attack and made a good recovery. Attempts were made in early stage of the disease to remove some of the inmates from the crowded dwelling, but no one could be found to take any healthy ones in. The whole of the inmates were kept indoors and the Steyning Board of Guardians supplied them all necessary food as long as the illness lasted. C.J., 8 years, had a slight attack of small-pox on 13 November and soon recovered. There was no other cases in the house or neighbourhood, their clothes were burnt and the house was disinfected on the 13 December.

copyright © D. Sharp
Number 7 survived the mass demolition 
of the 1960's-70's and is one of only two
 houses in North Street where its 1880’s
 architectural features are still recognisable
There were five households in Portslade, where one or more inmates were infected by small-pox. The Medical Officer stated that all these households had contact with someone from Hove where small-pox was more prevalent. (In 1881 both Portslade and Aldrington were a part of the Steyning Union, West Sussex)

The 1891 Census

Number 7 – The Saville family occupied this house. William Saville, aged 49, was a brick-maker from St Albans, Hertfordshire; his two sons, 20-year old William and Alfred, aged 18, were both labourers in a brick-yard. The younger children, consisting of two sons and four daughters, were still attending school.

Number 8 – William Peters, a Portslade-born garden labourer, lived in this house with his wife Louie, and their daughters Rose 7, Louie 5, Annie 3, and 14-month old son William.

Number 50 – Portsmouth-born James Goble, aged 49, lived in this house with his wife Ann, their 20-year old son George, a gas-house labourer, and daughters Annie 16, Alice 13, Hetty 11, Ada 7, Millie 6, and two-year old Daisy.

These families represent the type of work available in this area, which also attracted people from further afield.

 copyright © G. Osborne
North Street in 1912
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

Kelly's North Street Commercial Directory for 1911

North side of road starting from the junction with Station Road.

4a – Miss Queenie Edey – Confectioner
18 – George Stanbridge – Tobacconist & National Telephone Co Ltd (public call office)
20 – James Hopkins – Grocers
22 – William Low – Chemist & Post Office
24 – Clarendon Arms Public House – William Phillpot
26 – Mrs Lizzie Caines- Confectioner
28 – Alfred Saville – Confectioner
30 to 32 – William Peters – Fishmonger
36 – Bretton Hickmore – Shopkeeper
38 – David Green – Coal & Coke Dealer
40 – Samuel Holdstock – Coffee House
42 – The Home & Colonial Stores – Grocers
44 – Arthur Hardy – Pork Butcher

copyright © Brighton & Hove City Libraries
1902 advert showing all the business interests of Walter Hillman, 
he also had a farm at Easthill.
 
46 – Walter Hillman – Portslade Steam Corn Crushing Mill
48 – Charles Goddard – Cutler & Grinder
50 & 56 – J. Patching & Sons – Painters
52 – George Parker – Hairdresser
58 – Arthur Austin – Grocer
60 – George Morfield Greengrocer
62 – John Still – Boot Repairer
64 – George Silverthorne – Fishmonger

  copyright © G. Osborne
 
66 – Freeman, Hardy & Willis – Boot & Shoe Dealers
68 – James Nelson & Sons Ltd – Butchers
72a – Walter Woods – Baker
74 – George Daws – Coal Merchant & Carman
84 to 86 – George Hallon – Grocer
92 – Portslade Baptist Church
96 – William Standen – Greengrocer
98 – Walter Hutson – Hardware Dealer

copyright © Denis Williams.
North Street in the 1940s, the Picturedrome on the left, the Salvation Army Hall on the right and the twin towered Portslade Baptist Church in the centre.

100 – Prince’s Imperial Picture Palace (later renamed the Picturedrome)
106 – Charles Hermann – Fishmongers
108 – Isaac Buger – Sergeant in Charge, Police Station, (St Andrew's Road Police Station was built in 1910)

South side of road starting from the junction with Station Road.
copyright © G. Osborne
Eli Andrews, library & bookseller

1 – Thomas Towner – Coffee House
1a – Benjamin Short – Hairdresser
? - Henry Bolton – Egg Merchant
5 – Stallabrass & Co – Jewellers
7 – Percy Jaines – Tobacconist
9 – George Hard – Boot & Shoe Maker
13 – Arthur Skinner – Watch & Clock Maker
15 – Eli Andrews – Bookseller
17 – Harry Stredwick – Boot & Shoe Maker
19 – Charles Curd – Butcher
21 – Frederick Hughes – Oil & Colour Man
23 – Mrs Elizabeth Butcher – Laundry
25 – Walter Woods – Baker
29 – Walter Hillman – Seedsman & Carting Contractor
33 – Arthur Owen – Grocer & Tea Dealer
35 – W & R Fletcher Ltd – Butchers
37 – Churchill & Co – Shoe Manufacturer
39 – The World’s Stores Ltd – Grocer & Tea Merchants
41 – William Greaves – Fruiterer

copyright © G. Moore
The Clarence in its heyday

49 – Brighton Equitable Cooperative Society Ltd (Branch)
51 – H. Baker & Co. - Builder Merchants (later moved to 77) also Baker & Sons – Blacksmiths, Wheelwrights & Undertakers.
53 – Colbourne & Co – Butchers
55 – Walter Baddeley – Grocer & Tea Merchant 
57 – Walter Long – Ironmongers
61 to 63 – George Ariss – Draper
65 – William Morner – Confectioner
67 – Walter Witcher – Ironmongers

copyright © D. Sharp
Number 77 survived the mass demolition of the 1960s-70s and in 1911
was the home and business premises of Alfred Bourne, a Fly Proprietor, 
his horses and carriages would have been kept in the open space 
to the left of the house ready for hire.

77 – Alfred Bourne – Fly Proprietor
79 – Salvation Army Citadel

copyright © G. Osborne
Portslade's Salvation Army Band
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

The Clarendon Arms

copyright © G. Osborne
Clarendon Arms Public House before a road surface was laid
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

This Clarendon Arms was built in the 1860s, and Robins & Co owned it from 1862 to 1928; then Tamplin’s took over and remained the owners until it closed in 1965.

In 1871 Thomas Tate was the landlord. He was aged 33 and he lived with his wife Ann, also 33, and their children Emily 9, Alice 7, Thomas 4, and Henry aged one year. There was also one servant. It seems that Thomas Tate must have died at a young age because by 1878 Mrs Ann Tate was running the pub.

By 1881 Mrs Tate had re-married and her husband Benjamin Wood became the new licensee. He was nine years younger than his wife, and two of her children still lived at the pub. They were Thomas Tate, aged 15 who worked as a butcher’s assistant, and 19 year old Alice Tate.

In 1891 Essex-born Benjamin Wood was running the pub on his own with the assistance of one servant, Emma Sharp.

copyright © G. Osborne
1911 photograph showing the Clarendon Arms Public House and North Street with a mettled road
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

Benjamin Wood was still there in 1899 but by 1905 John Curd was the landlord. Mr Curd did not stay for long and by 1910 W. Phillpot was in charge, and he stayed there until the 1920s.
In 1930 G. F. Matthews was running the pub, followed by Charles Salcombe, who was there from at least 1935, and during the Second World War.

In 1947 Edward Constable was the new landlord but he soon moved on, to be replaced in 1951 by Frederick John May.

The last landlord was Christopher Routledge, known as Ted, who was there from 1958 until the pub closed in 1965. Ted moved up to Wickhurst Rise, and by 1966 he was running the Stag’s Head in Portslade Old Village.

It is interesting to note how the street numbering changed with regard to the Clarendon Arms – in 1891 it was located at 6 North Street, by 1905 it was 23 North Street, and by 1935 it was number 24.

Number 55 - Baddeley's Grocer & Tea Merchant Shop (childhood home of Bishop Walter Baddeley DSO & bar, MC & bar, DD.)

copyright © G. Osborne
Walter Baddeley was born above Number 55
(the shop with the window adverts by the lamp post)
Walter Baddeley, of whom the British and American press coined the phrase ‘the fighting Bishop’, was probably the most famous and distinguished man to be born in Portslade. 

Walter was born above his father’s grocery shop at 55 North Street on the 22 March 1894. Walter was educated at Portslade, Brighton and Oxford University and was a Sunday School teacher at St Andrew’s Church Portslade .

In the First World War he served with the Royal Sussex and the East Surrey regiments as a Major and an acting Lieutenant-Colonel. He was a military hero and survived the trenches in France. He was awarded the M.C. and bar, the D.S.O and bar and was four times mentioned in despatches.
After the War he entered Theological College to train as a priest in the Church of England. He served as a curate and priest in the north of England. Many years later in 1932 he was appointed Bishop of Melanesia in the Pacific. He was in the Solomon Islands when the Japanese invaded in 1942 and hid in the jungle with many of the islanders. The Americans recognized the sterling work he carried out under Japanese occupation. He was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom with Palm for the medical care of the wounded and the rescuing of American servicemen from the Japanese.

In 1954 Walter H Baddeley was appointed Bishop of Blackburn. The Right Revd Walter Hubert Baddeley, DSO., MC., DD., Bishop of Blackburn died in 1960. (these biographical details researched by D. Sharp)

The Night Watchman’s Sad Experience

The 30 April 1899 was a very cold night; William Burrows asked if he might sit by the fire in the watchman’s hut in North Street. He stayed there until 4 a.m. when the night watchman went outside his hut to attend to the lamps. When the night watchman heard a sudden noise, he hurried back and found that Burrows had fallen across the fire. Burrows was taken to Hove Dispensary (Hove Hospital) in Sackville Road, where he died a month later. It was supposed that Burrows had suffered a fit before falling into the fire. He had no friends or relatives in the area, and was rather secretive about revealing his name; it was also stated that he was not employed in the on-going drainage system being constructed.

Bert Pierce’s Memories

copyright © G. Osborne
The junction of George Street and North Street
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

Bert Pierce was born in 1903 at George Street, Portslade. He remembered that in his childhood North Street was the main shopping street in Portslade. North Street would be especially crowded on Saturday evenings with many people about seeking bargains; in the days before refrigeration, meat would often be sold off cheaply then.

copyright © D. Sharp
The cattle arch linking the Portslade Goods Yard
with Vale Road and Station Road
Pierce remembered Mr Hardy, an enterprising butcher in North Street, who was the first person in the area to have electric lights, courtesy of a gas engine driving his personal dynamo.

There were several butchers in North Street, and one had its own slaughter-house at the back with the entrance being from Wellington Road. Cattle, sheep and pigs arrived by rail, and were off-loaded at Portslade goods yard. Sometimes they were kept here overnight. Then they would be driven down Station Road, supervised by two or three men, to the slaughter-house. Surprisingly enough, this practice continued until the 1930s.

On one occasion a bull managed to escape and charged into estate agents Young, Holbeck & Sadler, whose premises were situated on the corner of the twitten. In those days the office had a 4-ft counter with high stools behind it. The staff safely hid behind the counter while the furious bull bellowed at them.

copyright © D. Sharp
The junction of George Street and North Street in 2019.
All residential homes and shops demolished, 
now a street of business premises and warehouses.

The Baker Family

copyright © Syd Baker
Syd Baker, undertaker’s assistant c1929.
The Baker family lived at 51 North Street, which also served as the premises of Baker & Sons, undertakers. It was one of the few three-storey houses in the street, but it was still a squash to fit in all the family. Norman Baker married Jane Patching; although their firstborn died, they went on to have three sons and six daughters. They were:- Herbert Harold, Syd (born in 1910), Leonard, May, Jean, Ethel, Margery, Winnie, and Millie. Syd and Len shared a bedroom, which also housed the bathtub and the geyser.

Mrs Baker was a tiny woman – just over 4-ft in height – but she was hard at work from 5.30. a.m. until late at night, keeping her family well-fed, and provided with clean clothes. There was always a pile of ironing to be tackled with her flat irons, heated up on the black-leaded range. She was also something of an expert when it came to baking a light sponge cake. Far from being worn out by her labours, she lived to the grand age of 94.

Norman Baker was a disciplinarian, keeping his large brood in order with the threat of a cane. On occasions, Syd Baker was required to go and purchase a new cane from Saville’s, the tobacconist. Syd then had the humiliation of walking home with the cane, and everyone knowing what was in store. Incidentally, Saville’s was also the unofficial bookmaker.

Dennis Williams’s Memories

In 1926 the uncle and aunt of Dennis Williams took over a shop on the corner of Albion Street and North Street. It was a cafe and incredibly the door was open from 8 a.m. to midnight, selling sandwiches and delicacies such as a penny rock cake. It was a little goldmine, bringing in around £35 a week, which was a great deal of money in those days. It was also well patronised by young people. There was a pin-ball machine in the cafe too, and if you won, your reward was one free cigarette. Although the cafe could only hold around twelve people, the couple used to open up the back living room as well in the evenings. This room housed a piano, and there would be a great deal of singing and laughing. Anyone who could play an instrument, such as an accordion for instance, would bring it along and join in the fun.

Next door to the cafe was Terry, the greengrocer, who had two handsome sons, and two beautiful daughters, who could all play instruments, and they were often present at these gatherings.

Bill Wareham’s Memories

Bill Wareham was born in 1932 in Gladstone Road, Portslade. In his childhood North Street was still a street of little shops and businesses.

There was Mrs Tucker in her sweet shop; Mr Matthew, the butcher; Bert Goble and sons, greengrocer’s, while Mrs Parnell ran a drapery shop, and Mr Citeroni dispensed ice creams. People went to Baker’s, the wood merchant’s, for bundles of wood for kindling fires at home, or wood shavings to put in their rabbit hutches.

A Murder in 1933

Joseph Bedford ran a little ironmongers shop at Number 1 Clarence Street on the corner of North Street, for many years. Although he was aged 80, he was still active and kept his shop open for business until 8 p.m. In 1933, Joseph was the victim of a horrific crime, see Clarence Street for more details.

Baptist Church

There were only a handful of Baptists living in Portslade in the 1870s but even so the great Revd Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) recognised their need and arranged for Revd E. A. Tydeman, fresh from the Baptist College, to visit them. The young man set out from Brighton and arrived at Portslade in the middle of a snowstorm, and in fact he became the first pastor of the congregation. The first service he took was on 18 December 1870 in the Assembly Room attached to the Clarence, and the congregation consisted of eleven people plus some children.

Word got around, and numbers quickly grew until the Portslade Baptist congregation was officially formed on 29 October 1972. The average collection for the first twelve months was only £1 a Sunday, but the congregation soon started a fund so that they could purchase a piece of land and build their own chapel. The asking price for the plot of land they had their eye on was £90, but the landowner kindly agreed to let them have it for £80 when the fund had reached that amount.

In 1873 a School / Chapel was erected in Chapel Place, off North Street, with enough space to seat 150 people. Two deacons, Constable and Evenden, built it at cost price.

The majority of the male congregation earned their living by working in the brick-fields, or over the canal at Portslade Gasworks. Men employed at the latter place were often unable to attend a service on Sunday, and so a special weekday afternoon service was held for them.

By the 1890s the modest chapel was no longer large enough for the burgeoning congregation. Indeed, in November 1890 it was recorded that the Baptists had the largest Sunday School, Gospel Temperance Band, and Mothers’ Meeting in the district but lacked an adequate building.

copyright © G. Osborne
(With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

The New Church

On 1 October 1891 H. R. Marshall laid the foundation stone of the new Baptist Church. Two other memorial stones were laid; one by Mrs David Davies on behalf of Baptist friends in Brighton, and the other as a memorial of God’s blessing on our pastoral labour at Portslade E. A. Tydemna, W. Townsend, F. Harvey, S. G. Gamble, J. O’Neill Campbell.
copyright © G. Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission
for the reproduction of the above photograph  from
his private collection.

The service began at 3.30 p.m. but unfortunately the rain was falling in torrents and so the first part took place inside the old chapel. However, after a couple of hymns and some prayers, the rain ceased, and everyone trooped outside for the ceremony. A glass bottle was placed in a cavity behind the foundation stone – it contained copies of The Freeman, The Baptist, The Sussex Daily News, a programme of the day’s proceedings, and the names of the building committee, architect, builders and pastor.

By the close of the day, the money in hand for the church project came to £709. The total was estimated at £1,500 but this also included a new schoolroom for infants and a chapel-keeper’s cottage. Meanwhile, the old chapel continued to be used.

The new church was built to the south of the old chapel, and fronted North Street. Mr A. R. Parr of Aldrington was the architect, and the new church had enough accommodation for 400 people. The exterior was graced by twin turrets, which became a familiar landmark in North Street for many years. Inside the turrets, spiral staircases led to a spacious gallery.

The new church was formally opened on 29 March 1892.

  copyright © G. Osborne
Portslade's Salvation Army Band leading the Portslade United Sunday School's children to Portslade Station for an outing to Hassocks on the 22 July 1911, the procession is proceeding from North Street into Station Road
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph from his private collection. 

Organ

A small hand-pumped organ was purchased for £10 from the Portland Road Wesleyan Church. In 1947 this was replaced by an organ purchased for £200 from Pulborough Parish Church. It cost almost twice as much to dismantle, transport, and re-build it. Mr Cole of Hove was the organ builder.

The Bakers

The Baker family, local undertakers and timber merchants, were staunch supporters of the Baptist Church. May Baker, sister of Syd Baker, was in charge of the primary class at the church for over 40 years. She had the satisfaction of teaching the children of the original group of children that had been under her care.

A Celebration

In 1945 the Baptist Church celebrated its 75th anniversary, and two of its former pastors came to the special service. Mr C. F. Goodwin published a book that was described as a pleasing record of the church’s background, It was entitled The History of a Brook by the Traveller’s Way but copies seem to have vanished without trace.

It is sad to record that the 75th anniversary was something of a swansong for the presence of Baptists in North Street. The demographic of Portslade-by-Sea had changed so much since the early days, and the brick-fields were long gone. The population density was shifting northwards with housing projects springing up in Mile Oak, and continuing to this day. The last hurrah for the Baptist Church in North Street was when it was re-decorated in 1953.
copyright © J. Middleton
Portslade's 'new' Baptist Church in South Street

End of the Road

In 1957 a site for a new Baptist Church was purchased in South Street in Portslade Old Village – it was the Lindfield House property and cost £3,400.

The North Street Church was sold in 1959 for £8,300. It served as a warehouse for some years before being demolished.

Pastors

1870-1875 – Revd E. A. Tydeman
1875-1877 – Revd F. Harvey
1878-1888 – Revd S. G. Gamble
1889-1893 – Revd J. O’Neill Campbell
1893-1919 – Revd H. J. Dyer
1920-1929 – Revd G. Burrett
1929-1934 – Revd A. E. Johnson
1934-1949 – Revd A. J. Phillips
1950-1959 – Revd E. C. K. Starling

Recent Times

1996 – A Fire

In the early hours of 2 May 1996 a fire swept through the premises of Fine Reproduction Furniture. Laxley Pennant, 31-year old owner of the business, said that none of the stock was insured – an estimate of the total damage caused by the fire came to £7,000. The blaze took 30 fire-fighters three hours to bring under control, and the men came from Hove, Brighton, Roedean and Shoreham. The fire-fighters found the canal useful in supplying water for their hoses.

The building destroyed in the fire collapsed on top of a basement garage, trapping a 1953 MG in the debris. The car’s insurers wanted to view the chassis, which caused a bit of a problem. The chassis was finally extracted through what remained of the roof.

1999 – New Church

copyright © D. Sharp
City Coast Church in 2019

In November 1999 planning permission was granted to the Christian Outreach Church to move from its former premises in Newtown Road, Hove, to North Street. Portslade councillors were pleased at the prospect because they thought it would revitalise North Street, which was particularly deserted on Sundays. The establishment is now known as City Coast Church. David and Jackie Harland became lead pastors in 2001, and after seventeen years at the helm, handed over their duties to Jamie and Vicki Harland.

Grate Fireplaces

  copyright © J.Middleton
The former Salvation Army Hall was photographed in June 2003.

For some years Grate Fireplaces occupied 79 North Street – that is in the old Salvation Army Citadel, besides additional buildings. This gave them some 6,000 square ft of showroom space in which to display the largest collection of period fireplaces in the south. (For more information about the Salvation Army, please see under Church Road, Portslade).

In June 2000 the display included a magnificent fireplace carved out of a single piece of white marble. Its previous home was a French chateau, and was worth £25,000. Apparently, film star Tom Cruise had just purchased it.

On 4 July 2000 a heavy downpour caused flooding in the immediate area, and the premises of Grate Fireplaces was inundated with floodwater a metre in depth. The damage came to £40,000 and the owner, Doug Clarke, said he would have to shut for three weeks in order to sort things out. Hopefully, flooding should be relegated to the past now that there is a new drainage system.

Grate Fireplaces later moved to the opposite side of the road at 92-98 North Road. In November the business, by then known as Grate Fireplaces and Interiors, was taken over by the Sussex Fireplace Gallery, and they have specialists in the restoration of marble and cast iron.

Meanwhile, the old Citadel building became home to England’s Ornamental Plastering. Sadly, the premises were vacated by 2018 and it remains boarded-up –a sad fate for an attractive and unusual building.

copyright © G. Osborne
North Street and the junction with East Street in 1911, Edwardian Portslade's premier shopping area. (With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph  from his private collection).

copyright © D. Sharp
The same view as the above, over a 100 years later,
North Street and the junction with East Street in 2019, now an industrial estate

New Businesses

In May 2000 it was stated that XPS, digital specialists, had expended their business by 30 per cent, and installed two new printing machines.

In the same month came news that ADT Fire & Security were moving to 69 North Street. The firm used to service the Brighton area from its Portsmouth branch but business had developed to such an extent that a separate base was needed here. The firm had taken on eleven new full-time sales people and engineers, and envisaged employing a further twelve people. Meanwhile, the remainder of the 67 staff would be drafted in from Portsmouth.

In 2011 the North Street scene was enlivened by two large portraits of the Buddha, a smaller one painted on the side of a house with the slogan Big Buddha is Watching You, and a larger one painted on a wall. The paintings were designed to catch people’s attention to the premises of Villa & Hut, located at 57 North Street. One of the partners in the business, Guy Meredith, said ‘Everyone loves Buddhas. We are quite well known for our Buddhas made of wood and metal.’ (Argus 27 June 2011)

The warehouse displayed an enormous variety of furniture for home, conservatory and garden, and even included a good choice of bookcases. There were also wood carvings and ceramics. Villa & Hut had another shop at 40 Sydney Street, Brighton. Their big selling point was that the wood used was either plantation grown or recycled timbers, and the items were imported from Bali and Java. Just the type of business you would expect to thrive in Brighton & Hove, but both shops have since closed, and Villa & Hut have moved to Godalming.

Sources

Annual Report on the condition of the Combined Sanitary District of West Sussex (1881)
Argus
Brighton & Hove City Libraries 
Census Returns
Goodwin, C. F. & Streeter, A. H. Portslade Baptist Church 1870-1970 Centenary Booklet
Middleton J, Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Royal Pavilion & Museum, Brighton & Hove
Street Directories
The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 20 December 1936

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

copyright © J.Middleton 2019
page layout by D. Sharp