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Brighton Fish Barrow Boys on the seafront

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Portslade old Village

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Brighton Seafront 1930s

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Brighton Station Frontal View

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Sussex Village Store

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West Pier at night

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High Street Portslade 1970s

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Original Brighton Station

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Building Brighton Marina

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Typical Sussex Railway Station 1900s

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Another View of Brighton Railway Station

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Portslade Old Village

Stories of Sussex

The Stories of Sussex Category will hold stories in and about Sussex of a general nature.

They will be a mixture of funny, astounding or even forgotten tales that at least deserve to be remembered through constant airing - at least on this site.  As with many of the other section I shall add to this list when I come across a worthy tale to be told.
Brighton Unemployed 

In the Furze

It scuttled past me out of the undergrowth near the Devil's Dyke and lay hid in the grass the far side of the golf-green.
bunny pic

Four lusty men, tending that green, forming square, then drove it into a cup in the ground, where one of them siezed it. half trampling it first with his heavy hoof.

When I got close, I saw a tiny rabbit scarce bigger than a guinea-pig, trembling in the large palm of the trampler: its little ears laid back and bright beady eves, wide-staring with fear, but otherwise unhurt.

"Well," I asked its captor, " and now what are you going to do with it?"  I knew him well, for he often came for beer to my inn, where he drank and talked more than he ever listened; and I disliked, him intensely.

"Why, eat him of course," he rejoined, rudely, "what do you think? He'll make a juicy little pie."

I Iooked down at the future " juicy little pie." that exquisitely coloured and shaped ball of brown silk, took, it into my hand and, feeling its hammering heart, wondered however I was to save it.

I asked. " What do You want for it?"

Read more: In the Furze

Sussex Shepherds

Shepherds in those days (about 1850) were treated much more as friends than mere hired servants and were generally consulted by their masters as to what fields should be sown with this and that, without hurting the run of the flock: consequently there was a better understanding between master and man than we generally see these days, though some of the old conditions and traditions still exist in parts.

"Shepherd's Acres" are still to be found on many estates.  Frequently the shepherd held by inheritance a piece of land known as "Tenantry" which he let to his master.  His wages, true, were small, about fourteen pounds a year, but then he had some thirty or forty "yoes" of his own for which he had to pay when he took the situation.

shepherd 002

These "yoes" ran with his master's flock and fared just the same as the rest did, and when any sheep were sold the shepherd received a proportionate part of the money realised, and the same with the sale of the wool after sheep-shearing.  In those days the owner had little to do with the flock, leaving all to his shepherd.  This plan made the shepherds more painstaking and gave them a greater insight about things than they seem now to possess.

Yet, many of the existing shepherds of the South Downs, though they cannot now as of old reckon themselves men of property, are nevertheless still men of family who could easily prove by parish registers an unbroken line of pastoral progenitors for some hundreds of years back.

Edward Shoosmith 1932

An Old Sussex Knife Grinder

Mr J. Herring, of Cross-in-Hand, writes :

I have had a photograph of old 'Tinker' Holmwood sent me by one of my daughters, enquiring if anyone that knew him would supply you with information about him. I knew him very well;
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Old Sussex knife grinder - 'Tinker' Holmwood.

he lived in a small cottage at Cade Street, Heathfield, almost opposite to the memorial stone to Jack Cade, the rebel, who was slain by Alex Iden, Sheriff of Kent. 'Tinker' used to travel all the villages in this part of Sussex with his barrow and would often be from home nearly a week at a time. He would sit by the roadside working. My children often stood by him and watched him at work; and sometimes boys would be very annoying to him by throwing stones. But he was always a good tempered old chap. He often left his barrow here, and on several occasions I have seen some of our young men with it after 'Tinker' had gone home. They did no harm to it, but would have a little game on their own account and grind knives, etc.

On speaking to a Heathteld man today about him, he said as boys they always went to 'Tink's' little shop at Christmas to raffle for nuts, sweets, etc. The shop was kept by his wife, who was known to all about here as 'Old Loo Tink.' She used to attend the club anniversaries with her basket of nuts, etc. On the first of May 'Tink' used to come out wearing his knee breeches with a bunch of ribbon at the knees and his top hat. He was, in fact, a noted character.

The photograph in the S.C.M. was taken at Tilsmore Corner in front of a house occupied by Mr T. Blackman when I came to these parts about fifty years ago(approx 1882). I also knew Mr T. E. Varlet' Kirtlan (who took the photograph) very well, as we served as Parish Councillors together for the parish of Waldron. Mr T. E. V. Kirtlan went from here to Eastbourne as clerk To the Eastbourne Rural District Council."—J. HERRING (Cross-in-Hand).

"My daughter says 'Tink' was a wonderful old man, but he did not like snowballs!"

Article circa 1932.

House Surgeon

House Surgeon - County Hospital, Sussex.

Memories of how the Royal Sussex County Hospital was run in the 1860s.

I left the Dispensary in 1862, and about mid-summer, 1864, was elected House Surgeon to the Sussex County Hospital, a post which had been my aim since the time I was pupil there. During that interval, surgery had advanced a little, but not very much. Diseases of joints which had, during my pupilage, been treated with blisters and cupping, were now put on splint, and kept at rest.

The first traces of the present aseptic and antiseptic treatment of wounds might be seen in the greater cleanliness, and in the use of such lotions as lead, zinc, and specially carbolic acid instead of plain water, though it must not be forgotten that Friar's balsam, balsam of Peru, and turpentine in various forms had been used from time immemorial.

Read more: House Surgeon

A Soldier's Tale

A Foreign Soldier in a Strange Land.

Here is a true story, told by Colonel Coats, the humane old soldier who devoted his life, unto death itself, to the cause of the wounded in that exotic hospital which was the Dome in Brighton during the First World War. 1914-1918.

In the first days of the fighting, when our organization in France was still in the improvised stage, a wounded Indian, of the Mohammedan faith, was picked up unconscious on the battle field and sent to Brighton. He arrived still unconscious. He was placed in a bed in the Dome. Consciousness returned to him. He opened his eyes, he saw, he wondered.

He saw above him the great arch of the Dome, pierced with coloured transparencies, patterned with intricate arabesques, rich with symbolic devices. From it, high over his head, hung the great central chandelier, its ten thousand crystals flashing with prismatic hues. Around him was a wide circle of Saracenic arches picked out in gold, and each bearing a lamp that seemed a cluster of diamonds. On the broad capital of a pillar in front of him he could read the Koranic text, written in the flowing Arabian characters,

Read more: A Soldier's Tale
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