The French Revolution … in Brighton

When you have been out and about in central Brighton, you might have seen this fascinating French vehicle.UUI in Hampton Place

Arnold Rose and Judy Bow are co-owners of two such wonderful vans, UUI 8789 (a venerable 52 years old) and his partner, LUI 8785 who is a mere youngster at 41.

These little vehicles are Tardis-like and are hard workers.  The Citroën H-series van was originally intended as the workhorses of French farmers and more generally in French villages right up until they went out of production in 1981 … and well beyond.  A careful piece of astute bodywork and interior fitting and hey-presto!  Two mobile crêperies.

Continue reading

The Children’s Republic of Brighton

yma_wf_039_27_001Saturday July 31, 1937.

Leaving Wembley at 8.15 am for Victoria Station, joining crowds of Woodcrafters there, taking our places in the 10am Woodcrafter’s Special, and we realise we are really on our way to the first International Children’s Camp held in this country.

Walking from Brighton Station to Ovingdean, the procession of boys and girls clad in green jerkins, waving flags and banners attracted a considerable amount of attention from the holiday makers at Brighton.  We found the campsite at Beacon Hill a very desirous place.

Continue reading

Maison Annette

Bodice hand wanted

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, January 1920. Source: The British Newspaper Archive

Doesn’t this same advert sound so much more seductive in French?

Bodice fitter 2 French

Le Journal, December 1900. Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

Madame Annette, better known to friends and family as Annie Andrews, set up at 88 Kings Road in 1901 and carried on her couture business throughout WW1.  Annie was a feisty lady.  In 1916, she even pursued one customer for debt, and a major’s wife at that, as far as the High Court.  Her business survived the early 1920s fashion for throwing away your corsets.  Maison Annette finally closed in 1925.

fin symbol

 

Pardon my French

Pardon my French - Copy - CopyNo, not an apology about the way I speak … just a nod to this cute little shop in St. Georges Road in Kemp Town.

Opened in the first years of the 21st century, the shop is flourishing.  Leigh Jones, the present owner, stocks all sorts of French goodies such as enamel door signs,  Durance brand toiletries as well as a range of French-themed tea-towels.

Browsers are welcome, but alas, despite being a Francophile, Leigh doesn’t speak French … yet!

fin symbol

 

Free champage for all passengers!

The Eclipse drawing

Source: The British Newspaper Archive

The Eclipse and the Talbot

Journal des débats politiques 7 June 1831. Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

[The steamers Eclipse and Talbot plying between Brighton and Dieppe belong to the General Steam Navigation Company.  The company … not only asks for no fare but feeds the passengers during the crossing, and includes a bottle of Champagne.]

Too good to be true? Not if you were travelling in June 1831.  The General Steam Navigation Company was anxious about serious competition from the Camilla and the Earl of Liverpool steamers, both based in Southampton.  The author of the article predicted that l’une des deux entreprises ne peut tarder à crouler [it won’t be long until one of the companies goes under].  He then went on to warn: alors, les passagers futurs rebourseront les frais des galanteries faites aux passagers actuels [so future passengers will pay the cost of the perquisites afforded to today’s passengers]. 

BTW.  Is any of the above true?  Or is it a figment of the French imagination?  An expression of French admiration / scorn of the English market economy?  There is no trace of any such ‘bargain’ in the English newspapers of the time.

fin symbol