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.

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Enora ♥ Brighton

It’s March 29th 2019.  Ok, we aren’t out of the EU yet, but … isn’t this sort of relationship we should be fostering from within the EU rather than from outside it? 

Enora“My name is Enora, I am a 20 years old French girl and I have been living in Brighton since November 2018. I studied Tourism in Paris and I graduated this summer. My qualification is an equivalent of a HND (Higher National Diploma) but in a dual training way: I was three days a week at work (in a museum) and two days at school. After my graduation I was not really sure if I wanted to continue my education or start working but I noticed a little bit before the end of my studies that my school had a partnership with the European programme Erasmus+. This programme gives opportunity to young adults to go abroad and gain an international work experience.

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Thomas Thornton’s Trip to France – 1802

Thomas Thornton - Copy

Frontispiece to ‘A Sporting Tour through Various Parts of France, in the Year 1802’ by Colonel Thomas Thornton

Colonel Thomas Thornton was a keen hunter.  To France he would go, to hunt and kill wolves, foxes, wild boar and virtually anything with wings.  To reach France for his hunting holiday, Colonel Thornton travelled from his home in Yorkshire to take ship at Brighton.  He was not impressed by the town: Continue reading

‘Madame’ this and ‘Maison’ that (2)

In 1951 this lovely lass was employed behind the counter of Maison Francis. Meet Christine Biffen.

Mum at work 1951 lower quality

(c) David Ransom

Good to see the range of French products on sale: Chanel, Worth and Innoxa.

Later, Christine went to work in a salon in Rottingdean and then she married Colin Ransom and became David’s mum.

In 2019, the beauty salon at 26 Western Road, Hove, paid tribute to its doorstep by changing its name to simply …

Maison former Maison Francis

Many thanks to David Ransom for information about and the photo of his mum.

fin symbol

 

The French Emperor and the Rottingdean lad

William Balcombe was born in Rottingdean in 1777.  On 18th October 1815, he received the fallen Emperor, Napoleon I into his home.  Not in Rottingdean but on the bleak island of St Helena in the middle of the Atlantic.  Not in a grand mansion but in his simple colonial villa, The Briars.  And not even in the villa itself.  Napoleon opted for an outbuilding.  The great man did not want to inconvenience his gout-ridden host’s wife and children.

The Briars 1853

The Briars was perched on a little hill. This 1853 image does not show Napoleon’s tent (pavillon) attached to the main house. University of California Libraries

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The Laughing Onion

In 2014, the following announcement appeared in The Argus:

J-J Jordane death notice

Jean-Jacques Jordane

The Stage Thursday 20 April 1967 (c) British Newspaper Archive

The announcement is deceptively bland.  It gives very little clue to the life of this charismatic man, chanteur and chef/owner of the Laughing Onion Restaurant in Kemp Town.

If you read no further, watch Stephen Matthew’s wonderful short video about Jean-Jacques

Jean-Jacques looked every bit the French pin-up ‘boy’ of the time and spent 18 months in the early 1960s performing in Britain. Continue reading