First check your facts, M. Conty

In 1888, the 4th edition of Conty’s guide to London was rushed onto the streets of Paris so that any M. and Mme Dupont could venture safely across la Manche [the English Channel]. As part of their trip, Conty strongly recommends that they spend a day in Brighton.

Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

Source: gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

[To leave London without having seen Brighton (pronounced Brahaictonne) and its splendid aquarium would, in our minds, make for an incomplete trip.

Let’s just note for the record that Brighton, the land of pretty English girls, is the Dieppe of England and that, on a sunny November day, it reminds us somewhat of our beautiful town of Nice.]

Is that what they call a back-handed compliment?

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J’♥ la France – the Hove way

♥ Since the 1920s, fewer and fewer buildings in Hove have borne French names – alas, many have been Anglicised, with two laudable exceptions.  Where did these names come from?  I’d love to know.

Normandy House 1 - Copy - Copy.JPGNormandy House, at 18 The Drive was first occupied in the early 1960s.

Who chose the name and why? 

Brittany Court 2In 1928, Brittany Road was no more than a building site, with several new houses under construction.  The following year, two of the houses were finished and had been given French names, St Brieuc and St Malo.  By 1930, one more Francophile owner had given his house an appropriate name, Bretagne and Britanny Court, recently completed at 134 New Church road, had its first occupants.

The boat looks somewhat like one of the ships that raided Brighton in 1514.  Did they come from Brittany?

Lorraine Court - Copy

Lorraine Court, at 61 Osborne Villas, was built in the late 1950s on land that had, until then, been the back gardens of houses in Medina Villas.  Not to be confused with Lorraine Court in Davigdor Road, Brighton. Could this be a tribute to General de Gaulle’s croix de Lorraine [cross of Lorraine], symbol for the Free French Forces during WW2?

Paris HouseThere is no mystery about the name of Paris House at 3 Wilbury Villas, just by the railway bridge. The building firm of H. J. Paris took over the premises early in the 1950s.  It was perhaps this company which built the modern, rather bland, brick block which stands there now.  The firm lasted into the 1980s, but has since disappeared from directories.  Not to be confused with The Paris House pub in Western Road, Hove.

And last but not least, the quirky Château Plage, needs no explanation.

Château Plage - Copy

 

Christmas 1915

© Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

On Saturday 25 December 1915, the ‘Brighton Herald and Hove Chronicle’ published this small advertisement placed by the French Protestant Church in Queensbury Mews Brighton. 

 

On the same days were several small adds from refugee French and Belgian citizens offering various forms of tuition. 

On the Palace Pier, you could watch a highly interesting film illustrating the “Manufacture of Guns in France”.  At the Florence Road Baptist Church, Captain G. M. Rice (Chaplain to HM Forces) was to give an account of his work in France.  In an upstairs corridor of the Brighton Library you could go to view an exhibition of ‘war relics’ which included a large collection of the debris of the battlefield – German helmets, French kepis Turkish fezes (and) fragments of every kind of shell,  whereas Estelle’s (The Dainty Blouse Shop) in Preston Street was advertising Dents celebrated French Kid gloves at a bargain price of 1/11¾ (one shilling and eleven pence three farthings – a snip at the price).