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.

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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!

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‘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.

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One egg is ‘un œuf” for breakfast

In 1836, the Revue Anglo-Française was quite astonished to reveal this riveting fact:

Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

Apparently, according to the Review, England was importing, via the ports of London and Brighton, no less than sixty-two million eggs annually.  France was providing not less than fifty-five million of these eggs.  The Review goes on rapidly to tot up how much revenue France was gleaning from England.  At 42 centimes per dozen, that added up to 1,925,000 francs a year. 

You can almost hear the author rubbing his hands in glee.  Would he have wanted “England” to leave “Europe”?

 

Where’s Brigthon?

Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF

1884
Dear Monsieur Henry,
Whilst strolling in Paris last week, I noticed this advertisement for your excellent establishment.  However, I would wish to draw your attention to the fact that, if you do indeed have a factory in Brighton as you state, you do not know our town well as you are clearly unable to spell its name correctly.
Yours faithfully
A concerned Brightonian                                 

‘Madame’ this and ‘Maison’ that (1)

(c) Suzanne Hinton

It is well known that all that glisters is not gold.  In Brighton, it is also common knowledge that all that is seems to be French is not French.  Here’s a case in point.

From 1926 until about 1956, 26 Western Road in Hove was ‘Maison Francis’.  Francis was Thomas Francis, hairdresser and ‘cosmetologist’ (according to Kelly’s Directory in 1931).  By 1956, perhaps things French had become less fashionable and ‘Maison Francis” was replaced by hairdresser “Lawrence of Mayfair.  Fortunately, the beautiful threshold mosaic still survives in 2017.