Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Friday 22 June 2018

In The City: Highlife & Back-Alleys Of Brighton Exposed

The flamboyant world of Brighton in the 1880s and back-street life of the 1930s and 50s are the focus of two new books from community publisher QueenSpark Books.

First published in 1881, original author Chas H Ross described his book, Brighton As It Was & As it Is as 'not quite a guide or a history but a bit of both'. 

Concern about "royalty abandoning the Pavilion" run alongside descriptions of how the arrival of the railway turned "a shabby straggling town into a City of Palaces by the sea", as the author claims.  

With its tales of "beauties" and "eccentrics" mixed with practical instructions on how to dance, Brighton As It Was & As it Is is a "wondrous collection of amusing diversions, anecdotes and characters".

Backyard - Back Street Brighton is the re-publication, under one cover, of two books that have long been out of print.  

They used photos from the council's Environmental Health Department to capture images of homes that, despite fumigation, were "live" with bugs and rats. 

Already crowded homes doubled as boot repair shops. Some homes were fire traps with factories built up against the back doors. 

John Riches, QueenSpark Books' Development Director said: "These two books highlight contrasting aspects of Brighton's past lives. They put a spotlight on Brighton as it was and help understand how it is now."

The photographs were matched with interviews and contributions from people who lived there at the time - teenagers who did jobs for neighbours so they could go to the public baths on Saturday; children who skipped in the street with scaffold ropes; the lamp lighter, with a long pole, who fired up the street lights without stopping or falling off his bike - Brighton's "very own Don Quixote", according to one of the contributors.

The charity has also been awarded a £98,200 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its new project Archives Alive. 

The project will create new books and harness new technology in order to allow residents from all areas of the city, and visitors, to contribute to the telling of Brighton's past.

Melita Dennett, QueenSpark Books'  Chair said: "We want to bring the past alive, and we thank the National Lottery Players in enabling us to do so."

Brighton As it Was & As it Is by Chas H Ross £10.99 and Back yard – Back Street Brighton £12.99 are published by QueenSpark Books. Available from independent bookshops, and online via www.queensparkbooks.org.uk, Amazon and Google Books.

by: Mike Cobley



Related links

QueenSpark Books

Share    


Composed of vocalist Jason Williamson and musician Andrew Robert Lindsay Fearn, Sleaford Mods are known for their abrasive, minimalist musical style and embittered explorations of austerity-era Britain, culture, and working class life. 
Pic by Emily Hyland

The Trials of Oscar Wilde, at Brighton Pavilion, in April, will reveal what happened during Wilde's trials, drawing on the original transcripts.
Credit Sam Stephenson

Seven amateur singers from Brighton and Hove will perform on the main stage at the world famous Glyndebourne opera house next month.

Black Deer Festival, the three-day celebration of Americana and Country, set in Eridge Park in Kent, welcomes artists from both America and also closer to home.

Yungblud & Halsey feat. Travis Barker's new track 11 Minutes follows Yungblud's early-2019 single Loner, a sneering anthem for outsiders.

The stage and screen star Mark Benton tells us about touring in David Mamet's award-winning, fast-talking drama Glengarry Glen Ross, which plays Theatre Royal Brighton, this coming April.
Pic (c) Andrew Whitton

Stereophonics have given a surprise release to new song Chaos From The Top Down. The song follows on from their latest album, Scream Above the Sounds, which reached No.2, back in late 2017.
Credit Sharon Kilgannon

Beating Jodie Whittaker to the post as the world's first female time travelling doctor, Hove resident Doctor Rosy Carrick debuted Passionate Machine, a funny, poignant, sad, and at points shocking, show at the 2018 Brighton Fringe, where it won Best New Play Award.

Led by Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts' Creative Director Laura McDermott, the venue's upcoming season is a curated selection of performance, music, a new regular cinema strand, discussion and debate.

Laying down a firm marker within London's raucous punk scene over the last couple of years, rising trio of Calva Louise have since earned support slots alongside the likes of Albert Hammond Jr, Spring King and Anteros and recently finished an extensive UK tour with label-mates The Blinders.

Brighton writer Tom Johnstone began writing his new novel, The Monsters are due in Madison Square Garden, during the 2016 US presidential election campaign, and the simultaneous rise of the 'Alt-Right'. 

As a music journalist David Sinclair had 'a growing realisation that after all the great records I'd heard and the thousands of shows I'd been lucky enough to see, that it was time to play some great music of my own.'

Across the South Coast young artists are writing their own narratives like never before, unspoiled by the noise of record label interference. 

Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrates its 10th anniversary with headline act Glen Matlock, original bassist and songwriter with the Sex Pistols, performing at three of the town's venues.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd