The Whistler – December 2014

Happy Thirty Years to Bright News
Happy Thirty Years to Bright News

Christmas came early for WHCA thanks to Vinod Mashru and the generosity of Bright News customers who contribute regularly to The Whistler costs by putting unwanted change into collecting boxes on the counter. We received an extra boost of funds towards the end of October when he stocked a 33kg giant pumpkin for Halloween and asked people to pay for the privilege of trying to lift the monster. Thank you, Vinod and your customers, for your ongoing support.

From The Whistler archives in March 1991, Steve Needham wrote the following ‘Portrait of a Local Character’.

“To the residents of West Hill, especially in the Buckingham Road area, Vinod Mashru is a familiar face. There are few residents in this local area who could not recognise the owner of Bright News and it appears there are few who Vinod does not know himself.

Vinod was born in India and spent a number of years working in the family wholesale cloth business in Bombay. When he came to the UK he spent a year working in a shop in London’s East End but it was love which finally brought him to Brighton. The love in question was the marriage of a friend, and it was on his first visit to the South coast that Vinod saw what is now Bright News and, having had enough of working for others, he decided to buy it. Vinod has a positive view of Brighton, finding it friendly, with a diverse group of inhabitants. He also enjoys having everything close enough to walk to, a real change from London and Bombay. During his 6 years in West Hill Vinod has never had any trouble at the shop, surely a plus point for the area.

Many of Vinod’s customers are professional people who come in on their way to work and again on their way home. With so many convenience stores in West Hill, it is amazing just how popular Bright New is. Is it the prices? The videos? The produce? Or do people come because they enjoy the friendly service? Whatever the reason there is one thing not to be missed at Bright News. Mrs Mashru’s home-made samosas and bhajis. Truly delicious!”

In 2015 Vinod and Meena celebrate 30 years at Bright News and at the heart of the community. We wish them heart-felt congratulations.


Vignettes from Seven Dials Past

In 1980 The Whistler published this interview with Charles Attwater who lived in West Hill Place.

I was born at No 21 Belmont Street near St Bartholomew’s Church, off Anne Street. Shortly after my birth we moved to No 9 and from there to the now vanished London Street, which used to run alongside St Bartholomew’s Church. I spent my childhood from age three to ten years there. I went to Preston Road School and the Headmaster was called Ward. We called him Gaffer Ward and he was a most tough man. Continue reading Vignettes from Seven Dials Past

Artists Open Houses

Winter Peace Statue by Clare Harms
Winter Peace Statue by Clare Harms

Now in its twelfth year, running over three weekends from 29 November to 14 December, Artists Open Houses is a great way to discover the diversity of creative talent in our city. At the same time you can chat to the artists and view some of Brighton’s most interesting homes, while enjoying minced pies and mulled wines in many of them. They are all over Brighton and Hove and spread out to Rottingdean, Saltdean and the village of Ditchling.

Close to the West Hill area, The Whistler’s favourite artist and music teacher, Clare Harms, will once again be selling her charming paintings, prints and cards at 90 Wick Hall, Furze Hill, together with fellow artists. Opening her flat for the first time at 29 Compton Avenue, Amalia Sanchez de la Blanca has invited a fantastic group of artists and designers to join her selling hand-painted furniture, stationery, jewellery. See for full details.


Winter’s Evening Pavilion by Clare Harms


Making a Difference

Do you live in Brighton & Hove or the surrounding areas? Could you help make a difference to a young person’s life in your own home? Could you support a young person who is at risk of becoming homeless?

Barnardo’s, in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council, has started a new scheme called Supported Lodgings, to help young people make a smooth transition to live independently.  Continue reading Making a Difference

Treasure Trove

Peter Batten celebrates a treasure trove for the book lover…

When I moved to Hove 15 years ago I was active as a dealer in books. Soon I discovered the Oxfam bookshop in Blatchington Road.

This was a real delight. At that time it was like a typical second-hand bookshop, untidy, badly organised, shabby. But there was one important difference: the prices. For anyone buying and selling books it was a wonderful resource. Although I never came across any books of high value, it was easy to buy books for 50p which could be sold elsewhere for £10 or even £20. For a short time I had a stall in ‘Snooper’s Paradise’ in the North Laines, and I could always top up my stock of paperbacks with purchases from Oxfam. Nobody at the Oxfam shop seemed to know much about book prices and they did not bother to seek advice. Continue reading Treasure Trove