Seven Dials Then and Now

Carol Simmons recalls the Seven Dials of her childhood…

I was born at 9a Powis Road in the front room on 4 June 1950. My first recollection of the street is when I was three years old and was allowed to ride to the lamp post at the top of the street and back again on my little red trike. My childhood was very happy, kids were always playing on the Green, which in those days did not have a fence as the railings were taken away during the war, or any trees in the middle as are there today, so climbing the older trees was a great pastime of mine.

There were shops everywhere, selling anything you could possibly need. I would cut through the church yard in those days to my little boyfriend who lived in St Michael’s Place. We had to be very careful to dodge the vicar or we would get a right telling off. Sometimes my grandma would take me up Clifton Road to the Domestic Stores to get a gallon of pink paraffin for her stove. It seemed like miles away to me. It smelled so lovely inside in the winter, the oil stove would be burning in the shop and it had a lovely warm ‘paraffiny’ smell. Opposite this shop was Clifton Road Congregational Church, (now Homelees House) where I attended the Girl’s Life Brigade, until I was 18 years old. The Clifton Road College was next door, a lovely little school. Grandma would go into Dyke Road to Mr Coleman’s, the fishmonger, and get two pennyworth of fish heads for our cats. She would boil them up and pick the fish off. Sometimes she would buy me a threepenny lucky bag from the tiny sweet shop a couple of doors away, which was a real treat for me. Later in life when I left school at 15 I went to work in the Teresa Florist next door to the sweet shop, now Coggings & Co restaurant. Here are some of my “now and then” memories of shops in the area.

[Updated for 2014 with both sides of the Dials. Can you fill in any of the missing ‘thens’? – Ed]

Powis Road
#1 now Computer Problems, then video hire, then Newings Greengrocer, which was particularly lovely at Christmas, with trees, holly, mistletoe hanging outside. Inside was a wooden floor and piles of fruit in the windows. Vinegar was sold out of wooden barrels, there were bunches of mint and you could always smell beetroot cooking in the back.
#2 residential, then Trethewy/Brown grocer
#3 Finishing Touch dry cleaner, then Gray & White glazier
#4 Neon Hair and Powis Road Studio
Dyke Road
#67 Sixty Seven gift shop, then Bryden’s DIY, Domestic Cash Stores
#69-75 Brighton Dental Centre, then TV Bargain Centre, Clifton Fruit Stores, Heidi knitting shop, Flinn & Son Ltd dyers and cleaners
#77 Bliss hairdressers, then Pets Pit Stop, Chandler Victor turf accountants
#81 Seven Dials Osteopathy clinic, then Marina Cash Registers, Jn Major & Sons watch makers
#83 Teddy Edwards barbers, then Body Pacify, Shrine beauty, P Geear fruiterers
#85 Michael Paul Insurance, then Mr Coleman the fishmonger
#87-89 Coggings & Co restaurant, then Blenio, Dali’s, 7 Dials Fish Bar, food store, RD Eveleigh news agent, Teresa florist
#91 then Bookmark book shop, a sweet shop, Seven Brides, The Book Hunter
#93 then First Feet
#95-97 The Cow bar, then The Tin Drum, HH Blaker a butcher, Rose Sports shop, Great Sussex Stores credit drapers
#101 First Feet, then Mishon Mackay estate agent, Clock launderette
#103 Dial-a-Pizza, then Brighton Dry Cleaners
#107 New Lotus Chinese takeaway, then RW McDowell stationers
#109 Sobs takeaway, then Peggy’s Café
#109a Fortune Accountants
#109b Fox & Box off licence, then Flush Florist, Flower City, a public lavatory
#109c Almond Tree, then Café One Ten
#111 Mishon Mackay estate agent, then Ladbrokes bookmakers
#115 Murasaki, then health care shop, Dials Café
#119 Jagwa salon, then Cabin tobacconist
#121 Just Gents barbers, then Peter’s Flower Shop

#41 then CSL Electrical contractors
#42 then The Animal Dispensary
#64 Parker Kitchens, then Classic Cuts, a florist, Pete and Pam Hazelgrove grocer, Burfoot’s green grocer
#66 Firestores, then Idlewild gifts, PJ Major jewellery & clocks
#68-70 Parker Plumbing, then Appetites deli, Wright confectioners, Reeds cooked meat shop
#72 Thai Pad Thai, then Little Buddha, Halcyon Days
#80 Magic Lighting Co, then Lucille’s Hairdressers
#82 The French Horn, then Foggs, Rat & Trumpet, Compton Arms
#84c Kate Langdale Florist, then Beam furniture
#84b Treasure & Trash, then Shoreham Heating Services
#84a now Dodo Fish & Chips, then Lyons Café, Jan’s Pantry, Joseph Laurence Candles, Kevin John hairdressing, Shoreham Electrical Services
#84 The Kitchen Table, then Moorish Deli, Mishon Mackay, Petit Pain bakery, Cleanomatic dry cleaner
#86 Room 5 hairdressers, then Three Angels Interiors, Aramas, Pete’s Second Hand shop, Price & Co Furniture, The Dials gifts, Heirs & Graces childrenswear, Forfars bakery
#88 Uden estate agent, then Just Flats, S Clarke Butchers
#90 Red Snapper, then Wonder Bar
#92 Tutti Frutti café, then Italian deli, Fruitful & Vegetable greengrocer, South Coast Dairies
#98 Ashtons Pharmacy
#100 then Dyke Road News Agents
#104a-102 Tinkers, then Bentleys estate agent, Channel Cleaners, Homewood Newsagents
#104b Baron Estates, then Shore Wills, Kellys estate agent, Wick Laundry
#106 Co-op, then Alldays, Londis, Tesco, Westminster Wine Company

#108a Small Batch Coffee, then Xuma, Barclays Bank
#108 Pembertons, lettings
#110 Watts & Co chemist
#112 Hartley’s, then Threshers off licence, Findlater Prentis wine & spirits
#114 then JE Walton watchmaker
#116 Posture People chairs, then C Colbourne cooked meat shop
#118 One One Eight hairdressers, then FR Ford hairdressers
#120 RW Berry, antiques since 1959
#122 The Magazine Shop, then Armitage tobacconist
#124 Co-op Funerals, then Co-op food, Brighton Equitable Co-operative Society
#132 The Good Companions pub, going strong since 1939
#134 then Prestonville School
#167 Co-op, then HSBC bank, then Sylvia Piper hairdresser
#159/161 Le Gourmet delicatessen, Norah Darby milliner, Courtney’s dry cleaners
#157 Dragonfly gifts, then Tomorrows World video, Harpers Fashions, Boddington fishmonger
#151 Fullertons Stationers, then Cole confectioners
#149 Forfars Bakery
#143 Coral Bookmakers, then Frank Hay radio engineer
#141 Juliettes café, then Tabraham optician
#135-137 Austin Rees, lettings, then Inman, Philpot & Austin, South Coast Dairies, Knowles & Son bakers
#133 Jasmine Greengrocer, then C A Patten fruiterer
#131 Convenience store, then Knowles & Son bakers
#129 Seven Dials Florist, then Hill & Co tobacconist
#123 –125 Austin Gray, estate agent, then Midland Bank

Prestonville Road
#43 7 Dials Launderette
#42 Lodge Stores
#41 Seven Dials Music
#36 The Curry Inn
#35 Spring Clearance, then 1st for Fittings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s