RW BERRY & SON has been a fixture in the Dials since 1959. This is the story of how it came to be . . .
In 1959 Chris Berry, aged 13, moved from South London to Brighton into Stanford Road next to the motor garage. He attended Brighton and Hove Grammar School (now called BHASVIC) and left to pursue a career working for the National Cash Register Company, maintaining huge mechanical calculating machines (early computers) in banks around Sussex. He played guitar and did some performing locally in Brighton. At the age of 17 and 3 weeks he passed his driving test and bought an old Morris Minor van to do local transport of furniture in and around the Brighton area. There were very few people doing small transport jobs in those days so he was remarkably busy.
Chris married in 1967 and had two sons, Tony in 1968 and Marcus in 1970. Tony now owns and runs Mid Sussex Scaffolding and Marcus works in car design. Chris bought his first house in Coventry Street in 1969 near Seven Dials – it cost just £4000!
Chris’ mother, Connie Berry, had always loved antique china dolls and had quite a collection. She also loved antique porcelain and books. In the early 1960’s she opened The Blue Shop in Prestonville Road where she bought and sold dolls and other antiques. Chris became involved with the shop, helping with deliveries and collections for her.
His father, Richard Berry (ex-army of Burma), had been a civil servant from Chris’s early years and eventually developed a printing business, transporting a huge Heidelberg printing press from London and installing it in the garage at Stanford Road, Brighton in 1959. He continued to run the printing business until 1970 when he and Chris (pictured) decided to take the shop at 120 Dyke Road to open R W Berry & Son. The shop was located back-to-back with The Blue Shop so Chris took over The Blue Shop from his mother.
Chris’s second marriage produced two more sons, Steve and Tom, in 1978 and 1980. Steve is a printer and Tom, who said to Chris that after 50 years of being in charge it was time to pass the torch to him, has been involved in the business for most of his adult life. Richard Berry passed away in 2008; and Chris continues to work with Tom, who is now in charge of the business of RW Berry & Son.
Tom and Chris are happy to offer a discount to any customer who mentions The Whistler in February and March.