Fairlight school 1920s

As part of your 45th anniversary celebrations, we’re making the texts of our out-of-print history books available as free PDF downloads.

Most of these books have been unavailable for many years, so the downloads offer a valuable chance to learn more about Brighton and Hove in byegone times. Many of the books explore a child’s-eye view of live in Brighton, from the First World War through the 1920s and 1930s, the Second World War and to the 1950s, providing a unique collection of memories.

Life was often very hard for working people in Brighton and although these memoirs are told through the view of a child, they also illustrate clearly the hardship suffered by their families.

We are adding more books all the time, but so far the following books are now available to download. Although they’re free, if you can make a small donation to QueenSpark Books to help us continue our work of gathering and preserving Brighton and Hove’s untold histories, it would be appreciated.

Our Small Corner is a 1994 autobiography and the sequel to Sid Manville’s Everything Seems Smaller. It recalls memories of friends, neighbours and relatives who made up the ‘small corner’ of Sid’s neighbourhood in Bear Road in Brighton in the Twenties and Thirties.

Barbara Chapman was born in Brighton on a snowy Boxing Day in 1927. In her 1994 autobiography, Boxing Day Baby,  she reminisces about her early childhood; focusing on her memories of home and school, and the effects of the Second World War on herself, her family, and the community.

In his 1992 book, Just One of a Large Family, Don Carter gives a personal account of living in the Tenantry Down neighbourhood of Brighton in the 1920s and 30s. Don and his many brothers and sisters were raised by their father after the death of his mother in a time when the poor had no electricity, there was no NHS and people worked long hours just to make ends meet.

Andy Steer’s 1994 memoir, Brighton Boy, is a schoolboy’s tale of Brighton in the 1950s. This vivid child’s-eye view paints a picture of post-war Brighton and its long-lost cinemas, ice rink, trolley-buses, the penny arcade on the Palace Pier and sporting events. There are also the privations of the era such a power cuts and a need to count the household pennies, and memories of the strictness of a fifties school regime.

The Town Beehive is also available to buy in a format for Kindle, Google reader and so on.