All Our Books

Out Now: Seaside Stories – A People’s History of Brighton & Hove’s Seaside

,

"My wages were five shillings a week with the working week consisting of six days, although a couple of years later shops decided to close one afternoon a week and we chose to have early closing on Thursday afternoons. I remember spending many of my half days accompanying my Auntie Mabel to the band concerts on the Palace Pier when weather permitted. These expeditions were the highlight of my week for we used to hire a deckchair, buy a cup of tea, and spend about three hours enjoying the music. Unfortunately this came to an end later in the [First World] War when the pier and the seafront became off-bounds and guns were positioned on the seafront in preparation for any likely invasion by the Germans." - Lillie Morgan "When I just started work on the West Pier, I was part-time. Then, after a while, my day started at l0am till 10pm, six days a week. Also I usually worked my day off, plus some of my holidays. Miss Hardy was the head of catering when I started there. She really frightened me. They said she had been in the Army Catering Corps, and even the dog sat to attention when it saw her! She was always fair. If we were sitting down having a break she would say, 'Where else could you get paid to sit down?' and then she would wink and smile. After I had been there one season I was asked if I would like to be on the permanent staff, which meant working all the winter. There was only a skeleton staff on the Pier in the winter: office staff, manager, catering supervisor, Mrs Jones and myself. We looked after customers and fed the staff. We were open Christmas Day and Boxing Day, right through to the next season. That was quite an experience. When it snowed, it was like working on a desert island: toilets frozen up and no water until we thawed some for tea." - Daphne Mitchell

Brighton Photographic Collection

The Brighton & Hove Photographic Collections Volumes I & II

, ,

The Brighton & Hove Photographic Collection – Volumes I and II are a selection of images submitted by the public for QueenSpark’s online Photographic Collection, You’ll find images of lost Brighton landmarks, the piers and historic seaside, farewell to the Goldstone and the building of the Amex football stadium, JJ Waller’s collection of images taken around the [...]

Brighton’s Graphic War

, ,

With tales of Indian soldiers recuperating at the Royal Pavilion, Suffragettes, paranormal legends, conscientious objectors and families torn apart by conflict, Brighton's Graphic War is a graphic novel which focuses on the impact of World War One on home life. Created by 15 new young writers and artists, the book illustrates the huge social changes that [...]

Daring Hearts QueenSpark books lesbian gay queer LGBT

Daring Hearts – Lesbian and Gay Lives of 50s and 60s Brighton e-book

,

This ground-breaking book highlights an important part of Brighton and Hove's LGBT history from the 1950s and 1960s.

Brighton Transformed

Brighton Transformed

,

Trans identities are often neglected, re-written or even erased from formal histories. Brighton Trans*formed features, in their own words, the rich variety of Trans, gender-queer and non-binary lives in Brighton & Hove today; it preserves previously untold stories for future generations, and is a much-needed exploration into the diversity of gender expression within the city. [...]

Brighton The Graphic Novel QueenSpark books

Brighton: The Graphic Novel

, ,

With nearly 300 years of history, twenty eight writers and artists, and fourteen fantastical tales featuring unheralded characters and true events from the city’s fascinating history, Brighton: The Graphic Novel is a unique collaborative collection. Featuring pioneering drag queens, doomed pleasure gardens, smugglers, arsonists, obsessed inventors, aspiring actors, corrupt policemen, cantankerous barbers, sea swimmers, hands [...]

photo collection vol1

The Brighton & Hove Photographic Collection I

,

The Brighton & Hove Photographic Collection - Volume I is a selection of 50 colour and black-and-white images submitted by the local photographers for QueenSpark Books' online Photographic Collection. You’ll find images of lost Brighton landmarks, the piers and historic seaside, the building of the Amex football stadium and much more. From the historic to the contemporary, this [...]

The Brighton & Hove Photographic Collection II

, ,

For Volume II of The Brighton & Hove Photographic Collection, we have selected 66 colour and black-and-white images from our Brighton & Hove Photographic website. Magnum photographer Mark Power's curation; JJ Waller's collection of images taken around the closure of the Open Market; the late Leslie Whitcomb's documents of the past; and Peter Chrisp's evocative photos of [...]

Backyard Brighton e-book

,

Backyard Brighton is a collection of photographs and reminiscences based on material gathered by Brighton Borough Council with the intention of creating a record of houses that were scheduled for demolition during the 1930s. Originally published in 1988, this was a seminal book for QueenSpark Books, produced in association with the Lewis Cohen Urban Studies Centre. [...]

Blighty Brighton QueenSpark books

Blighty Brighton e-book

,

Blighty Brighton is all about memories of Brighton during the First World War. Through an examination of personal recollections and ephemera such as posters, photographs, pictures, songs, it portrays a collective memory of the city. Photographs are central to this work; for example Brighton Museum, Preston Manor and Brighton Reference Library are all featured pictorially. This [...]

Tale of a Boy Soldier Book

The Tale Of A Boy Soldier

,

George Parker was born into poverty in Brighton in 1898 and joined up to fight in the First World War at the age of just 15. He fought in the trenches in both Ypres and on the Somme and, although wounded, survived the horrors of the 'war to end all wars'. In 1969 George wrote [...]

Back stage Brighton

Backstage Brighton: Theatre Going in Brighton & Hove

,

In 1900 Brighton had more theatres than anywhere in the UK outside London. Backstage Brighton from QueenSpark Books celebrates theatre and theatre-going in the city, past and present. If you ever wondered what once stood on the site of the Brighton Centre or why the Sallis Benney Theatre is so-called, alongside first person memories of venues [...]

Teatime tales QueenSpark Books

Teatime Tales: The Pavilion Gardens Café Interviews

,

The Pavilion Gardens Café, like the Royal Pavilion across the Gardens, is a unique Brighton institution. Throughout the last seventy years, it has offered refreshment, relaxation and a certain kind of charm to tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. The Café also attracts a fascinating clientele of local people who are regular [...]

Back Row Brighton QueenSpark books

Back Row Brighton: Cinema-going in Brighton & Hove

,

Back Row Brighton transports us back to the heyday of cinema-going in the company of those who were there. Alongside evocative archive photographs, names such as the Astoria, the Granada, the Continentale and the Regency are recalled in touching and humorous stories of romance, excitement, grandeur and, occasionally, fleas. Some of these recollections are drawn [...]

The Town Beehive – A Young Girl’s Lot in Brighton, 1910-34 e-book

,

This new ebook was first published in 1975 and was so popular that it quickly sold out. Brightonian, Daisy Noakes, tells her story from the age of fourteen, when she went into service. She gives us an insight into the life of a woman born and brought up in Brighton. Daisy documents – with humour - her inevitable trials and tribulations in the often physically demanding world that she inhabited during her working life. The autobiography covers her childhood, as one of a family of ten, living in Prince’s Road and Vere Road, and her working days in service in different parts of the town. This is a special insight into Daisy’s world and is a shining example of true grit and fortitude! You can buy copies of the books using Amazon Kindle, Google Play, the Apple store, and otherAndroid outlets - just go to your chosen website and search by title for the books.

Brighton Behind the Front QueenSpark books

Brighton Behind the Front: Photographs and Memories of the Second World War e-book edition

,

First published in 1990, Brighton Behind the Front brings together a collection of Brighton World War Two photographs and reminiscences, documenting how ordinary people were affected by the war. This was a challenging time in British history, giving rise to moving accounts of individual lives set against a society undergoing profound changes. Using personal recollections, contemporary [...]

Pebble on the Beach QueenSpark books

Pebble on the Beach

,

"Back in the 1950s and 60s what the man in the white coat said, stood …" Pebble on the Beach is the true story of one boy’s ability to survive. Growing up in Brighton, England, Tony was subjected to a childhood of physical and mental abuse - including electric shock treatment at the age of [...]

Bangla Brighton QueenSpark books

Bangla Brighton (PDF download)

,

As intriguing as it is informative, this 2006 book Bangla Brighton gives one of the lesser heard voices in our community a chance to be heard. The contributors speak of making their lives in Brighton, memories of their homeland, culture and customs, their faith, day-to-day struggles, family life and the role of women. Poetic and [...]

The Landlord Cometh

,

The Landlord Cometh is a memoir of the First World War and working class life in London in the early 20th century. Born in 1894 in London, Jack Cummins lived in Brighton from 1959. This book was published on the day of his death – 9th October 1981, so sadly, it also becomes his memorial. As [...]

One Camp Chair In The Living Room (PDF download)

,

Born in 1916, Margaret Ward describes her life as a ‘winding lane’ because of the many twists and turns it has taken. Her autobiography describes her childhood in Rottingdean, growing up amongst a loving family in the picturesque Sussex seaside village. Her 1988 autobiography brings alive a rural childhood in the aftermath of World War [...]

QueenSpark Books

Memories of Rottingdean 1920-1945 (PDF download)

,

Margaret Ward was born and brought up in Rottingdean and lived there all her life. This autobiographical book is a sequel to One Camp Chair in the Living Room, published by QueenSpark in 1988. In this booklet Margaret recalls her childhood in Rottingdean in the 1920s, local places and people in the 1930s and life [...]

book ryico Rwanda QPB

Keeping Memories: Rwandans in the UK

,

Keeping Memories is in the same genre as our books Missing the Nile and Bangla Brighton and in keeping with our ethos of covering lesser heard voices and stories. It features memories, photographs, paintings and poems from members of the Rwandan diaspora who have settled in Brighton and the wider UK in which they commemorate the [...]

flying sparks QueenSpark books

Flying Sparks

,

This autobiography depicts the trials and tribulations experienced by a hard-working apprentice electrician, as well as documenting times of laughter and fun. Tim Wren was fourteen when he left school and started work in wartime Brighton. In time, the opportunity arose to become a full apprentice and ‘go out on the tools’. Tim Wren’s work [...]

brighton on the rocks

Brighton On The Rocks

,

Published in 1983, Brighton on the Rocks incorporates a collection of interviews, photographs and statistics, which are used to analyse how monetarism affected the economic policies that were pursued by the city’s local authorities in the 1980s. When local councils imposed financial cuts from 1980 onwards, they argued that the cuts were necessary because of overspending. [...]

catching stories QueenSpark Books

Catching Stories: Voices from the Brighton Fishing Community (PDF download)

,

This comprehensive 1996 account of the fishing industry documents how it has changed since the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, fishing boats landed on the beach and the fish market was actually on the seafront. On a more personal level, Catching Stories is a living record, told in their own words, of [...]

Who Was Harry Cowley? (PDF e-book)

Born in Brighton in 1891, Harry Cowley, known as the ‘Gov’nor’, was a Brighton chimney sweep who later became a local legend. He fought for the rights of the under-privileged; for the homeless and unemployed as well as for market traders and old-age pensioners. Harry also battled against social injustices that he came across in [...]

Oh! What a Lovely Pier (PDF download)

,

Working on the West Pier from 1956 to 1970, Daphne Mitchell’s 1996 memoir evokes the atmosphere of the seaside in bygone times. Daphne recalls seaside shows that featured acts such as local stunt man the Great Omani, floating by on a bed of nails. She describes day-to-day life working on the pier, twelve hours a [...]

The crowd roars Great Omani

The Crowd Roars: Tales from the life of a professional stuntman The Great Omani (PDF download)

,

In his 1998 memoir Ron Cunningham, alias 'The Great Omani', presents tales and adventures from the life of a professional stuntman. Ron’s inspiration was the renowned escapologist, Houdini and in describing the exploits that he undertook as part of his unusual career, echoes of Houdini’s famous tricks can be spotted. Ron once travelled from Hastings [...]

Shops Book – Shopkeepers and Street Traders in Brighton 1900-1930 (PDF download)

,

The 1875 directory for East Brighton listed 35 bootmakers, 3 breweries, 19 dress-makers, 15 tailors, 2 watchmakers, 2 tinners, 2 brushmakers and 2 basketmakers. By 1974 they had virtually all disappeared, apart from one jeweller and one costumer. This 1978 book is about shopkeepers and street traders, based on interviews with people whose families had [...]

Pullman Craftsmen (PDF download)

,

This work records the reminiscences of three craftsmen who were employed in the Preston Park Works of the Pullman Car Company during the fifties and sixties. As well as giving the reader a flavour of life in the railway engineering industry in those times, it also provides fascinating details of Brighton’s post-war history and some [...]

Pullman Attendant (PDF download)

,

In 1935, fifteen year old Bert Hollick signed on at Brighton Station for his first shift on a Pullman Train. Working on the midnight shift from Victoria to Brighton including the famous Brighton Belle, he learned to ladle soup from a tureen at seventy-five miles per hour and serve a three-course lunch in a speedy fifty-eight [...]

We’re not all Rothschilds! (PDF download)

,

We’re Not All Rothschilds! Is based around a series of interviews conducted by Leila Abrahams in Brighton and Hove in 1994. The book explores the lives of ordinary working people linked by their Jewish faith. There are fascinating accounts of running Beall’s Cork Shop in Gardner Street, memories of long-gone Brighton shops and discussions around [...]

Life Behind Bars

A Life Behind Bars (PDF download)

,

Born in 1908 at the Marquess of Exeter public house (now the Chimney House), which was run by her parents, Marjory Batchelor spent her working life as a barmaid and pub landlady in and around the Brighton area. Marjory recalls her experiences of growing up and working through two World Wars and beyond in Brighton, [...]

Deckhand, West Pier (PDF download)

,

Arthur Thickett’s 1993 memoir is the story of a young man who came to Brighton in the summer of 1970, full of hope and optimism – his goal was to find adventure and ultimately love. On his first day he found digs in Ovingdean, on his second day he walked into a job as a [...]

The other side of the Counter

The Other Side of the Counter: The Life of a Shop Girl 1925-1945 (PDF download)

,

Marjorie Gardiner’s 1985 autobiography looks at the working life of milliner from 1925 to 1945, including an account of her working life during the Second World War. Marjorie’s story is told in a lively and evocative manner, and describes her experiences as a shop assistant working in a Brighton hat shop, where she met all [...]

QueenSpark Books

A Far Cry from a White Apron (PDF download)

,

This book is about a young boy’s experiences during the Second World War.  A Far Cry from a White Apron - The story of a Brighton Bevin Boy is is a fascinating memoir which describes with poignancy stories of lost youth and a harsh life spent during a turbulent historical period. The content is frank and occasionally disturbing and [...]

Poverty – Hardship but Happiness 1903-1917 e-book

,

Albert Paul was a retired carpenter who lived all his life in Brighton, and he describes in vivid detail the life of a boy brought up in poverty and his struggle against adversity. Poverty - Hardship but Happiness tells the story of a working class boy’s life in the years between 1903 and 1917, from [...]

At the Pawnbrokers (PDF Download)

,

This 1991 memoir by Lillie Morgan tells an often shocking story of the grinding poverty faced by working people in Brighton during the First World War. As a teenager she was working at a pawnbroker’s in Edward Street and witnessed first-hand the desperate lengths people went to to find the price of a loaf of [...]

A Working Man: A Century of Hove Memories (PDF download)

,

One winter in the 1980s, Ernie Mason was at a loose end, so he bought a notebook and began to write his autobiography. This story encapsulates a working-class man’s journey through life over the course of the twentieth century, documenting the many changes that took place in the local environment and in social conditions. Born [...]

Snapshots: Childhood memories of Southampton Street

Snapshots: Childhood Memories of Southampton Street 1942-55 (PDF download)

,

In her 1996 autobiography, Janis Ravenett recalls her memories of growing up in Southampton Street in the Hanover area of Brighton, during the years between 1942 and 1955. Janis describes a childhood that was happy and full of fun, living in a house in a close-knit community with few modern conveniences, and tells of the [...]

Everything Seems Smaller: A Brighton Boyhood between the Wars (PDF download)

,

In this 1989 book, Sid Manville reminisces about his Brighton boyhood between the wars. This first-person account of growing up as one of ten children in Bear Road is a valuable insight into working class family life in Brighton in the 1920s and 30s. Sid recalls local traders and characters, attending Coombe Road School in [...]

A Daughter of the State

,

In this poignant book, the author writes with candour about her experience of growing up in a workhouse children’s home in London during the Twenties and Thirties. Kathleen Dalley’s story is told with clarity and sensitivity, yet refrains from sentimentality. She describes an institutionalised childhood where strict members of staff upheld the rules and procedures [...]

Our Small Corner (PDF download)

,

This 1994 autobiography is 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. Sid writes with much affection and humour, although he doesn’t forget that this era was also [...]

Boxing Day Baby (PDF download)

,

Barbara Chapman was born in Brighton on a snowy Boxing Day in 1927. In this 1994 autobiography, 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. Barbara shares her experiences of working life in the [...]

International Service (PDF download)

,

With its backdrop of Brighton in the Second World War, International Service tells the tale of Kathleen Wilson’s naive teenage years, leaving school at 14 on the outbreak of war to work in a factory, going on to work in a baker’s, as a domestic help and in the grocery trade. Kathleen lived in the shadow of [...]

Just one of a Large Family (PDF download)

,

This 1992 book is a personal account of living in the Tenantry Down neighbourhood of Brighton in the1920s and 30s. Don Carter describes his childhood in the Hartington Road area of Brighton, where nearly all the roads are named after places in the Isle of Wight. Don can claim to be a true Brightonian, having [...]

Brighton Boy: A fifties childhood (PDF download)

,

This 1994 memoir is a schoolboy’s tale of Brighton in the 1950s, seen through the eyes of Andy Steer. He recalls Brighton characters and shops, swimming at Black Rock and with the “Shiverers” Swimming Club at the salt-water King Alfred pool in Hove; Stanford Road School, the now defunct Brighton Cycle Club and playing in [...]

George Grout – The Smiling Bakers (PDF download)

,

George Grout was a member of one of Brighton’s best-known family bakers. He learnt the skills and craft of baking from his father and brothers at a young age, and can attest to hard times as well as recalling many happy memories of laughter and fun. In his 1992 memoir. George recalled the years when [...]

Moulsecoomb Days 1922-1947 (PDF download)

,

In her 1990 autobiography, Ruby Dunn recalls the development of Moulsecoomb, then a rural outskirt of Brighton, into a post-World War One “garden suburb”. The early residents of the community had no school or church, but they were proud of their new electric cookers and semi-detached houses set in a valley with gardens filled with [...]

Moulescoobe memories QueenSpark Books

Moulsecoomb Memories: Moulsecoomb in the ’30s & ’40s (PDF Download)

,

Sheila Winter’s 1998 memoir recalls the growth of the community of Moulsecoomb. Sheila was born, raised and married in the area, and narrates the story of her life during the years between 1929 and 1950. Sheila’s father was badly injured in the First World War, and although the estate was built as “homes fit for [...]

The Church Round The Corner

,

This intelligently written book examines the social and religious history of St. Anne’s Church, which was located in the heart of Brighton. Maurice Packman, the author, was a choirboy at St. Anne’s in the 1930s and he takes a gently humorous look at the community of his fellow worshippers. The church has been demolished, but [...]

ZAP archive (Out of print)

,

Celebrating twenty-five years of innovation with the launch of the 'ZAP' book.

Those Lost Years (PDF download)

,

Mary Adams was born in 1930 in Birmingham. The first part of her 1995 memoir recalls her early life when she was sent to a residential school in Hertfordshire at the age of four, transferred to a school in Surrey before the outbreak of World War Two, and then to a convent school in Devon. [...]

Missing the Nile QueenSpark books

Missing the Nile: Experiences of Sudanese people in Brighton (Out of Print)

Published in January 2005, this fascinating book examines the customs and culture of the Sudanese community in the Brighton and Hove area. The British and Sudanese cultures are very different to one another and the narrative includes comparisons of the two cultures, as well as giving first-hand descriptions of festivals, celebrations including weddings and funerals, [...]

Little Ethel Smith: Her story told by herself (PDF download)

,

Ethel Smith’s autobiography was published in 1992 and it tells the story of a girl born in 1912 in a working class family who grew up in the Old Kent Road in London and came to live with her family in the Sussex countryside when still a young girl. She started work age 14 and [...]

Deckchair Guide to Brighton & Hove

The Deckchair Guide to Brighton & Hove (Out of Print)

Brighton & Hove is a multi-faceted city and it is possibly its trendy, cosmopolitan side that most people recognise. Local residents however are familiar with a much more fascinating, diverse place. What is it really like to live here? Is it just ‘London by the sea’ as the media portrays? Or does it have its [...]

Back Street Brighton QueenSpark books

Back Street Brighton: Photographs and Memories of slum clearance (Out of Print)

Originally produced in collaboration with the Lewis Cohen Urban Studies Centre, this is a sequel to Backyard Brighton incorporating photographs taken by the Environmental Health Department in the late forties and early fifties of houses in Brighton that were scheduled for demolition in the fifties and sixties. Each photograph is accompanied by reminiscences of families [...]

Roofless QueenSpark books

Roofless: Homeless in Brighton (PDF download)

,

Roofless is a collection of photographs, essays, stories and poems by homeless and ex-homeless people from Brighton. It is about survival, about battling poverty, rejection, violence, ill health and loneliness. There is anger, sadness and rebellion, but also instances of hope and solidarity and writing that, whilst often raw and uncompromising, possesses a surprising generosity [...]

Alt History QueenSpark books

Alt-History: New Writing From Brighton (Out of Print)

This diverse collection called Alt-History: New Writing From Brighton, consists of fifteen stories by new writers, including five pieces of work by young authors under the age of twelve. The aim of the publication was to allow people the opportunity to write their own versions of ‘histories’ of Brighton and Hove and the material includes [...]

Letter in the Attic Journal (Out of print)

This journal was produced by the Letter in the Attic project and was a way in which people could do their own writing, illustrated with quotes and pictures from the Letter in the Attic collection. It contains images, photographs, quotes and pictures from letters and diaries related to Brighton and Hove from the last 150 years. These were [...]