Make Sense of the Nonsensical

Photo from ‘Signs of Life’ by Dave Askwith and Alex Normanton

The Whistler

The Whistler has been published ever since the West Hill Community Association was set up in May 1977. The present editorial team consider themselves custodians of a great local initiative which has survived over the years with contributions from local residents and the help of local businesses whose advertisements help pay towards the printing and distribution costs.

For 37 years the newspaper has published an eclectic selection of articles that range over many subjects and interests. In the early days the paper was delivered by local street reps and for many years it was delivered by the late Richard Ford, who was a familiar face to all on his West Hill postal round.

Today, we’re lucky to have another local resident, Chris of West Hill Street, who is now braving all weathers to bring your Whistler to you. We extend a warm welcome to the newest West Hill residents in the Alexandra Quarter. For those readers who live in West Hill you are automatically a member of the West Hill Community Association, which is why you receive this community newspaper.

Please write to us at whwhistler@aol.com and let us know what you think of the paper – and whether you think it serves a worthwhile purpose. We thrive on feedback!

The final instalment of life in the Seven Dials by Tony Hill

Because Dad had to be able to drive his lorry to the far corners of Sussex to put injured horses and cows out of their misery, he had a virtually unlimited supplementary petrol ration. This allowed him to be the only Brighton greengrocer who was able to deliver to the big houses around Dyke Road Avenue and the back of Hove, and boosted his trade considerably. You chose your own price in the Dials Vegetable Market. If, for example, he had peas that could be sold at seven pence a pound, he would split the batch into two piles on opposite sides of the shop, one pile labelled Peas 6d lb, the other marked Best Peas 8d lb. Three out of four ladies chose the dearer ones! This made more profit for Dad, saved money for the really poor, of whom there were quite a few, and made the other customers feel they were living well, so everybody was happy. Continue Reading »


Grow was recently been awarded funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund and South Downs National Park Authority which will secure their future for the next 3 years.

Grow began life as a small pilot project within Mind in Brighton and Hove funded by Ecominds in 2011. Following the success of the pilot it has become an independent user-led community group, which works with people with mental health issues in Brighton & Hove, and beyond, and aims to improve wellbeing by supporting people to connect with the beautiful Sussex countryside that surrounds the City. Continue Reading »

Can you picture it?

Peter Batten celebrates the art of the illustrated book…

A few days ago a parcel arrived for me, which I was eager to open. My interest had several elements. First, the book in the parcel was an interesting document from the history of the United States. Toward the end of the 1960s I was a part-time post-grad student of American Studies at the University of Sussex. At that time the Professor and Head of Department was Marcus Cunliffe, a very inspiring leader. Some readers may remember his wife Mitzi, a sculptor. Marcus had written a fine introduction to the book in my parcel, which I wanted to read. Second, the book was illustrated with wood engravings and published by the Folio Society. I collect illustrated books, so this would be an interesting addition to my library. Continue Reading »

The nationally acclaimed festival runs from 24 October to 9 November. This year the theme is ‘Cities: musical centres and the journeys between them’. Cities featured include Venice, Rome, Warsaw, Leipzig, Paris and London.

Deborah Roberts and Clare Norburn are Co-Artistic Directors of BREMF. This year’s programme presents early music in exciting formats and contexts, with a broad appeal. The programme features both internationally acclaimed musicians and talented local amateurs. The festival also showcases gifted young artists, as can be heard in a series of themed short performances entitled Grand Tour Shorts on 1 November at the Latest Music Bar, Manchester Street from 11am or 2.30pm This provides an excellent taster opportunity for audiences new to early music. Continue Reading »

Signs of Life

hogflume When I sat down to write this article it was going to be about blue plaques in Brighton, and especially those in ‘The Whistler’ cachement area but as I researched names and places I came across the story of a Brighton resident, Dave Askwith who, together with Alex Normanton, conceived the idea for the book, ‘Signs of Life’, published in 2005, while commuting from Brighton to London on the 7:34. “It was mundane – my fault for sitting in the same seat, (facing the bin and the emergency fire extinguisher), staring at the same signs every day,” said Askwith, who works, like Normanton, in advertising. “It’s not so much the sign but what it’s associated with; how signs mislead. ‘Quick ticket machines’ are anything but; they’re not quick, they’re a nightmare. Then you see the signs saying ‘good service’ beside Underground lines and everyone knows that it’s woeful at best. Trains that are ‘fast to Brighton’ are nothing of the sort. Signs are funny because they say one thing when we, reading them, know the reality is totally different.”

Askwith started putting signs up – the first aimed to shed light on a mysterious lever on a slam-door train. Others were overtly political, such as the “Polling Station” poster on a bin, which was intended to express Askwith’s anger at the political system. Continue Reading »

Oxjam Festival

Oxjam began in 2006 to create a network of music-loving people across the UK, united by a shared goal of raising money to fight poverty and suffering around the world.

Nine years later they are still going strong with more than 45k musicians having played to 1.2million people at over 4.5k Oxjam events, raising over £2.3m.

This year on 18 October Oxjam will be taking over some of Brighton’s best venues so more than 50 acts can perform. The aim is to celebrate diversity. Venues include The Royal Pavilion Tavern, The Good Companions (from 1pm) The Verdict, Under the Bridge, Access to Music and 10 Below.



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