The doors are flung thankfully open,

As teachers breathe an intense sigh of relief,

Parents hit with cheers, squeals, laughter,

A tsunami of marauding rucksacks,


Sweet, creamy honeysuckle wafts,

Fluffed caramel bees, soft rosy glints

Ball pits of brightly bobbing sunhats

Fuchsia-pink strawberries, sandy footprints.


Smiling faces, loud joyous whoops,

Sticky fingers, melting ice cream,

Spritzes of icy water, unsuspecting faces,

Waves’ crisp summery gleam.


I raise my eyes up to the sky

Speckled with fresh flickers of lemonade sun,

Rich earthy forests, silently, lazily serene

Celebrate! Winter’s gone, and summer has begun.


Thanks to Scarlett Baldwin (12) who loves writing and sent us this poem


When The Whistler was first published, over 40 years ago, the internet did not exist, and communication between local residents was over the garden wall, at the pub or the church or the local shops. These days, in addition to all of the above, people keep in touch in all sorts of digitally savvy ways – it’s non-stop, 24/7. But there’s nothing quite like reading a local rag, with articles written by residents of the local area, who want to share their stories, reminiscences, views, poems, gossip, outrage, expertise and humour.

We have all sorts of readers: those  who like receiving and reading The Whistler, but never write to tell us that they like it; those who don’t like receiving it and would rather it wasn’t delivered: please let us know if that’s the case and we’ll take you off the distribution list; those who like to share their views  through the Letters page: we  love receiving feedback  – positive or negative – as it reminds us there is an audience out there; those who write one-off offerings, like young Scarlett, whose poem is on the front page, or Robin’s piece on Open Houses, or the anonymous contributor on page 6:  we’d rather know authors’ names, but we understand people’s sensitivities at times. Finally, we love, and are eternally grateful to, those readers who send us one-off articles and then end up writing their own columns for years like David Foot, Peter Batten, Jim Gowans, Andrew Polmear.

Which one are you?


Dear Editor,

With reference to Tom Sargant’s tribute to Sally May in the June/July edition of The Whistler, I completely agree with Tom in the way the 7 dials area has changed over the last decade. I have said for many years that one day Brighton will become, ostensibly, a suburb of London. From the time I was a child I have always been connected with this part of Brighton. Over a period of fifteen years my mother and I lived at various different addresses in the 7 dials area. In 1967 my mother moved to Southwick and I moved to London and then on to Sweden. Continue Reading »

Peter Batten writes about The Sonnets . . .

Even today I often hear someone speaking on television or writing in a newspaper, blithely remarking, “Of course, we know so little about Shakespeare…” There are still a few fools about who think that his plays were written by the Earl of Oxford or, even worse, Christopher Marlowe. Continue Reading »

We end our series where we ask the owners of local businesses what they think about being part of the community in the Seven Dials / West Hill area. Unsurprisingly, most of them yearn for an improvement in the parking situation and an overwhelming percentage think that business rates could be much fairer. Every one of the businesses love the community in which they are based.

Please write to The Whistler and let us know what you like most about living in this area and your improvement suggestions.

Yvonne Parks Hair Stylist has been a West Hill fixture since 1961. Yvonne Harman and second-in-command Susan Gail have been gently perming and cutting in Gloucester Road for a generation and more. Yvonne was first attracted to the area because she “liked the village feel about it. Whole families became our clients, and our friends.” West Hill is a “gateway to so many places, near to the railway station and the buses.” Continue Reading »


Ayla Lepine