Posts Tagged ‘Seven Dials’

We continue 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. Final part to follow in the next issue. Meanwhile, please write to The Whistler and let us know what you like most about living in this area and your improvement suggestions.

Fullertons Graham Brown and Howard Abbot have owned this stationery shop for 21 years and 36 days (and counting) since they moved from the Stage Door Café in Sydney Street. “The business was for sale, we lived in the area and liked the location.” They like Seven Dials because “It has a unique sense of belonging and people are proud of their amenities and environment.” Improvement suggestion: the parking charges are appalling and confusing.

GB Guitars in Prestonville Road is owned by Bernie Goodfellow who moved here from Croydon 12 years ago. He always visited Brighton and wanted to set up in the town and he likes the vibe and the people in the Seven Dials. Improvement suggestion: parking could be much better.

Grocer and Grain Hakan Toklu has owned this deli/grocer on Surrey Street since moving from Istanbul to open the shop 10 years ago. He was attracted by the location and the local residents. He likes the convenience of the proximity to everywhere else in town and the different backgrounds of the people who live around here. Improvement suggestion: a Spring event that will attract local people to come together as a community.

Homage Mark Fisher and his wife, Liza Fisher-Zerb, are the husband and wife team who own this home and lifestyle store. They moved to Bath Street in November 2015 from Stoke Newington, as Liza “is a Brighton girl and Seven Dials is her childhood neighbourhood. We’ve always wanted to move back to Brighton so we relocated the shop. Seven Dials has a lovely village feel and yet it is 5 minutes walk from the centre of Brighton. Great pubs, restaurants, cafés, and independent businesses. Friendly, welcoming residents.” Improvement suggestion: parking for visitors and commercial premises.

Jagwa Tracy and Alero Ejuetami are the mother and daughter who run this tiny salon. Based here for 19 years – “It was cheap at the time” – they like the Dials because it’s safe, friendly and interesting. Improvement suggestion: businesses to open later.

The Kitchen Table Stuart Graves has been based here for 4 years, having worked in various pubs and restaurants in Brighton. He was attracted by the feeling that it was a neighbourhood. He runs the café with his assistants Marc and Sophie. Improvement suggestion: some more interesting retail shops.

Latina Adelia Pereira brought her award-winning (for recycling) Portuguese café to the Dials 20 months ago, having come from Brighton University. She was attracted by the good location and the lovely area. Improvement suggestion: fewer drunk people around.

Le Gourmet Deli Silvano Ricci owns and runs this delicatessen since his father, Silvano, retired recently, having moved from Montefiore Road 20 years ago. His second-in-command is Ryan Marchant. They were attracted by the “lovely local community” and like the community feel in the area. Improvement suggestion: free parking for half an hour.

Magdusia the Polish supermarket is owned by Ala Alrousan, with his second-in-command, Claire Alrousan. Ala has been based in the Dials for 12 years, since coming here from Abu Dhabi. He was attracted by “the beautiful look of the city, the sea, and the open-minded, friendly people.” Improvement suggestion: no road works in the summer.

Maple Café is owner Amanda Hoggatt’s first business and has been here for 20 months. She was attracted to the Dials because it is “a lovely area with a real mix of people” and what she likes most about the area is that “it has a small town feel and people are more relaxed and friendly.”

Mermaid Island Guijie Wang and her husband Michael Moore came to the Seven Dials from Saltdean one year ago, attracted by the local community, the adjacent shops and offices. “We like our friendly neighbours and being close to the shops and the sea.” Improvement suggestion: some trees or plant containers.

Michael Paul Insurance Services Paul Phillips owns this business and has been in this area since 1984,  to which he was attracted because it was a busy area, with a good community feel. Improvement suggestion: parking.

Mishon Mackay has been based in Hove since 1987 when owner Alex Mackay set up his business. He was attracted by lots of London buyers and he likes the village feel and independent shops in the Seven Dials. Improvement suggestion: litter can always be improved and fewer cars.

Mr Face Make-up & Hair is owned by Martin Carter, and his second-in-command is Mark Stelfox. Martin was in London before opening the business a year ago, having been attracted by the shopfront, and the fact it was “way away from the town centre.” He likes the good community spirit and his amazing, loyal clientele. Improvement suggestion: free parking permits for customers.



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We asked 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. Part 1 below, Parts 2 and 3 follow in future issues. Meanwhile, please write to The Whistler and let us know what you like most about the businesses in this area and your improvement suggestions.

The Almond Tree Michela and Claudio are a couple and they run the café together. They have been here since 2013 and they like the area because “it’s quite lively but not as chaotic and busy as the North Laine” where Claudio worked before. “You get to know pretty much all your neighbours and people working in the area”. What they like most about the Dials is the “nice variety of independent businesses, finding many things here and being a quick walk from the town centre.” Improvement suggestion: traffic-free days and street events could bring more people up the hill. (more…)

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Seven Dials roundabout in Brighton will be subject to three weeks of road works to correct defects which led to parts of it crumbling.sevendials

Delays should be expected when work starts during the week of 11 September and continue until 8 October. Lane closures, temporary traffic lights and diversions will be in place.

Repairs are needed because some of the low kerbstones encircling the roundabout have broken or come adrift.  As a result, changes will be made ensuring kerbstones are flush with the tarmac to avoid any impact from vehicles. The roundabout will also be resurfaced.  Some of the work will happen at night to minimise disruption.

Suppliers are expected to foot the bill, totalling around £50,000.

Chair of the Environment and Transport Committee Cllr Gill Mitchell said: “We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.  The stone used in the kerbstone on the corner of the roundabout  has worn quicker than anticipated. To prevent this in the future the kerb height will be lowered in line with the road surface.” (more…)

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The Whistler welcomes a new shop to the Seven Dials – so we now we have another choice, apart from supermarkets, for where to buy our wine, and receive personal and knowledgeable service at the same time…

SevenCellarsSeven Cellars is a new independent wine shop and tap room at the heart of Brighton’s Seven Dials district. The owners are two local people, Louise Oliver, a wine business graduate from Plumpton College and wine importer; and Anna Lowe, an expert in German box manufacturing technology (yes really!), who, having enjoyed many good bottles of wine together, could not resist the chance to open a new business in an originally tiled 19th Century shop (one of the old Tinkers shops on Dyke Road). (more…)

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Round and round

Bob Potter forwarded The Whistler this response from a Council spokesperson about the state of that award-winning million pound roundabout…

town-planning“We are aware of the problem with loose kerbs at the Seven Dials roundabout. However, we do not consider them to be a safety risk for either pedestrians or drivers. (more…)

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Concluding The Whistler archive interview from 1980 with Charles Attwater, who lived in West Hill Place

I married in 1934 and our first home was a flat in 85 or 87 Buckingham Road.

By then I had finished my apprenticeship, gained experience and started my own business as a French Polisher. I had a workshop in Guildford Road. It’s not there now, it’s a block of flats. In 1941 I became Churchwarden at All Saints under Father Cockerill and was then living in Goldsmid Road. (more…)

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Vignettes from Seven Dials’ Past – The Pet Shop

Like most people, I suppose, my early memories are pretty fragmented. Possibly when we are toddlers we only memorise the important events, but I have an alternative theory; this is that we actually forget the whole darn lot, but we do remember remembering the important things, in other words the five-year-old selects which of the three-year-old’s memories will be retained. Some of the memories are reinforced, to a greater or lesser extent, by parents and others reminding one of past events.

The earliest thing I remember is walking out of Brighton Station with Mum, and meeting Dad in his car parked on the station forecourt. I know from them that Mum and I had been to Newcastle–upon-Tyne, staying with her parents while Dad, who was opening a pet shop, “The Animal Dispensary” at 42 Dyke Road in Brighton, found us somewhere to live.

This was in 1936 and I was two and a half years old.

Dad took us in the car to our new home, Clifton Cot, a rented bungalow in Underdown Road, Southwick, on the coast four miles west of Brighton. The bungalow had a large and rather unkempt garden. Dad needed the garden for dog kennels, so that the pet shop could offer boarding facilities.

The_Pet_ShopI was not a well-behaved child but my misbehaviour was due more to curiosity than malice. One sin I didn’t confess until I was grown up. Besides the stream of canine residents at our boarding kennels we had some dogs of our own, Jock, Hitler and Lady. Lady had two pups, a few weeks old, Porky and Milky. Porky was better at suckling and Milky was rather under-nourished in comparison.

In the living room where I was playing with the pups, there were some cords hanging from the ceiling; obviously I hadn’t attached them and I’ve no idea why they were there.

Anyway, I thought the pups would enjoy a swing! Mum had a large copper preserving pan, the kind with two handles, and I tied a cord to each handle. The pan hung there nicely. I gave it a push and it swung backwards and forwards, just like the swings in the playground on the green.

Time to try it out on the pups. I picked up Milky and put him in the preserving pan. I gave it a push. Milky became frightened and moved to the side of the pan. This upset the balance and the pan turned upside down. Milky fell on to the floor, from a height of perhaps three feet. You might have expected a puppy to survive such a fall ninety-nine times out of a hundred, but sadly, Milky did not.

I burst into tears, convinced I would receive terrible retribution.

Mum and Dad came in. “Porky did it, Porky did it!” I blubbered.

To my amazement they believed me! Dad even said that Porky must have shaken Milky by the scruff of his neck, the way a dog kills a rat.

A crime for which I was punished, I committed for, what I considered, a justifiable reason. The pups’ mother, Lady, had got out of our garden and was on the other side of the fence in the Rest Garden. I obligingly broke a hole in the fence to let her in. And a hundred dogs got out! It took three days to get them all back. Our three dogs were wire-haired terriers, which Mum’s father Granda Green used to breed and show. I’m not sure if they all came from him. Jock was a lovely dog who would let me do anything with him. Hitler got his name from his appearance, a white face with black around and on the left ear, which looked like Adolf’s hair. But the name suited his character, he was a villain. Dad had not meant to keep him, and had sold him three times in the pet shop, but each time the new owners returned him and demanded a refund. Hitler bit me when I was three years old, and Dad hit him with a broomstick that happened to be handy. Hitler learned his lesson and never so much as growled at me afterwards. Apart from the fence episode I remember nothing about Lady.

Tony Hill

To be continued…


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