A Walk Through Sandgate (part 1) – by Fred Moore

The (Sir John Moore) memorial which stands today to the west of the old CoastGuard lookout was erected by public subscription and unveiled on Jan 16th, 1911. For many years it was surrounded by ornamental twin chains and inside this large area, apart from the memorial, stood a muzzle loading cannon with several seats on either side of the cannon. This was a popular place for visitors to sit on summer days.

Not far to the west of this area stood the Sea Point Bathing Establishment. After the Great War this building was altered to include ladies and gents toilet, but in 1905 it was a tea room with bathing cabins on the seaside for hire, these cabins being used to change into ones bathing costumer. During those early days chairs could be hired from this establishment for 2d per morning or afternoon session. Some time after the second world war a severe storm badly damaged this building so it was necessary for it to be demolished.

We now cross the road and return to the4 steep hill leading to Chapel Street (now Wilberforce Road) and continue to describe the final buildings on the north side of this quaint street.

The three tall houses built on rising ground well above the level of the street, numbers 118, 120 and 122 were known as Elmer House, Belmont House and Sussex House at that time. They were lodging houses, built during the middle of the last centry. In 1905 a Mr J Brickell, dairyman, lived at Sussex House before he opened for business years later at 43, the High Street.

Next to the last of these three houses, Sussex House, are the four flat-roofed shops known as Kirby Arcade. They stand opposite Dr. Chubbs residence, Dunford House (today known as Dolphin House). Looking at these shops today and seeing the poor state of repair and maintenance it is hard to imagine that in 1905 these four little shops were trading as follows:

Number 126, the first business was known as the Arcade Bazaar, the shop next door advertised as the Boot Repairing Factory and Bootmakers, at number 130 Mr F Pitkin ran his butcher’s shop and the final shop was a fishmonger’s managed by a Mr Richardson. In 1905 a fire occurred and considerable damage was done to his shop the local fire brigade was called with their manual pump, my father, Tom Moore attending as one of the local firemen.

These shops have had a very chequered history. Before the Great War they had lost their popularity and a photograph taken around that time show ‘To Let’ signs in several of the shop windows. In the middle of the 1920’s I can remember one of the centre shops being rented to a Mr Drakley who traded as an upholsterer. In number 126 a Mr Jordan ran his sweet shop and I can remember buying a pennyworth of sweets in this shop on many occasions.

Later in the 1930’s Mr J A Taylor bought these shops and opened his own Funeral Directors, Builders and Decorator’s business, using numbers 130 and 132 as his workshop. He continued in business up to the second world war when the business closed for a time. His son George, who came into the business several years before the commencement of the war joined the army, returning after his war service to work alongside his father with another partner, Mr Timms. When Mr Taylor Snr. retired, George and Mr Timms continued trading as a Builders and Decorators, discontinuing the funeral directors section of the business, until they retired, closing down the business in the early 1980’s.