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|A Straight Line Walk Across Brighton
by Paul K Lyons
28 - From holy Saturdays to pregnant models, via longboards and Neptune in fiction
Next door is a tiny church, with a tile-hung gable front, owned by the Seventh Day Adventists. Established in the United States, mainly through the preaching of William Miller in the first half of 19th century, the sect shares many Christian beliefs and accepts the authority of the Bible. However, Adventists emphasise the second coming of Christ, and, in particular, they observe the seventh day of the week (Saturday) as the Sabbath rather than the first. Their belief system also leads them to avoid meat, narcotics and stimulants. Estimates suggest the religion may count upwards of 25 million adherents in more than 200 countries. This little church, though, only claims 52 members; yet it has been here since the 1930s. On the same side of the road, there are four terraced houses, all of which are residential today but were traders 100 years ago. Number 4, for example, was a tailor and habit maker, and number 3 was a bird dealer. Number 1 was a pub called the Cliftonville Inn - now it's The Red Lion.
Cliftonville does not really exist today, but was a small suburb built up in the 1850s. At the time, development of the area immediately west of Brunswick was prohibited by law, so builders leapfrogged it and urbanised Cliftonville instead. The gap was later filled by the Avenues. Cliftonville is defined, say experts, by Osborne and Albany Villas, which contain delightful mid-Victorian houses, with bonneted bay windows and iron balconies. It is worth noting that a number of names around here - Osborne, Albany and Medina for example - appear to come from the Isle of Wight, where Queen Victoria bought Osborne House in 1845.
A few metres away from the Red Lion, on the corner of Osborne Villas and Kingsway, there's another, much larger pub, The Sussex, externally decorated with lots of hanging baskets. And opposite The Sussex, on the south side of Kingsway, is a third pub - The Neptune. Without entering any of the three, I can say definitely that The Neptune is my favourite. It's old and small and pretty, and above its ground floor window there's a lively colourful sculpture of a half-naked Neptune complete with trident. It offers live bands on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, thanks to the Anthony Burgess newsletter and a witty informative article by Dougie Milton on 'Enderby's Hove', I know that Enderby thought 'The Neptune was the sort of pub in which any of the three parts saloon, public, outdoor is visible from any other'. The clientele are less uniformly ancient than in Enderby's day, he says, although they are still interestingly varied. He recalls 'one fruity-voiced old boy reminiscing about his army days who could well have been the son of that major-general who evinced such scepticism about Enderby's rank in the war'.
A variety of shops fills the south side of Kingsway. Small Planet, for example, has two premises (either side of The Neptune and a narrow lane called Victoria Cottages, with said cottages, dating from the 1830s, running down to the beach). It claims to be the country's leading longboard specialist 'run by longboarders for longboarders'. A quick look at its website reveals a focus on girls modelling bikinis - and why not? Sussex Road, like Victoria Cottages, is also a narrow alley with old cottages that leads down to the sea. West of it are a few more shops, such as Cress Maternity. Its website says: 'Pregnancy is an amazing time, and we want you to have cool, comfortable clothes which will flatter your changing shape.' The women modelling here look just as healthy as those on longboards, but not quite as sexy. .
A pub called The Alibi stands at the end of the terrace on the corner, although an old sign in the brick work tells me this used to be St Aubyn's Hotel. Before that, it was the site of the Travellers Joy Inn, serving Tamplin Ales. The Alibi kitchen, a poster says, 'offers delicious food from around the globe and around the corner'.
by Paul K Lyons
A Straight Line Walk Across Brighton - along the 450 northing
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