With reference to the Looking Back pages of November 28, and the history of the Sun Tavern, I managed a pet shop Elizabeth’s Pet Shop at 190 Seaide opposite this building for 38 years and have many memories of the area.
During the 50s and 60s there was a small photographer’s shop (Robinson’s?) trading on the right hand side of this property.
The shop’s reception area was small and you went upstairs to the larger workroom where he took family portraits. This was all eventually incorporated into the adjacent bank.
Next door, on the western side, the larger building mentioned in the feature, now Payne’s Funeral Directors, was a cinema for many years and known locally as “the fleapit”.
The projectionist had to climb up steep steps that were situated in a small alleyway on the left of the building to reach the equipment located high up under the roof.
As mentioned, Woolworth’s was located there for a time. During the early 1990s a business called Top Marks traded there, specialising in providing and fitting kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. A permanent indoor market was housed in this building later on, but, due to lack of business support, it never really took off, and closed after only a year of trading.
To the west of this building, the shop on the corner of Seaside and St James Road traded for many years as the Scotch Bakery.
At one time St James Road ran from Seaside right through to Latimer Road.
Now, a block of flats has been built across it but on a number of occasions when there were exceptionally high tides, sea water would find its way down into Seaside.
We then had to lay sandbags on the shop doorstep to prevent the water getting into the building.
Also I can remember, probably during the 50s and 60s, when high tides were coupled with heavy rain, the old Victorian sewers in this area just couldn’t cope and the manhole covers in nearby Firle Road would be forced up by the tremendous pressure that had built up.
The only answer at that time, was to bring out steamrollers and stand them on the covers.