Historian Elizabeth Wright got in touch with Looking Back recently following the report on the petition to save the Windsor Pub in Langney Road.
Elizabeth’s family were tenants at the pub and the campaign to save it brought back memories.
Her family lived there from 1949–1955.
Elizabeth writes, “My father, Frederick Edward Wright, a retired Metropolitan police officer, my mother, grandmother, cousin Clive, and myself, moved to Eastbourne from the Hare and Hounds pub at Flimwell, on the Sussex border.
“Shortly after we moved into the pub I found a baby bird in the playground of my school, St Helena’s – West Hill.
“I brought it home and we succeeded in rearing what turned out to be, not a sparrow as we had thought, but a greenfinch, which we called Chippy. “Having been hand reared he had no fear of people and ended up entertaining the pub customers.
“In the 50s and 60s there were few health and hygiene laws so the bird enjoyed flitting from person to person, tweaking playing cards from players’ hands and doing a ‘dam busters’ flying routine across the top of their carefully stacked dominoes, scattering the ebony and ivory pieces in all directions.
“We did have to dissuade Chippy from drinking out of their beer glasses because after a couple of sips of alcohol his matchstick legs simply went from under him.
“His party piece was to perch on my mother’s chin and investigate inside her mouth.
“A photographer from a national newspaper came and took some pictures of this, which generated a great deal of interest when it was published.
“In 1954 the owner of the Windsor Tavern, Charringtons Brewery, decided to hand over the business to Kemp Town Brewery.
“My father had always considered Charringtons beers to be excellent and he wasn’t pleased about the changeover.
“So after consultations he gave up the tenancy, we moved out and rented, for £2 a week, the tiny shop opposite that had housed fishing tackle.
“We opened it up as a pet shop and were so pleased when the takings on the opening day came to £11.
“But the delights were short lived – the building did not have a toilet and we quickly discovered that the whole place was overrun with mice. Within a couple of months we moved to premises at 190 Seaside, which had recently been vacated by a dry cleaning company.
“The rent was £4 a week, and my mother said, “How are we going to be able to afford that?”
“At that time we didn’t own a car, so we borrowed a hand cart from a neighbour and spent all day wheeling the stock from Langney Road to Seaside. “We opened up the business, calling it ‘Elizabeth’s Pet Shop,’ and there we stayed for the next 38 years, becoming a small part of Eastbourne’s history.”