Introducing Smith’s Cuttings

posted in: Archives, History, Newspapers, Peter Blake | 0

‘Smith’s Cuttings’ are a fascinating collection of ephemera relating to all aspects of Brighton life. The volumes are divided into themes (Amusements, Elections, Fisheries), buildings (Churches, Chapels, Hotels, Pavilion, Chain Pier, Aquarium), and areas (The Coast West, The Coast East, The Steine, North St). Although, as the name suggests, the volumes are mostly made up of local newspaper cuttings, they also contain book extracts, plans, maps, original letters, posters advertising entertainments and political meetings, book extracts, and pencil sketches.

The latter are a particularly endearing aspect of the collection, offering as they do rough but immediate images that provide an intimate view of Brighton street life.

Here is a fascinating example from 1807.

p. 12 of The Steine, North St. Etc

Dr Richard Russell’s house is shown in the foreground and, on the left, an array of bathing machines can be seen on the beach ready for the ‘dipping’ of visitors.Over the next few months I will be posting more extracts from these cuttings along with more information on the Mr. Smith who diligently kept a fascinating record of the town.

I will sign off with an amusing piece of poetry inserted into the collection that I am sure still resonates with stressed and jaded visitors from the metropolis! This town was not known as London-by-Sea by chance!
Poem ‘London and Brighton’ by A. Cynic p. 180 of Vol. 1 Churches
Poem ‘London and Brighton’ by A. Cynic p. 180 of Vol. 1 Churches

Peter Blake, Brighton History Centre Officer