Brighton Gazette. Thursday February 22nd. 1821

Phoebe Hassell - or Hessel - was the woman who, it is said, falling in love with a soldier, took on man's clothing and appearance and served for five years in the Fifth Foot Regiment before she was wounded and admitted to being a woman. Her grave is in St Nicholas churchyard. She died in 1821.
By Maureen Brand
East Street. This old hotel was established in the 18th century. Like several other inns, it was demolished to make way for Brill's Baths, which in turn were replaced by the Savoy cinema.
Brighton History Centre
Pool Valley. This photo shows the first baths to be constructed in Brighton, built by Dr Awsiter in 1769. He advocated drinking sea-water as well as bathing in it. The photo itself was taken in 1856. By this time, the baths had been extended and were owned by Mr Creak.
Brighton History Centre
These old cottages were demolished in 1875, to make room for an extension to Middle Street school. You can just make out the building at the end of the street. It was a large private house, later taken over by the Hippodrome, and still standing today.
Brighton History Centre
Thrales House. This photo shows the house at 78 West Street owned by Henry Thrale and his wife. In the 18th century, they played host to many literary guests, including Dr Johnson. There are seven tie-posts for horses outside the house. One of these is still in place in 2004.
Brighton History Centre

Sussex and General Advertiser.

Report taken from the newspaper as above from the Bench at the Brighton Town Hall. 

One of the watchmen, named Cousins, preferred a complaint against a respectable inhabitant of the town, of which the following is the substance: – He said, that in going his rounds a night or two before, he had met two women and a man issuing from a passage near the lower end of Black Lion Street. It was then half an hour past midnight, and as the trio he had fallen in with, from intoxication appeared incapable of taking care of themselves, he had humanely offered to assist them home. This offer, however, had been rejected, but it had been amicably rejected, as they had invited him to take gin with them, and, subsequently proffered him a shilling not to say he had met them, both of which, in his turn, had been declined. Perceiving them peaccable, and, in his opinion, likely to remain so, he had permitted them to pursue their own course, and had almost lost the recollection of their having met, when, about an hour afterwards, he heard sheiks, mingled with threats of calling in the watch, issue from a house situated in a passage leading into Middle Street.

Halting at this passage, the same man and the two women soon after came from it, but they were not so peaccably disposed as before, for the former, to a remonstrange, gave him a blow,  when a scuffle ensued, in which they all went down together, and he, the watchman, lost his staff, but quickly succeeded in regaining it. The impassioned gust of the moment having somewhat evaporated in the fierceness of the ‘action’ that had followed, he said, he regained an upright position, and began to ‘reconnitre’. To his surprise, he then perceived that the ‘enemy’ had been reinforced; that instead of two women, there were then four, and instead of one man, there were two. Against such fearful odds, he had considered, it would have been next to madness in him to have contended, particularly as ‘a new plan of attack’ appeared to have been methodized, and that too, with such celerity as evinced them to be no ordinary ‘tacticians’ in that species of warfare. In short, he said, two ‘hostile lines’ were presented to him, a man forming the centre of each, with ‘amazonias flanks and streamers flying’ to the right and to the left. One of these ‘lines in close order,’ had advanced on him, while the other, acting as ‘an array of reserve’ cut off his retreat in the opposite direction. The moment, he said was a perilous one, but he surmounted the danger by a ‘coup de main,’ for awaiting the attack as if consenting to a capture, he had made a sudden charge, which had thrown the right wing of the enemy into confusion, and brought his centre to a level with the dust. This effected, his ‘retreat’ was secured – the fallen and the wounded’ he had left to make the best shift they could for themselves, and, without further difficulty, had reached the Town Hall. A ‘reinforcement’ there awaited him, but it was useless, for nothing more was seen of the ‘enemy’ that night.


The magistrates could not avoid smiling at the peculiar energy of the watchman in his narration, and as he knew one of the men, him who had first assaulted him, a warrant was ordered for his apprehension and the further hearing of the case postponed until the following Monday.

On that later day, Monday last, the watchman and the person cited to appear, presented themselves to the bench, the former declaring he had been satisfied in the acknowledgement of error by the person complained of, and that he no longer processed a spirit to prosecute. The Bench admitted of the adjustment, but bound over the offending party, who had scarcely any recollection of what had happened, to keep the peace towards all his Majesty’s subjects for one year, and towards Cousens, the watchman in particular.


On the above day, seven vagrants, taken from the streets by the Beadle, were committed to the ‘House of Correction’ for seven days, agreeably to the Act, to be passed to their several parishes, viz George Shakespear, Daniel Bryan, James Biggs, Robert Wilson, James Morris, Petre De Vick and John Grover. – James Biggs and James Morris, were ordered to be whipped.

The wife of George Shakespear suddenly appeared before the Bench, after the order of committal for her husband had been passed, but in which order she was subsequently included.

Three lads of notorious characters underwent examinations on suspicion of having attempted to commit a robbery in a shop in East Street, by removing a pane from the shop window. – Other matters of a suspicious nature were also adduced in evidence: they were in the end, remanded, for another examination later this day. Their names are Reader, Sherlock and R. Bonner. The former, on finding out he was to be detained, rudely inquired of the Bench, “Can’t you send us to Lewes instead of that lousy hole.” The reply was “You must remain there until Thursday.” He then insolently rejoined, “Why then, we shall all be as lousy as pigs by that time.” The character of the precious youth may easily be understood by the above specimen of his capability.

A Mrs. Amelia Govis, on suspicion of having dishonestly obtained several articles of printed cotton, calico etc. which she had pawned in the shop of Mr. Langridge, who had been the cause of bringing her before the Bench stood committed, in default of bail, to meet the consequent of her offence at the next Quarter Sessions. About eight yards of printed cotton, valued at 10 shillings. Mr. Richardson, linen draper, identified, by private marks, as having been his property, though how it had been obtained from him, he knew not. The prisoner said she had purchased it of a woman in St. James’s Street, a stranger to her, for seven shillings; and a yard or two of calico, in a similar way.

Another entry in the same newspaper is of interest and is as follows: –

William Pollido, a black lad, aged 17, who was convicted at the Spring Assizes in 1819, for robbing Mr. Sheppard’s shop at Brighton, and received sentence of death, which was commuted to ‘two years imprisonment,’ he died last Friday in the ‘House of Correction,’ at Lewes.

The Coroner’s inquest was taken on Sunday, and a verdict given, – ‘died by the visitation of God.’ DavidRowland

Welcome to the Finsbury Publishing

David Rowland has just launched his 15th and final book, “The Spirit of Winsome Winn II”, all about the B-17 Flying Fortress which crashed at Patcham after being hit by anti-aircraft fire over Germany.

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