Armistice centenary 2018 – Strike a Light attends memorial at Westminster Abbey

45284353_282863865696332_219482063005286400_nWe’re off to Westminster Abbey in London this Sunday 11th November for the special centenary commemorations of World War I along with the Royal Family, for our work with Strike a Light-Arts & Heritage on The Orange Lilies: Brighton & Hove in the Somme project from 2016 onwards.

We’re very honoured to have been invited and feel like we’re representing all the fantastic Great War focussed projects in Brighton and Hove on a national level.

Thanks to all our project partners – Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, Fabrica Gallery and Gateways to the First World War, as well as our indispensible volunteers and participants who were involved in bringing this research to life during this time and helping remember the lives of the Royal Sussex Regiment during WWI.


Robert Funnell

Robert Funnell was born in 1889 in Brighton. He died on the 21st of March 1918 in France. at 29 years old. Robert was in the Royal Sussex Regiment 11th Battalion. His rank was acting Lance Corporal, service number was SD/3842.

Family and Home life

Robert’s father Robert Funnell was born in 1857 in Danehill, Sussex, the son of William and Mary Funnell and the seventh of nine children. He married Jemima Eager in 1879 at St Peter’s Church in Brighton.

In 1881 they lived at 9 Frederick Gardens with their daughter Jemima aged one and George Taylor, who was a ‘carriers carman’, lodged with them. Robert, also worked as a ‘carriers carman’.

In 1882 their daughter Emma Mahala was born, followed by Alice in 1886/88 and Robert Trainton in 1889. In 1891 the family lived at 6 Queens Street and Robert senior worked as a ‘carman’.

The 1901 census showed the family home was still in Queens Street, and two boarders also lived there, but daughter Jemima who had married Harry Barker in January 1901 lived in Trafalgar Street and her sister Alice was possibly working as a servant in London.

The 1911 census showed Robert was, like his father, working as a ‘carman’, and he and his parents had moved to 7 Foundry Street. Arthur Montgomery, a boot and shoe salesman boarded with them.  

Robert’s father died in 1916 aged 59 years. In 1918 his Mother lived at 28, Newtown Road, Hove.

Military Career

Robert enlisted with the Royal Sussex Regiment 11th Battalion, his service number is SD/3842. He was killed in action during the German Spring offensive sometime between 21 of March 1918 and 3rd of April 1918. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in France.

He was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

His effects were sent to his Mother in August 1919.


Victory Medal


Post War

Robert’s Mother died in Worthing in 1936.

Research Notes

Little information about Robert’s military career appears to have survived. From the 1911 census the Funnell name has been transcribed as Tunnell. Various branches of the Funnell Family have researched their history and much information can be found on the Funnell’s Wood website. 

Queen Street was demolished to make way for a coal shed, which was opened in 1905 as part of Brighton Railway Station. The Hall Genealogy Website states that a carman is a driver of (horse-drawn) vehicles for transporting goods. Carmen were often employed by railway companies for local deliveries and collections of goods and parcels.

Robert Funnell is listed on the Brighton Roll of Honour website in the following way:

Lance Corporal SD/3842, 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (1st South Downs). 39th New Army Division. Killed in action during the German Spring offensive 3rd April 1918.

Aged 29. Born and enlisted in Brighton. Next of kin, Brighton. Listed in St. Peters Memorial Book under L/Cpls. Commemorated on The Pozieres Memorial MR. 27.

Our final event!

20170630_170652-e1499443215907.jpgWe marked the end of our The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project with a big community history event on 30th June 2017 at Jubilee Library in Brighton.

It was a roaring success with a great variety of speakers and around 150 visitors to the drop in day, listening to presentations, visiting stalls and exhibitions at the venue, followed by the unveiling of a memorial stone to those who fell at The Battle of Boar’s Head on 30th June 1916.

Just to say a huge thank you for your support and delivery for The Orange Lilies project since June 2016.
Your time and expertise has really served to make the project happen and is so very much appreciated. I really can’t thank you enough for your involvement!
We are still uploading research to the project website, so things won’t end right away, but in terms of project delivery we are now complete.
I must say it’s come round far too soon and I feel in some ways like we’ve just got started, so am sad to finish, but on to projects new for now.
We’ve had great feedback from visitors for the day in general and also each specific session. The day was a real success and we had around 150 visitors ongoing through the day to hear your presentations. I hope you enjoyed it too!
‘I was glad to catch Geoffrey Mead’s talk. Fascinating!’
‘The speakers were of an extremely high standard’
‘Chris Kempshall’s talk was my favourite part’
‘A fascinating day, thank you!’
‘Really enjoyed it’
‘The speakers were all inspirational, amusing, entertaining, relevant and inspiring’
‘It was an illuminating and fascinating day of events’
‘All the presentations (including the Q+A) were of an extremely high standard’
‘Many congratulations on a superb project’
If you’d like to join the Strike a Light mailing list for future project activities and events, do let me know and I’ll add you to the newsletter. 
To keep up with us in other ways you can ‘Follow’ the Strike a Light website –
or on Twitter – @strikerlight


Victor George Duke


Victor’s grandfather, Richard Duke, was born in 1831 in Bosham in West Sussex. He worked as a farm labourer in that area, living with his brothers, his mother having died in 1837 and his father in 1850. By 1861, at the age of 30 years, Richard had moved to Brighton and was working as a labourer and living in lodgings in Blackman Street.

By 1871, Richard had moved to the Hanover area of Brighton and was lodging in a three bed roomed terraced house in Holland Street with James Hall, his wife and two daughters. Also lodging there was Celia Martin and her three sons, James who was 7 years, Charles who was 3 years and George who was 2 months (Victor’s father).

Both James Hall and Richard Duke were working as general labourers.

Richard and Celia Martin married at St Peter’s Church, Brighton on 18/03/1877. Their daughter Emma was christened at St Peter’s on 4/10/77 but died early in 1878.

By 1881 the family had moved to Whichelo Place and shared a house with William Boxall, a labourer and his sister-in-law, a laundry worker.  Richard was working as a ‘Corporation’ labourer, his son Charles as a paper hanger’s assistant. George was at school and James was not listed.

George married Ann Burchett in 1889, who was three years his senior. At the time of the 1881 Census the Burchett Family had lived at 17 Claremont Row; Ann worked as a general servant and her father Charles was recorded as being a pauper. He was recorded on the 1861 Census as being a labourer.

The 1891 Census showed George, Ann and their son John, born in 1890, to be living with George’s parents at 33 Holland Street. George’s occupation was ‘Waterworks turncock’.(sic)

By 1901 they had moved back to Whichelo Place, number 25, and had four more sons. Victor was born in 1897. George’s occupation was ‘builder’s foreman’. (Richard and Celia lived at 21 Whichelo Place).

By 1911 George and Ann had eight children, seven boys and one girl, and the family had moved to a five roomed house, number 2 Cromwell Street, just off Elm Grove. Richard and Celia lived next door at number 4. They also had five rooms.

Victor at 14years of age was recorded as ‘Assisting in business’, presumably working for his father who was by then a coal dealer. His oldest brother John was working for the post office; William, born in 1892, was in the Navy; Alfred, born in 1895, was a page. Frank, born in 1899, Albert, born in 1902, and Arthur, born in 1903, were all at school and Mable, aged 4 year, was at home.

Throughout the war years Victor’s brother William served in the Navy on ships including Victory 1 and Excellent; he was paid a war gratuity. He was invalided out of the Navy in 1925 having completed sixteen years service.

Victor’s brother Frank, during the war, was Private 31065, 6th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderer’s (formally 3085 Sussex Yeomanry). He was taken prisoner and died in captivity of pneumonia on 05/11/1918, aged 19 years. He is buried in Niederwehren Cemetery, Cassel, Germany. He is listed on St Lukes Parish Church Memorial. His war gratuity was sent to his father in May 1919.



There appears to be little surviving information about Victor’s military career. He enlisted with the Royal Sussex Regiment, 13th Battalion, at Hastings. His regimental number is SD/2667, suggesting that he was one of ‘Lowthers Lambs’. He was killed in action on June 30th 1916, the day the Battle of Boar’s Head was fought. He is buried in Saint Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-I’Avoue. Grave reference 111 Q.5.

Private Victor Duke was awarded posthumously the British Medal and Victory Medal.

His effects, a total of £10 9s was sent to his mother in June 1919.

He is listed on St Lukes Parish Church Memorial and in St Peter’s Memorial Book, as is his brother Frank.



George died on November 3rd 1931; probate was granted to his daughter Mable. Ann also died in 1931.

Mable kept house for her brothers Alfred and Arthur who both worked in the building trade; they lived at 2 Cromwell Street until their deaths. Mable died in 1968, Alfred in 1992 and Arthur in 1991.

William married Florence Parker in 1918.  He worked as a foreman at the Public Library Museum and Art gallery. He died in 1978.

Albert who had married Annie Biggs in 1924,  lived at 4 Cromwell Street at least until 1939;  they both worked at a laundry,  he as a driver and she as a shop  assistant.

John married Ruth Long in 1911 they had five children and lived in Southwick. John continued to work for the Post office as a telephone and telegraph fitter. He died in 1980.

Arthur John King

Arthur John King was born in 1895 in Brighton, and lived there with his family, and worked as a Rivet Lad at Brighton Station, Locomotive and Carriage Department. He enlisted as a private to the 6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental no. 177) on 12 June 1912, at the age of 17. Arthur died, aged 21, in a bathing accident, at Littlestone on 15 July 1916. He was off duty.

Rudge-Whitworth Bicycles of the 2/6th (Cyclist) Battilion, Royal Sussex Regiment


Arthur was born in Brighton on 4 February 1895 to Samuel and Jane King who had 12 children in all, 5 of whom had died by 1911. Although Samuel was born in Brighton, he lived in Plymouth for some time, marrying a Devon girl, Jane Philp, in 1885 at the age of 29.
By the time of the 1891 census, still living in Plymouth, the couple had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Shortly afterwards, Samuel moved back to Brighton with his family and by 1901 had a further three children, including Arthur (1895) and his younger brother, Alfred Cornelius King (1899), who also served in WW1 and is also listed on the plaque.

Home life

In 1901, at the age of 6, Arthur was living with his family in Hollingbury Road in a property called St Malo and by 1911, they had moved to 22 New England Road.
Residence of Arthur John King 22 New England Road

22 New England Road (grey house, bottom left), Google Maps, Retrieved 5/16/2017

His father, Samuel, a hairdresser, had a salon at 70 Preston Road (now Preston Park Deli) which stayed in the family for over fifty years (c.1911-1969), passing from father to daughter (Ethel Maud King) around the 1940s.
Image result for preston park deli

Preston Park Deli

He had previously had a salon at 26 Market Street, at the southeast corner of Little East Street, a building which was demolished in 1960.
He lived with his parents and four siblings at 22 New England Road. Two of his siblings (Alfred and Emily) were still at school and two older sisters (Helen and Emily) were both dressmakers.

Railwaymen streaming down New England Road on their way to a hurried breakfast, in 1912. They started work at 6 am, and had a break for their breakfast between 8 and 8.30. Most of the men lived quite near to the Works, in such streets as Argyle Road, while others lived in Railway houses in adjoining roads.

Arthur had joined London, Brighton and South Coast Railway on 17 August 1910, aged 15, as a Rivet Lad at Brighton Station, Locomotive and Carriage Dept. At the age of 16, Arthur was described in the 1911 census as an apprentice boiler rivetter.  By the time he enlisted in 1912, aged 17, he was describing himself as a maker.
once the site of the locamotive works

“I’ve been documenting the demolition of the warehouses on New England Street, that were once part of the Locomotive Works. They were last occupied by Martha’s Barn, Cliffords and John’s Camping. Behind John’s Camping from the road (now demolished) leading to the Station Car park, 15/1/2004. New England House can be seen on the right; the Clarenden Centre to the left; and the viaduct in the distance.”
© Alan (Fred) Pipes

Military career

Arthur was enlisted as a private to the 6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental no. 177) on 12 June 1912 and was mobilized after training on 5 August 1914.
His medical inspection report on enlistment described him as 5 feet 4 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 34 inches. He was appointed (unpaid) to the rank of Lance Corporal on 30 September 1915, to (paid) acting Lance Corporal on 30 December 1915, and promoted to Acting Corporal on 14 February 1916. His total service, till his death on 15 July 1916, was 4 years and 35 days.
The 6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment was formed in 1912 and was one of 14 cyclist battalions at the start of WW1. They were part of the Territorial Force (TF), the volunteer reserve component of the army in existence from 1908-1920. The TF was seen as a home defence force, the cyclist battalions being employed largely on UK coastal defences. At the end of WW1, the TF was reformed and renamed the Territorial Army.
Like others in his battalion, Arthur did not see any service overseas, and at the time of his death, he was NCO in charge of the Lookout Station at Littlestone, Kent.
Arthur died, aged 21, in a bathing accident at Littlestone on 15 July 1916. Off duty, he went with Lance Corporal Frank Wooller in bathing costume and overcoat to the Littlestone front, near the lifeboat boathouse. According to witnesses, he was possibly not a good swimmer and probably fell off the landing stage in
to the water. An inquest recorded a verdict of accidental drowning.

Watch House Littlestone

Arthur John King is buried at Brighton City (Bear Rd) Cemetery, grave reference ZGV.55. He is also listed in the St Peters Memorial Book under Corporals and on St Johns Church Memorial, Preston Park. At the time of his death, his parents were living
at 24 Herbert Road, Brighton.

Private Clement Trill – Royal Sussex Regiment

Clement Trill, was a Private in the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (SD 2803). He fought at the Battle of the Boars Head at  Richebourg L’Avoué, on the 30th of June 1916 and died the next day on the 1st July 1916 of his injuries at the age of 29 years. Trill is buried at Merville Communal Cemetery, France.

Clement Trill’s Brother, Lance Corporal Charles Tower Trill, was in the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He too was killed in action during an attack on German positions at Ovillers on the Somme on 7th July 1916, aged 21 years. Lance Corporal Charles Tower Trill is Buried Ovillers Military Cemetery, France.


Clement Trill was born in 1888 to Henry James Trill (born 1856 and died 1911) and Elizabeth Bardwell (died 1921). Henry and Elizabeth married in 1880 and lived in Brighton. They had seven children: Fredrick (b. 1881), Edith Maud (b. 1882), Dennis (b. 1884), Clement (b.1888) and Gertrude Eva (b. 1891), Florence (b. 1893) and Charles (b. 1902). In 1901 The family are recorded to be living in Chancellors Park in Keymer, Sussex.


Clement Trill married Violet Davies (born 1898). They had one son named Clement R. Trill who was born in Dartford in 1916. In 1939 Clement R. is recorded to be living with his mother Violet at 19B Madeira Place and his profession is stated as an electrician and plant maintenance person at Allen West.

Military career:

Clement enlisted in Brighton into the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. The battalion crossed to Le Havre from Southampton on 5/6 March 1916. Clement’s regimental number is consecutive to that of Albury TURNER (SD 2804 – who was born in Coventry but whose family had returned to Brighton.  Albury Turner was presumed to have died at the Battle of Boar’s Head).

Clement was wounded at the Battle of Boar’s Head and died the following day of his wounds. The attack was frustrated by heavy machine gun fire from the Germans on to the left flank of the advance, and the fact that the smoke which was supposed to obscure the advance from the enemy’s sight drifted across no-man’s-land and made it virtually impossible for the men to see where they should be going and this caused confusion.  

The war diary for the battalion merely notes that casualties were “very heavy” and no estimate is given of how many men were killed or injured.  However, it was later reckoned that 360 men died and over 1100 were injured or missing hence “The Day Sussex Died”.

On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Comprehensive Report it shows that Clement’s headstone gives his age, his regiment, date of death and the inscription “In ever loving memory from his wife and little son.”

He is commemorated on the Newick war memorial.

Post war:

Violet gave birth to their son, Clement, in the July to September quarter of 1916.  Violet does not appear to have remarried and died in Hove in 1956.  Clement Jr. married Daisy Edwards in 1940 and did not serve in the Second World War as he seems to have been in a reserved occupation whilst working at Allen West in Brighton.  In the 1939 record Clement is living at 19B Madeira Place and he is described as an “electrician and plant maintenance person”.

The other Trill boys:

Sadly Clement’s youngest brother, Charles died just six days after him and is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery.

Frederick Henry Trill also served and was apart of the Rhine Army. He married Florence Paul in 1972. Frederick died in Camden Town in 1957 and Florence died the following year.

Dennis Bardwell Trill also served with the Royal Sussex Regiment (G5757). He died in Brighton in 1958.



Put a date in your diaries for this FREE event next week on Friday 30th June 11am-4.30pm at Jubilee Library, Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE.

Book your free place here:

We have lots of speakers during the day including Dr Frank Gray (Screen Archive South East) showing Sussex in WWI film clips, Dr Chris Kempshall discussing East Sussex in WWI, Gateways to the First World War, Dr Alison Fellon Women Workers in WWI, and Dr Geoffrey Mead from the University of Sussex talking about Laundrey Maids and Fisherman in Brighton during WWI.

We’ll also have exhibitions in the main area, and a Q& A lunchtime session chaired by Dr Sam Carroll. You are welcome to drop in, or stay all day, and sit and eat your lunch whilst hearing more about this fascinating period of history with a Brighton perspective.

We are exhibiting our textiles from two projects  alongside a series of bespoke short films about the city in WWI (made by young filmmakers), for the BFESTBrighton Youth Festival starting on 28th May. This exhibition will continue until 4th July 2017.

Find out more about The Orange Lilies project here:

With support from project partners Fabrica Gallery, Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, and Gateways to the First World War.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

The Orange Lilies

The Orange Lilies project runs until July 2017, and we have free events and activities taking place throughout the rest of the project.

We have been uploading memories and research to our project website which we’d love you to view.

Visit and view our textiles banner about the impact of the Somme on the city, and a selection of films made by young people about the centenary of the battle in an exhibition of our work at Jubilee Library in the Youth area from now until 4th July.

Visit our project site for further information

Funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund

Our exhibition is open to the public!

20170525_102209.jpgWe’ve just set up the textiles part of our BFEST 2017 Youth Arts exhibition at Jubilee Library in Brighton, exploring Brighton and Hove during the Somme, and made with young people, and artist Rosie James. It’s looking great!
We will also be showing the short films made with young people for The Orange Lilies project, and they should be operation from tomorrow.
The BFST festival last for a week and offers free activities across the city created by, with and for young people.
It starts with the launch on Saturday 27th May at The Level so come down and see the exhibition. It’s on until 4th July.

Albert Sambucci – A Brighton Italian fighting with the British

 Alberto Sambucci was born in Brighton in 1892 to parents, Philiomena and Loreto, who had emigrated from Italy. “He was married and had a son, Loreto, who was only two when his dad was killed. He also had a baby daughter, Philomena, who was born after his departure for France so he never saw her.”
Written account by Alberto’s grand daughter as published on: ‘The Wartime Memories Project – The Great War’
In 1891 the Sambucci family was living in 4 rooms at 16 Spa Street, Brighton. Spa Street was demolished in the late 1890s under a slum clearance scheme, and replaced by Tillstone Street, which runs from Park Hill at the bottom of Queen’s Park to Eastern Road. Sometime before 1901, the family moved to Ivory Court in Ivory Place, where Albert spent much of his life. Like other immigrants of Italian descent in Brighton, the Sambuccis set up an ice cream business.
At the time of the 1911 Census, the Sambucci family were living in 4 Ivory Court (listed as having 3 rooms). Albert was aged 19 and living with his two younger sisters, Clara (aged 13) and Nellie (aged 9). His mother is recorded has being head of the family and the father’s name is crossed through. This could indicate that he had died or was no longer living with the family, or in another house nearby, as other Sabuccis are listed on the same census on the same street (Ivory Court). There is also a Loreto Sambucci recorded as living in Lewes during the 1911 census too.

In 1911 the census form was completed by the residents of a property and later checked by an enumerator. Interestingly the form for 4 Ivory Court was completed and signed by Albert’s elder brother, Joseph Sambucci, who didn’t live there.  Joseph’s postal address beneath his signature isn’t clear. It looks like he wrote 2 Ivory Court and changed the “2” to a “4”. However, he was actually living close by at No 1. Ivory Court.  Why did Joseph fill in the form? Perhaps his parents weren’t literate or maybe their command of English wasn’t good enough and they required their eldest son to complete the form for them.

However, another strange feature of the 1911 census form is that Loreto’s name was crossed out in red by the enumerator and he was not included in the totals at the bottom of the form. This suggests that he wasn’t actually living on the premises and that maybe he had been included by mistake. Florrie was listed – again in red ink – as head of the family.

In fact the reason why Joseph completed the Census form for his mother and the explanation for Loreto’s absence is rather a startling one and can be found in London Daily News of March 25th 1911. The paper reported that Loreto had been charged with being drunk while in possession of a loaded revolver and he was sentenced to one month imprisonment. As the deadline for the Census return was 2nd April 1911, he would have been in prison when the Census was taken, which is why the enumerator would have crossed out his name.

Albert Sambucci birth
A previous census recorded Albert has having two older sibilings. His brother Joseph in 1911 Joseph ( aged 24) was living at 1 Ivory Court with his wife Blanche ( aged 22) and baby daughter Margareta (3 months).
His sister Mary (or maria) is not listed and must have had alternative lodgings. She married John Wilcox in 1921 and also lived at Ivory Place with her own family in the 1920’s.

In 1911 Joseph Sambucci (24) is living at 1 Ivory Court with his wife Blanche (22) and baby daughter Margareta (3 months) Joseph was born in Brighton & Blanche came from Middlesborough. They had been married for 2 years with the one child in 1911.  Joseph is listed as an employer & his business is Ice Cream Manufacturer – run from home. Blanche is a boarding house waitress.

Ivory Court was off Ivory Place, which runs parallel to Grand Parade between Morley Street and Richmond Parade. This area of Brighton was a slum area and the courts often contained the worst housing in the town.

Ivory Place

Ivory Place, 1935, Copyright The Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton & Hove

Ivory Court was on Ivory Place, which runs parallel to Grand Parade between Morley Street and Richmond Parade. This area of Brighton was a slum area and the courts often contained the worst housing in the town.
The Sambucci family seems to have occupied several of the tenements in Ivory Court. No. 4, where Albert lived, only had 3 rooms, which, although not unusual at the time, may have made it a bit crowded. In 1911 Joseph was listed at living at No. 1 Ivory Court and Albert’s father, Loreto was listed in the 1901 Census and a 1902 street directory as variously living at number 2 and no 4 Ivory Court, so it is possible that, over time, the family rented several of the tenements in the court and spread themselves across the properties.
“Nobody moved into the area, because nobody moved out. Neighbours used to sit on the step and talk to passers by. This is why people didn’t want to move; the community was there. They married people who lived almost next door. The community feeling went when we were moved out to Whitehawk.” Carlton Hill Tea Party held at the Lewis Cohen Urban Studies Centre at Brighton Polytechnic May 25th 1984

Albert’s Marriage

In 1912 Albert married Virginia Panetta, from Lewes. Virginia was born in about 1895 in Italy but was now resident in the UK. She lived at 3 Malling Street with her Mother Maria Panetta, who was 40 years old in 1911 and head of the family. Virgina had a sister Emilia, who was 13 in 1911 and a brother Eugenie, who was 7; both of them went to school. Also living at the house was 61 year old Benedette Panetta, who is described as a general servant and domestic worker.

Interestingly Emilia was born in Dundee and Eugenie in Broughty Ferry (a suburb in Dundee), so the Panetta family must have moved down from Scotland in the previous 6-7 years. On the 1911 Census Maria and Virginia’s occupations were shown as “assisting in business”. Maria was also described as “employer” and the 1911 Kelly’s Sussex Street Directory lists her as a confectioner.

When Virginia married Albert she was 17 years old and he was 19 or 20. From Albert’s War Record it looks like they set up house at 3 Ivory Buildings, round the corner from his home in Ivory Court.

The Sambucci Family – Ice Cream Vendors

On the 1901 census Loreto Sambucci is recorded as being an ice cream vendor. On the 1911 census the family business continues to be listed as an Ice Cream Business. Albert and his mother Philiomena are listed as assisting in the business and Albert’s older brother Joseph as being an employer and ice cream manufacturer, and was possibly head of the business as a result of his fathers absence. The ice cream business is recorded as being run from home and the ice cream sold on the beach front.

“The penny capitalists

The opportunities offered by the holiday industry also encouraged a proliferation of small and miniature businesses, the ‘penny capitalism’ that flourishes in this kind of setting.
There was endless contemporary comment, in tones ranging from affection to exasperation, on the impossibility of promenading on the sea front or spending time on the beach without being serenaded by street singers or ‘German’ brass bands, snapped by itinerant photographers, accosted by organ-grinders with monkeys, invited to partake of fruit, sweets, gingerbread, shellfish or ice cream, or urged to offer a copper or two to a puppet or performing animal show. Boatmen, music-hall shows, lodgings and cheap restaurants touted for custom, and it was sometimes physically difficult to find a way through the importunate throng.”

The introduction of the ice cream machine

In the 19th century, ice cream manufacture was simplified with the introduction of the ice cream machine in 1843 in both England and America. This consisted of a wooden bucket that was filled withice and salt and had a handle which rotated. The central metal container, containing the ice cream was surrounded the salt and ice mixture. This churning produced ice cream with an even, smooth texture.
Previously it was made in a pewter pot kept in a bucket of ice and salt and had to be regularly hand stirred and scraped from the side of the pewter pots with a ‘spaddle’ which is a sort of miniature spade on a long handle.
The key factor in the manufacture of ice cream was ice. Where was it to come from? In the early 19th century importation of ice started from Norway, Canada and America, this made ice cream readily available to the general public in the UK. Ice was shipped into London and other major ports and taken in canal barges down the canals, to be stored in ice houses, from where it was sold to ice cream makers.
This burgeoning ice cream industry, run mainly by Italians, started the influx of workers from southern Italy and the Ticino area of Switzerland to England.In London they lived in the most appalling conditions in and around the Holborn area. The huge ice house pits built near Kings Cross by Carlo Gatti in the 1850s, where he stored the ice he shipped to England from Norway, are still there and have recently been opened to the public at The London Canal Museum.

A photograph taken on Brighton’s seafront near the  Free Shelter Hall around 1910 showing a woman holding a child and offering “pure ices” and ice cream from a barrow. On the sides of the barrow are painted the words “Pure Ices” and “Hokey Pokey” ice cream.

Carlo Gatti and the Italian Ice Cream Trade in 19th Century London

Carlo Gatti is credited with being one of the first to offer ice cream for sale in the streets of London. Carlo Gatti employed his fellow countrymen to take his ice cream around London streets in insulated barrows. They offered small sample of the ice cream wrapped in waxed paper by calling out “Ecco un poco“, which roughly means “Try a little“. The Italian phrase “ecco un poco” sounded something like “hokey pokey” to London ears and the ice cream vendors became known as “Hokey Pokey” men. The ice cream itself gained the nickname “Hokey Pokey“. A photograph taken near the Free Shelter Hallon Brighton’s seafront around 1910 shows a woman holding a child and offering ice cream from a barrow.  On the sides of the barrow are painted the words “Pure Ices” and “Hokey Pokey” ice cream.

Before the introduction of edible cones in the late 1880s, ice cream was served from the barrow in a small glass cup called a “penny lick”. The purchaser of the ice cream would lick the ice cream from the glass and return it to the vendor. The glass would be wiped clean with a piece of cloth and then filled with ice cream for the next customer.  Customers who did not want to eat the ice cream standing at the barrow could take the ice cream away after having it wrapped in waxed paper.

Carlo Gatti and Battista Bolla invited their relatives and other Swiss-Italians to join their thriving catering businesses in London. Hundreds of Swiss-Italians emigrated from Ticinoto London in the second half of the nineteenth century. Ticino had a growing population but only a small amount of good farming land.  Unemployment was high and during the series of poor harvests between 1847 and 1854, a large number of Ticinesi left their nativeSwitzerland for other European countries and North America. [The local council in Ticino actually paid a lump sum (equal to six months’ wages) to working men in order to encourage them to leave Ticino].

The prospect of finding paid work in the Swiss-Italian cafes an restaurants that were springing up in London, encouraged a further exodus of emigrants from Ticino in the latter half of the nineteenth century. By the late 1870s and early 1880s, Swiss-Italians who had found work as waiters, barmen, pastry cooks and confectioners in London migrated to expanding seaside towns such as Brighton.

Alberto in France

Albert Sambucci enlisted in the Royal Sussex 11th Battalion for a three year term, or until the end of the war, in September 1914 in Hove, East Sussex. In records, he is listed as both L/Cpl Albert Sambucci  and also as Private Sambucci in TheyservedWiki & the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) with either of these enlistment numbers:  SD/3144 or 3444.  Most sources agree SD3444 in the Royal Sussex Regiment – 11th Battalion.
He died in June 1916 at the age of 23 in the run up to The Battle of Boar’s Head at Richebourg, and The Somme, it is not know how he died. He is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension  (Grave/Memorial Reference N.42)
Burial place of Sambucci

“His letters speak of the cold and lice-ridden blankets. He also mentioned being made a bomber and trench raids. He said on one occasion it took him 2.5 hours to cover 120 yards from no mans land back to his trench. His last letter written just two days before his death said he was in the pink and hopeful of some leave. On the day that he was killed the Battalion diary states that three other ranks were killed when Sap15 was blown in, then an hour later two other ranks were shot by sniper fire, so we do not know the circumstances of his last moments.”

Written account by Alberto’s grand daughter as published on: ‘The Wartime Memories Project – The Great War’

A Bit About Cambrin Churchyard

At one time, the village of Cambrin housed brigade headquarters but until the end of the FirstWorld War, it was only about 800 metres from the front line trenches. The village contains two cemeteries used for Commonwealth burials; the churchyard extension, taken over from French troops in May 1915, and the Military Cemetery “behind the Mayor’s House.” The churchyard extension was used for front line burials until February 1917 when it was closed,but there are three graves of 1918 in the back rows.
The extension is remarkable for the very large numbers of graves grouped by battalion, the most striking being the 79 graves of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and 15 of the 1st Cameronians (Row C), the 35 of the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers and 115 of the 1st Middlesex (Row H), all dating from 25 September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos.
Cambrin Churchyard Extension contains 1,211 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 8 being unidentified. There are also 98 French, 3 German
and 1 Belgian burials here. The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.