Beads and Memories

The Brighton Bead Shop on Sydney Street is an institution and this March is celebrating 25 years of business. Growing up in a sleepy Sussex town, such as Horsham, major shopping trips were either to Guildford, London or Brighton. In the 80’s Brighton was never such an allure, as we had to get two trains to travel 24 miles (still do) but when we discovered the Bead Shop, our pilgrimages started. My friend and I had just started 6th form, indie music and grunge were exploding as well as the retro hippie fashions that accompanied the scene. We were both studying art and gagging to explore our creative side, so when we discovered a shop where we could buy all our jewellery making kit it was heaven. I stole my dads pliers (still have them) and became very industrious. We could set ourselves apart from our fellow students, as many late teens are desperate to do in order to define a unique identity. It really was because of the Bead Shop we both started to fall in love with Brighton. As soon as we had our drivers license, we’d spend days and nights out, shopping in boho boutiques, second hand shops and going to gigs of little known ‘soon to be hip‘ bands. We fantasised about being students in Brighton, then buying a big old place on the seafront and setting up a café, clothes shop (that would sell mostly tie-die – imagine!) and a club. We thought that the indie scene would last forever. Picture 12 year old fimo necklace Naturally, as time went on we went to different towns for our education, diversified our music tastes and fashion sense. But we still kept coming back to the Bead Shop for inspiration on how we could make our accessories. Tragically, at 25 my friend died unexpectedly. I have all the jewellery she made me and always think of her when I visit the shop. It wasn’t until I took my niece and nephew there last Saturday I became aware of the jubilee. It made me feel very old but slightly proud watching them scour the shop for ideas on what items to make their mates. Then I thought about all the 20 year old bit of jewellery I still have made from my purchases at The Brighton Bead Shop and wondered how many others still have theirs. Beads Unlimited, the parent company want to hear your memories on their website send in your photos of what you were like 25 years ago or maybe some snaps of accessories you made years ago from their products. Brighton Mums will be at the charity day March 5th to celebrate the jubilee and have lots of beading fun with the whole family. What were you doing in 1986? Share your memories with Beads Unlimited here.