Mystery ‘vote’ sign baffles Littlehampton shop owner

GAZETTE readers are being asked to help solve a decades-old mystery revealed beneath a Littlehampton shopfront.

Monday, 1st October 2012, 7:00 am

When Andrew Sleeman, owner of Spokes cycle shop, in Beach Road, took down the fascia above his display windows, in preparation for putting up a new sign, he was surprised to see a 12ft long poster underneath, with the slogan “Vote for Talbot”.

“I’m intrigued by it,” admitted Andrew. “It must have been there 40-odd years, maybe more. I’ve searched on the internet for clues about this Talbot person, but there is absolutely nothing.”

For many years, possibly from the late 19th century, the shop was owned by the Caffyn family firm of butchers, after whom Caffyn’s Field, further down Beach Road, is named – cattle were grazed there before going for slaughter.

Caffyns also had a delicatessen next door, where Beach Road Dry Cleaners is now based, and a fish shop next door to that. Before Andrew took the premises over 23 years ago, another butcher, Bugby’s, from Worthing, had the shop for about 10 years.

Under his previous sign, Andrew found the last one for F. J. Caffyn Butchers, in gold-painted, pressed steel letters. The election poster was beneath this. “It looks like the poster was put up between one sign being taken down and another going up. The only clue to it is the printer’s name, Morland of Birmingham, in small type at the bottom.”

So, who was Talbot? There is nothing in the Gazette archive to answer the question. Was this for a local council election, or a general election? Was Talbot a prominent local figure, running a business and a pillar of society?

Andrew would be grateful for any information about the poster. Anyone who can help is asked to call in at his shop. As for the poster itself, this week’s wind and rain have taken their toll on it, and there may not be much of it left when he fixes his new sign above the shop shortly.