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Latest Homes Live: Buried treasure

Andrew Bullock and Simone Thorogood are rummaging through the archives for Latest Homes Live

Brighton and Hove

Andrew: Recurring viewers of Latest Homes Live will have noticed by now that there is a third string to the LHL bow. Andy Garth is a bit of a sidekick to Simone and I. He's almost like a third presenter, only he doesn't have to worry about reading the autocue or making sure we cut to an ad break in time. Best of both worlds!

So where did we find Andy? Was he retrieved from under a stone on Brighton beach, fully formed, ready to share with us a wealth of historic knowledge and property prowess? Well, I would be wrong to give the impression that I went out when I started production on Latest Homes Live and discovered this fountain of Brighton and Hove knowledge myself. Thankfully, he was served up to me on a glistening silver plateaux, ripe for the plucking.

Andy already had an excellent relationship with The Latest and Latest Homes when I sauntered onto the scene with my limited Sussex knowledge, earlier this year. With his background in estate agency, his extensive knowledge of the region, his skills as a historian and his passion for research, Andy has been invaluable to the company. He has, by default, become Simone and I's go-to-guy. It therefore made sense that he would be a regular on the show. We actually don't know what we'd do without him.

Andy obviously spends some time with us in the studio every week, shooting the property breeze and enlightening us all with lesser known facts about the area. We've also had a great time filming out and about with him, given that he knows the best places to visit, all of which are steeped in history. One of the first things I filmed for Latest Homes Live was with Andy, who took me down to the beach, up on the hills and over to the Brighton/Hove border to straddle it.

Andy's professional background is in estate agency. This means that he is the man to ask about analysing the area when it comes to letting and buying. So, we do ask. We ask a lot. On TV. Every week!

Aside from this, his passion lies in the region as a place; the history, the stories, the facts, the figures. Andy took this passion a couple of years ago and set up his shop, ‘Brighton and Hove Stuff’, at 7 Western Terrace in Hove (although it used to be on Blatchington Road before he relocated). Step inside and you are met with an extensive catalogue of ephemera that you never knew existed about our fayre city.

Brighton and Hove
Now, I'm not Brighton born and bred, but I find myself thumbing through maps, documents, newspapers and photographs whenever I'm visiting ‘Brighton and Hove Stuff’, discovering things about places I didn't even know existed. There's something oddly mesmerising about being in a treasure trove of historical documentation. There's something a bit Dickensian about it all; it's almost like walking through the shop door and being taken back in time, to a time where homes were 133% cheaper to purchase than they are now!

We were filming there last Thursday, and while the cameras were being set up I came across a document for an ‘exceptional home’. On our Exceptional Homes feature, we look at houses that are priced at over £1million. The brochure of the home I had my eye on had an asking price of just under £1,000. If only we HAD travelled back in time!

Simone: I'm similar to Andy Garth in that I am obsessed with history. I find it truly fascinating. I enjoy reading true stories and visiting historic places, and I watch shows like The Tudors. Who doesn't enjoy a bit of sensationalised history?

Naturally, I was very excited when Andy agreed to come on board the Latest Homes Live team. We love having him in the studio, and last week our floor manager, Sarah, who oversees our weekly episode recordings, found herself so fascinated by what Andy does that we invited her to film with us in Andy's shop. So she and I popped along to rummage through Andy's files and get some first hand history from the man himself on where Sarah lives in the city.

You'll have to tune in to find out what we learnt, but needless to say Andy educated Sarah in the history of her area, her road, and even her house.

Andy was quoted in the Argus last year, saying; “It’s amazing how interested people are in this stuff. I thought it was just me. People come in for a look around and end up spending an hour going through the plans and old newspapers.” I can vouch for this. On days I have filmed at the shop, customers have come in and stayed there for absolutely ages, going through photos and plans, possibly of their own homes or the streets they live in.

The shop has everything in it from ordnance surveys from the turn of the century, to auction catalogues, to 1960s holiday brochures and old concert posters of gigs that were played around the city. It's incredible to pour over some of this original paperwork, analysing what the streets looked like, seeing how so much of the city used to be rural, learning of the changes that have been made to the train station and the parks, and reading further afield, including the plans for the Royal Sussex County Hospital, which used to house an asylum! Here, you get to actually touch these amazing tomes. Yes, the internet is great for research, but at ‘Brighton and Hove Stuff’ you can physically hold a plan that (for all you know) was drawn up by Amon Henry Wilds himself!

If only there was a place like this about the area I live in. ‘Croydon Stuff’ doesn't quite have the same ring to it though, does it?

Visit Andy's website here: