Photo: Illustrative image for the 'ALBERT KNIGHTS' page

The Book and Bacca man

By Ricki Knights

Our Dad - (Darkie) The Book and Bacca man.

Old Newhavener:   Albert Knights (Darkie) passed away 02/03/11.

Darkie was well known locally as the Book and Bacca man. Many generations of Newhaven fishermen used to buy their bait and tackle at the popular shop in Bridge Street. Darkie also made bespoke rods and did rod and reel repairs. His children were well used to rolling up packs of black lug and red rag parcels.

As a young man Darkie was in the Merchant Navy and visited many far flung destinations like New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. The training was carried out on the T S Vindicatrix and these lads were known as “The Vindi Boys”.

Albert’s family, parents , aunts, uncles and cousins were staunch supporters of the old Newhaven carnival and Bonfire societies. Albert created many floats and tableaux for these occasions.

Darkie was a keen documenter of Newhaven’s history and local news stories, he has amassed over five and a half thousand photos that have all been logged and dated in several volumes and albums, these will eventually be passed to the Newhaven Museum. The family photos and family tree will be scanned and put on discs to be shared by those who want them.

The sea and all things related figured very strongly in his life, he was involved in the letter writing campaign to get recognition for Merchant seaman and donated the Red Ensign flag to the town to be flown on September 3rd.The council have kindly agreed that this flag will be flown at half mast on the day of his funeral.

Albie could often be seen walking to and from the beach to town along the River Wall and his funeral procession will start at the Hope Inn car park so that family and friends can take this final walk with him. 2 rockets will be let off near the Fort Road junction followed by a minute silence. Pony Eager is providing a coach that will take those who wish to attend from Fort Rd and a second pick up from Elim Church bus stop South Way to the chapel for the 11 o’clock service. The coach will also be available to take those who wish to attend the memorial celebration at the Hillcrest Community Centre.

This page was added by Sylvia Woolford on 09/03/2011.
Comments about this page

Hi, just to say how sad I am on learning of the passing away of our friend Darkie. I spent many hours talking with him and John at the car park hut on the west beach, as did so many other "old Newhaveners and seafaring folk". Although I moved from Newhaven in 1971 to Somerset, it is always still "home" to me, being a frequent visitor, pitching up in my motorhome on the west foreshore, it wasn't long before I met up with Darkie and Co and got an update on all the news. It was just like I'd never been gone. Darkie was very much a true and genuine "old Newhavener" and I'm sure he will be sadly missed, and as old mariners would say, now "No longer afloat". Rest in peace Albie.

By Colin Brandon
On 11/03/2011

I first met Darkie at my first job in a machine shop where he ran a large metal cutting guillotine. Austin Clarke's was the company, part of the Thorn Group. At lunch times he would tell me of all the places around the world he'd visited on ships. When this company closed, Darkie, Dave Evans and I found work at Saltdean,1959. Then we were in the Cabinet Factory for a time. After this we met now and then, even did some babysitting for him and Jean. We have lived in Greece for a while but got back in touch with the help of this site, had a long talk on the phone a few months back. We are coming back now,and we are sorry to have missed him, a very nice man, loved him very much, Ray and Celia.

By Ray Malfroot
On 17/04/2011

I would have been about 12 years old when Dad took my brother Trevor and I to the book and Bacca shop to buy us our first fishing rods. The man in there was so helpful and I went back many times to upgrade the equipment. I always got so much help from Darkie he would advise on what size hook to use for whatever fish we were after, the best kind of floats, and bait which always came wrapped in newspaper. Great memories of someone who was always pleased to see you.

By Terry Howard
On 19/04/2011

My first job on leaving school in 1963 (when I was 15) was at the Book & Bacca shop in Bridge Street. Darkie was a real gent and nothing was too much trouble for him. After a few years I learnt a lot from him regarding rods/reels/tackle/bait etc. Sad to hear of his passing but I heard he was given 'a good send off' by his family. Denise Funnell (nee White)

By Denise Funnell
On 07/05/2011

I miss you grandad x x x x x x x x

By susie knights
On 02/08/2011

Grandad, When I think about you I instantly gain a smile, You are such a great man, I wish I had seen you more often, but I will always remember you, and the way you laughed, on your good bye day I met your brother for the first time and I loved listening to him because he reminded me of you.Thank you for being such a great grandad, I will always miss you and your home, when I would sit in your seat and go through your stash of sweets, and pull all your singing and dancing toys out, I loved all your bits and bobs around the house, I love you so much xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx write to you soon xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

By Mary Knights
On 29/10/2011

My love of fishing started with my trips to the store to buy bait and tackle. I have been living in California since 1985 but have fond memories of going to the Booknbacca when I was a kid. RIP Darkie!

By Paul Mingham
On 06/01/2012

I remember Darkie, my dad had a fish shop down the bottom of the town and was a keen fisherman. As a little girl of about 4 or so many adults frightened me, always so stern... but not Darkie... he had such a lovely warm smile and such patience. I used to choose sweets from the front while my dad and brothers bought their fishing supplies out the back...

By tracey
On 03/03/2012

He was always ready to help me as a novice - I still have a boat rod from him (must be 30 years ago !) made from a golf club handle.

By Bill Simmons
On 14/12/2012

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