Andy Winter's lament in The Argus, April 20 for some of the city's lost retailers doesn't mention a single antique shop or bookshop. Yet Brighton used to be a mecca for these, and their loss in recent years has been one of the biggest changes to the place's character.

The Lanes, for example, once full of antique dealers and curio merchants, is now nothing but identikit jewellers.

I particularly miss the bookshops, for which Brighton was renowned. Long gone is William J. Smith's Great Brighton Book Store in North Street, with its 150,000 volumes of stock, where John Cowper Powys in the 1890s bought choice folios.

Long gone, too, are Sexton's shop in Ship Street, which flourished from 1885 to 1979, Ward's in East Street, patronised by Virginia Woolf, and K J Bredon's in Prince Albert Street, which is probably that mentioned by Graham Greene in his novel Travels With My Aunt.

Combridge's in Church Road, Hove, used to have a terrific Sussex department. Holleyman

& Treacher's huge shop in Duke Street, which at one time had the largest stock in the south-east, closed in 1998, while Colin Page on the opposite side, Brighton's last proper antiquarian bookshop, demised in 2018.

Gone, too, are such quirky alternative bookshops as the Unicorn in Gloucester Road and the tiny Public House bookshop in Little Preston Street, which survived until 1999. The equally intimate Courthouse bookshop in Edward Street offered cups of tea while one browsed and even gratis condoms. Brimstone's, Tall Storeys, Borus Snorus, and Studio Bookshop have all vanished from St James's Street.

Who can forget the picturesque disorder of Noel Brooke's premises in Queen's Road? Once one of the sights of Brighton, whose owner never sat, never had heating, and never gave discounts.

And where now are Brighton Books, Sandpiper Books and the Lamb Bookshop, all formerly in Kensington Gardens?

In the place of these and many more, we now have what? A plethora of coffee shops, tattooists, ethnic eateries, boutiques, charity shops, and barbers (fifteen within a five-minute walk from my home). It isn't the same.

Graham Chainey

Marine Parade