Valerie Hedgecock has sent me an interesting article, dating from June 2001, which was published in one of the local Brighton newspapers. The article relates the history of two village stores in Rottingdean High Street which are remembered with great affection by their old customers and were renowned for their tradition of great service. Richardson's Stores was established in 1823 though under a different name, and continued to trade until 1962. Cruse's Stores opened in 1918 at 14 High Street on the opposite side of the road to Richardson's, and the two businesses enjoyed a friendly rivalry.
Cruse's Stores was founded by Jimmy Cruse, who had previously worked as an assistant at Richardson's Stores. By the time the Rottingdean store had opened Jimmy already had a shop at 14 Upper St James's Street, Brighton. His ambition had been to open ten branches but he apparently died by 1931 from overwork. The Brighton store was managed by Jimmy's brother-in-law Jack Foster, who was joined in 1928 by Jimmy's son Ron. It traded as a grocer's until the end of 1962, when it was converted into a greengrocer's by Ron's son Alan. The greengrocer's store continued in business for a further 16 years before closing in 1995.
I've not yet been able to work out which tree these Rottingdean Cruses belong to. From the GRO indexes I've been able to establish that there was a Ronald Thomas Cruse born on 19th August 1909 in the Brighton Registration District. He died in October 2004 at the age of 95. The only James Cruse I can find in Sussex in the 1901 census was born c. 1857 in Chailey. His wife Alice was already 40 in 1901 and would possibly have been too old to be the mother of the Ronald Cruse born in 1909. I cannot find a record of the death of Jimmy Cruse in the GRO indexes up to 1931, and I have not yet extracted the deaths after this date. I suspect I will need to wait for the release of the 1911 census before solving this problem. In the meantime I would be very pleased to hear from anyone with further information about this line. I have now scanned the article and can send out copies on request. The article has some lovely old photographs of the store and pictures of Ron Cruse and his father Jimmy.