What does 'Hove Actually' actually mean?

Matthew Baines

You might ask where exactly does the term "Hove, actually" come from? It often heard in Hove and by people of Hove and is a great source of amusement, with, perhaps a little bit of snobbery mixed in.

I first came down to Hove in 1993, when my best friend moved down there from Aberdeen (yes, that was quite a move, actually!). It was a gorgeous summer and we would often take the open top bus onto the (grassed) Hove sea front and wander along the painted beach huts to look at the view. Once in a while we would pop across to Brighton to explore the Lanes and all the antique shops we could manage. There was definitely a difference between the two locations, both aesthetically and culturally.

I was young then, and not aware of the rivalry between the two towns. Hove seemed quieter, more residential, whereas Brighton was brasher, more fun and full of surprises.

Hove - a distinguished resort

Fast forward 15 years and I was working in Crawley with some colleagues from the south coast. It was here that I first heard the phrase "Hove, actually...". By now the two towns had merged into a single city whilst still maintaining their distinct identities, but the rivalry with the Brightonians was clear to see with this banter!

Folks say that it was local resident Lawrence Olivier who first used the term "Hove, actually". Then during the 90s it was picked up by Hove Borough Council as a slogan for attracting visitors to the town. From there it stuck so it was no coincidence that in 2008 I was hearing it from commuting workers in Crawley, who were proud Hove residents.

By the way, when researching this topic I came across this delightful snippet:

What is someone from Hove called?

(courtesy of My Brighton and Hove)

At BillingtonPix we have decided to celebrate the Hove, actually catchphrase and have created a Hove Actually print for our Brighton vintage sunset t shirts collection. In fact you can search for other cute t-shirts in the range featuring all the local neighbourhoods around Brighton and Hove.

Hove Actually vintage sunset black cotton t shirt by BillingtonPix

Our t-shirts are printed to order to avoid unnecessary overstocking and wastage. We use water-based inks for all our graphic designs, which are created by independent graphic artists.

social history t-shirts

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