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The first petrol pumps in Brighton

This photograph shows the Clarence Garage opposite St Mark’s Church circa 1920.  In this garage my grandfather had the first petrol pumps in Brighton. The site is now a petrol station – Sussex Square Garages.

Clarence Garage c1920
From the private collection of Tim Sargeant

Comments about this page

  • Very nice old view. So the old pumps at Bath Street came after this then, and his are still there or at least old style. So when did the walls come down? To the left of here is that odd building as a newsagent/store.

    By Gordon Dinnage (17/12/2007)
  • Re Gordon Dinnage’s comment about the odd building to the left of the Clarence Garages, that would be ‘The Kiosk’ – from where I delivered newspapers to Sussex Square, Lewes Crescent, Chichester Terrace and Arundel Terrace in 1951 to 1952. Is ‘The Kiosk’ still there? And does anybody know what it was originally built for and when?

    By Vic Bath (02/01/2008)
  • I now own the kiosk and would be really interested in knowing its history and seeing any old pics.

    By Guy Wright (19/06/2008)
  • Somewhere I have a view from the other direction which shows the kiosk c1920. Also the photo that my mother took for St Mark’s Church magazine c1954 from the back of Sussex Square. I’ll try to look them out.

    By Tim Sargeant (19/10/2008)
  • Wow I did part of my apprenticeship at Clarence Garages in about the late 1960s and was trained by Les Hyde who lived at Woodingdean. If I remember correctly he then moved to Canada. There was also some Italian guy who started but I can’t remember his name but a strange character. Les was from the old school, what a guy. If it wasn’t for him I would be an average mechanic, but with his demanding words and discipline I turned out to be a great one just like him. Thanks Les for everything you taught me except spelling, and welding that cart for the vicar when you blew up the tyres.

    By Robert Dawson (13/04/2009)
  • Les Hyde was my uncle, he did go to Canada, then came back about 15 years ago. He sadly died about five years ago- he was works manager at Hartly & Midgley, later Endeavour Motors in Preston Rd and was Tommy Sopworth’s mechanic on his racing power boats. He was one of the first people in Brighton to own a Douglas Vespa scooter. Before he lived in Woodingdean he lived at 23 Down Terrace.

    By Terry Hyde (28/05/2011)
  • Re Les Hyde: Hi Terry, I noticed you said your uncle lived at 23 Down Terrace. I currently reside at the same address. I have been hunting for any information or old photos of the house and street for years, would you have any of these?  If you do, please email me at

    By Stuart Taylor (16/08/2011)
  • Hi, I am Les Hyde’s granddaughter and would like to say thank you for your kind words. He always liked to help in any way he could with my car. I would  like to say I miss him very much, love you pops xxxx

    By Louise Billings (23/08/2011)
  • I live in Sussex Mews, my house and garden are behind the railings. It is so interesting to see this. It was still called Clarence Garage when I moved here 1978. No railings, they went during the war, but you can see where they were.

    By Toni Wallace (17/05/2019)

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