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Built in 1824 as the Norfolk Arms

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

The Norfolk, one of Brighton’s leading hotels, was built in 1824 as the Norfolk Arms, a three-storey inn rising to four floors in the centre, with a balcony and verandah on Ionic columns. In 1864-6 however, it was entirely rebuilt by Horatio Goulty in a Renaissance style with five storeys and iron balconies; note the Norfolk lion head figurines on the second floor balconies.
In 1969 AVP Industries, having been refused permission to replace it with a block of flats, sold the Norfolk to the Feld family. Now known as the Norfolk Resort, and a listed building, the hotel underwent a £2 million refurbishment in the early 1980s and has 117 rooms plus the Rafters night-club in the superstructure. An indoor swimming-pool opened in November 1985, the first hotel pool in the town centre, while at the rear a development of rooms around an ornamental lake opened in September 1985 on the site of the hotel garage. This site was originally occupied by Young’s Livery Stables, and leads to Norfolk Buildings via an arched gateway with a horse-head figure and the inscription ‘Rebuilt 1875’.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder

The following resource(s) is quoted as a general source for the information above:

The Norfolk hotel, c.1900.
From the private collection of Tony Drury
Norfolk Hotel
Photo by Tony Mould

Comments about this page

  • Although Tim Carder wrote of the Norfolk: “An indoor swimming-pool opened in November 1985, the first hotel pool in the town centre”, there was actually one in existence long before that.The Grand Hotel, opened in 1864, acquired the adjacent Hobdens Baths, complete with indoor swimming pool, around 1900. (See details of Hobdens Baths on this website).

    By Alan Hobden (10/06/2008)
  • My mum, Ellen Lake, worked at the Norfolk Hotel. Not sure when, I presume between the wars. I don’t suppose there is anyone around who worked with her.

    By Elaine Thompson (18/05/2010)
  • I am researching The Norfolk Hotel having just learned it is where my Mother also worked as a teenager. It could have been anywhere between “say” 1945 and 1948 but only for a few months. Joyce Yvonne Forgham, sadly died here in Spain in 2007. I would love to hear from anybody who may have known my mother.

    By Sandy (07/09/2010)
  • I  worked at Norfolk Hotel around 1987-1988 period at the roof top restaurant. I met a young man called Wayne who came to work as job experience around the Easter period. I would like to know if anyone knows his full name – I would love to get in touch with him.

    By Rose (23/02/2011)
  • Does anyone know anyone called Wayne that worked at the Hotel around 1987-1988, I need his full name, it’s important thank you

    By Roger (23/02/2011)
  • I am french and I worked two years at Norfolk Hotel, 1973-74. It was great and very nice people I worked with. The owner was Mrs Feld, restaurant manager, Mr Lamb, Eddie was the italian headwaiter and  it was a good team and thank you all to have given me the opportunity that adventure in Brighton where I met my wife. Many thanks to all of you.  I will never forget.

    By John Loriaux (28/04/2011)
  • The Norfolk Hotel is where a famous scandal took place involving Lady Jane Ellenborough’s aldulterous affair with Prince Schwartzenberg – resulting in her divorce from Lord Ellenborough. The witnesses were hotel servants Recount of the court case: About Lady Jane: Recommended Book:

    By Lois (31/08/2011)
  • In 1897, a Miss Braine was presented with a carriage clock by the staff of The Norfolk Hotel, Brighton. She was born in Melbourne, Australia,1881, married in Sydney 1899 worked on the Empress of Ireland 1906. Ring a bell with anyone?

    By Laurie Kirkbride (29/09/2011)
  • Does anyone know anything about Maurice Bloom, who allegedly owned the Norfolk in the 1930s, and developed flats at Marine Gate and Courtenay Gate?

    By Mary McKEan (01/04/2013)
  • During the Feld’s ownership of The Norfolk, there was a small bar open to the general public situated in the small side street to the left of the building.

    By Chris Henman (27/04/2013)
  • Hi, I worked in the roof top restaurant 1986/1987 period. It was hard work but great staff, love working there. Have lived in Australia since 1987 and love it.

    By Martyn (10/07/2013)
  • Chris Henman, I used to work in the Mews bar at the rear of the hotel with a great chap called Lloyd, I have still friends in the area that I met during that time.

    By Dale Nugent (12/01/2017)
  • There is a tinted lithograph of the Norfolk Hotel sitting on the esplanade (looking NW from the seafront) showing the building identical to your photo of 1900 – except that the whole top, above the cornice level, is covered with a huge vaulted glass and iron roof (like a station shed or Crystal Palace).  I’ve seen no other images of this space, inside or out.  Can anyone help? (The picture is not in Images of Brighton).

    By John McKean (18/02/2017)
  • I worked two summer seasons at this the Norfolk Resort Hotel as a porter in 1986 and 1987. In 1986 I had hitched down from the northwest of England aged 18 and worked the whole summer before starting university. I struggle to remember any names of people I worked with, apart from Gordon (the cellar man) who was a good friend to me. I remember having to deliver a cup of coffee at exactly 10am to Mrs Feld each and every day in her office.   

    By Chris Bate (10/03/2017)
  • Dale Nugent, I first knew Lloyd fifty years ago, we both moved to Brighton from Worcester. I lived in Brighton from ’72 -’76, although spent my summers in Hove during the ’60s with my grandparents who lived just opposite the lagoon. The last time I saw Lloyd would of been in the early ’90s, he still lived in a basement flat in Palmeira Sq. He said at that the time that he had invested in his place of work; I expressed concern. By my reckoning, Lloyd, if still alive, would be 83 years old. 

    By Chris Henman (07/02/2018)

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