Developments and modernisations

Coach outside the Old Ship Hotel, c1904. A corn market was held here from the beginning of the nineteenth century until 1822.
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

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 facade of the Old Ship was altered in 1895, but the Old Ship Rooms remain in Ship Street at the rear of the hotel and are listed grade II* due to their splendid interior, now restored. There is a plaque to the famous violinist Niccolo Paganini who played in the ballroom in 1831. {45a}.

In 1794 the hotel gained a frontage overlooking the sea for the first time when two sea-front houses were incorporated, but by 1803, when it was purchased by Leonard Schuckard, the inn still had only eight of its sixty-eight bedrooms facing the sea. The section at the corner of Ship Street was added by the new owners, Cuff and Strachan, in 1838, and in 1895 the hotel was enlarged again with the Ship Street frontage modernised. In 1927-8 an extension was added along King’s Road and a garage for 400 cars was built at the rear; the eastern corner wing was erected in 1962-4.

c) DESCRIPTION: The Old Ship frontage along King’s Road dates only from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but the hotel remains one of Brighton’s most historic buildings and includes a number of plaques and mementoes to historic occasions. The oldest section now is the assembly rooms, although the Ship Street corner bears a stone dated 1782.

The Old Ship was for many years the town’s best known hotel, and is described by William Thackeray in Vanity Fair and Harrison Ainsworth in OldCourt. Since 1979 the hotel has been owned by the engineering consultancy company Ewbank Preece, and there are plans for its future expansion. There are currently 153 bedrooms.

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.

Comments about this page

  • My friend and I stayed at the Old Ship Hotel in Sept 2008. Even though it was only overnight, I loved the building both inside and out and the wonderful view we had of the water front. It was my first trip to England and Brighton was certainly a highlight.

    By Trina Norman (15/11/2008)

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