Previously the Berkeley private hotel

The Berkeley, Private Hotel, King's Road
From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

This original postcard of the Berkeley, a private hotel in King’s Road, was posted in 1914 to a friend in Hay, Hereford. The post card was found by myself in a shop in Queens Road that specializes in postcards etc. The postcard was of particular interest to me as I had made an offer for an apartment in the block and was waiting to exchange contracts.

Built in 1868
The building was built in 1868 and looks very much the same as when it was built. The current building has an extra floor to the right of the building and on top is now a penthouse. The front of the building has black metal railings (similar to those shown on the first floor) up to the fourth floor and the front of the building is now a car park for the residents and holds seven cars.

Converted into flats
The building was converted to seventeen flats about fifteen years ago and is now called Berkeley Court. The top floor apartment to the left is my apartment.

Comments about this page

  • My great-grandfather, Lemuel Edward Hookway, was the proprietor of the Berkeley Hotel in the early years of the 20th century. My mother talked about it a lot, she and her siblings spent many happy holidays there as children. I would love to know more about the hotel, and where I might get hold of a copy of this postcard.

    By Catherine Anderson (14/04/2013)
  • Sadly Trevor died several years ago and I do not know what would have happened to his large collection of Brighton memorabilia. He was a great local historian concerned with the history of the old ice rink and its former use as SS Brighton, an Olympic size swimming pool.

    Editor’s note: All Trevor Chepstow’s collection was donated to the East Sussex Records Office. Jennifer

    By Geoffrey Mead (15/04/2013)
  • I lived here between 1974 and 1979.  It passed from the landlord Peter Malik to a London Barrister, whose name escapes me just now. We lived in flat 1, which was the basement flat and my step-father was the caretaker.  The building was beautifully art deco when we lived there with original lino floors and the cage lift.  There were six flats in total, one to each floor and very smart.  Peter Malik lived in no.4.  He died as a result of his alcoholism in hospital.  Mysteriously, when he was in hospital there was an enormous crashing sound.  All the tenants came out from their flats thinking the lift cables had broken.  As we were all in the halls the hospital called to say Peter had just passed away.  My sisters and I were asleep at the time of the crash and we thought that the grand piano in the flat above our room had collapsed.  There were two elderly gentlemen of independent means living in the first floor flat (Mr. White and Mr. Shaw).  They said that it was justice for what he did but wouldn’t say more.

    The flats were very respectable but had fallen into decay during the 1980’s.  The property behind in Western Street was terrifying to us as teenagers.  It was derelict, often occupied by vagrants and had the biggest rats we had ever seen.  (We thought at first they were stray cats and wanted to keep them until we saw what they were and fled.)  I used to deliver newspapers to Embassy Court opposite with no appreciation at the time of what a significant building it is.

    As for the crashing story.  There had been many complaints about occurrences in the flats by all the tenants.  However, after Peter died there was nothing.  It was rumoured he had swindled a deal to get the building and the man he swindled had died.  As I don’t believe in anything supernatural myself, I would be interested to learn something because I can’t explain the noises, lights on and off or the independent complaints.

    By Beverley Spooner (nee Tilbury) (07/02/2014)
  • I recently purchased a book for £1 from Havenstreeet Railway on the Isle of Wight.It’s all about Matlock in the past.Holidays are advertised in the back pages,I was looking up some of the hotels to see if they still existed.This hotel was one of them.Very interesting.

    By Kath.cawthorne @ sky.com (04/05/2020)
  • This is a fascinating -and a very ‘Brighton’- story! London barristers, alcoholics, mysterious ‘noises off’, derelict buildings, ‘two elderly gentlemen of independent means’! I just had to do some background research. Kelly’s Directory 1914 shows- “King’s Rd 153-154 Mrs L.E. Hookway. Private hotel”
    By 1927 it is-” The Berkeley Hotel. L.E.Hookway.” and the propeerty behind in Western St referred to above is -“#37 Berkeley Hotel Annexe.”
    By 1937 it is- “Kings Rd 154 Berkeley Court flats”.
    What is so interesting about the postcard view is the building to the left of the hotel; this is the site of the Embassy Court 1935 flats but the building shown is Western House, the last of the private marine villas along the Brighton seafront. It had been the property of Sir Henry Ryecroft. It was demolished in 1931 and as it is in Brighton… became a seafront carpark! until Embassy Court was built.
    There is an 1833 view of the seafront which shows the building.
    I knew Trevor as a fellow local historian and Brighton ‘native’ and he would have been thrilled to know that his original article was still generating interest so long after his untimely death. He was one of the smartest and most dapper men I have ever met…very Brighton stylish!

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (05/05/2020)

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