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Opened in 1829: demolished 1971

Central National School: undated photograph
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

The Central National School was one of the town’s earliest schools. It opened in 1829 and was designed in a Regency Gothic style with oriel windows and pinnacles by Stroud and Mew.

The three storey building had two shops on the ground floor and master’s residence on the second. It became the Central Church of England School and eventually the Central Voluntary Primary School. The school closed in March 1967 and the building was demolished in 1971.

Comments about this page

  • All these years later I particularly remember (when I was a pupil at Central in 1935) looking down on Headmaster Mr. Mallett’s exquisitely polished black boots … Miss Bardswell was Deputy Head. Regent Street was our play area, and we took swimming lessons at (far off!) St. Luke’s Junior School. I was saddened to see the old school converted to rubble in the name of “urban renewal”; the Church Street entrance door is on display in Brighton City Museum. An excellent article in the Brighton & Hove Gazette (17 March 1967, p.25) tells of the school’s early days and invited old boys (and girls) to a final reunion on the premises.

    By John Cecil (24/09/2012)
  • My grandmother, Angelina Tennuci, was a pupil here and then moved to London c1892.

    By Alan Tennuchi (02/02/2013)
  • I was a pupil here till 1960, love the school, it was a shame it got knocked down, a big mistake.

    By Joyce Padmore nee Nicholls (01/10/2014)
  • We lived in Regent Street, no.39. Two of my brothers and I went to Central school. I was there from 1944 to 1950 when I left to go to Varndean Grammar school for boys

    By Gordon Lee (01/07/2015)
  • I lived in Regent Street from birth until I was around 12 when we were moved to Hollingdean. The lovely old houses we lived in were due for demolition. Mum and Dad (Arthur and Terry Postlethwaite) lived with Dad’s Mum and Dad at No 16. We then moved across the road to 40 - so next to Gordon Lee (subscriber 4/07/15). I was very young but I do remember a Barbara Lee; my Mum and her were friendly. I started at Central School when I was around 5 and was in teacher Audrey’s class (1952). I stayed at Central until I was 11 (1958) and was in Mr Bridle’s class. My maiden name was Postlethwaite.

    By Barbara Davey (21/09/2015)
  • In the mid sixties it was used as a Youth Hostel. Possibly just during the summer when the one at Patcham was full. I stayed there in around 1965.

    By Jan Hill (15/06/2016)
  • I was in teacher Audrey’s class and Mr Bridle was head. I was at Central till 1955/6 then moved to Lancing. I loved it at Central. Before I left I was in Miss Sherman’s class. I didn’t get to go into Mr Bridle’s class – he used to throw things at you if you were talking.

    By Pat Cowley (26/01/2017)
  • My mother Nellie Cramer born 1911 was a pupil at Central School, I have a school report of hers from October 1924, it is a good report and she was 3rd in the class of 50 pupils.  She obtained 211/270 marks.  Imagine a class of 50!  The report is signed by B. Bardwell and the Head Mistress is E. M. Smith.

    By Anne Skuse (21/05/2017)
  • I remember Gordon Lee and Barbara Postlethwaite. We lived at no 46, my friend Joanie Beck lived a couple of doors away. What great times we had living and playing in Regent St. Also Carol Vaughan, anyone remember?

    By Brenda Brown (07/01/2018)
  • Hi Brenda, re your comments above, I seem to remember your family lived in a house with a large window frontage (maybe a previous shop?) just along from the printers. My Nan’s house was right opposite the printers – number 16. As you say the street was a great play area for the children of the street and there were a lot of us. I have old photos of a couple of street parties that were held with all the kiddies tucking in to what looks to be a real feast while the adults looked on and supervised. I also have a photo of us kiddies in fancy dress -  I was a fairy and I think one of the Wells girls was Mary Mary of the nursery rhyme and Carol Vaughn was Bo Peep. I think I’m sure old Mrs Beck is one of the adults supervising and I seem to remember her daughter? sold the Argus paper in Castle Square. When I married we moved to Mile Oak, Portslade and Hazel Vaughn and her family lived opposite (small world). Then her older sister Carol Vaughn moved in with her family just above where we lived. I could go on and on recalling memories of Regent Street and the lovely people who lived there but I will wind up by just saying they were happy and memorable times.

    By Barbara Davey nee Postlethwaite (20/01/2018)
  • I was at the school at the time of the Queen’s Coronation. I remember Pushbar, her dad was a tailor, Browns, near the Station (if my memory is correct). I remember being a star fairy in a school play. We lived in a requisitioned house in North Gardens. I loved the round window that faced south. The toilets were outside and we had a spoonful of cod liver oil each morning. I now live in France.

    By Beryl Barnes (Robertson) (09/03/2018)
  • My mum, Florence Bolding was a ‘Schools Assistant’ around the early or mid 50’s I think. She used to do admin, put plasters on cuts, find the owners of lost stuff etc. I only went there once (I went to Patcham Infants). Mr Bridle was the Head and gave me an unwanted (Victorian?) stereoscope (stereo postcard viewer) and a box of old postcards. Stuffy old place as I recall (at about 6 yrs old!).

    By neville.bolding (14/07/2018)
  • I remember Mrs Balding, she used to collect the dinner money and made sure we washed our hands before going in to dinner.

    By Brenda Brown (29/07/2018)
  • I went to central school when we moved to Brighton and were living in Foundry Street in the mid sixties. I was then moved to start St Paul’s, so this must have been when it was closed. I remember it had worn stone stairs and no playground. Lunch was bought in in big metal containers and served in the hall. I believe the head teacher was Miss Glass.

    By Niki Trelawney (23/06/2019)
  • In memory of Terry Taylor, sadly departed this world 3/7/19.

    By Steve payne (07/07/2019)
  • Hi, I went with my late mother for a nosy around the school prior to being demolished, she said she went to this school but also Pelham street was mentioned also.. would be nice if anyone would know of her or my uncle both gone now sadly…
    Mum was Sheila Freeman, she was born in May 1933, and lived in various houses, including Queens Gardens, Kemp Street I can’t remember anymore for now, her brother was Bernard Freeman xx

    By Liesa Saunders nee Gohmann (22/02/2021)
  • So sad to hear of Terry Taylor’s passing. We went to Central together and both lived in Windsor St. We were always knocking around together until I moved out to Whitehawk. We went to Queens Park together but never regained our friendship until recently before his passing when he contacted me via facebook. I now live in Australia. So much we could have caught up on but have missed that opportunity.

    By John Pridham (23/01/2022)
  • In 1963 I remember going there for choir practice on a Saturday morning when all the Brighton schools were rehearsing together. Mr Taylor I think was the teacher leading the choir.

    By Trish Adams (07/06/2023)
  • I went to Central School in 1961 for about 2 or 3 years. We lived in Windsor Street, my maiden name was Brown and my nan Ivy Sinden lived there too. My mums family had the undertakers Sinden in Kensington

    By Tracy Lower (12/01/2024)

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