Imperial Rifle Club Brighton & Hove

Imperial Rifle Club Range Entrance Madeira Drive
©Peter Grossmith
Imperial Rifle Club Range Entrance Madeira Drive
© Peter Grossmith

In my article dated April 12th 2012 I photographed what I then thought was the former entrance to the rifle range used by the Imperial Rifle Club. Following a comment that the entrance which I had located and photographed was the former entrance to a public toilet I decided to carry out further research.

East Sussex Record Office

During a visit to the East Sussex Record Office at Falmer, I found an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) plan and elevation entitled “ARP Imperial Rifle Club Marine Parade” dated November 2nd 1939, which appears to be a survey of the rifle range to assess its potential use as an air raid shelter.

Former entrance

With the aid of the plan I revisited Madeira Drive earlier this year and was able to locate and photograph what I now believe to be the former entrance to the rifle range which was accessed either from Marine Parade or from the raised terrace above Marine Parade, although the area is now closed off.

Comments about this page

  • The Rifle Club entrance was I believe at the bottom of the little slope that goes under volks railway track opposite where the chain pier used to be
    I worked at the council seafront office for 40 years ish and got to go in many of the arches and tunnels that run under the coast road.

    By Richard Pearce (17/11/2022)
  • In reply to Richard Pearce’s comments, the plans I uncovered at the East Sussex Record Office related to the Imperial Rifle Club which was located in one of the arches/tunnels under the main coast road and
    was active from pre WWII up until the 1960’s as far as I can ascertain.
    The entrance you refer to was to another gun club under the lower coast road accessed from beach level where both rifle and pistol shooting took place.
    I don’t know if that club is still active but I am awaiting a reply from someone I know who in the past visited that club.

    By Peter Grossmith (17/12/2022)
  • The rifle club referred to by Richard Pearce (17/11/2022) with an entrance down a slope from Madeira Drive near Volks Railway was a range used by Brighton Rifle and Pistol Club. The range was located was under Madeira Drive whereas the Imperial Rifle Club range was located in an archway under Marine Parade (A259) with access via a flight of steps up from Madeira Drive or down via steps from the raised terrace above Madeira Drive.
    I cannot confirm whether the Brighton Rifle and Pistol club’s range is still in use.

    By Peter Grossmith (22/12/2022)
  • Many years ago, I was invited by a friend of mine to visit the gun club in Brighton. We went underground into a short, (25yds), range where I fired a .357 Magnum revolver and my friends’ .45 Uberti. (Colt lookalike.)
    The entrance was under the arches, somewhere.

    By Stuart Lebeau (11/02/2023)
  • Peter, your name sounds familiar. Were you at Varndean GS in the 60s. and in the RAF section of the corps?

    By Tim Baker (01/04/2023)
  • Tim Baker, sorry about the late response to your April post but haven’t visited the My Brighton & Hove site for a while.
    Yes indeed I was at Varndean GS from 1957 to 1964 and in the RAF section of the CCF, and remember the shooting range down in the Spinney where we shot with .303 Lee Enfield rifles sleeved down to 0.22 calibre.

    By PETER GROSSMITH (29/11/2023)

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