History notes and photo gallery

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.

a) HISTORY: The King’s Road was laid out as a carriage road and promenade in 1821-2 to replace a rough track which had run along the cliff top from Little East Street to Middle Street ; traffic previously had to turn inland at these points. The new road and promenade was extended seaward on supports in conjunction with a new sea-wall, and enabled traffic to travel directly from East Street  to West Street . A.H.Wilds supervised the construction, and King George IV, who had contributed £200 to the project, opened the road on 29 January 1822 in the presence of 10,000 residents; the King was bestrewn with sugar plums, an old local custom. The track westwards from West Street to the Hove boundary, which had been developed with large villas by the beginning of the nineteenth century, was also named King’s Road and continued through Hove to New Shoreham. Wilds extended the promenade to BrunswickTown in 1834. {15,46}
With the opening of the Grand Junction Road in 1829, King’s Road became part of the most fashionable equestrian and carriage drive {24}; every day, the titled, the rich and the famous would ride from Kemp Town via Marine Parade , Grand Junction Parade and the King’s Road to Brunswick Town. In the 1850s and ’60s the road and promenade were widened, resulting in the removal of the West Battery, while further widening and improvements in 1883-7 involved extensions seawards above the King’s Road Arches; the bandstand, the rotunda and shelter hall at the bottom of West Street , and ten sheltered promenade seats, seven of which remain, all date from this time (the date of the improvement, 1886, is marked on the railings in places). That part of the road to the west of the West Pier was widened in 1894. Electric street-lighting was inaugurated in 1893, but the present ornate lamp-posts were added in the 1930s (see “Street-lighting”). The tarmacadam surface of King’s Road and Grand Junction Road was inaugurated on 22 July 1910, and the roadway itself was ‘dualled’ for part of its length in 1969. The large iron railings that once ran along the kerb were removed in 1924.
King’s Road remains one of the principal promenades of the town, and is lined with large hotels, guest houses, shops, restaurants and entertainments. Following a great deal of redevelopment, however, it lacks much of the architectural style for which Brighton is famous. Separate entries are given for the following buildings in King’s Road : ” Bedford Hotel “, ” Brighton Centre “, ” Grand Hotel “, “Hospitality Inn”, “Kingswest Boulevard”, “Lower Esplanade”, ” Metropole, Hotel “, “Norfolk Resort Hotel”, ” Old Ship Hotel “, “Queen’s Hotel”, and ” West Pier “.
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.

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