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Then and now photos

19th century view
This photograph shows the Unicorn Inn, which was established in about 1750. The building was originally a farmhouse, dating back to 1597.  The photo was taken in 1893, shortly before the inn was rebuilt.

20th century view
The sports shop is now Burtons. Beyond Burtons is the emergency exit for the Regent Ballroom and Cinema, one of Brighton’s favourite venues for a Saturday night out in the 1930s. Next door to that is the Essoldo cinema. The alleyway to the left of Burtons dates back to the earlier photo.

21st century view
This is North Street, one of the town’s main shopping streets. Dominated by a new sports shop, it’s not an inspiring sight.

19th century view
Image reproduced with permission from Brighton History Centre
20th century view
From the private collection of Bert Clayton
21st century view
Photograph by Tricia Leonard

Comments about this page

  • The photo of Burtons shows two doorways. If my memory is correct, one of them led down a flight of steps to the snooker room beneath. It was huge as I recall, it held about ten or twelve full size tables. I spent many of my teenage evenings there in the late 1950s with friends before going up to Tingey’s Coffee Bar in Dyke Road.

    By Ralph Packham (09/05/2007)
  • Wow,i just came across the picture of Burtons with The Regent Ballroom next to it. For 20 years i grew up listening to stories of how my mum and dad met and ‘hung out’ at The Regent Ballroom.They didn’t have any pictures of it ,so what a thrill to finally see it! Thanks.

    By Deborah Hoad (10/01/2008)
  • Great memories of the brilliant Regent Ballroom come flooding back to me, there’s never been a place like it since. The snooker rooms were great too, old Ma Plum used to make great sandwiches. Happy days.

    By Jerry Heath (06/10/2008)
  • This jogs my memory. So if this is North Street there must have been a second entrance/exit to the ballroom. The main entrance was on Queens Road. Could well be we went in the main door on Queens Road and left by this side one.

    By Sandra (25/12/2008)
  • I am trying to find out what the shop was or looked like at 106 North Street – grateful for any ideas or information. My source says ‘General Dealers Store’. My GG Grandfather Bill Trewin worked there in the 1920s and 1930s.

    By Sarah Bonnot (14/02/2010)
  • I am certain I will have walked past Burtons in this postion many times in my childhood. But if my memory serves me well Burtons must have moved over the road at a later date from this photo. I recall Burtons as a large outfitters taking up the whole corner on North Street / West Street. It is where my mother took me, aged 11, in the summer of ’57, to get fitted out with my uniform for Dorothy Stringer School, most of which was acceptable apart from the yellow and black diagonally striped tie and that awful black and yellow, hexagon shaped beret, which most of us seemed to lose, hide or bury rather quickly. Uggh. Definitely not a thing of beauty

    By Sandra (17/10/2011)
  • You are correct- there was indeed a snooker hall down the steps, I believe it was called Piccadilly.

    By Terry Anderson (17/10/2011)
  • Sandra, the outfitters you went to for school uniforms was Horne Brothers. It did lots of the Brighton schools uniforms. I got my Montpelier College and Clark’s College uniforms from them.

    By Ken Ross (17/10/2011)
  • Burton’s were definitely over the road, where Waterstones the bookshop is now. I think with the widening of West Street about 1930, Burton’s occupied the corner building. If you look up at the top of the building you can still see the name Burton’s embossed in the cement plaster work. First I thought that the photo must be prior to that, however the rear entrance to the Regent gives us the date. The Norman Wisdom film “Trouble in Store” was from 1953. It looks like at that time there were two Burton’s stores opposite each other, unless anyone has a better explanation?

    By Peter Groves (17/10/2011)
  • I thought Burtons was on the corner of West and North Street.

    By Iris Gilman (18/10/2011)
  • Thanks, Ken. You may well have the right picture about Home Brothers supplying school uniforms. It certainly connects in my memory bank. The rest of my memory still thinks there was a Burtons on the West Street/ North Street corner but maybe that was later then? I worked at Miss Selfridge in Churchill Square for several years ’70 to ’75 and will have walked past Burtons very many times. I now also question which corner of West Street, Burtons may have been on. Below or above West Street? Any further comments?

    By Sandra (19/10/2011)
  • During the 1950s Burton’s did indeed have shops at 71-74, North Street and 132-132A, North Street. The Piccadilly Billiards Club was also listed at 132 and the Regent Cinema at 133. Regards, Andy.

    By Andy Grant (20/10/2011)
  • Sandra, you are correct on both counts. I now recall that after Horne Bros. closed down, the site was then used by Burtons. We left Brighton in 1965 for business reasons and to this day I still miss the sea dreadfully. So much so I have purchased from the Brighton West Pier trust a piece of part of one of the iron seats that I must have sat on at sometime, they are having another sale of bits of the pier in November and have a web site. The piece I brought cost me £10 but for the memory it is well worth it. Not only am I away from the sea but I now live near a field that is the furthest from coastal waters in England. However, every so often I google map. Brighton and take the street view around the town.

    By Ken Ross (20/10/2011)
  • I remember Burtons on North Street well. In 1965 I played snooker on a regular basis, the club was underneath Burtons, the entrance was on the left hand side of the shop down a steep flight of stairs. It had six snooker tables and a small coffee bar, it was called the Piccadilly. The clientele were mainly antique dealers card players and footballers, it had a good atmosphere and was open till the early hours of the morning.

    By George (12/06/2017)

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