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A building ahead of its time
The building here stands in the south west corner of the Old Steine. It was built c1860, but its original purpose seems unclear. In 1926 the building was converted into a motor car showroom; the upper level was connected by a large commercial lift. The huge picture windows gave an impression that the building was ahead of its time. I believe the original owner was a Mr Newman who had interests in the motor trade. Over the years many prestige marques such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Bristol, Lagonda, Alvis, and Jowett could be seen on display there. For a time in the 1960s, Moors of Brighton who were Jaguar/Triumph main dealers occupied the site. The photograph here dates from the late 1950s, at that time the building was owned by Hartley & Midgley, main Ford dealers for Brighton and Hove.
Endeavour Motor Company in 1960s
In the early 1960s this business was renamed the Endeavour Motor Company. The shiny new cars on display in the showroom are Ford Mk 2 Zodiac/Zephyr and Consul. The Adelphi Hotel on the left became part of the Royal Albion Hotel in 1963/64. The Royal York buildings are on the right. The building behind is the Savoy Cinema; sandwiched in between is the Pool Valley Bus Station. In that era you could travel in a smart comfortable Southdown bus to all corners of Sussex and beyond. Southdown’s pleasing apple green and cream livery seemed to blend perfectly with the rolling South Downs that the bus company took its name from.
Many changes over the years
Taking centre stage in the photo is a black ceramic cat attached to the corner of the building. The cat and the reason why it is there is well documented elsewhere on this site. Royal Albion Hotel is now a shadow of its former self, the Adelphi Hotel and the splendid Savoy Cinema are long gone, together with all those lovely Southdown buses and their friendly staff.The car showroom lost its stylish picture windows decades ago and is now converted into a nondescript multi occupancy office block named Lace House. On a happier note the old china cat is still attached to the corner of the building. Speaking as a 70 year old born and bred Brightonian, and still a resident, the cat makes me smile. Long may it remain.