A major commercial thoroughfare constructed in 1845

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: This major commercial thoroughfare was constructed in 1845 to improve access to Brighton Station from North Street and West Street; the London and Brighton Railway Company contributed £2,000 to the cost,’ and the improvement included the bridge over Trafalgar Street. At the southern end, several notorious slums off North Street, notably Durham and Petty France, were cleared; the new road was then laid out northwards over part of Air Street (see “Queen Square”), and between Windsor Terrace and the Hanover Chapel towards the railway station.

The road naturally became lined with hotels, public houses, shops and warehouses, and was widened in 1878, mainly at the expense of the railway company. The buildings of Queen’s Road were originally continuous from Upper Gloucester Road to the bridge over Trafalgar Street; Junction Road, the link to Terminus Road and Surrey Street, was formed in 1924 by the demolition of the Terminus Hotel and the Terminus Shades in Surrey Street, and was widened again in 1935 by the removal of another two houses to form the present bus-bays.

b) EASTERN SIDE: Queen’s Road was widened in 1878, mainly at the expense of the railway company, and a number of large warehouses and depositories were built to the north of Gloucester Road; the last remaining one, a very distinctive Gothic design known as the Temple’, was demolished in 1989-90. The Sergeant Yorke Casino opened in October 1971 in a building built in 1908 as a garage.
Most of the eastern side of Queen’s Road is now lined with nondescript office-blocks of the 1960s and later, but Sun Dial House at the corner of North Road is an elegant, red-brick block erected in 1896 for the Brighton and Sussex Mutual Provident Society. It has a large sundial and an inscription on the southern facade: `Our days on Earth are as a shadow and there is none abiding’. The Latin inscription translates to `As the hours pass so does life fade away’.

Queen’s Road was a centre for the medical profession in the latter nineteenth century, and was at one time the location of the Brighton and Hove Dispensary; the Brighton, Hove and Preston Provident Dispensary; the Brighton, Hove and Preston Dental Hospital; the Sussex Eye Hospital; and the Sussex Throat and Ear Hospital. The sites of the two dispensaries between Church Street and North Road are now occupied by large office buildings of the 1960s and ’70s. At the southern end of this block stood the large, square Oddfellows Hall, built by John Fabian and opened on 26 June 1854 for the Manchester Order. It continued as a meeting hall until required for the Second World War effort, and was later used by the Ministry of Labour before being demolished in August 1969. Its foundation stone has been placed in the south wall of 118 Queen’s Road, the office-block which replaced it. The Queen’s RoadRestGarden at this point is the former graveyard of the Hanover Chapel, now the Brighthelm Church and Community Centre (see “Church Street“).

The Boots store, one of their largest in the country, was erected in 1979 to the design of Derek Sharp. It stands on the site of the Regent Cinema.

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.

Comments about this page

  • Does anyone have the history of this venue, has it always been a casino? Like most of these old venues, such as the Astoria, and the venue in middle street, its just laid dormant.

    By Jay (06/06/2008)
  • Can you actually see all the tombstones in this garden? I have just discoved my great great grandfather and his wife are buried here in 1850 and 1864. I hope to be in Brighton this week to visit here.

    By Wendy Mortimer (05/08/2008)
  • I have been here.Some tombstones are readable, most are not. They have been put around the perimeter of the gardens and carpark, some are covered by ivy etc, and what happened to the bodies/coffins from the underground crypt. No-one seems to know..and these gardens should be locked at night to stop, how can I put it, undesirable people doing unspeakable acts in the gardens. It’s disgusting (we found condoms and vaseline). I will leave the rest to your imagination! This is meant to be a burial/memorial garden.

    By wendy mortimer (18/08/2008)
  • Formerly a garage, SYC opened Oct 1973 I believe. Trading was desultory, due to competition from Metropole Casino located at in the hotel of the same name, and the Mint Casino in Hove. Its fortunes were, however, transformed in 1974 when the Mint literally collapsed leading to the closure of New Church Road whilst adjacent buildings were shored up and the site made safe. The owner of the Mint tried to apply for a casino licence in Brighton (New Road), but failed. SY Casino picked most of the trade and became one of Pleasurama’s most profitable provincial casinos. Pleasurama was taken over by Mecca in the late 80s and subsequently by Rank Organisation who rebranded the casino to the Grosvenor Casino Brighton. In 2000 an application to transfer the licence from Queen’s Road to the old ABC cinema site was successful and two years later it closed when the new casino opened.

    By G Adlam (16/01/2011)
  • Oddfellows Hall was where anyone joining the Armed Forces had to report to for their medical, whether for National Service or Regular. My own experience was one I would not want to repeat as all present had to strip naked and queue to see several different medical staff. I can remember having to pee in a receptacle with any surplus being aimed into a bucket on the floor half filled by others that had gone before. One then proceeded around the different cubicles where tests were undertaken for fitness to serve, in one of these I have a vivid memory of my private parts being lifted by a pencil whilst the Doctor made his inspection of this region. A few of the lads reporting for National Service used to try and fool the Doctors that they had medical problems that would fail them for service, needless to say this hardly ever worked. I heard a story, supposedly true, that one chap who pretended to be deaf, had his assessment by the ENT Doctor and on leaving the room the Doctor whispered “Close the door please” which the chap did and was subsequently reporting to barracks for his two year stint.

    By Dave Hamblin (17/03/2012)
  • I worked there when Alistair was GM. I  met so many lovely people there and holds many good memories. Later I met my husband for 26 years, John Wood GM from the Hove club who sadly died one year ago.

    By Susan Cristofoli (25/11/2012)
  • Just remembered that in the film Brighton Rock (1947) starring Richard Attenborough as “Pinkie”, there is a scene where he (or another crook) is fleeing up Queens Road towards the station (on foot of course). The camera records quite a lot of what I believe is the west side, as it was just after the War. Interesting.

    By Brian Hatley (05/01/2013)
  • Geoff! You must be Geoff Adlam, I knew you as a pit-boss at the Yorke before I came to Holland. I was the one Kevin Boyd so publicly dumped – slim, short dark hair, transferred from Hove to the Yorke from one day to another. Have very fond memories of you as a civilised and humourous man.

    By Nicole Roche (02/09/2013)
  • Hi! I worked too for one year 74/75. I was then 19 years old and the only French girl on board! I’d like very much to get in touch with anyone working during the same period? I had Alistair as MG then. I did enjoy my time there and I was trained by Heather, very professional she was! Cheers.

    By Giselle (13/05/2014)
  • Well, it certainly opened long before Oct ’73 by which time I was working in Mayfair. Could have been some time in 1971. I started in the business there and after a few weeks transferred to the IOW min-casino (also Pleasurama’s, and a dismal dump) and then Nero’s in Ramsgate for about a year. After which I helped open a Greek owned casino in Margate which was fronted by a former wrestling champion and intellectual giant called Chris Londos. Funny old business, gaming…

    By Johnno (12/01/2016)
  • I did not work at Sergeant Yorke but worked for Pleasurama Ltd. at Welbeck Street in London, the Head Office back in 1975’ish. There were quite a few provincial casinos and I do recall Alastair. It was a wonderful era, long gone.

    By Lorraine Toohey (07/03/2016)
  • Hi I worked at Pleasurama casinos at Welbeck St when times were great. I recall the times when Eddie Thomas ran the company – we had such fantastic laughs and times. I worked on the top floor and miss those days.

    By Margaret (03/08/2016)
  • I worked there for several years and had great fun and met and worked with some lovely people.

    By Maria Langella (26/09/2016)
  • I worked and trained there. Started in 1985, Geoff, you  were a Manager at the time, with Dave Osborne, Jeff McNally, I had a blast.

    By Simon Bath (16/11/2016)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *