Buildings of interest

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.

b) BUILDINGS OF INTEREST: The buildings of Western Road are rather drab compared with many streets in the town, but the bow-fronted nos.103, 105 and 108, and also no.104, are listed buildings of the 1820s; nos.117-122, including the Temple Bar, form a much-altered composition with some bow-windows and pilasters, and are included on the council’s local list of buildings of special interest. Some older buildings of the 1810s and ’20s with bows remain on the southern side, a few faced with mathematical tiles; no.40 was the birthplace of famous local inventor Magnus Volk (q.v.) in 1851. Nos.87-93 form an impressive, decorated, four-stroey composition, formerly Sillwood Terrace, while the four-storey composition facing Norfolk Square is actually numbered as part of the square. No.115, the last building in Brighton on the northern side, has a very wide bow front.

Hampton Lodge may be seen to the west of Hampton Place, behind the single-storey shops which were erected in its garden in 1903. Formerly a single house, it was built in about 1823 and was the home in the 1830s of Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, the victor of the Battle of Navarino in 1827 {83,108}. The adjacent Hampton Place post-office is splendidly decorated with lion-head figures and was formerly a bank. The pillar-box at the corner of Montpelier Road dates from 1858 {15} and is one of only four of its type still in service; it has a most unusual top and is listed as being of special architectural and historic interest. {24,44}

The best of the large store buildings are the domed and decorated CJ’s, nos.49-55 at the corner of Clarence Square, which was built in 1903 for Knight & Wakeford’s drapery {83}; the 1931 C & A building (originally British Home Stores) and the Primark (originally Wades) store of 1928, both with Art Deco facade; the Seeboard showroom, etc., between Dean Street and Crown Street, formerly Staffords store of about 1930 which has some elegant decoration; and the Virgin Megastore, formerly Boots which opened on 29 November 1928 in neo-classical style and is decorated with Ionic columns (it had a popular restaurant and orchestra until the war, and also one of the country’s busiest post-offices until 1966). The heavily decorated Midland Bank, built of golden sandstone in 1905, enlivens the street with its Edwardian Baroque design; the nearby National Westminster Bank, also built in stone, dates from 1925. {26,45a,123}

Mitre House, a six-storey block of flats and offices designed by J.Stanley Beard and Bennett, was built in 1935 by International Stores Ltd (whose trademark is a mitre) with the largest grocery store on the south coast on the ground floor (now Halfords). Imperial Arcade was originally built in 1923 on the site of the North Street Brewery, but was rebuilt in 1934 with the adjoining buildings added in the style of the day, resembling the prow of a ship. {26,130}
The Pine Supermarket, just over the borough boundary in Hove, was a cinema from around 1912 until 1981. Originally the Hove Cinematograph Theatre, it became the Tivoli in 1922 and the Embassy in 1948. {68a}

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

  • I would love to know what numbers these properties are. My great aunt lived at 212 Western Road on the 1901 census.

    By Josie (27/05/2008)
  • My great grandfather Thomas Sandalls ran a pub on this site, 146 Western Road. It was called the Central Public House and I believe he was there from around 1908-1915. If anyone has anymore information I would love to here from them.

    By Belinda Lumsden (31/08/2009)
  • I remember this as Boots. You could go to the store room on the top floor in the public lift, and I did so once as a child for a dare and was confronted by a shop assistant who told me off. I also remember how old fashioned and ornate the staircase railings were, which you could still access when it was Virgin records. I guess they are still there now, but will never be seen by the public again unless a new two storey store opens. Makes me wonder how many other similar old gems are hidden away at the back or the basements of shops out of public view.

    By Simon (18/01/2011)
  • Hi Belinda, Did you live in Buckingham Road and have you got a sister called Vanessa?

    By Graham Maskell (07/06/2011)
  • I remember getting banned from the condom shop aged about 9!

    By Guy (22/01/2014)
  • Hello Graham, our grandfather lived at The Central pub in Western Road run by his mother and grandparents. The Mitre House development is now on that site. Yes we were both living in Buckingham Road and we went to Elm Grove Girls School. You were at Brighton Tech?

    By Vanessa Denyer (22/10/2014)

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