Longhurst's Amber Ale Brewery at Preston Circus, c. 1890. Winter scene of Preston Circus in 1890's showing Longhurst's Amber ale breweries (built 1881) and Hare and Hounds Public House. The Brewery has been taken over by R. Fry and Co. to produce mineral water. In background is Stamford Arms Public House.
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council
The Hand in Hand, Kemp Town Brewery
Photo by Tony Mould

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.

The apparently insatiable thirst for beer and the large number of public houses and beer-houses opening in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led to the establishment of many breweries in the town. Some of the better known breweries are detailed below.

a) ALBION BREWERY, Albion Street: Acquired by the Phoenix Brewery in 1892, it was used only as a store from 1924 and then as a builder’s yard until demolished in the 1970s. The site is now occupied by the Elim Church. The adjacent Stable public house is named from the brewery’s stable that stood opposite.

b) AMBER ALE BREWERY, Preston Circus: Once dominating Preston Circus with a very large clock tower and a domed roof, it was probably established in the 1820s by Smithers. The brewery was later acquired by Longhursts but was demolished in 1901 to allow tram lines to be laid on a curve between Beaconsfield Road and Viaduct Road. Part of the building was adapted as a fire station, since rebuilt, but the malting was incorporated into the Duke of York’s Cinema and may still be seen behind the present fire station.

c) BLACK LION BREWERY: Said to have been the oldest brewery building in the world. See “Old Town (Black Lion Street)”.

d) CANNON BREWERY, Russell Street: Established in the early nineteenth century by a Mr Barnett, it was acquired by Tamplins in 1926 but was demolished in 1969 for the extension of Churchill Square. It was latterly used as a bottling plant only.

e) KEMP TOWN BREWERY, Seymour Street: Founded by William Hallett as the Bristol Brewery in about the 1840s, it was later taken over by the Abbey family and became the Kemp Town Brewery in 1933. In 1963 it was taken over by Charringtons, but brewing ceased in April 1964 and it became empty in 1966. The main buildings were sold in January 1970 for the development of Seymour Square. There was also a malting at the corner of Eastern Road and Sutherland Road, a site now used by Brighton College. In 1989 a new Kemp Town Brewery opened at the Hand in Hand public house in Upper St James’s Street.

f) NORTH STREET BREWERY: Established in the first half of the nineteenth century by William Smithers. When Imperial Arcade was built on the site in 1923 the brewery continued trading from premises in Regent Hill until it was acquired by Tamplins in 1929. A malt-house belonging to this brewery remains on the southern side of Blenheim Place.

g) PHOENIX BREWERY, Albion Street: Built in 1821 to replace Richard Tamplin’s Southwick Brewery following its destruction by fire in August 1820, the brewery thus rising up from the ashes like the fabulous Arabian phoenix. Part of the Watney empire since 1953, it occupies a large site behind Richmond Terrace. One old, flint malting remains in Southover Street, while the decorated former brewery office of 1893 stands in Phoenix Place near the brewery’s own public house, the Free Butts. The surrounding roads also retain their original setts. Since 1973 it has been used as a bottling plant and depot only, the beer being brought in from the Watney brewery at Mortlake, but the whole site is scheduled for closure in early 1991 as the distribution depot moves to Lewes. A 1990 plan for the redevelopment of the site with offices and housing also involves the demolition of Wellesley House in Waterloo Place, but retains the Free Butts and the 1893 offices.

h) PRESTON BREWERY, South Road: Stood at the rear of the Preston Brewery Tap. Its flint-walled malting still stands in South Road.

j) ROCK BREWERY, St James’s Street: Stood at the corner of Mount Street with premises also in Warwick Street and St Mary’s Place. It was established in about 1809 and continued brewing until about 1928.

k) WEST STREET BREWERY: Dating from at least the mid eighteenth century, it became the first Brighton brewery to employ steam in about 1800. In 1824 it was taken over by Vallance and Son, and later became Vallance and Catt’s brewery. Standing behind the King’s Head near the south-western corner of West Street, it was taken over by Smithers in 1913 but was closed by Tamplins in 1929.

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.
The following resource(s) is quoted as a general source for the information above: {83,123,275}

Update on the above text

g) Phoenix Brewery
From 1973 it was used as a bottling plant and depot only, the beer being brought in from the Watney brewery at Mortlake, but the whole site was closed in 1991 as the distribution depot moved to Lewes. A 1990 plan for the redevelopment of the site with offices and housing which followed did involve the demolition of Wellesley House in Waterloo Place, but this latter did not occur. The site retains the Free Butts public house and the 1893 offices

Comments about this page

  • On finding the MyB&H website I realise that I have always had itchy feet. The amount of jobs that I had when I was younger is unbelievable. Now I have remembered another one in a brewery. Does anybody remember Hedges and Hedges brewery? I think that it was up Lavender Street near to Eastern Road, not too sure about the exact location. It was a boring monotonous job most days, just feeding empty bottles that had come back from the pubs into holes in the cleaning machine. Loading and unloading the delivery lorries was ok. The best day was on a Thursday, that was the day that the Guinness was bottled. This Guinness was delivered by tanker and then put into a giant stainless steel vat ready for bottling. After the bottling was over some of us younger lads used to stick our heads into an opening in the vat and just sniff the fumes, and wipe the brown scum off of the walls and lick our fingers, and get plastered in the process. Another of the jobs that was hard was at the end of a hard days work – we had to collect all the broken glass from the floors and the bins and carry them upstairs from the basement to the first floor. Then we would spend ages cleaning the place ready for the next day. The foreman was a big headed man with a big mouth and he shouted all day. I won’t tell you what we called him. During the short tea breaks we played poker and drank our free pint of beer. That’s where I learnt to play cards in my youth.

    By Mick Peirson (23/12/2006)
  • There was another Brewery in Waterloo Street called Findlaters Brewery. I lived in Waterloo Street so remember it well; its now been turned into housing.

    By Dennis Fielder (30/07/2009)
  • Does anyone know anything about the St Nicholas Brewery, listed in the 1871 census in Centurion Road?

    By David Jennings (02/04/2010)
  • I have a photo of my great-grandfather and one of his sons, Jesse, standing in front of one of the West Street Brewery horse drawn carts. I am guessing it is dated in the late 1800’s. Are you able to give me the name of the owners of the brewery before Vallance and Son took over?

    By Rhonda Fardon (21/08/2011)
  • Does anyone have any information about Shuckard Brewery? I do not know when they started up but they ceased brewing in 1839.

    By C. Pritchard (01/11/2011)
  • I am interested to see that Rhonda Fardon has a photo of her great , grandfather with a West Street brewery dray and horses. I have a photo of my great – great grandfather outside of The Eclipse Public House, in Montgomery Street, Hove taken, I think, in the late 1800s. His name, W D Campbell, is shown painted on the two main external walls — as is the name of the Brewery — The West Street Brewery. His grandson, Herbert Jack Campbell, is still alive and remembers having a photo of the brewery dray cart and horses delivering to the The Eclipse. I am very interested in finding out more about my family history and the pubs that they ran – including The Beaufort, Queens Park Road and the Yacht Anchor, Morley Street. W D Campbell had two sons , Herbert (my Grandfather) and Percy (lost in the Great War).

    By Ian Campbell (20/01/2012)
  • With reference to Mick Peirson’s entry, I also worked at Probyn & Hedges Brewery in the summer of 1964, with Richard Hill, whose father was Chief Constable of Brighton, whose sister was Mary Hill (married Smith) my second teacher at Downs Primary School and whose brother was Brian Hill, Boys Brigade Captain at Florence Road Baptist Church, near Clyde Road, where I was brought up. (My family went to London Road Methodist Church, where my brother, Peter Parsons, was Scout Leader before emigrating to Portland in Oregon. Johnny was the foreman in the brewery and we used to help him carry the bins of broken glass up the iron steps to Lavender Street after a shift. What is heavier than broken glass? The lovely ladies we worked with kept us supplied with home-made cakes and sweets. I can remember Mrs Manthorpe. Happy days!

    By Michael Dartnell (20/08/2013)
  • I recently discovered that my great great grandfather started the Belle Vue Inn in Buckingham Place in 1854 (Now the West Hill Inn). My great grandfather apparently supplied this inn with beer. One family document speaks of Ridge’s Ale. Another speaks of a West Hill Brewery. I’d be glad of any information anyone can provide.

    By Stanley Ridge (30/09/2014)
  • Hi Stanley, The Belle Vue Inn was almost certainly built in 1852 by a local builder, Edward Hilder Ade, who also became its first publican from the time it opened until around 1857, when he was succeeded by William Beasley. It was built on land owned by Henry Willett and on 29 September 1852 was leased to Catt, Vallance and Co.

    By Andy Grant (02/10/2014)
  • Hi, I worked for the courage brewery in the early seventies in Eastern Road, the bottom of Freshfield Road. I can remember my old friend Wally Deadman who also worked there. The bottled beer would come in on the big 40 ft flatbeds from Mile End, London all unloaded by hand and when it was unloaded the driver would then take the flatbed over the road to our empties yard and used load it up again by hand. I can remember names like Malven Brown & his driver Dick. Does any one remember the Courage building in Eastern Road. 

    By Stephen Raynsford (02/10/2014)
  • My father (Howard Bates) worked at Findlater’s in Waterloo Street. When my brother and I met him we had to wait at the top of Waterloo Street, he forbade us to walk down there. He would come up and meet us and take us into the bakers on the corner and buy us a pineapple doughnut each, such a treat in the 50s.

    By June Churchill (30/01/2015)
  • My great grandfather worked in the Albion Brewery (now called The Black Lion’) next door to the Cricketers pub in Black Lion St and lived in a tiny tied flint cottage at No. 2 Black Lion Lane which is still there. He was a ‘Brewers Nightman’ and I have his death certificate. He was scalded and drowned, aged 37, when one of the vats of beer that he was cleaning burst open. His wife and three children had to leave the tied house. The staff had a whip-round and bought her a mangle so that she could earn money by taking in washing. No accident compensation or pension in those days.
    I have a copy of the coroner’s report of his death published in the Sussex Advertiser for July 2nd 1878.

    By Neville Bolding (04/03/2019)
  • Hi,
    I wanted to contact Christopher Horlock to see if he has any records and images of the old Kemp Town brewery, where we have lived since the redevelopment of the Mews in 1973-4 by (that raconteur) Godfrey Parker (he was featured in The Evening Argus and involved with The Theatre Royal). We moved in 1975 after finding his ad’ in The Sunday Times. As an aside, we arranged to meet him on a sunny Sunday, driving down from Surrey. We got here at about 1pm as arranged, however he arrived a little late, wearing white shorts and top! (Anyone for tennis?). He said, “Go and have some lunch and come back around 3ish”. Well, what could we do? So, we did and came back at 3pm. He then asked my Father if he could come to his penthouse suite in Chichester Terrace, then known (and named) ‘Parker House’, at the end of the terrace. I went up with them into a private lift that went straight into the lounge! I then had to wait outside the room where a deal was struck, and my father bought the property. A short time afterwards we were informed that he had gone on a cruise on the QE11! 🧐

    By G.G. Weiner (30/09/2022)
  • The James Gray collection of B&W images, available through My B&H, is the place to search for the brewery photos, volumes 22 & 23 for East Brighton would be a good place to start.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (02/10/2022)

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