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Watercolour painting

I would be very interested to know if anyone can identify the buildings in this watercolour. I think they are in Brighton although that is only because I bought the painting locally.

It is signed and dated “R.E Kirkbright 1941”.The signs on the front of the pub read ‘Tamplins United Service’ and the name above the shop window is “A.H Bristow.

The following research has now been provided by Andy Grant, and Tony Mould has photographed the site as it is now.

By the 1870’s the development of Elm Grove had spread as far eastwards as Cobden Road. The premises shown on the southwest corner of Elm Grove and Cobden Road  was probably built around 1871 and was originally numbered 50, later being changed to 105 and then once again to 100. It was occupied from the outset by a 52 year old former army staff-sergeant and Chelsea out-pensioner,  (William) George Sparshott, recently removed from Hanover Terrace. The premises were opened later in that same year as a beer house, which Sparshott named the ‘United Service’, possibly after the London Officer’s Club of the same name.  However, Sparshott did not remain there very long. The beer-house was subsequently acquired by the Albion Brewery and the new publican, Charles Knight was installed. In 1892 Tamplin’s Brewery bought the Albion Brewery and all 35 of its pubs, including the ‘United Service’. The premises remained in Tamplin’s hands until its closure in 1963.

Watercolour painting
From the private collection of Stuart Cropper
Photographed in 2012
Photo by Tony Mould

Comments about this page

  • The United Service pub was in Elm Grove, Brighton, at number 100. This and the building next door (occupied then by A H Bristow) are still there today, with the frontage of the pub still intact but the doors bricked up. You can view it using Google Maps Streetview. The former pub is on the south side of Elm Grove, on the corner of Cobden Road.

    By Alan Hobden (17/06/2012)
  • Looking at the gradient could be Southover Street?

    By Martin Scrace (17/06/2012)
  • Well how funny. I have just photographed this building for my website. It is the corner of Cobden Road and Elm Grove.

    By Carol Homewood (17/06/2012)
  • I forgot to add, what a wonderful painting. You are very lucky to have found it! I wish I had! If it’s possible to add a ‘now’ photograph underneath, I only took one of it yesterday.

    Editor’s note: Upload your photograph Carol and I will add it to the page later. Jennifer.

    By Carol Homewood (17/06/2012)
  • Kellys directory 1934 lists AH Bristow as ‘Alfred Henry Bristow,greengrocer’ at 98 Elm Grove, The pub next door -100-is ‘Mrs RJ Gillham beer retailer’. By 1951 it is listed as the United Service pub. The buildings in the background are in Cobden Road.

    By Geoffrey Mead (18/06/2012)
  • Brilliant Alan, still looks much the same today, well done!

    By Peter Groves (18/06/2012)
  • Just down the road at 84 my grandmother bought a decommisioned pub between the wars. My brother now owns it. This is the window that was blown out during the war when the Germans tried to bomb the trains as they were being parked at night in the Kemp Town tunnel. My grandfather being one of the drivers.

    By Jenny Wilson (18/06/2012)
  • Wonderful Elm Grove. I lived adjacent to the pub, Tamplins United Services, with Mum and Dad (Annie and Dick) together with sisters Rita and Brenda. On the opposite side – lived Mr and Mrs Rogers, with their daughters, Rita Stella and Josie. I was always invited to their birthday parties. Happy Memories!

    Many times I had to pop into the pub (with ‘the’ faithful yellow jug, to get a couple of pints of stout served by Mr Gillham. We also were regular customers of Mr Bristow. Years 1938 to 1948.

    By Charlie Bull (17/04/2014)
  • Nice one Alan, spot on. Corner of Cobden Road and Elm Grove the United Service pub was number 100, and at 98 was Alfred and Henry Bristow greengrocers which was trading in 1940. It’s a third of the way up Elm Grove on the right hand side. Opposite was Percy Rodgers dining rooms at 89.

    By George (12/06/2017)
  • Re-your addresses in Elm Grove. We were regular customers to the shops. We lived at 91.It is now in the ground of my old school.Elm Grove Junior Mix. 1938 to 1948. We spent many a time playing alleys in the gutter. After the war, we had a bonfire in the middle of the road. It burnt all the tarmac. Do you remember Mr Taylor, top of Franklin Road?


    By charlie bull (26/10/2018)
  • Hi, I currently live in 98 elm grove & wondered if it was possible to get a hi res image of this picture as would be great to have in our house?

    By James Graham (29/04/2021)

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