Rifle Butt Road

Memories of the 1940/50s

By Peter Guy

 
Photo:The few remaining houses on the east side showing the Friends Meeting House (erected 1856), and beyond, the Burial Ground.

The few remaining houses on the east side showing the Friends Meeting House (erected 1856), and beyond, the Burial Ground.

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

The northern end

As a young boy in the 1940s and 1950s, I lived locally in Reading Road so remember quite a bit about Rifle Butt Road. Starting at the northern end: there was a garage and bakery on the eastern corner with Roedean Road. This was known as the Orange garage and bakery. The bakery had originally been tea rooms. Moving southwards, there were several terraced cottages on the eastern side of Rifle Butt Road the line of which was broken roughly in the middle by a Quakers' chapel and cemetery.

The southern end

At the southern end and on the western side were the remaining terraced cottages, culminating in the mysterious part-completed building site beside Stephens bakery. Although I well remember playing amongst the reinforced concrete pillars, unfortunately I only have a vague recollection of being told that it was originally going to be a theatre or picture house. I think Stephen’s bakery was number 1 Rifle Butt Road followed by the cottages 2, 3, 4 and 5. My grandfather, Richard Guy, owned the builders' yard of number 3 and subsequently also owned 4 and 5. These properties remained in our family till I think approximately the mid 1950s.

Demolished for the Marina

When the cottages were being demolished to make way for the Marina project, a large flagstone was removed from within the front doorway of one of them only to reveal a hitherto unknown deep well shaft. Although it was considered to be a well it is possible that it was originally a ventilation shaft dug when the underground coal tunnels were built from the cliff face to service the gas works. My father, Lou Guy, was a blacksmith working for the gas works in the 1930s and early 1940s.

This page was added on 22/01/2013.
Comments about this page

Hello Mr Guy, I lived my young life in boundary Road, Madiera Mansions, Brighton 7. The garage / tea rooms come bakery, in Roedean Road were called The Orange Hue, what a resturant that was. The cakes were to die for, and the cooking. I went there for Christmas dinner. Cheers, Tony Freeman.

By Anthony Freeman (23/01/2013)

I've been visiting and writing on this fantastic web-site since around 2004, although there are specific pages about the Marina, there is very little about its construction. I can remember construction, and the huge crane on rails that lifted the hollow blocks, but it would be great to get some photos, and technical text from someone knowledgeable? It was such a huge and technically challenging project, well worth a story, or two! I've looked on the Marina web site and there is nothing there, so who knows a man that knows?

By Peter Groves (23/01/2013)

Hi there Peter, I watched the Marina grow as many people did. Those blocks you refer to were called Casons, the gantry that planted them was, I believe Dutch, and operated by Taylor Woodrow Civil Engineers who built the entire first stage of what we see today a man made harbour. Not the internal mess there is inside this wonderful construction. If you want more Peter, I may be able to help, Regards, Anthony Freeman.

By Anthoy Freeman (24/01/2013)

I remember it well. I lived there as a very young  lad. My parents had the grocers shop/tea garden. I walked there the other week - first time for many years. All gone.

By Ray Collins (23/02/2016)

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