Kings Road arches

Then and now photos

19th century view
This photograph shows the fishermen who once worked on Brighton beach.  Before the arches were built, there was only a rough track between Little East Street and West Street. Traffic had to turn inland in order to proceed along the coast.

20th century view
This view shows the area which was then occupied by the fish market.

21st century view
These arches under Kings Road on Brighton seafront have a long history.  There is now a very lively music scene down there now!

Photo:19th century view

19th century view

Image reproduced with permission from Brighton History Centre

Photo:20th century view

20th century view

From the private collection of Bert Clayton

Photo:21st century view

21st century view

Photograph by Tricia Leonard

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

I remember the area called 'The Hard' where, in the late 60s, I would buy herrings for one shilling each from the fishermen straight from the sea and then walk along Hove seafront to Mum's at Albermarle Terrace where we would grill them for lunch. Scrumptious!

By Sandie Waller (24/05/2007)

Before WW2 I went with my sisters to a fairground that was held underneath the road here, it was very noisy, dark and crowded, I remember the bumper cars. My sister got lost in the crowd we all ended up going home, while some body stayed behind to look for her, she spoilt the day for us.

By Nina (13/01/2008)

I remember in the late 50s walking along here in the summer evenings when the beatniks were all enjoying the skiffle bands. I was about 8 or 9 years old and it was very exciting to me.

By Lyn Allwright (02/04/2008)

I lived in Hammersmith in the 1950s we often went to Brighton on the train. It was so exciting, I remember the blue paddling pool on the sea-front. Brighton is a very different place now but it still has a buzz of excitement.

By Mary Stretton (17/05/2008)

This brings back memories of days on Brighton beach helping Rod Stewart get back to London and inviting him to come visit Eel Pie Island. I spent a lot of time in Brighton and on the old barge at Shoreham.

By Dolores (17/06/2008)

What a wonderful site!  I was born and raised in Brighton, lived in Frederick Street just down from the railway station. What a wonderful place to grow up in, with the ocean and the Downs, the race course, Preston Park and Wild Park - a place to watch the men play cricket. My family moved to Liverpool when I was twelve and how we missed Brighton. I went back 12years ago and for me going through the Lanes and eating fish and chips under the arches brought back so many wonderful memories. I now live in Kelowna B.C. Canada. I have told my children of my childhood in Brighton and they have made a point of visiting there when on trips to England and I was lucky enough to show two of my grandchildren my special place. Cheers.

By Marlene Hodgson (nee Cadman) (03/09/2008)

The centre picture of the three; showing Leaches and Holgates arches; was taken soon after the lower prom was open after WW2. My father and grandfather started the cafe during the 1920s and continued until Brighton Corporation started their systematic programme of vandalising this once lovely town, which continues to this day! Note the piers, lanes, West Street, fish market hard etc. wherever old Brightonians are they must weep to see the state of this once lovely town!

By Ted Holgate (28/10/2008)

I remember the Brighton of the 1950s and 60s as a kid playing down on the seafront area roughly where this photograph was taken. I stayed in Montpelier Road so it wasn't far away maybe a mile. Does anybody remember the Guinness Clock, it was an amazing mechanical musical device that sat in front of the arches and did a show every 15 minutes I think. They also had a large model railway exhibition inside one of the arches and a little engine called Sammy the Shunter, it looked like Thomas the Tank engine. I remember the Easter Weekend when the Mods and Rockers came down in numbers and had a skirmish under the Palace Pier. I also remember my old school, St Paul's in West Street in the 1960s just before they built the Churchill Shopping centre on top of it. We would hang about after school and watch the workmen driving steel piles into the ground with a big steam hammer. No wonder I'm hard of hearing now. Moved up to Scotland in 1966 but still try and visit the old place whenever I can.

By Leon Farmer (23/11/2008)

If anyone wants to see some old pictures of Brighton, they should go to the Riva Bingo hall in Moulescoomb Way.

By John Eaton (04/03/2009)

I was born in Brighton in 1968, and I remember my mum telling me (though I can't recall the event) that she used to take me to the arches when I was a child and buy fish straight off the boat; apparently one of the fishermen had a very friendly and excitable Jack Russell that used to lick my face! Brighton is the most wonderful town in the world; I miss it so much and think about it often...

By Kevin Latch (10/05/2009)

Brighton has always been special. What happened to the model railway under the arches? I miss all those wonderful cafes that were around in the '60s.

By Pete Groves (21/06/2009)

To Pamela, The Leaches were Mark and his father John, John passed away in 1995 but Mark still lives in Brighton. I am his sister Anne, I live in South Africa. I was so homesick when I found this site, it is really fabulous.

By Anne Gee (nee Leach) (06/03/2010)

Hi Anne, just looked at the site and saw your message - thanks for info. The boys, as Mr Holgate called them, asked me to try the jellied eels but I could not look at them laying in jelly; I was always given a plate of cockles though. They were really lovely people to work for and to be with, I was only 15 and as you read I broke the dishwasher, so they never let me live that down. We went to Brighton to see family on 20th March, we go down a lot but this time we walked the prom, had a cuppa and went for a walk on the pier. I live not too far away but still feel I need to go back. I just walk the little streets I once called home. You do live a long way, I will keep in touch on this page if you want. What area did you come from? And you are right, this site is fab!

By Pamela (25/03/2010)

Hey Pamela, great to get a reply. I lived in the Preston Park area and went to school at Lourdes Convent. Have been on to that page in the hope that I might find some old friends; we are hoping to make a trip back next year. You can mail me at anne.gee@starboundent.com it would be good to keep up with local news, old and new.

By Anne Gee (nee Leach) (28/03/2010)

Hello Ted Holgate. Was wondering if you know of the Holgates who had some antique shops in The Lanes?

By Sharon Saunders (11/07/2010)

Hi, Pete Groves. Do you have a sister Violet Groves and did you live in Elmore Road and before that Islingward Road? I went to Elm Grove Primary 1962-1965 and Violet was one of my friends, I think she then went to Queens Park Secondary after that. If so I would be fascinated to hear from her or anyone that looks into this site with any old stories of Brighton and those streets around that time. I lived in Jersey Street - I now live in Wales, but like hearing about the good old days.

By Christiine Ellett (27/07/2010)

Hi Ann, are you still on the same email address as you were on in march 2010? I hope you are well, Iwill write soon.

By Pamela (30/12/2010)

I remember the Arches. I used to work in the Fishermens' Social Club which was in one of them and next to it in another arch when they came in from sea they would mend their nets. The old fishing families were the Leaches, Gilliams, Markwicks and the and others. We used to hear lots of tales about the sea and fish.

By Kathleen Catt (nee Cornford) (07/04/2011)

When I visited my late father in the 80s we spent a fair bit of time in the Fishermens' Social Club. Ted Gilliam always made a point of being there as well. Whatever happened to the lifeboat models?

By Rick Smallman (10/04/2011)

As was mentioned above... In the late 50s a few of us used to stand above the arches near the Palace Pier and watch skiffle groups playing down below. They all had a tea chest bass and a guitar or two but the speciality was the washboard though I can not remember what they used to drag along it. Exciting times in a era when there were no electronic gadgets to amuse us and there was REALLY nothing on the telly!

By Chris Kisko (05/12/2013)

Any minute now and someone is going to start singing Lonnie Donnigan and his Skiffle Group songs. Yes I am an old Brighton and Hove boy, my last memories of Brighton before we left for the sunny life in Australia in 64 was of the light hearted games the Mods and the Rockers played on the sea front. I have only had the pleasure of going back to the UK once and that was in 2011 as part of an International Air Cadet Exchange program (IACE) but was posted to Lincoln (Bomber) country and didn't get the opportunity to go down south, but never mind I will prevail and take my Ausie wife with me. Anyone remember the wrestlers Mick McManus and Jacky Palo, saw them perform at a venue in Brighton, here come those memories again.

By James Roncoli (18/02/2014)

Does anyone have any links to information of an Alf Gunn who was a fishmonger in 1939? Please get in touch.

 

By Lauren staton (16/05/2014)

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