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12 January 2016

Hove Pubs Index S - W

Listed below:-  The Seafield, The Station, The Sussex, The Urchin, The Westbourne, The Wick.

The Seafield, 150 Church Road
Judy Middleton (2003 revised 2015)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Seafield faces north and so it is difficult to take a photograph of the exterior.
The Seafield’s owners once had plans to take over Mulholland’s to enlarge the pub but nothing came of it.
The pub was in operation by 1920 when the licensed retailer was John Attree Harland. Vallance & Catt were the pub owners until 1929 when Tamplin’s took over. Harland was still behind the bar when the changeover took place but by 1935 George Patrick Larner was in charge and the establishment was dignified by the name Seafield Hotel. This name and landlord Larner continued at least until 1958.

In 1974 John and Nellie Brett ran the pub. John Brett served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War and in 1942 his vessel was torpedoed. This resulted in him having to spend twelve freezing hours aboard a lifeboat in mid-Atlantic before being rescued.

By 1976 Watney’s were owners of The Seafield and they felt the pub was rather small. They had grandiose plans for enlargement by taking over the premises next door at number 148 Church Road, occupied by Robert Mulholland’s off-licence. But nineteen letters of objection were sent to Hove Council plus a petition against the plan with 1,000 signatures appended. Hove Planning Committee rejected Watney’s proposals. Watney’s did not want to let the matter drop and in 1979 lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State. Nothing came of it and to this day the two businesses remain in operation side by side, which is quite an achievement in itself when you consider all the changes that have taken place in their neighbourhood since then.

In the Argus (18 July 1998) it was reported that licensees Peter Robinson and Ritchie Laing took over the pub three years previously. Mr Laing commented that when they moved in the place had a somewhat unloved and forlorn air. They embarked upon a scheme of improvements, one part being the re-location of the entrance from the east side to the west side. Wood panelling was put in and framed prints adorned the walls. Three large screen televisions were installed so that customers could keep up-to-date with sporting events. A south-facing pub garden was created with enough space for fifteen people to be able to sit outside in the sunshine.

But obviously there was not much money left over to pay for an ambitious pub sign, the new one being absolutely plain with gold lettering on a green ground. The old pub sign sported a view somewhat similar in outline to Beachy Head but without the lighthouse; to be exact a green field atop a steep, chalk cliff, a sea field. 

By late 2015 the exterior of the pub looked decidedly faded. Fortunately,  at the end of November 2015 it was given a fresh coat of paint and some pleasant greenery was added with five window boxes containing trailing ivy and miniature trees.

Today, the pub sign features a vignette of Harvey’s Brewery, Lewes.

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Copyright © J.Middleton 2015

The Station, 100 Goldstone Villas
formerly the Cliftonville Hotel 
Judy Middleton (2001 revised 2014)

 copyright © J.Middleton
This pub was built in the 1870s and was photographed on 10 April 2014. 
The premises were built in the 1870s and Tamplin’s were the owners from 1875 to 1963. On 16 January 1879 a deed was drawn up between William Cloves Tamplin and Hove Commissioners. This allowed Hove Commissioners to lease the urinal at the Cliftonville Hotel for a period of 21 years. Similar deals were also done with the Aldrington Hotel in Portland Road and the Connaught Hotel in Hove Street. It relieved Hove Commissioners of the necessity and expense of building their own public conveniences.

In January 1881 Mr Tamplin offered to sell the Commissioners for £5 a lamp he had erected opposite the hotel. The offer was accepted. Various alterations were carried out in 1900 including the installation of a billiard room. In 1897 the Cliftonville Hotel was one of the ‘big four’ having the highest rateable value for licensed premises at Hove at £320. The three others with the same value were the Sussex Hotel, the Exchange and the Eclipse.

The Cliftonville Hotel had the most beautiful décor of any public house at Hove. The exterior is impressive enough but it was the details of the interior that linger in the memory. In fact it resembled nothing so much as one of those smart London pubs in all their Victorian or Edwardian grandeur. There was an impressive array of lovely mirrors and the glass in the large windows was decorated with frosted scrolls and other details. It must have been an enticing sight when the lamps were lit at night. This of course was not a coincidence because the pub was situated next door to Hove Railway Station and no doubt was a welcome sight to the weary traveller alighting from the train.

The hotel also fulfilled a civic duty when an inquest was held there. This was not such an unusual event in Victorian times when inquests were held in the nearest large room to where the fatality occurred and this often meant an adjacent pub. The inquest was held in July 1880 into the death of George Rushman, firewood dealer, of 12 Conway Street. The jury heard evidence about the disgraceful state of the road in Goldstone Villas, which had ‘a wretchedly uneven and unsafe strip of ground’. The deceased was in a van going down the road when the front wheel suddenly dropped into a rut and he and the witness were flung out. The witness managed to cling to the horse but Rushman fell into the road and the wheels went over him. The rut was caused by road works where pipes had been laid and the surface had sunk afterwards. Mr Hollamby, a Hove Commissioner and foreman of the jury, stated the road was not a public highway but a private road made by Mr Gallard and that the freehold of the road belonged to the properties on either side of the road.

In 1881 Mrs Lower was the landlady and she was born in Somerset. She was a widow and lived with her five daughters, Lucy aged 17, another one aged 16, Rose, 14, Minnie, 13 and six-year old Annie. Her nephew and sister also lived in the premises. Mrs Lower was still in charge in 1891 but she only had two daughters living with her, besides her sister, a niece and nephew, a barmaid and two servants. 

By 1899 T.H. Challis was the landlord but he did not stay long because by 1905 Benjamin Parker was in charge. By 1915 C.J. Musselwhite was the licensee, followed in around 1925 by Samuel Thomas Wyndell.

William George Godley was at the helm in the 1930s. Mr Godley owned a beautiful cocker spaniel named Sam who was famous locally for collecting donations to Hove Hospital. On 5 May 1938 in the hotel’s billiard room, Councillor A.W. Hillman, Mayor of Hove, presented Sam with an inscribed collar in recognition of his services.

When the Second World War ended, William Sessions was landlord. But Swonnell’s Caterers were running the pub by 1951. The Cliftonville retained the integrity of its artistic décor for many years after its heyday and this is how it was described in 1979.

‘The glass, decorated in the Cinquecento style popular at the time, has scrolls, swirls and frosted bowls of fruit. These panes of glass have been retained although some of the windows have been re-glazed outside. There is a further delightful surprise inside where the magnificent array of mirrors behind the bar reveals a similarity to the exotic scrolls of the window glass. The embossing of the glass appears to be raised above the surface but the glass is perfectly smooth to the touch. There is also a large pane of glass between the counters, which has a design of two small birds on a background of narrow reeds and bamboo leaves. This pane reflects the interest in the Japanese style and may have been coloured at one time.‘ Other features were the words ‘United Ales’ in the windows and a mosaic at the entrance with Cliftonville Hotel picked out in half red, half black letters against a white ground.

Brewing giant Grand Metropolitan later owned the Cliftonville and in 1990 they decided they no longer wanted to run the premises as a managed house and were prepared to lease it. Inn Securities (formerly Bruce’s Brewery) made a bid for the 20-year lease. Inn Securities had sold all eleven of its famous Firkin pubs in London and planned to open a new chain in Sussex with the first one being in Hove. The first thing to go was the historic name and the premises were renamed The Hedgehog and Hogshead and opened on 24 July 1990 with Michelle and Dale Scott as managers.

David Bruce started a small brewery on the premises thus making it the first brewery to operate in Hove since Robins’ Brewery packed up in 1928. From 1994 David Wood was the brewer. Powerful ales were produced with names such as the ‘Prickletickler’ and ‘Brighton Breezy’. In 1991 the Guinness Book of Records accepted the pub’s new name as being the longest pub name in the country. It was Bertie Belcher’s Brighton Brewing Company at the Hedgehog and Hogshead. In 1994 in order to confirm its primacy, some more words were added to the title it’s Really in Hove actually.

In 1994 some of the regulars shaved their heads or went on sponsored bike rides to raise money for charity; £336 was donated to cancer research and £669 was donated to Royal Alexandra’s Children’s Hospital Rocking-horse Appeal.

In the autumn of 1996 unfortunately the premises were modernised. The unique mirrors and frosted glass were swept away except for two token panels that only serve as a painful reminder of treasures that were lost. The huge windows were filled with plain glass, destroying the cosy ambience at a stroke and leaving the punters grumbling that it was like having a drink inside a goldfish bowl. It appears that football vandals had damaged one of the old frosted windows and the management in a fit of austerity decided it was not worth trying to preserve the rest.

By 2000 Scottish & Newcastle were owners of the premises and they decided to spend £400,000 on a complete overhaul. Perhaps there was nothing left over for a quality sign because the one that went up must be the most boring one ever consisting of a circle with Station underneath, this being the pub’s new name. Today the pub manages without any hanging sign at all.

copyright © J.Middleton
In this view you can clearly see the pub’s proximity to Hove Station. 
By December 2000 advertising hype proclaimed the Station to be a stylish, contemporary bar for cold beers, cocktails and pizzas. There were two inter-net stations, leather, loafing beds, two purple pool tables and you could also order a hot chocolate. One real ale buff was not impressed and commented that if he wanted hot chocolate and a bed, he would stay at home with the wife.

The menu was also revised. A hilarious talking point was the little boxes bearing a number given to customers when ordering food. When the food was ready, the chef gave a signal that activated a vibrator inside the box causing it to dart across the table. Manager Stuart Thompson claimed the pub was the ‘newest and coolest bar in Hove’. In January 2001 the Station applied for a public entertainment licence to allow it to stay open until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Local residents were horrified.

Today there is an outside seating area on the north side, which has proved popular with customers. The Station advertises its pizzas as being home made and stone baked.

The exterior has a copious amount of black paint at ground floor level and when viewed from across the road, gives the curious impression of being detached from its white painted top stories. Black seems to be the trend at Hove and it is also to be found at The Exchange, and Palmeira.

Census Returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014

The Sussex, St Catherine’s Terrace
Judy Middleton (2003 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Sussex Hotel opened in 1855 and its name can still be seen on the roof. It served as both a hotel and a pub but today the hotel part has been converted into flats and only the pub remains. The photograph was taken on 16 April 2014. 
The hotel opened for business on 19 October 1855 and there was a special house warming dinner on 15 November the same year. Well-known Hove farmer William Marsh Rigden presided over the dinner and amongst the special guests were William Kirkpatrick and George Gallard, two of the Cliftonville developers. The hotel had billiard rooms and there were also livery stables.

Henry Jones from Gloucestershire was the first hotel-keeper. His previous position was managing the Sussex Arms Inn, East Street, Brighton. The 1861 census recorded him at the Sussex Hotel together with his wife, two sons and six servants. Business must have been extraordinarily slow because there was only one French visitor on census night. But Henry Jones must have enjoyed his work because he stayed put for thirty years.

Some idea of the fashionable status of the hotel can be gauged from the fact that it was often mentioned in the ‘Fashionable News’ column in the local Press. For instance, in October 1870 the Brighton Herald reported that the Countess of Lucan and Mr Bingham were guests while later in the month Mr and Mrs Montefiore occupied a whole wing.

In May 1879 a fire broke out in the housekeeper’s room in the basement. The fire soon gained a strong hold because there were a number of unpacked new tables in the vicinity. But help soon arrived in the shape of Hove Fire Brigade under the command of Stationmaster Wilcox with the horse-drawn fire engine and steam driven pumps. There were five officers and twelve firemen in attendance and the fire was soon brought under control; damage was estimated at £50.

In 1885 it was noted that Walter William Lord was the proprietor of the Sussex Hotel and he had come from the famous Simpson’s in the Strand, London. The 1891 census recorded 45-year old Ferdinand Chapman as the hotel and pub keeper. He lived with his wife, mother-in-law, a nephew, a niece, one porter, one waiter, one cook and one servant. But W.W. Lord was still the proprietor. 

On 25 April 1896 S.T. Green took over the management and extensive alterations were carried out. He lost no time in submitting plans to Hove Commissioners who in August 1896 approved W.J. Miller’s plan to bring forward the bay window on the east side. W.J. Miller who was described as ‘the eminent architect’ was responsible for designing the improvements and Vincent Payne Freeman of Kensington Gardens, Brighton, carried out the work. Charles G. Reed of North Street, Brighton, installed electric lighting.   

There were three entrances from Osborne Villas but the main hotel entrance was in St Catherine’ Terrace. The ground on the east side of the hotel was to be given for public use and the Town Surveyor was instructed to lay a pavement on it.

Henry Porter writing in 1897 was effusive in his praise of the hotel’s improvements. ‘It now possesses one of the handsomest saloon bars, south of London, on the coast, and the establishment besides making up thirty beds, has elegant dining, drawing and reception rooms. The cuisine, like the vintages, are par excellence and the accommodation surpasses even the wildest imagination.’

In 1897 the hotel was recognised as one of the ‘big four’ of licensed premises at Hove with a high rateable value of £320. The other three that were also valued at the same rate were the Cliftonville Hotel in Goldstone Villas, the Eclipse and the Exchange.

In 1898 Dick Hunt took over the adjacent livery stables when he purchased the job-master business. At that time the stables contained twelve horses and six licensed landaus. The premises consisted of two small covered yards and coach houses with glass roofs. He wrote ‘I had the landaus painted dark blue, fine-lined orange and the men who drove them wore silk top hats.’ Some of his customers liked to give the impression that the turnout they were hiring was their own property and Dick Hunt would do his best not to spoil the illusion.

To illustrate the snobbishness that prevailed at Hove, Hunt used to relate that if he walked on the sea-front lawns and met one of his customers by chance, he would receive no recognition when he raised his hat. But his business thrived. At a cost of 10/6d for two hours, a discerning customer could hire a French-shaped victoria with rubber tyres pulled by a horse worth £50 bedecked with a gleaming brass-mounted harness with rosebuds in the bridle, controlled by a smartly dressed coachman. This price was good value when compared to the 4/6d to hire a public cab.

The stables were also a suitable place at which to establish a veterinary practice and W. Kennedy Stuart was there in 1899. He was still there in 1922 when he despatched a bill for 10/- to Miss Chamberlain of 10 King’s Gardens for professional attendance and medicine for a cat. Mr Stuart was described as a Veterinary and Canine Surgeon and his letterhead was inscribed ‘Veterinary Infirmary and Surgery, Sussex Hotel Stables’.

Meanwhile, the landlord at the Sussex Hotel had changed. By 1905 F. Gannaway was behind the bar and the 1910 Directory noted Gannaway & Co as owners. George Sidney Howell was running the establishment in the 1920s but Edlin’s had purchased the premises by 1926.

In 1923 it was stated that traffic going along Kingsway or travelling down Osborne Villas had their view obstructed by a wall and vehicles opposite Sussex Hotel. This was because there was a recognised stand where a charabanc and three hackney carriages awaited custom. Councillors decided to abolish the stand to ease the situation.

In May 1926 architects Clayton & Bell submitted plans to Hove Council on behalf of Edlin’s to convert the upper part of the premises into flats. Initially this was turned down but the plans were passed at the third attempt in June 1926. Tubby Edlin occupied one of the flats. He was a well-known comedian and he had also taken part in George Albert Smith’s early films taken in St Ann’s Well Gardens before it became a public park. Tubby Edlin became famous when he starred in the stage play Alf’s Button based on the novel by Bill Darlington. In 1929 he starred in the ‘talkie’ film version of the play. He was popularly known as Queen Mary’s jester because he was one of the few actors able to make her laugh.  Tubby Edlin’s flat at Sussex Hotelincluded an old-world fireplace that Maurie Elliott helped to install. Maurie Elliott was a colourful Hove character and for over forty years he earned a living as hare-driver at the Brighton & Hove Greyhound Stadium.

Meanwhile the pub part of the premises was also being renovated and the prevailing fashion decreed the interior should appear impressively ancient. There were huge open fireplaces, beams and carved figures plus a quantity of coloured glass in assorted colours of red, green, purple, yellow and white. The glass shapes were interesting too as they were not run-of-the-mill squares but diamond-shaped alternating with hexagons. At the second storey the glass was in hexagonal and octagonal shapes. Inside, at the entrance to the saloon bar, there was a shield-shaped glass depicting the Sussex coat of arms of three martlets.

In 1986 Double Nine International acquired the Sussex and converted the top floors. There had been four spacious flats and this was changed to accommodate eleven flats, most of them with sea views.

Bass Taverns were the owners by 1997 and Charles Regan was landlord.  Regan described the place as a family pub and he thought the wood panelling and stone fireplaces certainly made an unusual interior. Where the livery stables were once situated, there was now a walled garden with a fishpond and a fountain and barbecues were often held there in the summer. It was apparently a top destination for students.

By March 1999 Bass had recently decreed a re-fit of the premises. But in the opinion of journalist Joe Lepper ‘it’s a pub that is almost a large, sterile chain pub and almost a local boozer, but neither.’ He also mentioned a suit of armour.

Census Records
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Hunt, Dick. Bygones

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014

The Urchin, 15-17 Belfast Street
formerly The Bell, Belfast Tavern, originally Belfast House
Judy Middleton  (2001 revised 2015) 
copyright © J.Middleton
The Urchin was photographed on 5 May 2015.

In September 1873 Mr Penfold applied for a beer house licence for Belfast House at the adjourned licensing sessions at Hove. The annual licensing day had in fact taken place in August but the authorities felt they were unable to grant a licence to the Belfast because the premises were not rated highly enough to qualify for a victualler’s licence. However, if the Belfast managed to acquire the adjoining premises then that would be enough to merit the licence.

The second application in September 1873 was a modest request for a beer house licence because the desired extension had not taken place. The house was the only one on the estate that the covenant allowed to become a public house. At that time the land on which it stood was known as the Oliver Estate, presumably after former landowner John Olliver Vallance.

There were 100 occupied houses in the vicinity and there was no public house within half a mile. Mr Champion opposed the application on behalf of six property owners and he disputed the number of occupied houses stating there were only around fifty. But Police Sergeant Marsh said there were nearly a hundred houses and all were occupied. The magistrates gave their consent to a beer house licence (Brighton Gazette 25 September 1873). Adjacent to the tavern was the old flint wall marking the northern boundary of St Andrew’s Churchyard.

In April 1879 a plan for a cellar to be made under the Belfast Tavern was turned down because ‘Hove Commissioners will not consent to any of the pavements in Monmouth Street being interfered with’ in order to make an entrance to it. But there must have been a change of heart because there are cellars there today and fine ones too. Water Board officials once told landlady Eileen Jakes the reason why the cellars were always cool was that there was a spring nearby.

In 1874 George Turner was the landlord and he was still there in 1885 but by 1899 George Chapman was in charge. The Chapmans ran the pub for over twenty years and after George Chapman, a D. Chapman took over and he was still there in the 1920s.

In 1925 Harold Betts was the landlord but by 1930 Mrs Betts was running things. By 1935 S.E. Trask was the landlord and in 1938 the pub had a large standing order with Gigin’s Bakery in Portslade, which was delivered daily by George Ellis. Mr Ellis arrived in his bread van pulled by a large horse named Colonel who was something of a character and knew the round off by heart.

After the Second World War Mrs Miriam Florence Trask was landlady and she was still there in the late 1950s. Tamplin’s owned the Belfast Tavern for many years until the 1960s; then Watney’s / Phoenix became owners.

In June 1999 Eileen Jakes said she had been running the pub for twenty years. She was a lady of strong opinions and had been a Conservative member of Brighton Council. She was also a strong advocate for Brighton’s nudist beach, which as can be imagined created a great deal of publicity at the time. In January 1982 she and her fiancé Brian Sadler were asleep upstairs when they heard thieves downstairs ransacking the lounge and so they hastily got up and chased them away. In August 1982 Eileen and Brian won a prize from Watney’s for having the best beer garden and floral arrangements in the whole of Sussex.

Eileen treasured an old advertisement as a keepsake that stated the Belfast Tavern offered bed and breakfast at 1/6d a week or full board for 13/- a week. Eileen said the same man constructed the pub and the two adjoining houses and because he was a builder he kept ownership of a strip of land at the back so that he could transport materials through a door in the garage. When Watney’s owned the pub, the next-door house was purchased to create extra bar room, thus realising the idea first put forward in 1873.

The pub had a darts board, pool table and billiard table plus a whole cabinet of trophies connected with them. Eileen’s grandson played pool to county level. The pub also had a thriving football team and used to have a rugby team too. On a wall there was a brass plaque bearing the crest of Sussex County Cricket Club recording Peter Graves’s thanks for their help during his benefit year.

At one end of the bar there hung a soft pile rug featuring Robbie Burns in the centre with Brig o’ Doon on one side and his cottage birthplace on the other. The story was that Jamie, a builder who lived nearby, was of Scottish origin and whenever he needed workmen, he would engage men from Scotland. This meant that the pub had a regular clientele of around twenty Scottish workmen. The rug was to make them feel at home and Jamie had an identical one at his home too. Eileen and Brian purchased both of them when they were in the Midlands, visiting relatives and buying carpets for the pub, which by that time they owned.

One wall of the bar featured information about Royal Navy ships and HMS Belfast in particular. The battleship and the pub used to exchange cards at Christmas time. HMS Belfast led the bombardment before the D-Day landings at Normandy and she was also involved in the destruction of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst. HMS Belfast was saved for the nation in 1971 and is now based near Tower Bridge.

In around 1991 the pub was renamed The Bell. 

  copyright © J.Middleton
The Bell occupies a corner site and in this photograph it is plain to see the private house on the south side painted the same colour as the pub. Although the authorities suggested the house should be purchased in 1873, the idea was not acted upon until Watney’s became owners.
There was an article about The Bell in the Argus (28 July 2014) that stated Iain Banham was the owner and manager and had been running the pub for eight years. He aimed to run a friendly pub that made people welcome and also one in which a lady on her own would not feel uncomfortable. Food was served every day with a curry night on Wednesdays and Sunday roasts. Neither does Mr Banham neglect that popular staple, the pub quiz, which takes place every second Monday in the month. There is a lively atmosphere on Saturdays when a DJ is in attendance.

copyright © J.Middleton
The view from the windows on the north side has changed over the years. Once there was terraced housing, then a large car park and finally St Andrew’s Church of England School, which can just be seen on the left.

The Urchin  

 copyright © J.Middleton
The billboard offers a choice of 100 different beers and freshly caught shellfish.
One supposes from the inn sign on the north side that the new title refers to a Sea-Urchin whereas the noun ‘urchin’ brings to mind something out of a novel by Charles Dickens, perhaps one of Fagin’s gang.

The pub is now a trendy eatery with a 30-cover restaurant specialising in exotic sea food such as squid, Malaysian tiger prawns, crab cakes, mussels, moules mariniere and if you are feeling brave enough you can order a whole lobster. Critics think finger bowls should be provided and it is unfortunate if you like puddings because none are on offer. To match the understated décor of the exterior, the inside has walls of dark grey and dove-coloured floors and the lighting is muted. There is also a bar area.  
Brighton & Hove Independent 8 May 2015 
Census Returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade 
Copyright © J.Middleton 2015
The Westbourne, 90 Portland Road
formerly the Aldrington Hotel 
Judy Middleton (2001 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Aldrington Hotel was the first building to be erected in Portland Road. This photograph was taken on 15 April 2014.
The conveyance of the piece of land on which the Aldrington Hotel was built was dated 22 July 1881 and was signed by George Gallard, gentleman, first part; Thomas Washington, builder, second part; Charles Blandford, builder, third part; and Henry Welsford Smithers of Smithers Brewery. Washington and Blandford were also involved in the construction of a nearby property that became the Aldrington Club.

Building work must have started straight away as the hotel was finished and occupied by 1882. In fact it has the distinction of being the first building constructed in Portland Road. But it is interesting to note when it was built the road was called Clarendon Villas Road, then it became Bertram Road in the 1890s and finally Portland Road in 1894. The Aldrington Hotel conformed to that favourite Victorian pub device of occupying a prominent corner site.

Aldrington Hotel later added number 92, as well as stores at the rear of 6 Westbourne Place. On 12 May 1898 the hotel’s urinal was leased to Hove Council for a period of 21 years for six pence a year until or unless Smithers Brewery wanted to build an extension. 

The architect Samuel Denman designed the alterations made to the hotel in 1895. It is interesting to note he was also responsible for The Rutland (now called Ancient Mariner) in Rutland Road, the extravagant Hove Club in Fourth Avenue, Loxdale, Locks Hill, Portslade in 1899, the Mineral Water Factory in Stoneham Road, Hove in 1901 and he designed some alterations to Easthill House, Portslade in 1913.

It was not until 1904 that Smithers Brewery decided to build a billiard room at the back of the hotel on the site of the old urinal in Westbourne Street. They consulted the architect they already knew, by this time Denman & Matthews, to draw up plans. A new urinal was also built and again leased to Hove Council for 21 years.

Henry Winn was the first landlord of the Aldrington Hotel. He had previously run the Blue Post Tavern at 58 North Street, Brighton. The 1891 census recorded that Henry Winn was aged 45 and lived with his wife Ellen and three daughters who all acted as barmaids. The son was still young enough to be at school. Winn was also something of a property developer too. On 20 February 1896 Hove Council gave planning permission for him to erect stables, a coach-house and living rooms at the rear of numbers 87, 89 and 91 Montgomery Street. The development was called Winn’s Mews and no longer exists. Instead there are new town houses numbered 1 to 9 and the address has been altered to Wynne’s Mews – presumably the developer thought the extra ‘y’ and ‘e’ added a touch of ancient class to the name. Henry Winn died on 13 August 1900 aged 55 and his wife died on 27 October 1928 and they were both buried in St Leonard’s Churchyard.

copyright © J.Middleton
The elegant billiard hall was added to the pub in 1904.
In the 1890s the hotel ran a Slate Club into which regulars paid weekly contributions. The idea was to save funds for Christmas fare or it could be used as an insurance against hard times.

In 1895 Mr H.E. Hammond took over as landlord and he was a respected figure. He died suddenly in May 1907 when he had a seizure while presiding over a smoking concert at the Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton.

The Slaughters ran the hotel during and after the First World War and Mr W. Fulbrook followed them. In around 1935 James William Pocock managed the hotel while Alfred Smith took over in around 1940 and he stayed at least until the mid-1950s.

By February 1999 Tony Martin had been licensee for seven years and during that time the regulars had raised £4,000 for the Trevor Mann Unit for premature babies at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. The pub was short-listed for the title of Community Pub of the Year. In June 1999 the pub scored 100% in a survey carried out by a mystery customer from Bass Leisure Retail (Bass owned the pub).

During the 1990s the pub sign was a rather peculiar coat-of-arms. Whoever thought up the design was using the old heraldic device of puns and allusions. Thus the rings came from Ald(ring)ton and the fact there were three probably refers to the three syllables in the place name. But why a rope and tassel accompanied the rings was a complete mystery. Presumably Bass thought the same as early in 2000 they were trying to come up with a more inspiring pub sign. By May 2000 the splendid new sign was in place. It depicted the old tollgate keeper complete with peg leg accepting toll money from the occupants of a passing carriage. The tollgate keeper is of ample girth and wears yellow breeches and a blue frock coat. The spire of St Leonard’s Church can be seen in the background – a slight anachronism because the tollgate was removed before the spire was built but who can quibble with such a colourful sign. By 2014 the tollgate keeper and his peg leg are still there but he is more in the nature of a silhouette while the spire of St Leonard’s has disappeared into darkness.

Also by 2014 the pub had changed its name to The Westbourne and it advertised itself as an Independent Ale and Eating House with locally brewed real ale on sale. An ingenious offer was the working lunch ‘Fast and Furious’ at £4-95 for those in business who wanted something hot quickly. There is an extensive outside eating area on the east side of the pub shaded by four massive purple shades. In the accompanying two photographs a man can be seen cleaning these shades using a long-handled implement.  

Census Returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014

The Wick, 63 Western Road
formerly Biscuit Factory / Nan Tuck's Tavern / Wick Inn
Judy Middleton (2003 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Wick Inn is a lovely Victorian building on the corner of Western Road and Holland Road 
and was photographed on 3 May 2014. 
The original Wick Inn stood by itself with an enclosed ground to the west where cricket matches were held and rabbit coursing and pigeon shooting staged. It was also the place where local bean feasts were held. The inn had a thatched roof and a swinging sign with a trough nearby for thirsty horses.

The name ‘Wick’ is an ancient word and nobody can be absolutely sure about its correct definition or derivation. Even the historian John Horace Round who lived at 15 Brunswick Terrace (there is a blue plaque on the house) was prepared to admit a certain ambiguity on the point. In 1923 he wrote ‘As to the name of Wick, I established its meaning when found in our Essex marshes and saltings as a sheep-walk where coarse cheese was made from ewe’s milk. But as professor Mawer pointed out to me it had other meanings as well.’ At Hove it was not always a case of a simple Wick, either. Through the centuries there have been Upwick, Aldwick, Westwyke as well as Bishop’s Wick. The area now covered by St Ann’s Well Gardens was also known as The Wick and is so marked on old maps.

The Wick Inn’s first landlord of which there is a historical record was Southwick-born Jem Nye, famous for the hot, spiced ale he served to people who had been ice-skating on Wick pond and needed to warm up.

In 1829 it was the light shining through the windows of Wick Inn that saved several boys from being lost all night in the pitch black darkness that was central Hove in those days. The boys were choirboys at St Andrew’s Old Church and one night the choirmaster John Tucker kept them late because he was not happy with their performance. When it was time to go home, it was quite dark outside. There were two ways to reach home either along the coast road or across fields. They chose the latter route because it was more direct. All would have been well had not one of the boys thrown a clod of earth at the lantern, plunging them into darkness. They were completely lost but one of the boys, William Hollamby, (later a Hove Commissioner) could see a light in the distance coming from the Wick Inn. He ran towards it although he was very frightened and on the way he crashed into an enormous bullock while a flock of sheep with twinkling bells seemed to rise out of the ground. When Hollamby reached the inn and explained the situation, Jem Nye organised a search party and all the boys were found unhurt, albeit a little scared by their adventure.

In 1842 Jem Nye was 34 years old and his wife Martha was the same age. They had an eight-year old daughter called Sarah. By 1851 Nye’s sister had also joined the household and there were three servants. Nye continued to be landlord until at least 1856.

copyright © J.Middleton
It is hard to imagine that on the site of this imposing 
building, there once stood the original Wick Inn
a humble structure with a thatched roof.
J.G. Bennett was the landlord in 1858 and William Self followed in 1866. The 1871 census recorded the landlord as James Garrod, a 33-year old widower and there was one lodger on the premises. He was still the landlord when the old inn was demolished.

Brewery owners Kidd & Hotblack purchased the inn in 1871 and they decided to build an entirely new public house; the date ‘1875’ can still be seen high up on the façade of their new building. Looking at the pub today, one is struck by the fact that Victorian architects certainly knew how to design an attractive looking building. The imposing structure on the opposite side of Western Road to Wick Inn also dates back to the 1870s; it was built in 1873.  Clayton & Black drew up plans for further alterations to the pub in 1906 and 1924 and Kidd & Hotblack remained owners until 1926.

Meanwhile, James T. Hall was landlord during the 1880s and in 1891 he was aged 53. He lived with his wife Elizabeth, 54, stepson James Moon, telegraphist, step-daughter Ellen Moon, housekeeper, daughter Ethel and son Harold Hall, billiard marker. A sick nurse completed the household. Hall was still at the pub in 1899.

W.J. Deusbury was there by 1905 but he did not stay long and Tom Robertson had taken over by 1910. The Urquharts had the longest tenure since the days of Jem Nye because William Urquhart was there from around 1920 to 1947 and Douglas Urquhart followed from 1951. It is interesting to note that William Urquhart also ran Palmeria Hotel not far away in Cromwell Road from around 1915 to 1947. Tamplin’s owned Wick Inn from 1926 to 1965 and also owned Palmeira Hotel from 1926 to the 1950s.

In 1980 Steve Borley and his wife ran the pub; he was former assistant manager at the King & Queen, Brighton. In June 1987 Philip Brown became landlord. On 21 March 1988 a man armed with a crowbar smashed eight of the pub’s lovely etched glass windows and the cost of the damage was estimated at £5,000.

By 1991 John Felton was running the pub but he did not stay long. He and his wife announced they were leaving town because of the car tow-away policy. As if to reinforce his view, when he parked his Peugeot estate car on double yellow lines outside the Holland Road entrance in order to load up furniture, he found on coming downstairs that his vehicle had been towed away. He said he had left a note on his dashboard with ‘Loading’ on it but police denied it.

In July 1991 John Campbell took over the running of the pub. On 3 September 1991 a 49-year old man walked into the Wick and finding the man he sought sitting next to a 26-year old blonde, he fired a revolver at his head. The blonde had previously lived with the victim for four years but at that juncture was the assailant’s fiancée. The victim was taken to Hurstwood Park for treatment and left hospital on 8 October 1991. He recovered but he was left with some shreds of bone and bullet still lodged in his brain. Meanwhile, the assailant fled the country but on 23 March 1994 he was extradited from Spain. His trial took place at Lewes Crown Court in late February / early March. On 4 March the jury stated they had failed to reach a verdict. The re-trial took place in July 1995 and he was jailed for 5 ½ years.

Meanwhile, there was another drama at Wick Inn. In 1992 a mystery man who did not ask for payment offered a Hove decorator a document. The decorator tried to sell it to the News of the World and it sparked off a political scandal because it contained details of Lib Dem Leader Paddy Ashdown’s affair. In August 1992 the Hove decorator was acquitted at the Old Bailey.

South Coast Taverns owned Wick Inn as well as four other pubs in Sussex and more in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight making a total of seventeen. In January 1994 the company went bankrupt.

Landlord Peter Hodgson left the Wick in 1997 and moved to Mary Pack’s in Hove Place, which was renamed Red Lion.

In May 1998 licensee John Wildey moved from Portsmouth to take over the Wick. On 26 August 1998 at 3 a.m. a fire broke on the third floor of the building in a suspected arson attack. The fourth floor was smoke damaged and the personal belongings of the previous manager were destroyed. Mr Wildey and his girlfriend were asleep on the first floor when they were woken up by the sound of breaking glass.

In December 1998 the Wick shut after owners Scottish & Newcastle decided to spend £350,000 on an extensive refurbishment. A spokeswoman said it would ‘be a quality town pub with a lively atmosphere and a Gothic twist’.

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Some of the lovely windows are still in place and there is a
glimpse of a collection of globe atlases inside the pub.
John Wildey remained landlord when the pub reopened on 14 February 1999 with a new name Nan Tuck’s Tavern. The name had nothing to do with Hove’s history because she was a ghost associated with Buxted, north east of Uckfield. All agree she came to a violent end but there are different versions of what befell her beforehand. Nan Tuck lived in the 17th century and was probably a little eccentric. She was thought to be either a suspected witch or a wife who had poisoned her husband. Whatever the truth, she was hounded out of her home and took refuge in nearby woods where in despair she hanged herself. It is claimed her ghost is still sometimes glimpsed in the area where she died. 

The change of name angered local residents because the historic name of ‘Wick’ was lost. Rick Turrell, chairman of Brighton Licensed Victualler’s Association said it was ‘a real shame. The Wick is a lovely, traditional building and should become a traditional pub.’ The refurbishment was based on a horror theme and customers could order straight jackets, sadistic sandwiches and hangman’s breakfast from the menu, which also contained potted biographies of Bram Stoker, Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper. An article about the pub appeared in the Argus (23 June 1999) because ‘any pub, which features screaming toilets has to be worth investigating.’ There were seven special cocktails named after the seven deadly sins and if a customer drank six of them, the seventh was presented free. There were glass cases containing skulls, old books and bubbling bottles and the staff wore black.

In July 1999 the 18-year old daughter of Sussex’s Chief Constable was knocked unconscious outside Nan Tuck’s Tavern. Just four days earlier she had been fined for assaulting two police officers.

Perhaps the horror theme was not a roaring success. At any rate in March 2001 Scottish & Newcastle were said to be selling the pub.

By 2002 the pub had been renamed the Biscuit Factory, a truly uninspired name. But it is good to report that today the pub has reverted to its original name of Wick Inn, which remained on its frosted windows throughout the name changes. But the painting of Nan Tuck on the exterior remained for long time after the name was abandoned. 
copyright © J.Middleton
Reflections play upon the rather fine entrance doors to Wick Inn. The reflection on the right door is slightly blurred because a customer is about to open it.
Census Records
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Porter, Henry A History of Hove (1897)

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