Bits from a born & bred Brightonian.
This is just as I remember it- sunlit afternoons on the lawns, always beautifully kept, although I'm sure that the clump of trees in the centre of the picture had grown taller by the time I was acquainted with the Park Royal, as it was by then known. Behind the photographer is a fishpond, which I found out was very deep, as one afternoon just like this one, I managed to step backwards into it, and got taken home half drowned and covered in weed! I guess I was only about 6 or 7 at the time. Further back from the pond, in contrast to the lawns, the garden was quite wild and untended, and rose in a steep, wooded bank so you could look over the wall and down into Norfolk Terrace. I'm sure the garden furniture was the same in the 60's.Thank you so much for this picture, its a snapshot from childhood memory. How did you come by it?Mark
Hi Mark, I live exactly opposite now and am enjoying reading about the history so much, thank you. Do you know why it was demolished? Such a beautiful building, would love to look at that now instead of Park Royal flat. Did you live in Montpelier Road out of interest? Since you posted this, have you found any other photos? Kate
Hi Kate, I don't know if you'll get this, I only just saw your post now, 3 years on!No, I didn't live in Montpelier, but 3 blocks away by St Annes Well Gardens. My parents knew the management and some of the residents at the Park Royal (they spent their honeymoon there in 1959), and when they went visiting, I was allowed to roam around unsupervised, and I loved it it there. It closed its doors in 1970. Such a building taking up so much land in the middle of Brighton was already unprofitable by then. It became a nightclub called the Montpelier Rooms, which only lasted a couple of years, before the place closed up for good, and my last memory of the Park Royal, was standing in the entrance gateway and watching it being demolished, on winter's afternoon in 1972 or 73. I remember it made me feel so terribly sad to see that grand old place coming down.Just yesterday, however, I found a link on Historic England that will give me access to to photographic records taken in 1969, including the interiors. Once I get these,I would love to be able to pass on copies of them to you, but don't know how to, unless you put your email address up on a public forum, and I'm sure you may have reservations about that.Alternatively, you may want to investigate the source yourself, so here is the link to it:https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/volume/BF114694Almost forgot-a few years back I wrote an article about the Park Royal for "My Brighton and Hove".The editors chopped it up into 4 separate pieces, but here's a link:https://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/category/places/placehouse/park_royal_hotelBest wishes, Mark.
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