Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Post & Telegraph in Print Again in Brighton

I'm in the latest (summer 2016) issue of Wetherspoon News, pictured with my book, Brighton Pubs, in the Post & Telegraph, North Street, Brighton.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Once a House of Repute in Sussex: The Egremont Hotel, Worthing

The Egremont name is most likely in honour of the Earl of Egremont; the family coat of arms, featuring three lion heads and a chevron, can be found on the outside of the building. George Greenfield built both the Egremont pub and the originally adjoining ten-quarter tower brewery in Warwick Road, in 1835/6. First known as the Egremont Brewery, it became the Worthing Steam Brewery upon being acquired by Walter Greenfield in 1870. When Harry Chapman took over in 1880, he renamed it the Tower Brewery. Chapman sold the business in 1920 to Ernest Adams. Four years later, it was taken over by the Kemp Town Brewery of Brighton, who closed it in 1926. It subsequently housed at various times an upholsters, a printing works and a gym before being been converted to apartments. Compare my 2015 photograph of the pub exterior (below) with the above RIBA photograph of 1930 and note how the top of the tower brewery has been removed from the latter.

The Kemp Town Brewery was at the forefront of the movement towards the socially inclusive and respectable ‘improved public house’ and they accordingly modernised the Egremont Hotel around 1929/30, resulting the façade that we see today. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) credits the design to the Kemp Town Brewery’s in-house architect John Leopold Denman: the arrangement of carved-oak arched Tudor doorways, herringbone brickwork and leaded stained glass windows bears a close similarity to that of another Denman remodelled KTB house of the same period, the Railway (now the Dolphin), South Street, Eastbourne.

The Egremont reopened in May 2015 following a sensitive refurbishment by new owner, locally-born Greg Grundy, who kept it as a real ale pub and with the interwar Kemp Town Brewery livery and windows intact. In admirable harmony with the original Kemp Town Brewery ethos, Greg has created the new Egremont as a community local with quizzes, live music and excellent food. Housed in the pub is a Toad in the Hole game, which involves tossing brass counters at a box with a slot in a lead lid, a popular pursuit in the Lewes area but a rarity in West Sussex. Two of the cask ales on the six hand pumps, Egremont 1836 and Double Dolphin, are brewed, badged and supplied exclusively for the pub by Goldmark of nearby Poling.

More information about the pub and its history can be found at the following websites:

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Brighton Bier Make History

Brighton Bier

First beer ever to be both
brewed and canned in Brighton!

Brighton Bier
4.0% Pale Ale

Gold Medal
International Beer Challenge 2015
Brighton Bier was one of only three UK breweries to win Gold in any category from over 630 beers from 30 countries worldwide that entered the competition.

Registered with The Vegan Society

Exciting news this week in Brighton's thriving beer scene as local craft brewery Brighton Bier made history!

Despite the city's rich brewing past, never before had a beer actually been brewed and canned in Brighton. Well now it has.

Brighton Bier's signature 4.0% ABV Pale Ale is now available in eye catching 330ml cans. The beer won Gold at the International Beer Challenge 2015, and is also registered with The Vegan Society.

Founded in 2012 as a gypsy brewery based at the Hand in Hand brewpub on St James's Street, Brighton Bier had long harboured ambitions to get its flavoursome brews into cans. "As well as preserving the freshness and flavour of the beer better than glass bottles, cans have enormous environmental advantages that are particularly relevant to our city" explains Brighton Bier founder and brewer Gary Sillence. Now based at their own premises less than a mile from where it all started, Brighton Bier has grown to be one of Sussex's most successful breweries. "From its inception Brighton Bier was all about developing the beer culture of the city and getting the best possible beer into the hands of Brighton residents and visitors alike. As a beachside city, glass bottles are just so restrictive" added Director Ollie Fisher.  As well as being widely and easily recycled, cans also offer significant space and weight savings which reduce fuel consumption whether the beer is delivered locally, nationally or internationally.

Once considered the exclusive preserve of mass produced, flavourless lager, cans are now firmly established as the package of choice for many craft beer drinkers. While unsurprisingly this was a trend that began in North America, large UK craft breweries like Brewdog and Beavertown have harnessed this renewed enthusiasm for getting great craft beer into cans. But only recently has small scale canning become realistic thanks to developments in the UK craft brewing sector. Principally, the arrival of companies like WeCan who offer mobile canning services.

The equipment and running costs and the huge minimum order quantities make having your own high quality canning line prohibitive for most craft breweries. "When we first started brewing I enquired about shipping a small manual canning machine from Canada" says Gary. "But it just wasn't realistic and to be honest back then people still thought it was mad to put great beer in a can. The landscape has changed beyond recognition".

So what next?  Well now that they've begun, Brighton Bier intends to be canning a lot more beer. As well as established brews like West Pier, Free State and South Coast IPA, the team will also be launching a number of new beers over the rest of 2016 and beyond. These include Cyclops Eyedrops, Downtown Charlie Brown, Fake Ale of San Francisco and Fat Boy Stout.

Brighton Bier Director Stephen Whitehurst explains "One of the huge advantages of the mobile canning rigs is the minimum quantities are quite small. So we can have them visit the brewery and package a number of different brews in one visit giving us much more flexibility".  Stephen also commented how this flexibility will enable the brewery to follow up on requests to export their beers to a number of countries in Europe and to Japan.  This week Brighton Bier also exported beer to North America for the first time. The new range of beers, along with some favourite brews, will enable Brighton Bier to meet a short-term target of selling in excess of 150,000 cans a year nationally and internationally.

Brighton Bier will also be launching a series of can driven beer events in the city including a "Barefoot Beer Festival".

For more information please contact:

Stephen Whitehurst
Director | Brighton Bier
07515 956 976

Friday, 15 April 2016

Horse and Groom and the Rose Hill Tavern, Brighton

The fate is now known of two Brighton pubs that were the result of a 1930s remodelling by architect Stavers Hessell Tiltman for the Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries. Both were listed last year as Assets of Community Value. Although neither has been saved as a real ale pub, the silver lining in the cloud is that they have been retained for community use instead of becoming the offices and flats they were originally destined to be. The Horse and Groom, Islingword Road, Hanover, was taken over by Majid Bensliman, owner and chef of the Blue Man in Queen’s Road, and reopened in December as the Village. It is a community-focused fully-licensed café bar, serving food and drink from 12noon-11pm (midnight Friday and Saturday), including tapas, breakfasts, dinners, coffee, cakes, teas and alcohol, including craft keg and bottled British and Belgian beer with prices ranging from £4 to £5. There is free wi-fi, disabled access and amenities and a changing station for families with babies. Live events will take place on a regular basis such as music, comedy and spoken word, while the soundproofed performance space can also be booked for private events. Those over 65 get a 15% discount while students and NHS staff get 10% off. See

Meanwhile, the Rose Hill Tavern Action Group seemingly did not raise enough capital to purchase this pub in Rose Hill Terrace, off London Road. The Brighton and Hove Independent (Friday 18 December 2015) reports that the property has been bought by an unnamed Brighton couple who aim to turn the closed tavern into a community arts hub. The buyers issued the following statement: “We are keen to set up arts studios and a recording studio in the cellar, and the ground floor space we will keep as flexible space for a variety of creative and community uses, for instance, we run a regular extended artists residency programme in France and would like a space in the UK to run some of those activities. We would like to put on events, exhibitions, performances, live music and community activities. We would run a variety of creative workshops. We belong to an extended local network of artists, musicians, photographers, creative workshop leaders and performers and we would like to set up a space that can help contribute to the configuration of the London Road area.”

The Rose Hill Tavern was rebuilt in 1934 and the Horse and Groom in 1937 after the pubs were acquired from the Rock Brewery. The use of green faïence tiling was a distinctive feature of Tiltman’s work for the Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries. See also my Blog posts on the Heart and Hand and the attempt to save the Rose Hill Tavern

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Books on Sussex Pubs by David Russell

A new book by David and Lynda Russell, published September 2015, is The Pubs of Lewes, East Sussex 1550-2000, ISBN 978 0 9562 9179 0, price £14.99, featuring histories of fifty pubs and beer houses plus a register of licensees. At 322 pages it includes 186 photographs and illustrations. 

Meanwhile, David’s book, The Pubs of Rye, East Sussex 1750-1950, has now gone into its second edition, ISBN 978 0 9562 9178 3, price £13.99. At 286 pages, this fascinating and informative history of thirty-three Rye pubs also includes a register of licensees and research into the Rye Temperance Movement. 

Also in its second edition by the same author is The Swan, Hastings 1523-1943, ISBN 978 0 9562 9176 9, price £8.50. This is a 120 page history of the famous Hastings pub destroyed by enemy action in the Second World War. 

It was way back in the Winter 2009 issue of the Sussex Drinker that I ran a review of David’s book, The Pubs of Hastings & St Leonards 1800-2000. This is now in its third edition, including new research. Seventy-two pubs are featured, past and present in its 332 pages, which include 200 photographs and illustrations - ISBN 978 0 9562 9177 6, price £13.99.

Finally, David’s Register of Licensees for Hastings & St Leonards 1500-2000, is now in its second edition, ISBN 978 0 9562 9752, price £8.50. At 138 pages, it contains some 4,400 names. It is the only listing of 341 public houses in the town and is a useful reference for family historians, pub historians and genealogists. 

All of the books can be purchased by Pay Pal from Otherwise email:

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Post & Telegraph Carries News of Brighton Pubs Book: Press Release for Wetherspoon News

One of Brighton’s three Wetherspoon’s pubs, the Post & Telegraph in North Street features in a new book by beer writer David Muggleton.

Brighton Pubs, at 96 pages with nearly 100 illustrations, gives a detailed history and guided tour of 45 pubs in one of Britain’s most vibrant cities.

The pubs are arranged into a series of five walks, each with its own chapter, starting with a map and guiding the reader around a different area of Brighton, covering not only the city centre but venturing out to the suburbs. The pubs featured are all in some way notable, whether by heritage and architecture, an association with famous people or a setting for historical events.

The Post & Telegraph, which is included in the walk of the city’s Cultural Quarter, inhabits a Grade-II listed building of 1921-23, designed in the neoclassic French style of Louis XIV by architect F. C. R Palmer with local firm Clayton & Black acting as executants. It was originally and for most of its existence a bank but was built on the site of newspaper premises once occupied by the now defunct Brighton Gazette, Hove Post and Sussex Telegraph, hence the name given when it was opened by Wetherspoon in December 2010.

David (pictured in the Post & Telegraph) said: there were many more pubs I would ideally have liked to feature, including the city’s other two Wetherspoon outlets, The West Quay and The Bright Helm, but the book would have ended up twice the allowed word length!

David added “I’m a big fan of Wetherspoon pubs; the beers are well kept and I always look forward to their regular real-ale festivals that showcase up to 50 ales from the UK and around the world. In fact, immediately after my photo was taken I enjoyed a few of the Post & Telegraph’s current festival ales."

Published by Amberley Publications of Stroud, Gloucestershire, Brighton Pubs is available at £14.99 through the city’s bookshops as well as from the publisher’s website at

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Grenadier, Hailsham

The Harvey Hoppers’ Handbook, a 1990s guide to the pubs on the Harvey Hop, states that the Grenadier Hotel dates back to the Napoleonic Wars, when it “was originally known as the British Grenadier and served to quench the thirsts of the soldiers garrisoned in the barracks which once stood nearby.” The pub website says the original pub on the site was built in 1803 and that the barracks on Hailsham common were dismantled in 1815 after success at Battle of Waterloo. This history is corroborated by the following text that appears in the 1991 book, Hailsham in Old Picture Postcards, by M. Alder and published by the Hailsham Historical and Natural History Society:

“In a deed of 1803, ‘William Stevens of Berwick and G. Woger of Alfriston who are about to build a house in the field, now Mr Benjamin Shelley’s near the barracks on Hailsham Common --- bind themselves to Mr Issac Clapson, gent, that Richard Wood, innkeeper, of Hailsham shall have a half share of the business.’ This was the beginning of the Grenadier Hotel, built to supply beer to the soldiers stationed at the barracks which then stood on the western side of Eastwell Place. Thomas Geering records that after the barracks ceased to be used, the Grenadier rapidly became the rendezvous for every tramp within ten miles. He said ‘a merrier lot never existed’”

The existing pub premises, however, are the result of a 1910 refacing by builder James Bodle. The pub website states that this same work “also created a large two storey extension to the saloon bar and
a large single storey extension at the rear of the property creating a much needed large stock room.” Subsequent additions over the years include a parapet. The building is of two storeys in redbrick with attractive decorative stonework elements in the rusticated pilasters and the arches above the ground floor doors and windows. These bear the names Private Bar, Public Bar and Saloon Bar in scrolled relief above the windows with H&S (Harvey & Son) over the doors. Room names also survive on a number of etched windows and door glass.

The present bar on the left (above) is a combination of the old Private and Public Bars. The game ‘Toad in the Hole’ is played here. Fixed seating now blocks off the Public Bar door where the load bearing beam once divided the two rooms. The original bar back and counter remains but the latter has newer panels on the front. The internal door with the sign ‘Saloon Bar and Toilets’ leads first to a small lobby with what appears to have once been an off sales; or perhaps this was the entrance and serving hatch for the hotel residents.

The large right side room (below) has a ‘Saloon Bar’ etched panel in both exterior and inner doors. The bar counter is the original with replacement front panels that match the dado panelling on the walls, some of which has covered up an old fireplace. This room has been combined with a former sitting room at the rear where there is another small hatch/doorway for service. 

The Grenadier, 67 High Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 1AS, 01323 842152
E-mail: mail @