Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Railway Tavern, Southwick - Once a House of Repute in Sussex

A Railway Hotel, Southwick, is listed in the early 1930s Kemp Town Brewery publication, “Houses” of Repute in Sussex, but is absent from a 1948 map of the brewery’s houses. The historical website Directory of Pubs in the UK has an entry for the Railway Tavern, 77 Albion Street, Southwick, which is at 137 Albion Street by 1938. This is probably a re-numbering rather than relocation; Loz Aslett (1998) identifies the position of tavern to have been on the north side of Albion Street mid-way between Grange Road and Lock Road. He also states it to have been built in 1840, the same year as Southwick railway station was opened.

Local historian Ted Heasman (2009) claims the tavern to have been built in the 1860s and that the first recorded landlord was a David Brazier in 1866. The Directory of Pubs in the UK historical website concurs with this latter point and, using information from Census, Post Office and Trade Directories etc., identifies the following licensees: 1866, D. Brazier; 1878, William Hylands; 1890, Alfred Funnell; 1899 and 1905, Mrs Harriet Rebecca Dudley; 1915, 1930 and 1938, Richard Stevenson.

Heasman further suggests that the Railway Tavern acquired its name because the station ticket office was until 1899 at the western end of the platform and could then be accessed by a track from the west side of the pub. In the photograph, kindly supplied by Lewis Whitby, originally by way of Ted Heasman, Railway Tavern appears on the fascia but hotel accommodation is clearly advertised on the first floor. The landlord’s surname appears above the door of the Public Bar. The brewers are Abbey & Sons, which dates the photo to between the time that Richard Stevenson took over as licensee and March 1933 when this Brighton-based company registered the name Kemp Town Brewery.

When the track to the railway station was closed, houses, shops and workshops for a garage were built to the west and rear of the tavern. The tavern was a semi-detached building; the other half was later the Post Office. KTB sold the pub in 1940 and the property became offices for Warr and King, architects, before being demolished c. 1963.


Aslett, L. (1998), ‘The Pubs of Southwick Past and Present’, Part One, Sussex Drinker, 12 (spring), pp. 12-14.

Heasman, W. A. (2009), Memories of Southwick and Kingston Buci, Southwick: Southwick Society.

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