Friday, 5 August 2016

Once a ‘House’ of Repute in Sussex: The Queens Park Tavern (now Hanover), Brighton

As the Queens Park Tavern, this first appears in the 1855 street directory under licensee Robert Coe at what was then Reservoir Road. The reservoir lies off Islingword Road and is visible from the Constant Service pub, which is named after the former reservoir owners, the Brighton, Hove and Preston Constant Service Water Company. 

On 3rd February 1859, Robert Coe’s widow, Emily, took out a premises lease on the Queens Park Tavern with local brewer William Hallett. By 1866 the licensee is William Emerson whose directory listing of 1871 combines the Tavern with a Dairy and makes reference to the Queen’s Park Cricket Ground, adjacent at the south west prior to the construction of housing north of the park in the late 1890s. On 30th October 1874, Emerson filed his bankruptcy order. In the 1881 census (image below), the landlord is George Shepherd, originally from Beeding, Sussex, and recorded as a widower at the age of just 29. He runs the tavern with his 14-year-old sister Kate as barmaid and a live-in servant of the same age, Jane Tucknott. 



The brewery established by Hallett eventually became the Kemp Town Brewery, who in 1927 modernised the Tavern to plans by Denman & Son. This was partly in response to the increase in the neighbouring population following the construction a few years earlier of the adjacent council estate. The landlord of the time was George Frederick Chapman, who had been there since before the First World War and who was no doubt desirous of the extra custom that the new estate and modernising of the pub would bring. It was intended to construct a commodious refreshment room catering for parties, along the north side elevation in Down Terrace, but this idea was withdrawn. Instead, the existing portico entrance with stepped parapet was provided. This led, via an inner vestibule, to an Entrance Saloon served by its own section of counter, and a separate Saloon Bar at the north-west corner. The three pedimented doorways along the Queens Park Road elevation gave access to a Bottle and Jug Department, Private Bar and, at the south corner, a Public Bar that was further enlarged in 1930. A billiard room was retained at the rear. 

The interior was eventually opened up and altered, probably during work in the early to mid-1970s, but the 1927 exterior remains intact, which is essentially a neo-Georgian brick fa├žade affixed to a Victorian building. The supporting pillars of portico are tiled in triglyph decoration, each bearing a monogram, the date of construction in the first instance, the KTB initials of the brewery in the second. Two dolphins, the emblem of the brewery, entwine within a mosaic surround on the marble entrance floor. The frieze would have originally spelt out the name of the brewery in its livery colours of blue and gold. 



The tavern subsequently became a Charrington house. It was earmarked for demolition in 2000 but the plans to erect twelve townhouses on the site came to nothing. Its present name is after the Hanover area of the city, on the edge of which it sits, and was bestowed relatively recently by current operator Indigo Leisure.