The original Pavilion Gardens café

Photo:Original Pavilion Gardens café (left of photo) in 1944

Original Pavilion Gardens café (left of photo) in 1944

Site of original Pavilion Gardens café

Postcard from 1944

By David Sewell

My Grandfather, Mr Herbert Tennent, started the café in the Pavilion Gardens in 1941. Up to this time he had two or three refreshment huts near the Palace Pier but lost them when the beach became fortified to stop Hitler's possible invasion during 1940.

A piece of family history

In early 2009 I was at a Lewes market and by chance happened upon a 1944 postcard photograph of the Royal Pavilion, which contained in the left hand corner this original refreshment hut. I had been looking for over twenty years for a picture of this piece of family history and was so pleased to find it.

The original road

This wartime photograph also clearly shows the original road on the west side of the Royal Pavilion, which the Prince Regent did not like because townspeople could walk right by his bedrooms. This road ran between the William IV North Gate and the Indian Gate that led towards East Street.

More visible when magnified

Having blown up this photo, the old iron framed wooden-slated bowling green type chairs stand out. Inside the wooden hut a large stainless steel, probably Still's, boiler is visible. This stood about six-feet tall and had gas burners around the base.

Present structure the result of a competition

Between 1941 and 1950 the café was situated in this location until a more permanent building was constructed. The present structure was the winning design from a competition held at Brighton art college and was built between March and October 1950. The café now thrives in this location adjacent to the revitalised New Road.

[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 197, March/April 2009]

This page was added on 31/03/2009.

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