This page contains views of the Clock Tower from all aspects as well as views of North Street in the immediate vicinity.
James Gray: An impression of North Street, by R.H. Nibbs, between West Street and Upper Russell Street, 1851. Starting from the left: 71, G. Bull; (tall building in centre) 72, Hugh Snelling, Cheesemonger; 74 E. Hobden, Baker; 75, E. Chatfield, Baker; 76, E. Snelling, Greengrocer; 77, J. Streeter, Miller. jgc_21_001
James Gray: Over the course of 25 years, the ramshackle buildings shown on the previous page had been replaced. Shortly before the date of this photograph North Street had been widened on the north side by the White Lion Hotel. The rounded corner building was demolished in 1926. jgc_21_003
2018: The road layout is still roughly the same.
James Gray: Clock tower and the narrow North Street. The Tower is here shown in its original form. The area of the Tower was extended by the provision of the conveniences in 1911. Having regard to traffic congestion in 1953, it would probably have been better to leave it as it was. In Queens Road can be seen the four buildings removed in 1920, to make way for the Regent Cinema. jgc_21_004
2018: The road layout remains basically the same although three sides of the Clock Tower are now surrounded by a pedestrian area. Modern buildings have replaced those on the left of the 1900 image and Boots occupies the equally modern building on the eastern corner of Queen’s Road and North Street. See also captions for 07_036 and 21_037. (Photographer: Clare Hughes)
James Gray: A view of Leesons Store, at the top of the street, during the summer of 1954, shortly before the business was sold, and the shops cleared. So ended a business that had lasted for almost a century. jgc_21_006
2018: The Victorian building that housed Leesons in 1954 is still very much the same externally in 2018, apart from the lack of chimneys. It is currently leased to Metro Bank. The shop that can just be seen further down North Street is a branch of Vapestore. (Photographer: Clare Hughes)
James Gray: The top of North Street, at the junction with Western Road, photographed on 22 July 1954. No traffic lights were then needed – only one car is visible. jgc_21_008
2018: The Art Deco building known as Imperial Arcade at the top of North Street at its junction with Western Road and Dyke Road was built in 1923-4 and remodelled in 1934. It resembles a ship’s prow and remains broadly unchanged. A mobile phone shop now occupies the prominent position facing east down North Street. The road layout is still the same although the houses in the distance along Western Road in the 1954 image were demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Churchill Square shopping centre. (Photographer: Clare Hughes)
James Gray: A particularly fine wide-angled photograph of the Clocktower, giving a good view down North Street and along Queen’s Road. Originally taken for a postcard, something of the clarity has been lost in the enlargement. The date is unknown, but it would be in the late 1890s or in 1900. The upstairs floors of the corner building were occupied as the White Lion Hotel. jgc_07_125
James Gray: 1908 or earlier, with a pavement and one convenience added. jgc_07_138
James Gray: With part of the Quadrant roadway used as a cab rank. Additional Information: Browne, Baker & Weston, Undertakers. jgc_07_136
James Gray: Here also the year of the photograph is in some doubt. The sandbagged base of the Clock Tower does not settle the issue. It could have been at the time of the Munich crisis, in 1938, but more likely a year later, at the outbreak of War. Note the White Lion Hotel, and the roof of the Regent ballroom. jgc_21_037
2018: The road layout remains largely unchanged although the buildings behind the Clock Tower have been demolished. The site is currently occupied by Boots. See also caption for jgc_07_036. (Photographer: Clare Hughes)
James Gray: View down the street in 1894, showing the ancient house squeezed in between Sopers and Bakers Cloth Hall. The Clock Tower was then but a few years old, having been erected in 1887. jgc_21_041
2018: The road layout remains very similar although the feel is entirely different. The Clock Tower still stands but the buildings in the left forefront of the original image have been replaced with modern shops and offices and what was the White Lion Hotel behind the Clock Tower is now another modern block occupied by Boots.
James Gray: Like those on the previous page, these three photographs [see also jgc_07_035 and 037 on the West Street (Central) page] show West Street as it was some 30 years ago. Taken in 1925 by the late Mr Harold Clunn, a trenchant critic of Brighton as it then was, they were intended by him to draw attention to parts of the town he loved so well, which were in need of improvement. This photograph not only emphasises the narrow West Street but also provides a good view of Bakers’ building, which preceded Burton’s. jgc_07_036
James Gray: View of the Clocktower and West Street from Queen’s Road. jgc_07_131
James Gray: View of the street and Clock Tower in 1902 at the time of King Edward’s Coronation. Soper’s Corner had been rounded off in the previous year, 1901. jgc_21_044
2018: Whilst the buildings on the south side (right) of North Street retain some semblance of a century ago, the north side has been entirely redeveloped. Traffic rather than pedestrians is the main feature in 2018. See also caption for jgc_21_041 above. (Photographer: Alan Stratford)
James Gray: Looking down the narrow street almost as far as New Road. The only widening so far carried out is that in front of the Regent entrance. Traffic is still manually controlled. jgc_21_046
2018: The buildings on the south side (right hand side) of North Street remain largely unchanged. Those on the north side beyond the Clock Tower have gone with road widening and redevelopment. On that prominent corner site is now the Boots store. The junction of Queen’s Road, West Street, and North Street continues to be a busy route for buses, cars and pedestrians. See also caption for jgc_07_036 above. (Photographer: Alan Stratford)
James Gray: My only reason for including this recent photograph of 1 May 1971 is to show the congestion caused by this bottleneck at the junction with Queen’s Road. It will record for prosperity how narrow North Street was at this spot. jgc_21_146
James Gray: 1/3. This photograph is the oldest of these three photographs (jgc_07_126, 127 and 128). jgc_07_126
James Gray: 2/3. This view probably dates from just before the 1914-18 War. jgc_07_127
James Gray: 3/3. Copied from a postcard, the postmark is given as 1917 though it may have been published a little before. jgc_07_128
James Gray: View of the Clocktower before the widening of North Street Quadrant. In North Street the roadway fronting the entrance to the Regent Cinema has yet to be set back. jgc_07_129
James Gray: View of the Clocktower from West Street before the installation of traffic lights system. jgc_07_130
James Gray: Four photographs (jgc_07_132, 133, 134 and 135) of the Clocktower – three from within the narrow West Street – all dating from about 1903. Apart from the west corner of West Street, no buildings have gone, but the main contrast is the almost complete absence of traffic. jgc_07_132, jgc_07_133, jgc_07_134 and jgc_07_135
James Gray: Here is the scene around the Clocktower on 28 June 1888, just before the unveiling. The Tower was erected by James Willing at a cost of £2,000, to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Additional Information: Designed by John Johnson, the foundation stone was laid by Sir Arthur Otway on the 70th Birthday of James Willing, a local advertising contractor whose gift it was to the town. The gilt-copper sphere on the top was designed by Magnus Volk and controlled by landline from Greenwich Observatory. It rose hydraulically up the mast and fell on the hour, but it functioned only for a few years after complaints about the noise. Some efforts were made in 2005 to restart it but it didn’t last long before it failed again. jgc_07_124
James Gray: In 1896, nine years after it was erected. Still just a tower in the middle of three roads, with North Street Quadrant wider then than it is now, 70 years later. jgc_07_137
James Gray: These photographs (jgc_07_088 and jgc_07_089), showing the top of West Street east side, were taken about 1960. The Eight Bells public house, although not one of Brighton’s oldest inns, had been here for more than a century, but is now gone. The tall building facing into West Street was the White Lion Hotel, the ground floor being occupied by Barclays Bank. It had been reconstructed and set back in 1874, the date being inscribed on the pediment. The bank vacated its offices in 1957 but the building remained for another twenty years, being demolished in 1977 and replaced by the present Boots store. jgc_07_088
James Gray: The narrow end of old Western Road in 1930. The south side of the road is little changed, although only the Home and Colonial Stores at No 30 is in the same occupation today. Additional Information: C Y Lyon – Optician; Frank Eyeles – Shirts, Corsets. jgc_19_111
2020: In 1930 the building with the domes atop was Soper’s Drapery Emporium at 77-83 North Street. In the 1940s it became Leeson’s drapers and house furnishers. It now houses a branch of the Metro Bank.
James Gray: A view at the end of Western Road, taken on 11 October 1970. Although the picture shows other buildings, such as the Central Free Church, its purpose was to record 1 and 2, North Street Quadrant. These buildings were about to be removed and were demolished in February 1971. jgc_19_153
2020: Home Sense, a retailer of homeware and gifts, dominates the 2005 development which replaced everything between Air Street and North Street Quadrant except The Quadrant public house.