James Gray: Two blocks have now been completely rebuilt and the road widened. Wades have moved into Bon Marché premises, and Harrisons, at No 169, have a sale prior to demolition of their premises the same year. The first covered-top bus has made its appearance. jgc_19_071
2019: Gone are the crowds and the design of the city’s buses may have changed (see left of 2019 photograph) but the building centre right in the James Gray image, 163-168 Western Road, still stands and is remarkably unchanged above ground level. It is situated between Dean Street in the west and Crown Street in the east and is occupied from west to east by Foodilic, a health food restaurant, a branch of the Co-operative Bank and Poundland, a budget store. (Photographer: Denise Taylor)
James Gray: The narrow old Western Road in 1902. The lack of space was offset by the absence of traffic. jgc_19_132
James Gray: These three photographs, all of the same area though at different periods, provide an interesting contrast. Demolition prior to street widening was in progress. Note the congestion caused by motor buses and cars. jgc_19_131
James Gray: The recently widened Western Road can be seen almost to Preston Street. jgc_19_133
2020: The three James Gray pictures show how Western Road at the junction with North Street was developed in the early 20th century. The images all predate the building of Churchill Square which now dominates the southern side of the road in 2020. (Photographer: Jane Southern)
James Gray: Taken in February 1927, this photograph shows the narrow stretch of Western Road, from Preston Street eastwards. It shows the original Boots shop empty but still standing. jgc_19_134
2020: On the left of the 1927 image D Waters & Son, wine and spirit merchant, is at 143 Western Road, on the eastern corner of Hampton Place.
James Gray: By January 1928, when this photograph was taken, the erection of the new Boots premises was proceeding apace. The adjoining block, the first to be rebuilt, had been completed during the previous summer. jgc_19_135
2020: The premises, Nos 157-162, which were designed for Boots in classical revival style by Bromley, Cartwright and Waumsley are partly obscured by a tree. Boots moved to North Street in 1979.
James Gray: A few months later and 200 yards further east. July 1928, and a view of the recently completed Brigden’s premises at the corner of Regent Hill. In the following year, 1929, Wades moved temporarily to the Bon Marché premises while their own store was being rebuilt. jgc_19_136
2020: The premises built for Wades at 188-191 Western Road are now occupied by New Look, a clothing store. There is no longer a showroom in front of Nos 185-7.
James Gray: Scenes at the eastern end of the old road, between 1930 and 1935. Summer 1933, with the whole of the end buildings, Nos 200-212, still to be demolished. jgc_19_138
2020: The old buildings at Nos 200-212 were finally swept away in 1934 as part of the redevelopment of Imperial Arcade as a streamlined Art Deco building at the junction of Dyke Road and Western Road.
James Gray: Two photographs taken from roughly the same spot, but divided in time by more than 50 years. This view taken in 1961, long after the buildings on the north side had been demolished and the street greatly widened, shows the buildings on the south side almost unchanged. Now, of course, they have all gone for Churchill Square. jgc_19_142
James Gray: View westwards along the length of Western Road, taken from Sopers’ first floor windows, in 1924. jgc_19_140
2020: The James Gray images both seem to have been taken from an upper window in 77-83 North Street, which in 1924 was Soper’s department store and is now occupied by the Metro Bank, on the corner with Churchill Square. In 1961 anyone could drive along Western Road between Churchill Square and Preston Street. In 2020 only buses, taxis, delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles are permitted to do so. (Photographer: Jane Southern)
James Gray: Looking west from near the Clock Tower, showing this now busy street as it was in 1907, very narrow but almost traffic free. jgc_19_143
2020: The 1907 photograph must have been taken from an upper window in 77-83 North Street but the 2020 image was taken at street level. The front of Collins & Wicks, tailors, at 2 Western Road would have been about where the boundary between the cobbles and paving slabs is in 2020. No 29, the large black building on the left beyond the bus shelters in 2020 has not been redeveloped (see notes for jgc_19_138 above). (Photographer: Jane Southern)
James Gray: Post-1936, after the widening on the north side had been completed. The halcyon days when private cars could park in Western Road. jgc_19_144
James Gray: See caption for jgc_19_144 above. jgc_19_146
2020: In 2020 private cars are banned altogether from Western Road but it is always busy with Brighton & Hove and some Stagecoach buses, taxis and delivery vehicles. (Photographer: Jane Southern)
James Gray: A 1924 view from opposite Woolworths’ old premises and looking towards the “Dawkins Dardanelles”, so called because of the extreme narrowness of this stretch of road. jgc_19_145
2020: Western Road is now a uniform width. On the left (south) side of the street, the buildings are the same in both images apart from the shop fronts. The nearest shop (empty in July 2020) is No 39. The building on the right of the picture is 181-5 Western Road.
James Gray: Photographs from the days when Brighton streets were illuminated at Christmas time, a practice that was abandoned after a few years on the grounds of expense. Scenes looking west and east during December 1955. No comments are necessary because the buildings are easily identifiable. jgc_19_150
James Gray: See caption for jgc_19_150 above. jgc_19_151