Brighton’s 1930s Show Homes

Front page of Modern Home News, 1934
Front page of Modern Home News, 1934

Nearly eighty years ago, in December 1932, the corner of Prince’s Place and North Street, in the heart of Brighton, was transformed into a piece of tranquil suburbia. Amongst the banks and department stores stood a detached Elizabethan style house complete with garden.

In fact, this house was the property of Braybon’s, house builders, and was designed as a show house to promote their estates on the outskirts of the town.

The Brighton Herald commented:

‘ To passers-by in Brighton it must have seemed that a familiar wonder story of Christmas pantomime had suddenly come true … The exploits of the slave of Aladin’s lamp who built a palace in a night, had found rivalry in the achievements of Braybon’s Ltd. A single night had removed a hoarding and revealed a house’

The house was surrounded by a garden comprising of rockeries, a lily pond, a rustic bridge, pergola and shrubs and flowering plants. Inside were a drawing room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and three bedrooms. It was described as an ‘all electric house’ in the ‘best Elizabethan style’.

Braybon's show house, North Street, Brighton, 1932. Image courtesy of James Gray Collection / The Regency Society
Braybon’s show house, North Street, Brighton, 1932. Image courtesy of James Gray Collection / The Regency Society

All this could have been yours for £795.

Sir Cooper Rawson MP, formally opened the house with a golden key and a banquet was held in the Grand Hotel afterwards.

Show house at Hill Brow Road, Withdean, 1934
Show house at Hill Brow Road, Withdean, 1934

The show house was removed in August 1934 for the building of Prince’s House and was re-erected in Hillbrow Road, Withdean where it stands today.

Braybon’s second attempt at building a show house in the centre of Brighton was not so successful. According to the 1934 March edition of Modern Homes News , Brighton Corporation had given permission for Braybon’s to build a show home on a vacant site in Western Road. Work had started and the brickwork was up to the first floor when the Corporation announced that they had leased the site to International Stores, grocers. The show house was never completed and Mitre House was built on the site in 1935.

Paul Jordan, Senior History Centre Officer

2 Responses

  1. Margaret Henley

    I understand that Braybons aquired land in Patcham/Hollingbury in the 30’s and built houses. Apparantly my parents house was not registered with the land
    registry. Can you help me with this? Address is 35 WILMINGTON WAY, BRIGHTON, BN1 8JH. Is the land still registered with yourselves? My parents bought the house
    in 1956. My father’s name was Mr. Royston Thomas William Henley.

    Thank you,

    Ms. Margaret Henley (daughter)

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