That magnificent barn

Photo:King & Queen pub, Marlborough Place, c.1934

King & Queen pub, Marlborough Place, c.1934

The 'King & Queen' in Marlborough Place

By Kim Curran, North Laine resident

Some of the treasured landmarks of North Laine, including pubs, were around more than two centuries ago. They may have looked different then but they bore the same names and stood on the same sites.

'King & Queen rebuilt in the 1930s

One is that magnificent barn called the ‘King & Queen’ in Marlborough Place. Although it was rebuilt in the 1930s in mock Tudor style, there was a ‘King & Queen’ inn there way back in 1779. Then Marlborough Place was called North Row.  The old inn stood at No 1 North Row and, along with a few other houses, was the furthest extent of town buildings in that direction at that time.

Originally a farmhouse

It had originally been a farmhouse and looked out on an area of rough grass called The Level. In 1779 The Level was flooded regularly during the year by a stream which ran across it to Pool Valley and the sea. The stream came from Patcham and evidently frequently put the whole valley, including the Steine, under water!

North Laine was originally downland

Not far from the ‘King & Queen’ at the bottom of Church Hill (now Church Street) stood a farm building with homestead, and all the land to the north side of Church Street (i.e. North Laine) to Church Down was downland.

'King & Queen' became an established inn

The ‘King & Queen’ became an established inn as the town grew and by 1811 had such stature that an arrested man was guarded there before being taken for public pillory at the bottom of North Street.

John Fuller was pilloried

A vast crowd arrived outside the ‘King & Queen’ to see the unfortunate rogue, John Fuller, escorted to his place of exhibition for the crime of passing a 2d note for one of £2! When he was placed on the specially built 10ft high platform, he was subjected to all the insults and abuse that the people of Brighton could throw at him. Pelting was illegal, so he only had to fend off scorn, but it was said that “he became almost black in the face before his hour was up”.

An enclosure project became Victoria Gardens

The ‘King & Queen’ also played an important part in the improvement of The Level in 1817-19, when a committee met there to arrange an enclosure project, which used pauper labour. The men were to dig the land and plant trees and shrubs, and the Prince Regent’s gardener took charge of laying out the grounds. The Prince Regent gave £500 towards the scheme and the Earl of Chichester donated shrubbery. It became known as the North Steine Enclosures – and later, Victoria Gardens.


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 11, December 1977/January 1978 and reprinted in No 220, January/February 2013]

This page was added on 28/01/2013.

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