The site on which Marine Gate now stands was purchased by the Borough of Brighton from a local land owner on 26 May 1931. This site was released to Marine Parade Estates (1936) Ltd, with permission to build a block of flats.
Marine Gate was opened on 5 May 1939 by the mayor of Brighton, Councillor J Talbot Nanson. Upon opening, Marine Gate was described as ‘A new building of 120 modern flats in a perfect situation on the South Downs cliffs, directly facing the sea’.
The architects, Messrs Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie of South Molton Street, London W1. They included a restaurant and cocktail bar in their design; hence there were then fewer flats available than there are today.
At the time of its completion in 1939 there were to be no owner occupiers. All the flats were to be rented on 3.5 or 7 year leases at rents of between £140 and £475 per annum.
The owner’s managing agents at the time were Messrs Fox and Sons who had a letting office on the premises.
The nine flats now identified as flats R1 to R9 originally formed part of the main restaurant together with a bar and accommodation for the kitchen, the staff and other associated support facilities. A silver grill restaurant was located in what is now garage 38 and other integral garages in the west wing were originally designed and built as shops.
The flats currently identified as flats A9 and A10 were originally part of a grand main entrance hall.
The flat A12 was originally used as office accommodation. The present general office was originally fitted out as a telephone exchange for the entire building with exchange lines to all flats, since none of them then had private dedicated lines.
The images below show the site and surrounding area at various dates before Marine Gate was constructed and during its construction. Rifle Butt Road was to the immediate west of the building – part of it was demolished to make way for Marine Gate and the remainder for the road to the Marina.
Some images on this page form part of the James Gray Collection and are reproduced with kind permission from the Regency Society.