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Back to the old for the new New Club in Brighton
For years it was a popular private members’ club used by Brighton and Hove’s social elite.
A century on, entrepreneurs are to revive the name of a seafront venue for the site’s latest incarnation.
The New Club was built in 1876 at the junction of Preston Street and King’s Road, Brighton, as a private members’ club for “gentlemen and ladies of an approved social position”.
Former language teacher Catherine Smith is part of a team that will use the name for a new coffee house, bar and diner at the site, due to open in March.
Ms Smith told The Argus: “I spent a long time researching the site with the kind help of the staff at Brighton Museum. I was looking for a name, and decided to resurrect the name and pay homage to the history of the site.
“We plan to display photographs and information within the premises to tie in with our educational programme for foreign students.”
The New Club had a morning room and library, two billiards and cards rooms, and a separate section for ladies.
According to the club’s book of laws, membership would be revoked if people went bankrupt and patrons were not allowed to tip or engage with servants.
Among the members were Sir John Cordy Burrows, an MP and eminent surgeon who built the fountain in Old Steine, and physician Dr William Kebbell.
The club was demolished in 1937 to make way for the nine-storey Art Deco building called Astra House.
Among the uses of the ground floor since include an antiques shop, betting office, fine art showroom and hairdresser’s until it became part of China Garden restaurant in 1989.
Ms Smith said: “We think Astra House does have a New York feel about it, as many buildings in New York city were built in a similar style in that era.
“We are planning to restore the original pilasters and fascia to match the current restoration works to the exterior of the building.
“We are also aware that the council is planning to regenerate the area, that the i360 should help to attract more visitors, and we’re hoping that The New Club will help in its own way.”
Ahead of opening, bosses have applied to Brighton and Hove City Council for a licence.
This would see the club trade from 9am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 6.30pm on Sunday.
A decision on the application, which also includes permission to sell alcohol at restricted times, is expected to be made in the coming weeks.
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