When Embassy Court was built on the borders of Brighton and Hove in the 1930s, it seemed to some that the era of skyscrapers had started.

Among them was Sir Herbert Carden, often called the maker of modern Brighton, who enthusiastically proposed demolishing the north side of King’s Road to build a series of monumental flats.

But the twin resorts had to wait another 30 years before tower blocks radically transformed the skyline.

Following slum clearance, a cluster of towers was built in the Albion Hill area by Brighton Council, forming an unfortunate backdrop to many views of the Royal Pavilion.

More towers followed near St James’s Street and Edward Street, while others sprang up in Whitehawk and Hollingdean.

Many, such as Nettleton Court and Dudeney Lodge, were named after councillors. The Hollingbury towers seemed to suffer from every disease known to skyscrapers.

Appropriately the tallest council tower block, Theobald House, was named after the man who had done most to encourage municipal housing, Stanley Theobald.

At first towers seemed to be the ideal housing solution in a town acutely short of land. By going up, more homes could be built while still providing green areas at ground level.

But towers did not provide good homes for children and most people in need of subsidised housing had kids. The council promptly banned families from living in towers.

Then in the 1970s it abruptly stopped building towers altogether, going instead for densely packed low-rise flats such as Hampshire Court.

Meanwhile in the private sector, towers swiftly emerged such as the block which replaced the old Bedford Hotel.

One of the most prominent was Chartwell Court in Churchill Square but the tallest of all was Sussex Heights behind the Metropole Hotel. At 330ft, it is still the loftiest residential building in the county.

Over in Hove, the council started replacing terraced housing in the Conway Street area with towers, intending to head south all the way to Clarendon Villas. But, as in Brighton, the craze for going high stopped and most of the terraced houses remained intact.

Thanks largely to one tenacious firm, private sector towers were built for far longer. R Green Properties put up homes in New Church Road, The Drive and Kingsway well into the 1980s.

A feature of the tower blocks in both Brighton and Hove was the drab design. Sussex Heights has its admirers but there is little to be said in favour of the rest and nothing was built to match Embassy Curt.

In the past decade, there has been a revival of interest in tower blocks. Several have been proposed for the marina.

There was enormous controversy in Hove over towers proposed by Frank Gehry as part of the King Alfred leisure centre redevelopment.

They gained planning permission but thanks to financial constraints were never built. The marina plans remain on the drawing board, while the notion of a tower block in South Portslade also remains unfulfilled.

Well-designed towers in the right place could be an exciting addition to the miserable list of post-war architecture but the history of high-rise buildings in the city is not a happy one.