THE name of Haile Selassie has become important in the cataloguing of black history.

While Sussex has long celebrated Black History Month, the Ethiopian emperor himself has also made his mark on the county.

In 1935 Ethiopia was invaded by Italian forces, and Selassie left the country the following year.

In April 1938, Selassie visited Brighton, taking in the West Pier and visiting other landmarks.

At the time, the Brighton and Hove Herald (a paper which was eventually absorbed into the Brighton and Hove Leader) took several photographs of Selassie’s visit, including a picture of him leaving the Royal Pavilion accompanied by his family. But it was his portrait, sitting in a twopence deckchair on the West Pier, that became a well-known image.

Another place Selassie paid a visited was The Grange in Ovingdean. It was demolished in the mid-1960s to make way for bungalows which are now Ovingdean Close.

He also visited St Paul’s Church in West Street. Selassie paid to restore much of the church and, by way of thanks, the church featured a plaque to commemorate him.

Farther along the coast in Worthing, Selassie enjoyed a stay at the Warnes Hotel. To mark his stay the hotel installed a crown emblem for all to see.

News of the emperor’s visit to the Warnes, to stay in a specially redecorated and refurbished suite, was kept strictly secret, according to contemporary accounts. He stayed in the town with his family for about six weeks.

A disastrous fire in 1987 closed the hotel with the emblem being rescued from the wreckage by a conservationist.

In 2003 it was hoped that it could be reinstated on new apartments, though the plaque's custodian, Ann Wise of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, feared it was in such a poor state that a replica would be better.

The original hotel has another intriguing tale: Winston Churchill was rumoured to have planned the 1944 D-Day landings while staying there during the Second World War.

Three years earlier, it was the combined effort of British and native forces that saw Selassie return to power in Ethiopia while the war raged elsewhere.

Selassie reigned in the country until he was deposed in a coup in 1974. He died the following year.