A century ago the Ministry of Health gave the then Hove Council permission to buy the Medina baths on the seafront.

It was oddly timed with a world war raging but the council was determined to press ahead.

The baths were in what is now called King’s Esplanade and were built in 1892 by a private company.

There was a large pool reserved for men and a smaller pool for women. The building was not in a very good condition and more money had to be spent on patching up the front.

New baths were built nearby in 1939 but were immediately requisitioned by the Government for training naval officers and were not returned until 1946. They went by the name of King Alfred.

This meant that the Medina Baths remained in use during the Second World War despite being in a poor state.

Part of the building was later used by the diamond merchants A Monnickendam but they left Hove in 1998.

There have been plans for that site since then but nothing has so far been built. At one time after demolition, some of the decorative tiles for the baths could be seen.

King’s Esplanade is one of the few stretches of Hove seafront where people in flats can look out to the Channel without traffic roaring by.

St Aubyn’s Mansions are more than a century old. Blue plaques record that two famous women lived there.

One was the singer Dame Clara Butt, well known for her stirring rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, and the other was Vesta Tilley, a male impersonator.

Later additions included Bath and Spa Courts which date from the 1980s. They are a considerable improvement on the flats nearby in Kingsway.

The best-known building in King’s Esplanade currently is Marrocco’s café which has been there since the 1960s.

Before that, it was known as the Goodie Gardens in the 1920s and then the Premier Tea Gardens.

In 1935 it was taken over by the famous Italian catering family Forte’s who kept it until 1969.

Head of the Brighton family was Alfonso Forte who was a cousin of Lord Forte.

They specialised in selling ice cream, a feature continued by the Marrocco family ever since.

Marrocco’s have won several prizes for their home-made ice cream and in the summer long queues build up outside the café,

Renato Marrocco, who started the Hove business, at one time thought of closing it when he retired but the family have carried it on.

King’s Esplanade has for years been a popular bathing place and some people swim all the year round there. The breakwater at the eastern end is called the Medina groyne.

Residents are hoping that nothing too high will be built on the site of the old baths and some would like to see it used for the arts.

That would mean the new building could give pleasure to the public just as the old baths managed to do for many years.

Some information for this article comes from the Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade by Judy Middleton.