The weekend just passed will forever be remembered as a dark period in our city’s history.

Oscar Wilde was among notable guests to have passed through the doors of Brighton’s Royal Albion hotel, but much of its 200-year history has come to a tragic end.

Firefighters from multiple counties were drafted in to tackle a blaze that started on Saturday and continued yesterday, developing into a major emergency incident in a matter of hours.

People in the surrounding streets were coughing and covering their faces as smoke poured through the city centre.

Stunned crowds began to gather on the seafront as emergency services did all they could to bring the fire under control – but the elements were against them.

The Argus: The old part of the Royal Albion has been destroyedThe old part of the Royal Albion has been destroyed (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

As day slipped into night, the flames took hold as strong winds fanned the fire across the building, with water from hose jets turning to spray before it could reach the blaze.

Spectators stayed long after dark and were vocal in their distress as charred remains of the building collapsed into the road below.

Fire crews were seen at the newer east side of the hotel pushing back the flames to stop it spreading further – and they succeeded.

It was not until Sunday morning, however, that the true extent of damage became clear.

Half of the hotel was completely destroyed. All that remained was the outer walls, a hollow shell of a once glorious hotel, cremated memories of years gone by.

READ MORE: Royal Albion hotel fire Brighton: 15 pictures of devastating scene

There was an immense feeling of sorrow in the air on Sunday when The Argus went to print.

Fire crews were waiting for demolition teams to arrive and draw up plans to bring down what remained of the outer shell so firefighters could access that part of the building and safely extinguish the fire.

It is a strange feeling to see such a big part of one of the city’s signature seafront buildings collapse. One that no one wants to see, but everybody wanted to witness.