The London Fire Brigade came to Brighton for the first time since the Second World War to help with the catastrophic Royal Albion hotel fire.

The fire, which destroyed much of the Grade II* listed building, had at least 15 fire engines at any one time at its peak.

It was the first time since the Blitz in the Second World War 83 years ago that the fire service had come down to Brighton, according to fire brigade historian Simon Rowley.

Brighton was one of many cities bombed during the War, with the most notorious bombing on September 14, 1940, when a German bomber dropped 20 bombs over Kemp Town to lose weight and escape a pursuing Spitfire.

Mr Rowley, a former firefighter in the 1960s, told The Argus: “After a while, crews get worn out. So East Sussex Fire and Rescue called in for new crews to come in, they requested crews from London Fire Brigade to come down.

The Argus: Firefighters rush through the thick smoke on SaturdayFirefighters rush through the thick smoke on Saturday (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

“We’re almost certain that this is the first occasion ever since the Second World War that London Brigade fire engines are fighting fire in Brighton.

“The Second World War firefighters came down during the Blitz. We don’t have an actual date for when they were in Brighton, we know they came down and supported other brigades in the Blitz.

“The first fire engines in the early hours of Sunday morning from London were from Purley, Addington, Wallington, New Malden and Orpington.

“There were also crews from Surbiton, Clapham and Feltham on Sunday evening.”

Crews from West Sussex, Surrey and Kent also attended to help the Brighton crews, according to Mr Rowley.

The Argus: The fire on Saturday afternoonThe fire on Saturday afternoon (Image: Andy Gardner)

London Fire Brigade confirmed it did not attend the last time the Royal Albion Hotel caught fire in 1998.

A spokeswoman for London Fire Brigade told The Argus: "London Fire Brigade received requests for cross border assistance which consisted of two batches of five fire engines per batch.

"The first batch was from Addington, Peckham, New Malden and Kingston fire stations. The second batch was from Feltham, Surbiton and Lambeth fire stations and subsequently, two fire engines were turned away as they were not required."

On Monday and yesterday, crews from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) were inspecting the fire and dousing hot spots.

One witness said that part of the hotel collapsed inward at around 2.30am on Monday morning.

ESFRS were initially called at 5.24pm on Saturday afternoon to reports of smoke.

Strong winds on Saturday helped the fire spread from where it is believed to have started on the fourth floor.