Chunks of the Royal Albion hotel’s façade came crashing down on to the pavement yesterday afternoon as work to demolish the fire-ravage building began.

Work at the Brighton hotel was scheduled to begin on Monday but was held up after a last-minute appeal to save parts of the brickwork.

But on Wednesday at roughly 2pm, hundreds lined King’s Road as a crane was moved into position before its pincer dragged the first lot of crumbling brickwork to the ground.

The Argus: The brickwork crashed onto the road belowThe brickwork crashed onto the road below (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

Jan Cutler, her husband Ray and their grandchild Rocco were visiting the scene just before the demolition began.

“I think it’s very sad to see such an iconic building so destroyed by something so lethal as fire,” said Jan.

The Argus: Ray, Rocco, and Jan CutlerRay, Rocco, and Jan Cutler (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

“I hope they’ll be able to rebuild it and that Brighton will get one of its beautiful buildings back.”

Civil engineers are tearing down parts of the 200-year-old building down, leaving the newer part of the hotel intact, with work expected to last roughly three weeks.

The Argus: The demolition has begunThe demolition has begun (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

“It’s going to damage the look of the area for a long time until it’s up again or something can replace it,” said Brian Sprag, from Brighton, who was among the crowds.

“If we could save some of it then that would be great, but it doesn’t look very healthy to say the least.

“It’s the end of an era for Brighton.

The Argus: Brian Sprag said the building should be replaced tastefullyBrian Sprag said the building should be replaced tastefully (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

“A classic regency-style building like this should be replaced with a nice building with echoes of the past.”

And few people have seen the hotel so frequently as the residents of Pool Valley, who said there is no choice but take the building apart.

READ MORE: Royal Albion hotel fire: Homes barricaded for demolition

“It’s been chaotic these last few days, the wind was swirling on the Saturday and embers were flying everywhere,” said Hughie O’Neill, who lives just metres from where the fire broke out on Saturday.

The Argus: Hughie and Chris O'Neill live metres away from the hotelHughie and Chris O'Neill live metres away from the hotel (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

“We got the hoses out in our garden because the embers were red hot, just in case.

“Today though, it really is sad, it’s sad for the whole of Brighton.

“But I do believe the sooner they bring it down the better, for the safety of the residents, because some of them can’t get back to their properties.”