Vintage Snapshots: Brighton In The Brass Era

(submitted by Derek B.)   My wife’s Aunt Nell was married to a chap called Bill Luckins, who was connected to the Motor Trade in Brighton, West Sussex, England before WW1. The following images are from his collection and are all about 3” x 2” in size.

A Chauffeur attempting to start this car, with the Owner standing to the side and a child sat on the rear seat wearing a cap held down by a tied scarf. Being a sunny day, the fabric hood has been folded down. A gas lamp post, part of contemporary street furniture is located on the pavement.

Possibly a Renault Laundaulet outside the Metropole Hotel in Brighton. The liveried Chauffeur appears to be looking in a box or case at the rear of the car.

A Brighton & Hove Omnibus (Registration Plate CD 523-Brighton) outside the London and County Bank, whilst a one legged man crosses the street. The front wheels are considerably smaller than the rear ones. A horse-drawn waggon appears from the left.

An open top sporting two seater roadster (Registration Plate LC 7419-London North West) passes the Old Ship Hotel with considerable speed, with the Lady Passenger holding on to her hat. Without mudguards it must have been a very dirty car to travel in when it was wet. Just behind the driver can be seen a ‘wicker basket, made from strips of willow’.

With the Driver appearing to be adjusting something on the fascia of this car (Registration Plate DP.9-8-Reading), the photographer seems to be in a most vulnerable position. The Driver has a pair of goggles attached to his hat, which would have been essential attire when most of the roads would have been unpaved.

It is hard to say if this car has just arrived or about to depart from the Metropole Hotel. The man stood in the rear of the car looks as if he is adjusting the scarf of his fellow passenger. The Driver wears an informal cap which may indicate that he is also the Owner.

A road-side photograph of a relatively small car (Registration Plate R 363-Derbyshire). The roof and sidescreens may be removable. The man crouched on the running board wears mechanics overalls and has a can of petroleum spirit in a can behind him. The others are more soberly dressed, with the chap on the kerb wears a straw boater hat.

A smiling driver sits in the driving seat of the car (Registration Plate GH 199-London South West). The engine compartment cover looks as if it is hinged to help cool down the motor. The rear passenger compartment resembles a horse-drawn Hanson Cab.

A beautifully polished car being started by its Chauffeur, outside the Metropole Hotel. A spare tyre lies on top of the roof above the driver, whilst the rear seat passenger benefit from a folding roof.

A goods-truck (Registration Plate A 566-London[1905]), with driver sat precariously high at the front drives along the sea-front between Brighton and Hove. Plenty of horse manure lies on the road, which would continue to do so until the early 1930s.