The Dyke Road Hotel was built in 1895 to a replace a much smaller inn known as the Windmill Inn – the inn was a modest whitewashed building, thought to have been knocked together from two or three cottages, and was named after the adjacent windmill (owned by James Trusler). The mill (known under several names including West Mill, Streeter’s Mill, Preston Mill and Black Mill) originally stood in Belle Vue Fields, now Regency Square, and was relocated in 1797 following complaints from neighbours as the area became increasingly residential. Moving a windmill presented quite a challenge, but instead of being moved bit by bit and reconstructed, it was transported whole by 86 oxen. The windmill was demolished in 1885, but the Windmill Inn continued to serve the local community.
In 1892, Tamplins Brewery purchased the Windmill Inn for £4,200 at the Auction Market in Brighton. Tamplins was one of the most prominent local brewers and was expanding at the time, buying up other brewers and pubs.
Tamplins chose Charles Henry Buckman as the architect to design a much more imposing new building on the site of the Windmill Inn, The Dyke Road Hotel. The new building extended over the site of the Windmill Inn, as well as the former miller’s cottage, and the road name ‘Old Mill Mews’ behind the building reminds us of its history (read more at Brighton Bits blog).
(The postcard below from RegencySociety.org shows the Windmill Inn in the process of being demolished.)
Buckman was well known to Tamplins, as he had already carried out several projects for them, including the Station Hotel (near Preston Park Station) which was completed in 1894. Before that he was responsible for Tamplin’s office, Phoenix Brewery (now the Phoenix Community Centre).
(The photograph below shows one of the pewter tankards used in The Windmill Inn.)