thrale & thrall family history

78 West Street, Brighton, Sussex, England


Tree: UK Thrale family


Ralph Thrale MP bought a cottage in, Brighthelmstone - fashionable for its health-giving sea bathing. It is now know as Brighton.

Upon his death, in 1758, Ralph left the cottage to his son Henry Thrale, who soon sold it and bought a larger house at 78 West Street. This house passed to his wife, Hester upon his death and to his youngest daughter Cecilia Margaretta Thrale upon Hester's death in 1821. It is not known when the Thrale family sold it.

Ralph Thrale

This website knows little about Ralph Thrale's time at Brighton, including the address of the cottage that he owned and stayed in. We know that he purchased the cottage in 1755 and left it to his son Henry, upon his death on 9 April 1758.

Henry Thrale

Henry loved Brighton for the bathing and hunting on the Sussex Downs. As he grew more affluent he outgrew his father’s cottage and needed a larger house to accommodate his servants, Hester, family and entertaining. He, therefore, sold the cottage and bought a larger house on the east side of West Street at number 78. This was a three-storey, roomy house with two bay windows and a portico, which was built in 17671. It was a light-coloured stone structure. It had iron chains dangling from a row of posts in front. It was a respectable house, despite its proximity to the King’s Head opposite.

78 West Street, Brighton in the 18th century..

Whilst in Brighton, devout Anglican, Henry, worshipped at the local Church of St. Nicholas where he had a designated pew.

Visitors included Dr. Samuel Johnson and Fanny Burney. Dr Johnson wrote his book Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets here. After Henry died in 1781, his will gave his wife lifetime use of the house.

After Hester died in 1821, it was inherited by his youngest daughter Cecilia Margaretta Thrale and was sold by her sometime before 1865.

Post Thrale developments


By 1865 the house is still in its original form, but was being used as an arcade - note the original windows, door portico and seven horse tethering posts outside.

78 West Street, 1865..

1866 demolition

The house was sold and demolished1 and a mulberry tree from the garden was replanted on the grounds of Brighton College.

1867 rebuilding

The house was replaced by the West Street Concert Hall, opened on 6 December 1867 and designed by Horatio Goulty.

1877 roller-skating rink

Several musical concerts and lectures were presented, including the first of the Music Festivals, but in 1877 the building was converted into a roller-skating rink.

1882 explosion

On the evening of 7 October 1882, it was virtually destroyed by a gas explosion and fire which left only the frontages standing, but the roller-skating hall was reconstructed in 1892.

1911 cinema

In 1911 the building was converted into a 2,000-seat cinema, the Grand Picture Palace which was renamed the Coliseum in 1918.

1919 Sherrys Dancehall

After another serious fire, it reopened on 11 November 1919 as the famous Sherrys Dance Hall. Together with the Regent, Sherrys dominated Brighton’s pre-war nightlife and even got a mention in Greene’s 1938 novel Brighton Rock.

1949 roller-skating rink

In 1949 it was converted back into a roller skating rink.

West Street c. 1950s as the Ritz skating rink. Note one horse tethering post remains. From the private collection of Bert Clayton..

1960s Ritz amusement arcade

In the 1960s, it became the Ritz amusement arcade.

1969 demolition and nightclub

The intricate Italianate facade of the 1892 building was demolished in February 1969 when it was remodelled as a nightclub and amusement arcade. The Pink Coconut nightclub opened 1983.

Later nightclub incarnations included:

  • Crystal Room;
  • Paradox (1995-2002);
  • Creation (2002);
  • Tru (2009-2011)
  • Project (2012)
  • Hedkandi (2012-2015);
  • Synegy community arts centre (2015-2017).

78 West Street in 2006. Note the surviving horse the tethering post. Photo by

21st century. Photo by Tricia Leonard..

2021 demolition

In mid-2021 the latest building had been demolished again and the site cleared. Only the horse tethering post and blue commemorative plaque remained.

June 2023. Just the tethering post and commemorative plaque remain..

Blue Plaque at 78 West Street, Brighton..

2023 future redevelopment

Planning consent has been granted for the erection of a 127-room hotel and restaurant. It is understood that the hotel chain Premier Inn may be future occupiers.


  1. ↩︎

Address : Latitude: 50.821754812729694, Longitude: -0.1441300257653565


78 West Street, Brighton.
Blue Plaque at 78 West Street, Brighton.
78 West Street, Brighton, 1950s.
78 West Street, Brighton, 2006.
78 West Street Brighton, 21st century.
78 West Street, Brighton, June 2023.

Henry Thrale's will
Henry Thrale's will
Henry Thrale died on 4 April 1781 between 5 am and 6 am. The will, dated 17 March 1781, was read by the male executors on 5 April 1781. his wife, Hester, was later informed of its provisions by Samuel Johnson.



Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Death    Person ID   Tree 
1 Thrale, Ralph  13 Jul 177578 West Street, Brighton, Sussex, England I220 UK Thrale family 


Matches 1 to 3 of 3

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Property    Person ID   Tree 
1 Salusbury, Hester Lynch  178178 West Street, Brighton, Sussex, England I87 UK Thrale family 
2 Thrale, Cecilia Margaretta  182178 West Street, Brighton, Sussex, England I96 UK Thrale family 
3 Thrale, Henry M.P.  10 Apr 175878 West Street, Brighton, Sussex, England I83 UK Thrale family