Its been many years since the original Royal Sea House Hotel stood where the present arcade now stands but in 2015 it made a return, or rather a bar with the same name. Be warned, its on the roof.


The picture on the left isn't something you can easily see from the roof top but we took advantage of our position to get this rare view above the arcade.


From the early map above from around 1738 we can make out a cluster of black dots indicating the buildings on the foreshore, where we believe the original Sea House stood. Only one or two buildings stand amongst the fields where the town centre was to eventually develop.


If we had to name the first pub in Worthing, then I think the title would go to the Sea House. Originally thought to have been built in 1748 as one of two cottages, it joined several fisherman's huts that existed on Worthing's Common, as the foreshore was then known. The common stretched much further out than today's current shoreline and was sometimes known as the salt grass. The epithet of cottage will be a bit misleading, as it would have been a simple wooden structure with a pitched tar roof - nothing built there was ever seen as permanent. In 1762, Thomas Wicks, a local victualler, took over the cottage and named it 'Sea House'. It later became the Sea House Inn, supplying refreshment to weary fishermen as they returned with their catches day and night.


Inevitably the original building was finally washed away in December 1772. It was rebuilt much further inland as a more solid structure, as depicted on the left.

Sea House Inn (centre), as viewed from the sea front, The road between the two hanging signs as to become South Street.

Rebuilt as The Sea House Hotel and later renamed The Royal Sea House Hotel (1849), it caught fire on 21st May 1901. It remained a derelict shell for many years before being demolished and replaced with the present Arcade.


All the illustrations here are from a picture by John Nixon believed to have been done in 1785. It is currently held by Worthing museum.

The image on the right depicts the same building viewed from a different angle. The inn is most likely the right-hand building but we suspect the shorter structure became part of it.



The gutted remains of the Royal Sea House Hotel after the fire on the 24th of May 1901. The building remained empty despite plans to rebuild and it was replaced with the current arcade in 1925. It was reported that the fire had started from a workman's portable stove in the early hours. Note with interest the sign stating Royal Hotel Bar. Our first impression is that part of the ground floor escaped major damage and a temporary bar was opened up in an attempt to keep some business going.

Known landlord/manager  

1796 - Mr Thomas Hogflesh (died 1804)
1824 - Rebuilt
1838 - Parson's Sea House Hotel
1849 Renamed 'Royal Sea House'
1855 - John Fowler
1858 - James Banfield - Sea House Tap
1901 - Burnt out
1925 - Replaced with present Arcade