Where it all began
I’m Luke Davis, Founder of Rockwater. I lived in Brighton in my early 20s and loved it here. It was home. But the bright lights of London beckoned and I left for a job in the City in my mid 20s. My heart remained in Brighton & Hove and I knew at some point I would return and settle here. In 2017, approaching 40, I moved back to Brighton with my family and in November 2018, moved to Hove as our family expanded with the birth of our son.
It was then I discovered my ‘local’ was the View/Venue. To say it was a little rough and ready is probably an understatement. But I couldn’t ignore the huge potential the site had given its location. A lot of people will tell you they dream of buying and running a pub but are never mad enough to actually do it! Many promenade walks with my family past the View and many (many) pints later, that’s exactly what I did.
I can’t tell you the number of people who said I’d made a huge mistake buying the place and one person even told me to hand the keys back! But I don’t exactly shy away from a challenge so, together with the team, we started the redevelopment project with some grand designs, a pledge to keep the community at the heart of everything we do, and a clear vision to make this so much more than just another pub or restaurant.
At Rockwater, we want to do things differently, and better. Our aim is to bring the Hove seafront to life again for the whole community to enjoy, young and old. We’ve teamed up with a number of local fitness and health & wellbeing gurus to bring a fitness offering to Rockwater and that’s just the beginning. We have big plans to make sure the site gives the residents of Hove a place they deserve to meet, work, eat, drink, workout, have fun, be inspired and, most importantly, enjoy the view.
The area occupied by Rockwater has a glorious history of being the focal point for entertaining the locals. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to look after this site and ensure it’s one for the entire community to enjoy.
On 12 July 1911, a beautiful bandstand was opened (pictured) on the lawns behind what is now Rockwater. It came to life every summer and during its opening season, the 4th Dragoon Guards gave 27 concerts, much to the delight of locals.
In June 1934, the then Mayor of Hove, Councillor Victor Hudson, opened the new patent dance floor that encircled the bandstand (also pictured). There was open air dancing every evening during the summer season with a full programme including modern, square and old time dancing.
During the Second World War, the seafront was off limits to the public and the area was desolate, filled only with barbed wire barricades, machine gun emplacements and large blocks designed to thwart enemy tanks.
Following the War, the area slowly came back to life. But, sadly, in February 1965, Hove Council took the difficult decision not to stage any further concerts due to financial difficulties in running and maintaining the bandstand. As it became a target for vandals, in April/May 1965, it was demolished.
The Rockwater building was erected in the 1960s and although it has changed hands many times since then, little has been done to the fabric of the building…until now.
We love hearing your stories of the various guises the building has taken until most recently when it was The View/Venue. We know many of you have fond memories of the site over the years and we look forward to making more memories with you at Rockwater.