Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The 107 year-old Council houses

The north end

The south end

These gems of the Tudor Revival style lurk in the little frequented and strangely named High Street, nos. 23 - 30. They tick all the boxes; half-timbering, gabled dormers, mansard roofs, stone-arched doorways, and mullioned windows. The narrow street makes them difficult to photograph and they are always partly obscured by cars.

They are grade II listed the description for which includes a mention of the scattered fenestration and that the individual units are designed to form an irregular and picturesque grouping by simple variations on a common type; only No.27 is really unique, forming a central point of emphasis. The other units are assembled from a limited number of features and finishes.

Between Nos 28 and 29 is a round gable which bears a shield inscribed with the date 1910 and the Corporation's arms. All the cast-iron downpipes are original, one of which can be seen on the left. 

They were designed by local architects Clayton & Black and the ravages of time appear to have left them largely untouched. It would be good to be able to say the same of more modern buildings.

Friday, 19 May 2017

SE "Project of the Year" - the BA i360

The highly acclaimed Project of the Year accolade is presented by the R.I.C.S. to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area. British Airways I-360 not only scooped the prestigious title this year, it also won the 'Design through Innovation' and 'Tourism & Leisure' awards.

Brighton has a long tradition of expressing its identity through remarkable architecture and British Airways I-360 continues this tradition of celebratory structures. Not only has the project given the city a 21st  Century landmark with which to identify itself, it has created new jobs and spurred economic growth. The innovative form of funding used to build British Airways i360 means that Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) earns nearly £1 million per year for the city. These earnings are used for regenerative purposes, to breathe new life into forgotten areas and to give back to the city.

In urban design terms, the tower can be seen as an equivalent of an obelisk which traditionally was used to complete the bottom of an open-ended, three-sided plan, such as Regency Square. The height of British Airways i360 is half the length of the West Pier, while the visitor centre at its base, including the reconstructed Eugenius Birch-designed 1866 tollbooths and flanking stairs, stretches the width of Regency Square behind it. The tower, aligned on the central axis of Regency Square, creates a strong reference point from afar.

Seagulls Celebrations

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Freedom of the City for the Seagulls

Photo: www.snapitnow.com

Freedom of the City will be conferred on Brighton & Hove Albion’s manager and chairman this week in honour of the Seagulls’ success in promotion to the Premier League.

Manager Chris Hughton and chairman Tony Bloom will receive the honour at a special council meeting at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday 18 May at 3pm.

The city is still in celebratory spirits following the confirmation of the promotion last month and an amazing turn out on the streets for the Albion’s parade on Sunday.

At the meeting on Thursday afternoon, lead councillors will speak in support of the motion to award honorary Freedom of the City before all councillors vote to officially confer the title.

Chris Hughton took over as Albion manager in the middle of the 2014/15 season, helping retain the club’s place in the Championship. Last year the Albion missed out on automatic promotion only by goal difference, finishing third. Hull won the ensuing play-offs for the third promotion spot. This year the team gained automatic promotion finishing just one point behind Newcastle, a team that came down from the Premier League last year.

Brightonian Tony Bloom became club chairman in 2009, succeeding Dick Knight. He has personally invested millions into the club, including its home the Amex Community Stadium and training ground in Lancing.

Council meetings are open to the public but space in the chamber is limited and the councillors and club guests have to be given priority with regards to seating. To avoid disappoint, residents are encouraged to enjoy the ceremony by watching the live webcast rather than coming to the town hall

The East/West Divide

The old Free Butt Inn, Albion Street, looking very sad.

The Eagle, Gloucester Road, looking very lively.
Albion Street is situated at the north west corner of an area that was subjected to repeated slum clearances and redevelopment throughout the 20th.C. Many streets of 2 to 3 storey housing were demolished and replaced with the blocks of flats to be seen today. This area was situated in what was known as Hilly Laine. The rest of Hilly Laine survived and became a much sought-after area now known as Hanover. Hanover still supports many thriving pubs.

On the opposite side of the central valley North Laine also narrowly escaped demolition in the 60's thanks mainly to the efforts of BHCC Planning Director Ken Fines. This is now a lively mixed retail, commercial and residential area which is a favoured destination for both Brighton residents and visitors alike.

The current plans for the remodelling of Valley Gardens and its encircling road system has the aim of rendering the Valley Gardens more permeable to pedestrians west to east. and vice versa. Once completed perhaps some of the buzz of the west side will bleed into the east. It looks doubtful though that it will happen in time to save the Free Butt.