Wednesday, 26 May 2021

A Plaque to Elizabeth Robins and Octavia Wilberforce

This plaque has now been installed at 24 Montpelier Crescent. Due to infection control measures it was deemed unadvisable to hold an unveiling ceremony. 

Elizabeth Robbins was born in America and moved to London in September 1888. She had a very active and eventful life, great success as an actor and wrote as C.E. Raimond. She met Octavia Wilberforce in 1909. 

Partly supported by Elizabeth and against strong parental oppositions Octavia entered the London School of Medicine for Women in 1913, qualifying in 1920. She entered general practice in Brighton  and ran a women's shelter near Henfield. Octavia was friendly with members of the Bloomsbury Group and treated Virginia Woolf's mental illness towards the end of Woolf's life. She retired in 1954.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Smuggler's Cottage, Rottingdean

The semi-detached cottage shown on the left in the above postcard (see also: Rottingdean) was at one time known as '"Smuggler's Cottage".

The photo on the right shows it in 1957 with a curious object above the downstairs window. It has been suggested that this was an air-raid siren left in place after the war but it seems to be the wrong shape for that.  Closer inspection reveals what might be decorative features and a hint that it is barrel-shaped. Was it in fact an ornamental brandy-barrel displayed as a nod to the smuggler's trade and in lieu of a conventional house nameplate?


Saturday, 24 April 2021

Restore the Stanmer Palm House.

The Palm House

Since 2019 Plumpton Agricultural College and BHCC with partners have been working to restore  Stanmer's Victorian walled garden, build a new Horticultural Centre of Excellence and open as 'One Garden Brighton' which will be a destination garden for the community. After laying abandoned for years the work is now complete and the garden is open to the public for the first time in its history.

The Palm House, near the gates of One Garden Brighton, is one of only three remaining of its kind in England. They were built in the 1950s for local councils and were originally heated. The Walled Garden during this time was a nursery for Brighton & Hove City Council and a space to grow plants for the city parks. 

The Palm House has not been a part of the original restoration project and the ambition is to now restore it and open it for the public to enjoy. This will involve refitting the heating system and reglazing the glass so that it can house exotic plants. Plans include adding a vaulted walkway with viewing platforms and an educational experience showcasing a wide variety of plant species. A mini Kew on our doorstep in fact.

To help get this project underway One Garden Brighton has opened a crowdfunder with a target of £500,000. 

To contribute go to 'Palm House Restoration'

Follow "One Garden Brighton' on facebook.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Circus Street so far.

Loooking south from Ivory Place

Morley Street frontage, residential

Entrance to Woodland Court

Woodland Court. Students left & at end; Residential right.

Circus Square looking south-west towards The Dance Space.

Looking north-west into Circus Court. Residential

Student block.

Looking north along Circus St. The Office near right; residential beyond.

Looking north-west from Kingswood Street.
The Office to the left; student block to the right.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Hippodrome hope

Corroded ironwork
Planning applications BH2021/01079 & /01080 warrant a glimmer of hope for the Hippodrome's survival.  Water has been penetrating the roof for some time and threatening Matcham's intricate plaster work inside. The work called for involves removing the sliding cupola and its supporting ironwork. This ironwork penetrates the roof and is a source of water leakage. Duct work is also causing leakage and will be removed together with the gang walk encircling the roof and its access steps. This will allow a new roof to be constructed over all. The new roof willl be supported on the perimeter columns and create a space from which access  can be had to the old roof and, through access points made in it, to the interior plasterwork.

Section viewed from Middle Street showing proposed new roof structure.

External appearance viewed from the west.

1. Retractable octagonal cupola
2. New roof covered in grey fibreglass material.
4.Vertical faces covered in grey fibreglass material