Thursday, 31 December 2009
For information, you can write to David Smith at email@example.com
He replied to me this morning, saying he would be discussing the decision with officials next week. My local councillor, Paul Elgood, has promised to move a budget amendment on this (if someone else doesn't get there first).
With the council now with no overall control, this deplorable decision can be reversed if we make our feelings clear. Please sign the e-petition- 148 people have already done so.
Blue Plaques Historian
1 Waterhouse Square
"Thank you for your email concerning the Brighton History Centre.
Previous posts on this subject are: here, here, and here.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
The garden is presently surrounded by cracked, uneven, underused paving and redundant shabby railings. This could all be swept away and the area of garden extended up to the trees with extra grass and/or beds and a landscaped path established along the centreline of the garden thus taking the pedestrian well away from the traffic and making it a much more attractive and healthy route. This surely need be no higher in regular maintenance costs than the proposed scheme and the cost of establishing the new path would surely be no greater that that of repairing the existing paving and maintaining the railings. The extra area of grass would have the added benefit of reducing water run-off.
I do urge City Parks to reconsider these plans before any further work is done.
Samaritans have been quietly operating 24/7 behind the scenes in Brighton for over 40 years providing emotional support and friendship to those in distress. It is manned entirely by volunteers but operating costs still amount to over £100 per day so the need for funding is continuous and weekends like this make a vital contribution.
Heartfelt thanks are due to Waterstones, The Churchill Square Management, Patcham Silver Band, for braving the cold and playing with freezing fingers, and the generous Brighton public.
Happy Christmas to all.
Saturday, 19 December 2009
I am extremely upset at the news that the Brighton History Centre may close. I believe this a valuable cultural resource of which the expertise and knowledge of the small staff form a vital element. Once this knowledge is dissipated there will be little chance of the same level of public access to the records ever being re-established.
The destined repository for the archives, the Keep, seems to be years away from completion and as it will be situated at Falmer it will not provide anything like the City centre access enjoyed at present. Before the present History Centre was established a few years ago the archives were kept in the Old Music Library in Church Street. During this time many items appear to have gone missing. One worries that if the archives are to moved yet again into temporary accommodation there will be little left to keep.
Neither does the Jubilee Library offer a solution. Although conveniently sited its staff would not possess the required specialist knowledge and, in any case, already seem to be fully occupied.
The Council is fond of designating this area "The Cultural Quarter". I hope you will feel able to defend one of its facilities. What could be more cultural or appropriate than Brighton's history?
Friday, 18 December 2009
Patcham dovecote in the snow. It is a scheduled Ancient Monument built in the early 1600s and carefully restored in 2007. This included reinstating the 'potence', a ladder attached to a rotating framework to provide easy access to the 550 nesting holes which line the walls. In full production it will have produced up to 200 young featherless birds (or squabs) a week for the table. It stands at the bottom of the garden of Patcham Court Farmhouse with access off Church Hill.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
No doubt there will be noises made about moving facilities to the Jubilee Library or even to the East Sussex Record Office which is planning new premises on the Falmer campus. But, irrespective of where the archived material ends up, the only way that money will be saved will be by losing the present staff and therefore their years of accumulated expertise in the local & family history fields. The Council needs to be made aware that the History Centre IS the staff.
There are other questions that might be raised. The £8M required saving presumably refers to one year's budget. What kind of impact will be made in the first year from losing staff after redundancy and removal costs are added in?
The History Centre seems to be a popular resource. If you are one of its users it is never too early to let your Councillor know your views.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
NEW MEMBERS OF INTERMEDIATE STANDARD OR HIGHER WOULD BE WELCOME.
Subject to availability Court 5 is usually booked from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Pay for day membership at the entrance kiosk (£1.50) and ask for Eva's court. The charge for the hire of the court (to Eva) is £3.00 each player. When the numbers are high we book two courts so there is very little sitting out.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Because of its location in a historic seafront, the design, by architect PRC Fewster, was the subject of considerable discussion with both the Council and English Heritage. Plans for the building were also considered by the Royal Fine Arts Commission. Early plans showed the balcony fronts as solid. The Council's Conservation Advisory Group (staffed by representatives of local amenity societies) felt this gave a much too ponderous effect and, as a result of their comments, the glass-fronted design seen today was adopted. The building is named after William van Alen, the architect of New York's Chrysler Building.
What a shame the same amount of thought & care did not go into the design of the Bedford Hotel replacement. But that was 40 years ago when brutalism ruled.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Thursday, 19 November 2009
A more recent success involved the refusal on appeal of the proposed Beethan tower on the station site which would have grossly overtopped the Grade 1 listed St. Batholomews. In dismissing the appeal the Inspector quoted from the BS chairman’s expert evidence. BS supported the Council and the North Laine Community Association at the inquiry and the Council subsequently thanked the Society for the support they had given them.
If you would like to help the Society in their aim to conserve and improve the amenities of Brighton & Hove, membership is £10 per year for individuals, £15 for organisations. Full details are available here.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
The Argus endeavour to become a vital part of the community is obviously the right commercial choice for them but it is also a considerable advantage to that community to have a local paper that produces relevant, accurate, editorial content.
In pursuit of these ends and notwithstanding the commercial angle, an Argus reader might be happy to freely give of their time and join this panel. The effort required certainly does not appear to be too onerous. Once registered one would be contacted by email and asked to participate in the first questionnaire online. A visual image of an editorial feature or advert would be shown, and a series of related questions, to gather feedback, asked. All subsequent surveys would be carried out in the same way.
No pecuniary advantage accrues to the participant (apart from the chance of winning vouchers and "other prizes" but I suspect not many would be influenced by this). Even so I was sufficiently persuaded of the interest and value of such a survey to go to the final step and register. It was here that things started to go wrong. The survey is carried out by a research company called RAM (which confusingly doesn't recognise one's Argus login) and the entry form is long and intrusive. I am not naive. I realise that this is so that the research results can be classified according to socio-economic group to make them of maximum value, but as my mouse hovered over the buttons, I felt the willpower to complete the form draining away. I wonder how many others will feel like this and what peculiar kind of skewness it will add to the results?
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Friday, 2 October 2009
The ultimate memento of Brighton & Hove is now available. Brighton & Hove City Council is putting up new signs to replace some of the old metal ‘fingerpost’ signs and the council is now offering them for sale.
You can bid on eBay for one of many different sign posts which between them have directed residents & visitors to variety of destinations in the famous city from the Lanes to the Seafront to the Royal Pavilion.
All profits raised from the sales of these signs will be put back into the public purse and used to support on-going investment in Brighton & Hove.
Each sign contains 3 fingers with Museum /
North Laine, The Lanes / Seafront, & Royal Pavilion / Theatres. The sign is sold as a complete item only (fingers plus post). They are very heavy and buyer collects.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Friday, 4 September 2009
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
After an excellent "Regency tea" the invitees divided into 3 groups to enjoy guided tours of the North Laine, the Rare Books Room of the library and the Old Police cells in the basement of the Town Hall.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Sunday, 2 August 2009
"I am writing in response to an article in the Argus which reports that historic street nameplates in the Hanover area are being replaced with modern plastic versions.
I consider that, even in a weathered state, the original cast nameplates retain their elegance and readability . They suggest solidity, permanence, continuity with the past and, being of a similar period to the Conservation Area, they make a distinct contribution to its historic character. They were also very probably produced in Brighton foundries of the time which adds to their historic interest.
I protest most strongly at their removal unless they are to be replaced with faithful reproductions."
The Argus article which prompted this can be read here.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Friday, 10 July 2009
In the 2009 photo below the building in the middle-distance on the eastern corner of West Street is still recognisable but the opposite side was rebuilt with the road widening that took place in the 1920's. The Quadrant pub on the corner of Air Street has survived and now carries a lamp of similar design to that in the earlier photo. Notwithstanding all the enormous changes in traffic that has occurred over 100 years the original line of the pavement seems to have been preserved.
Friday, 3 July 2009
Local bands will play at the opening celebrations on July 24 between 8pm and 10pm. Patcham Silver Band, Brighton Youth Orchestra and Brighton indie-band Gloria Cycles will perform and the evening will end with the building being lit-up. Hooray!
Monday, 29 June 2009
Saturday, 27 June 2009
The plot of Hay Fever (by Noel Coward) concerns the arty Bliss family living in Cookham. The Bliss family consists of: father David, an author; mother Judith, a retired actress; son Simon and daughter Sorel. Unbeknown to each other they have each invited an acquaintance down for the weekend.
The script was great, really funny, and apart from one little blip, the timing was perfect. Patti Griffiths, who played Judith Bliss, was as delightfully theatrical as the part required and I couldn’t wait for her next speech. The whole cast worked well together as an ensemble but I was particularly struck by the stage craft shown by Emma Sayers playing Simon's invitee Myra.
The comic highspot comes in Act II, Saturday evening, when the assembled Bliss family and guests play a form of charades. Daughter Sorell attempts to guess an adverb by asking each of the others in turn to perform as action in the manner of the adverb. Hilarious. Apart from Judith of course they all fail miserably. The family rows over the breakfast table reminded my companion of some of the more farcical episodes of Will and Grace! It was also fun distinguishing the bits where the family were just being themselves, and the bits where they slipped into re-enacting one of Judith’s theatrical performances. We enjoyed looking at what they were wearing, especially the evening wear in Act II. It is unusual these days for actors to smoke on stage though it obviously fitted the time and milieu. Some of cast did appear ill-at-ease in handling their cigarettes. Sign of the times I suppose. Perhaps they should have used cigarette holders.
The play concludes with the guests surreptiously escaping on Sunday morning leaving the household in uproar. A device that Coward resorted to in different forms in later plays.
Next BLT production: "As You Like It". 4th - 8th August at the Little Theatre: 19th - 22nd August at Lewes Castle.
Sunday, 21 June 2009
So declares the announcement mounted high on the scaffolding at the corner of Vallance Gardens & Kingsway. And the name of this development? - "The Mirage". How pretentious can you get?
However it does look as if it is going to be an elegant, sympathetically designed building.
It replaces the detached villa shown below:-
Watch this blog for a photo of the finished development.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
The Dawkins Letters by David Robertson
7:00 pm, Tue 30th June 2009
Calvary Evangelical Church in association with Borders Bookstore, Brighton will be hosting a debate at the Jubilee Library, Brighton led by David Robertson, columnist, author, debater and pastor of St. Peter’s Free Church of Scotland in Dundee. Robertson first came to prominence in 2007 when his book ‘The Dawkins Letters’ was first published as a Christian response to renowned Oxford scientist and atheist, Richard Dawkins, following his controversial polemic ‘The God Delusion’. ‘The Dawkins Letters’comprises a series of letters that explain a credible basis for faith counteracting the ‘atheist myths’ that so much popular discussion is based upon. Christians, and non-Christians, need to know where Dawkins is weak – and also how to explain things better – and David Robertson’s book does just that. David Robertson will tackle the question of whether it is really delusional to believe in God or more delusional to think that we can get along without him. You are invited to come and listen, debate and be prepared to have your thinking changed!
Friday, 12 June 2009
* * *
This was over 60 years ago but what happened next cast a lasting impression in my mind. First let me relieve you - the child did not drown. Indeed the father did not even get his shoes and socks wet. He came to a pebble-ploughing halt at the water's edge and shouted and gesticulated to a bather who was standing waist-deep nearby. The bather with two or three strides reached the child, lifted her easily out of the water and conveyed her to her father's arms.
After a few tears, a towelling and dry clothes the child seemed little worse for her experience. Between the parents very few words were spoken and those that were, too quiet to distinguish, but my side-long glimpses of their body-language suggested that relations were very strained. How could it have been otherwise? What demon can have possessed his priorities in those critical seconds such that he put his new shoes and personal comfort before the life-threatening need of his child; or any child?
First published in Issue 11 of 'Regency' magazine June 2009.
Sunday, 31 May 2009
An imaginary observer from the early 1900's, standing at the end of the Norfolk groyne where this photo was taken, would hardly recognise this scene. As well as wondering at the changes in the skyline and the missing West Pier, he would be confused by the absence of the long seawall, now buried in the shingle. The capping of this wall is still visible as a kerb along the southern edge of the lower promenade.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Friday, 8 May 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
The event will feature readings from Shakespeare, who died on St. George’s Day, and second hand book stalls and florists will be invited to set up shop in the square outside Brighton’s iconic library. Residents and visitors will be encouraged to exchange books and flowers with loved ones, while music and entertainment with a St. George’s Day theme are also being lined up. Only local traders are being invited to participate, as part of the council’s anti-recession ‘Buy Local’ campaign.
As well as books, red roses will be on sale, commemorating the story of St. George. After slaying the dragon, legend says that a drop of its blood sprouted into a red rose which the saint gave to the princess he had saved.
The event will also acknowledge some of the other countries that will be celebrating Saint George on 23 April. The well-travelled saint is patron of many cities and countries around the world, including Ferrara in Italy and Catalunya in Spain.
Monday, 13 April 2009
I have heard a woodpecker several times from my garden in Patcham Village this afternoon. The sound always carries well and it seemed to be coming, across the A23, from the hangar above Patcham Place. It was probably a Great Spotted as I have seen these in the area in previous years.
By contrast, 20 years ago in rural West Sussex, it seemed to be the Green Woodpecker that was most common..
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Luckily it is somewhat less obtrusive from nearer viewpoints in Church Road. What is really worrying is the height precedent it has set. If, in the course of time, other building plots become available in the vicinity, how will the Council resist applications for developments of similar heights?
Friday, 10 April 2009
Monday, 6 April 2009
The puzzle is where is the money coming from. It was closed down due to lack of finance and that was in the days before recession.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
I am puzzled, I will go no stronger because I don't want to appear cynical, by the report that it is to be saved by "Holy Trinity Brompton". Reading between the lines I take it that HTB is of the christian denomination of the loose genre "happy clapper". HTB being not part of the Church of England will require St. Peter to be deconsecrated but relicensed as a place of worship for the"Parish of Brighton, St Peter". The existing congregation (was it 3 at the last count?) will naturally be welcomed back. Gosh! this is all brilliant stuff. Problem solved then.
Well no. That was the easy bit.
I wonder if HTB have had their surveyors take a look at St. Peters. It is crumbling before our eyes and fenced off to protect the unwary from falling masonry. It will take millions of pounds and several years to restore and thousands of pounds per annum to maintain. Does HTB really have the financial resources to carry this restoration through? Will it have the power to fill the church week after week in order to provide income for maintenance. In short can it really succeed where the mighty Church of England has failed?
All Brightonians are fond of St Peter as an impressive landmark in a unique location and cannot bear the thought of it disappearing. But what if the only alternative is to watch it slowly crumble inside a cage of scaffolding? It would not make an attractive folly. Perhaps in the natural order of things there comes a time to say goodbye to a part of our heritage and welcome an extension to the Valley Gardens. There was once a Brighton without St Peter. Why shouldn't there be one again?
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Patcham Place is owned by the City Council and up until a year or two ago it had been used as a Youth Hostel since 1939. This shows in the condition of the interior of which very few original features remain. Situated as it is on the A23 on the outskirts of a famous holiday resort it would make an ideal headquarters for the new South Downs Park Authority, and the listed stables could be restored to provide extra space for a Visitor Centre and/or South Downs Museum.
Monday, 30 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Thursday, 19 March 2009
In cases like this it would be good if the architect could be asked to revisit his creation and invited to interpret the building, and explain what message the critical observer should try to take from it. Otherwise we are entitled to believe that he cared nothing for the elegant, historic building it replaced, or that he was concerned at all for the intrusion of his design on to a world-famous seafront, or that he took any account of the scale & style of nearby listed Regency Square.
St. Mary Magdalene has one of those "off the peg" spires, like St. John's in Palmeira Square, which are now suffering badly from weathering.