Thursday, 23 April 2009

Mixed Messages at Hove Station

The old advert on the end wall to the right has " Senior Service Satisfy"; the shop was a "Stop-Smoking Centre".
The grey-roofed & weatherboarded building to the bottom-right is the old ticket-office which has now found a home and preservation at Amberley Working Museum. 
This attractive terrace at the south-end of Hove Park Villas was built in the last decade  of the 19th century and shows the strong influence of the Arts & Crafts movement. 

Monday, 20 April 2009

St. George's Day in Brighton

Taking place on Sunday April 26 between 11am and 5pm in Jubilee Square, “the Book and the Rose” will celebrate England’s literary heritage, and the flower associated with St George.

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

Aliens have landed

The pink slab sticking up in the centre-distance is a modern flats development in Connaught Road. When I first saw it from this angle in Kingsway it made me think of the monolith in "2001- A Space Odyssey', a silent sentinel left on the moon by an alien civilisation.

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?

Monday, 6 April 2009

Sussex University Arts Centre

It is good news that the old Gardner Arts Centre is to be refurbished at a cost of £4M and renamed the Attenborough centre after the former Vice-Chancellor. See Argus report.

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

St. Peter's Church

I don't seem to have a photo this time but when you see a building nearly every other day you tend not to bother.

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?