Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Brighton Station

Brighton's wonderful, curving train shed was built in 1882-3 to a design by H E Wallis and almost didn't see its centenary. In 1973, British Rail in conjunction with the Peachey Investment Company, came near to getting final council backing for  plans to demolish the shed and erect a 14 storey, hotel, office, hypermarket complex. The platforms were to be consigned to the nether regions, and would have surely rendered arrival and departure a subsidiary, downbeat affair.

In those days the Regency Society tended to concern itself mainly with protecting listed buildings and monitoring the few conservation areas then in existence. At a public protest meeting in 1973 the Brighton Society was launched by John Morley, then Director of the Royal Pavilion, and Selma Montford. The Society lent its support to the "Save our Station" campaign and set to work to get the station grade II listed by the government. Listing was granted in 1973.  A new ticket office was provided in 1980 and in 1987 a massive restoration project commenced. In 1988 it was included in the West Hill Conservation area. Thus the station, still in its victorian form, survives to delight us to this day. 

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