Sunday, 30 October 2011

White Night '11

A few pictures:
'Dollytopia'- New Road

'Return to Eden' - Victoria Gardens 
'Return to Eden' - Victoria Gardens

'Polyester Festival' - Jubilee Library

'Metahub' - Jubilee Square

Friday, 28 October 2011

A revamp of Lewes Road

Development of Lewes Road began northwards from the Level in the 1860's and to begin with, judging by St. Martin's Church and imposing Gladstone Terrace opposite, there were some aspirations to cater for the Victorian middle-class. The entire east side of the road, up to the extra-mural cemetery was closely planted with trees that, by the coming of the trams in 1901, had grown to near maturity. Sadly, these trees were deemed to inconvenience tram passengers on the top deck and, instead of being carefully pruned, were completely removed. The trams & trolley-buses came and went but, although a few trees have now been planted, the road has remained generally rather sad & shabby ever since. Nowadays, it also suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the City. I said 'generally rather sad & shabby' because it is only fair to mention the notable exception of the 'Franklin Arms' which, having a deep forecourt planted with two fine semi-mature trees, provides a welcome oasis.

The city council now has nearly £8M to spend on a scheme to improve the transport flows, street scene and air quality along Lewes Road and surrounding streets and will be staging exhibitions of their broad proposals for the area in November & December. This will provide an opportunity for residents and businesses  to feed-in their own suggestions which will then be used to help draw up more detailed plans before more consultation next year.

It will not be easy. Making the road more pedestrian-friendly, and reducing air-pollution are mutually incompatible targets. The first requires widening the pavements and providing more crossings. The second requires speeding-up and smoothing the traffic flow.

Venues and dates for the exhibitions are:- Hollingdean Community Centre, November 11 and 12; Coldean’s Larchwood Community Café, November 15 and 19; Hanover Community Centre, November 21, 23, 26; Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre bar, December 2, 3; Bevendean’s Norwich Drive Church Hall, December 8, 9, 10.

Times vary – for details see or call 01273 290487.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

'Vitrine' on White Night

If you intend to be out & about on Saturday evening don't forget to do some window-gazing in Bond Street & Gardner Street.

Film Co Lab has announced the list of moving image art works that will be screened in Brighton for the public art exhibition Vitrine, 11 Colourful Outside Jobs as part of White Night Brighton 2011:-

AL and AL, "I killed thousands of people last night and these are all the weapons I used" – 3D, (2009). Gresham Blake, 20 Bond Street.
Greta Alfaro, "In Ictu Oculi", (2009).
Fruity, 8 Gardner Street.
John Baldessari, "Six Colorful Inside Jobs", (1977).
artrepublic, 13 Bond Street.
Dara Birnbaum, "Mirroring" (1975).
Manor Cafe, 52 Gardner Street.
Herz Frank, "Ten Minutes Older" (Par Desmit Minutem Vecaks), (1978).
Wildcat, 6 Gardner Street.
Ian Helliwell, "Coloured Light District", (2002).
Infinity Foods Shop and Bakery, 25 North Road.
Olga Koroleva, "Dialogues: White Chocolate and Jesus, part 1", (2011).
Infinity Foods Cafe, 50 Gardner Street.
Jess MacNeil, "The Swimmers", (2009).
Temptation Cafe, 56 Gardner Street.
Jorge Santos, "(untitled)", (2011).
Badger Clothing, 25-26 Bond Street.
Richard Serra, "Hand Catching Lead", (1968).
Laste, 6 Bond Street.
Gillian Wearing, "Dancing In Peckham", (1994).
Capers, 27 Gardner Street. capers-brighton

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

36 Church Street

Rosen's, father & son, secondhand clothiers at the top of Church Street, satisfied a need in Brighton for nearly 100 years. Both the building and the trade plied there seemed to hark back to a different, almost Dickensian age. Certainly the packed rails outside and its stuffed interior always called to mind some of the Victorian shops minutely described in Dickens' novels.

In considering redevelopment, the Council planning department was originally keen to keep as much of the original structure as possible, but when work started it was found that the Church Street facade was in a dangerous condition and had to be demolished. So now it is gone.

The latest approved planning application BH2010/02604 covers partial demolition of the building and rebuilding and replication of the front façade; the retention of the rear façade with a two storey rear extension, and between the facades the erection of new structure comprising shop with ancillary office storage at ground floor level and 2 two bedroom flats above.

The drawings show that the front parapet will be preserved but the dramatic effect of the former variation in roofline will be diluted by the addition of a dormer storey. 

It is interesting that 36 Church Street was, and will remain a 'semi-detached' property. There is a small gap between its west wall and that of the property on the corner of Queens Road, formerly the Windsor Castle inn.

From Queens Road

Monday, 24 October 2011

Persephone Books

In their latest biannual newsletter Persephone Books have chosen to illuminate their pages with two images drawn from Brighton & Hove's art collection. On the cover is the locally well-known "Alice in Wonderland", c.1879, by George Leslie Dunlop, and depicting his daughter Alice. GLD was part of the St. John's Wood (London) clique of painters who favoured light-hearted, domestic genre paintings. He became an RA in 1876. The popularity of GLD's work has survived to this day, his "Daughters of Eve" fetching £170,000 in 2000.

On the inside pages is "The Coat of Many Colours" c.1926, by local artist Louis Ginnett. Louis was a member of the famous circus family, he attended Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School, became a teacher at Brighton College of Art and in 1913 was commissioned to produce an extraordinary series of murals for the Grammar School hall. These he worked on, on and off, until their completion in 1939, and they are still to be seen to this day.

School Hall, BHASVIC
Persephone Books, of Lambs Conduit Street, London, prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. With their distinctive plain grey jackets and cream 'labels' for the title wording, all their books look the same from the outside. Inside, each is different, with the endpapers chosen especially to match the date and mood of the book.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Saltdean Lido put on "At Risk" register

Earthshaking news is reported today that the Saltdean Lido and its art-deco buildings have been placed on English Heritage’s Heritage 'At Risk Register' for 2011.

The only Grade II* lido in England, Saltdean Lido appears on the listing for the first time after years of neglect have led to parts of the building becoming derelict. Only 10 buildings have been added from across the South East to the 'At Risk Register' and Saltdean Lido is the only building owned by a local authority to appear this year. The freehold of the Saltdean lido site is owned by Brighton and Hove Council and it is highly unusual for council-owned sites to appear on the Register.

This news has come extremely opportunely, as tomorrow, the Saltdean Lido Campaign will present an e-petition to the full Brighton and Hove Council meeting. This petition calls upon the Council to take action to recover the lease. It is the petition with most signatures in the Council’s history.

Modernist style buildings of this period can pose particular difficulties of maintenance and restoration due to the construction techniques employed and it is entirely inappropriate that such an iconic, architecturally important building should be at the mercy of a long leaseholder whose prime motivations lie in developing the site for profit. Despite being repeatedly told by Brighton & Hove Council that residential development will never be allowed on the site, the leaseholder continues to talk publicly about his ambitions, recently telling the BBC that he intends to restore the building 'in the future', but only when residential development has been approved. Rebecca Crook, chair of the Saltdean Lido Campaign, said: “It is clear to all that the leaseholder has deliberately run-down this building so he can say that the only option is development.  It is equally clear that Brighton and Hove Council is at fault for letting this happen and needs to start legal proceedings immediately to regain the lease”.

Some examples of the decay & neglect already present are illustrated below:-
Rotunda walls

Damp penetration to Rotunda

Rotunda flooring
English Heritage states in its Heritage at Risk Register that local authorities have a primary role in protecting the historic environment and tackling the issue of neglected buildings.  It says that local authorities can take action to secure the preservation of historic buildings through the use of statutory notices.  To help local authorities make more frequent and timely use of their statutory powers, English Heritage runs a grant scheme to underwrite a significant proportion of the irrecoverable costs involved in serving Urgent Works and Repairs Notices.

The Save Saltdean Lido campaign has ambitious plans for the site and high-profile supporters include English Heritage and the 20th Century Society. Conran & Partners, Sir Terence Conran’s architecture and design practice, has backed the Campaign by drawing up viable alternative plans for the entire site with no residential element.

The Campaign has developed a business plan – described as ‘robust’ by an independent consultant which lays out how the site could be financially self-sufficient if operated by a Community Interest Company (not-for-profit organisation) which means that all the profits would go back into the building.

More details about the Campaign can be found at
The Council meeting at which the petition will be presented starts at 4.30 pm on 20th October.

Earlier posts:-
The City Council pledges to save Saltdean Lido
Saltdean Lido petition

Monday, 17 October 2011

Down with seafront & other signs!

The Western Esplanade, Hove has its own special appeal to many residents which is entirely different from the razzmatazz of Brighton's lower promenade. Its informal atmosphere with fewer distractions from the sea, shingle and sky provides an ideal environment on a fine day for a leisurely stroll or jog.

Anticipatory pleasure was also provided by the approach to the seafront walk from Kingsway where on several of the paths, the sea, horizon, and sky is framed by tamarisk with the simple picture often completed by a passing boat. That was how it use to be before, a few years ago, the Council stuck up this obtrusive sign, blotting out a big chunk of the view.

Of course one NEVER sees anyone reading the sign, which is no surprise, since the amount of useful information provided is negligible. Most of it is in the tone of a bossy nanny. "Do not jump. Do not dive". The sea can be rough, the beach can be steep, don't go into deep water if you can't swim. - And does anyone really not know to dial 999 in an emergency, or to stay out of the sun if they don't want to get sunburned?

The Council has recently gone to some efforts to reduce the number of estate agents' signs in sensitive areas producing a vast improvement in the appearance of some historic neighbourhoods. It should also look to put its own house in order. There is surely a vast excess of unnecessary visual clutter in our urban environment, including traffic signs, that nobody takes any notice of whatsoever. I sometime think it should all be swept away so that we can start again with the really essential ones which, because of the lack of visual competition, would be all the more effective.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Royal Escape continued

Continued from: The Royal Escape.

The mate of the Surprise was one Dick Carver who, on October 15th, 1651 had carried the King through the surf to the boat. Dick was a life-long Quaker and a descendent of the protestant martyr Deryk Carver who lived in the Black Lion Brewery the site of which, in Black Lion Street, is marked with a plaque.

After the King's restoration Dick Carver also sought recognition of his services and, when being asked what he wanted, he simply requested the release of imprisoned Quakers. Thousands were in prison at this time either for failing to attend church, blasphemy or unlawful assembly. In the event only six were released but they included John Bunyan who had been in and out of prison for years for his nonconformism. Although Bunyan was not a Quaker, the Society of Friends had interests in common with him and had taken up his cause. He was never rearrested.

The Royal Escape

360 years today Charles II landed safely in Fecamp, Normandy, having purportedly spent the previous night in the George Inn, West Street, Brighton, shown here in 1878. It seems that the name of this inn may have changed several times since 1651(perhaps according to the politics of the landlord). An old print dated two years after the restoration in 1660, is said to show it as the King's Head and sometime after 1878 it again reverted to that name which it retained  up until its demolition in the 1930's.

The King had been ferried to France by Captain Nicholas Tattersall of Shoreham in his 60 ton collier The Surprise. The dowty Captain presumably laid low after that episode but, after the King was restored, he became somewhat peeved at not receiving due recognition and sailed his boat round to the Thames to picket Whitehall Palace. The King promptly entered the boat into the Navy lists as The Royal Escape and granted the Captain an annuity of £100. The gallant Captain eventually purchased the Old Ship Inn (now hotel) in Brighton where no doubt, embroidered accounts of his exploit greatly assisted trade. Relics of The Royal Escape are displayed in the lobby of the Old Ship to this day. Captain Tattersall died in 1674 and his tomb, with a florid tribute, may be seen in St. Nicholas churchyard.

See also: West Street: then & now (2)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Pavilion ice-skating for next 5 years

From a Council press release:-

A real ice rink in the grounds of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion is set to return for another five consecutive winters.
The council’s planning committee has given permission for the attraction to return between early November and the end of January until 2016.
It would include temporary buildings housing a restaurant, toilets and skate hire room.
All structures have to be removed by February 9 each year.
The first ice rink was installed between late October and late January last year.
There are small changes to details of the attraction.  The ice surface is slightly larger – 800 sq m rather than 700.   There will be a bigger public viewing area in front of the café, plus a special photographic deck to the south of it.
Opening hours will be 10am to 10.30pm, with 250 people allowed on the ice at any one time.  Floodlighting has to be switched off by 11pm.
Planning officers advised councillors that the attraction should be permitted as it would be a boost to tourism and recreation without any long-term harm to the Pavilion.
Chair of the planning committee Cllr Phelim MacCafferty said:  “Against the backdrop of our city's famous and historic Pavilion, councillors have given the go-ahead for ice skating in the open air over the holiday season.
“We clearly feel this is a good thing to have when outdoor recreation opportunities are otherwise limited in the winter.
“It should boost the local economy by providing another reason for visitors to come to the city during these quieter months.  We’ve imposed strict conditions to make sure the grounds are reinstated so there’s no long-term harm.”

See also: Ice-skating to return to the Pavilion?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Work on the London Road Viaduct

In planning application BH2011/02884, Network Rail describes a number of defects on the London Road viaduct on the section between the Preston Road and Beaconsfield Road. The condition of the viaduct is said to present a safety hazard to the retail premises and members of the public below.

The businesses below are to be relocated while the remedial work is carried out. The work proposed seems quite extensive and includes; removal of vegetation and treatment of the roots, the replacement of missing, spalled or loose bricks and pier corbels, stitching of fractures, repointing, repair of cornices and the installation of lead flashings.

The arches involved stretch from the east side of Preston Road to the west side of Beaconsfield Road. Presumably Network Rail has to prioritise its maintenance programme. The crop of greenery seen here is just outside the zone and will evidently survive for the time being . . .

See also: The London Road Viaduct

Monday, 10 October 2011

A Tower of Dreams

The scaffolding is due to be removed from the Pepperpot in the 3rd week of October which means that, all being well, it will be down in time for the fantastic Shared Space and Light 'Tower of Dreams'  postponed from  September. This free event is taking place 7.30pm - 10.30pm on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October (the latter being 'White Nights').

Local people, ranging from a 5 year old to an 86 year old, who has lived next door to the Pepperpot for 60 years, have been filmed while answering the question "What could the Pepper pot be?" These images will be projected on to the door of the building whilst their visons of its future use will materialise around them. These visions include; a climbing wall, a cafe, a camera obscura, an artist's studio, an audio-mixing workshop and a lighthouse - all providing Shared Space & Light ample opportunity to create an unforgettable collective experience.
Shared Space & Light is a Brighton-based organisation dedicated to the use of video-mapping to create large scale public projection events within the built environment.

Earlier posts about the Pepperpot:
More Pepperpot news
News from the Pepperpot
Winter warmer at the Pepperpot
Plans for the Pepperpot
The Pepperpot

Final adjustments . .

Earlier posts:
Wheel progress 3
Wheel progress 2
Wheel progress . .
Wheel row rumbles on
Giant ferris wheel approved
The Brighton "O"

Friday, 7 October 2011

Plans submitted for London Road Coop

A planning application BH2011/02417 has been submitted to demolish the London Road Coop and to erect 3 to 6 storeys providing 407 units of student accommodation and 4 retail units (A1) at ground floor level with new service area vehicular access from Baker Street and landscaping works.

It is proposed that the student accommodation should be managed by Fresh Student Living, a specialist Student Accommodation company, who have provided a 16 page management plan which is included with the application.

The proposed design is uninspiring. The jumble of random rectangles presented by the London Road elevation seems devoid of any aesthetic message, the architect being determined to deny the eye any sense of rhythm or continuity of line.

It is difficult to see that this is a suitable area for student accommodation and that such an influx will do anything to assist the regeneration of the London Road shopping area.

RSCH Planning Exhibitions

During October the hospital redevelopment team will be running exhibitions at three locations across Brighton and Hove. These exhibitions are open to all and will show the plans for the redevelopment of the RSCH that were formally submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council at the end of September.  With professional staff on hand to answer any questions the exhibitions will give the people of Brighton and Hove a chance to see the future of acute and specialised healthcare in their city.

Any queries about the exhibitions contact the redevelopment team:-
Facebook:     search for 'RSCH redevelopment'
Post:             3Ts Engagement, Sussex House, Abbey Road, Brighton, BN2 1ES
Phone:          (01273) 523375

Previous posts on this topic:-
Plans for new RSCH submitted
RSCH planning exhibitions
Redeveloping the RSCH
The RSC Hospital redevelopment
Plans for the Royal Sussex Hospital
The Royal Sussex County Hospital redevelopment

Goodbye "Indian summer"



Work starts on the Keep

The start of work on a new historical resource centre for East Sussex and Brighton and Hove, "The Keep" will be celebrated this week at a ‘turf cutting’ at the Woollards Field site.
East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Sussex are working in partnership to provide The Keep, at a cost of £19m.  The new centre is due to open to the public in 2013.
Councillor Bill Randall, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “We’re really excited that The Keep is underway. It will be a wonderful resource for residents across Sussex bringing so many archives together for the first time. It will provide an outstanding facility for people of all ages to enjoy and learn about our rich and colourful history.”
Councillor Tony Freebody, Lead Member for Community Services at the County Council said: “The Keep will be the new home for over 900 years of historical resources and collections of local, national and international importance.  It will house over six miles of archives and when completed will be a wonderful resource for the people of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.”
University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor Professor Farthing said: “The Keep is an excellent collaboration - a purpose-built facility that will house the county’s valuable collections and the University’s own extraordinary archives and the combined expertise of county and university archivists, for the benefit of the whole community.”
(From a City Council press release.)

The question of what will happen to Brighton's centrally located History Centre has still to be decided.

Related post: "The Keep gets a go-ahead"

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Wheel progress 2

Rapidly taking shape. 

I am more than ever convinced that this particular location between the Palace Pier and the Aquarium terraces could not have been bettered. It seems far more appropriate aesthetically than that proposed for the i360 at the end of Regency Square.

See also: Wheel progress

Monday, 3 October 2011

Exciting times in Patcham Village

Early Sunday morning (2nd Oct) the driver of a Seat Alhambra travelling north on the A23 in a 30mph zone, lost control on the gentle, left-hand, downhill bend coming into Patcham Village, veered across the south-bound carriageway, took out a Pelican-crossing control cabinet, careered down a grassy bank, hit a parked Renault Megane, and then a Multipla, which it sent careering into the wall of the Grade II listed, Elizabethan Cottage Tandoori. It was finally bought to a halt by a parked Ford Mondeo. The bang of at least one of the collisions could be heard all over the village.

The impact of the Multipla with the wall which is solid and about 18 inches thick shattered the window and pushed in a section of the wall by about an inch.

The driver was stretchered off to hospital in a neck brace but according to the Argus was believed to be not seriously hurt. It is a matter of extreme good fortune that there were not any pedestrians in the area since they are not protected with seatbelts or air bags. 

I await with interest the court case and police report, in particular the driver's age . . . .