Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The New England Inn

The New England Inn (latterly the Cobbler's Thumb), although neglected and unsympathetically painted, forms a historical and harmonious pairing with the listed goods bridge in the background and is still an elegant adornment of an important corner. It was the public house of choice for hundreds of the railway workers who passed it on the way home from work to their nearby purpose-built dwellings. It is ironic that, while the goods bridge awaits a long planned "ghost train" sculpture to commemorate the past industry of the area, a still-standing memento of the era is scheduled for demolition.

The building is owned by the Council and on 21 May 2013 they submitted planning application BH2013/01664 for prior approval to demolish the building on the grounds that it had become unsafe. From a casual inspection this seems surprising. The pub has only been closed a few years and the roof appears sound and all 4 walls stand square and intact. The only sign of deterioration is associated with a later extension on the south side. These extensions often tended to be jerry-built and in this case its foundations appear to be failing and the masonry is pulling away from the original wall. One would think this could be easily rectified  by demolishing the extension. The building could then be renovated and converted to several flats as has happened to public houses elsewhere in the City.

As seems to happen all too often the Council is defaulting to a simplistic solution without proper consultation. The decision on the planning application was that prior approval was not needed, so the fate of the building still hangs in the balance. Representations have been made. The Council should surely think again.

See also:-
"Locomotive" art work for Greenway bridge.
"Ghost"-train chugging closer . . .
The Greenway bridge 'locomotive' - update

The Level looking good . . .

Looking north-east

Looking north-west
The south section of the Level, scheduled to open in July, is already promising to exceed expectations in attractiveness and play facilites. It suggests that the decision to move the skate-park to the north field will be seen to have been fully vindicated notwithstanding strong opposition. Leaving it in the south would have resulted in a cramped, unbalanced design. Set against the overall benefits the loss of less than a quarter of the north field to a landscaped skate-park pales into insignificance.

An official celebration opening ceremony is scheduled for September.

See also:-
Goodbye to the old Level
The Level restoration begins

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Hippodrome restoration project

Brighton architects Russ Drage have been working 7 months on plans for restoring the Hippodrome and returning it to viable use. The Hippodrome and Duke's Lane have the same owner and the site being considered, much of which is hidden to view, is of similar size to that of the Brighton Centre.  The plans ambitiously extend to enhancing the whole area by re-modelling Duke's Lane, creating a new public square off Middle Street, re-fenestrating Hippodrome House, and revealing the Hippodrome's spectacular dome to street view, probably for the first time in 100 years.

The Hippodrome has acquired several layers of decor in its history but restoration will be targeted at the Matcham -Walker interior of 1915 which is what is mostly seen today. The main alteration needed to adapt the space for present day viable use will be the installation of a new floor at the level of the bottom of the balcony thus dividing the auditorium horizontally into two sections. The lower sections will contain 3 self-contained cinema auditoria.  The upper section will be restaurant space allowing patrons impressive views of the tented dome and ornate decor. All alterations are intended to be completely reversible so that the building could be returned to theatre use if ever this became an economic proposition.

The plans are expected to go out to public consultation  this summer and  a planning application submitted in September.
For further details see "The Hippodrome Restoration Project".
Earlier post: Brighton Hippodrome

Saturday, 15 June 2013

A Plaque for St. Mary's Hall

A Blue Plaque was unveiled today by T J Elliot TD, MA, a past Governor of St. Mary's Hall school to commemorate its founding by his ancestor the Revd. Henry Venn Elliot. St Mary's Hall was one of the country's oldest schools for girls and was inspired by the clergy daughter school in Casterton (attended by the Brontë sisters and the inspiration for Jane Eyre). The plaque also commemorates the life of his sister Charlotte Elliot, the hymn writer.

Welcome speeches were made by Deputy Mayor Bill Randall, Averil Older, Chair of the City's Blue Plaque Panel, & Duane Passman, Director of 3T's on behalf of the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust.

Following St Mary’s Hall merger with Roedean in 2009, St. Mary's Hall closed and is now in the process of being renovated to house the Administrative Centre for the Hospitals Trust. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Puget's Cottage

This Google Earth view shows Timpsons, 15 North Street and Puget's Cottage behind. The latter is not visible from the public highway. They date from c.1770 and c.1700 respectively and thus are among the oldest properties in the Old Town. They are wonderful examples of the pre-Regency vernacular and exemplify the variety of different building materials that were used 300 years ago. This included, bungaroosh, cobbles and non-local ironstone which was used as ship's ballast and left by ships on the beach when they took on cargo.

Both properties are scheduled for demolition as part of the Hannington Lane development. This is a splendid project but would be even better if the plans could be modified to include the restoration and preservation of these properties as an attractive and informative heritage feature. 

To assist in this aim an application has been made to English Heritage for spot-listing of both properties.

 Puget's Cottage, w. elevation
See also:- Hannington Lane

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Brighton & Hove Humanists

"Religious Rites and Animal Suffering"
Trish Penney

7.30 pm for 8 at Lord Nelson, Trafalgar Street.

Queen's Road - then & now (2)

1905, looking north from Air Street
The same view today
In 1905 no.129 on the right, dating from the 1840's, was occupied by an Architect & Surveyor. The passage-way at the side, led to a coal merchant. Further up the road 128, 127 , have only been replaced in the last few years. In the distance the original buildings still remain up to the corner of Church Street, where the Windsor Castle public house has been replaced by a modern block.