Friday, 30 August 2013

Travellers on Surrenden Field

The field is surrounded by heavy posts and low timber railing. This was installed by the Council a few years back to secure the field against invasion by unauthorised vehicles. I don't know why they bothered - the gate was open.

A Blue Plaque to Edward VII

8 King's Gardens

Today at 8 King's Gardens, Hove, the City Mayor, Cr Denise Cobb, unveiled a plaque to commemorate Edward VII's frequent visits to 8 King's Gardens, Hove.

The City Mayor with residents. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

"PaybyPhone" coming to Brighton

In today's City Council press release announcing this innovation the following paragraph attracted my attention:-

"There is a service charge of 15p for PayByPhone transactions, in line with the practice of most other councils which offer the service alongside pay and display machines. This covers the cost of providing the service and processing the payment."

Who covers the cost of providing the coin machines, maintaining them and collecting the money? Will the PaybyPhone user be charged at a lower hourly parking rate to allow for this?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Flourishing Fig

It is said that figs like to have their roots restricted but this is ridiculous. This tree is on the top of the cliff-retaining wall opposite Asda. It has presumably grown from a seed deposited in the droppings of a seagull or pigeon that had been scavenging waste bins nearby. It is clearly thriving, perhaps another sign of climate change. Figs in Sussex have put on about 18" of growth this year, about double the usual amount, and they aren't finished yet.

Bill McIlroy 1928 - 2013

The Argus byline "He helped to make Brighton godless"is probably an epitaph Bill would appreciate. Two of his activities in Brighton not mentioned by the Argus tribute are his membership of the Brighton & Hove Debating Society and his service on the Council's Commemorative (Blue) Plaque Panel.

The tribute of the National Secular Society can be read here.

Bill at the "Protest the Pope " march in 2010
He will be much missed . . .

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The White Lodge

Distinctive Simpson chimney
and surface finish

The White Lodge, 40 The Cliff, Roedean, was designed in the early 20's by Sir John Simpson the architect of Roedean School, just half a mile due east. Sir John was the oldest son of local architect Thomas Simpson of 16 Ship Street and had a distinguished architectural career. He also designed West Down School, Winchester; some Lancing College buildings; Haileybury College and Gresham's School, Holt. He was President of the RIBA, 1919-20, and knighted in 1924.
Extraordinarily, associations of the White Lodge with illustrious individuals does not end there. The first occupant of the house was Lady Victoria Sackville who moved there from 38-40 Sussex Square which she had had completely remodelled by her very close friend the architect Edwin Lutyens. 'Ned' as she called him was further called on to alter The White Lodge to her liking which included adding the two symmetrical wings. In the garden there is still a terrace of white limestone and black slate said to have been worked on by Lutyens himself.

Sadly such an architectural provenance was of little concern to 20th.C developers. In the late 1980's  the original square-paned window joinery was replaced with uPVC and the east wing was re-roofed with glazed green pantiles. Thus the lamentable results seen in the top photograph. One wonders if Brighton's planning department were asleep! Notwithstanding, this still remains the best viewpoint of the house; the elevations facing The Cliff are even more of a dog's breakfast.
With thanks to Andrew Doig for information supplied

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

19/20 The Square, Patcham

These are a pair of listed derelict 18C properties tucked away just off the Old London Road, Patcham and last occupied in 1938. They are accessed by a short footpath from an unmade-up cul-de-sac. The northern one is of flint with brick quoins and Georgian sliding sash windows. It has a tiny fireplace and a garden door in the north wall. The slate pent roof is close to collapse. The southern property is of brick.

Planning applications BH2013/02595&6 proposes renovation of the flint-built property and rebuilding of the brick-built one and combining the two into a one-bedroom dwelling with a mezzanine floor. On the northerly disposed garden is proposed an additional single storey two-bedroomed property designed to have the appearance of a brick garden wall.

The Square. South wall of no.20 on the left.

A Level success?

The fountain area
Although the restoration scheme for the Level is not yet complete it may not be too soon to call it a resounding success. This is if the popularity of the children's play section & fountains is anything to go by. Ever since it re-opened and the weather has been dry it has been packed. Which just goes to demonstrate what a need there was for such play facilities in this area. One hopes the grassy areas will stand the strain.

It is good to see the pergolas re-erected and the twin pavilions renovated. If there is any criticism to be made it is that the original footprint of the boating lake has not been sufficiently emphasised so recalling the purpose of the bridges. This could have been easily achieved with contrasting paving for the wet area and more jets each side of the bridges. These are perhaps merely quibbles of a heritage-minded perfectionist. On the whole it looks good and will improve as all the new plants grow to maturity.

Petanque area
What is now a quiet area for rest & relaxation was formerly the skate park and might still be if some vociferous opponents of the scheme had had their way.

Skate park
With more space than the original site allowed the new skate park promises to be one of the best in the country, and the north-west triangle of the Level is now in the course of being returned to grass to compensate for the area lost.

The Level restoration came about mainly by the hard work & determination of a small team of Council Officers and may turn out to be the most successful Council project in living memory.

See also:-
Goodbye to the old Level
Argus letter

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The petty annoyances of rail travel

Click on image to enlarge
Two tickets each  purchased on the Southern Railway website on the evening of the 16th August 2013 for the same journey (10.19am) on the 17th. 

The challenge is to find any difference in the journey offered except the price.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Brighton Phil. appeal

The Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra has launched an urgent fundraising campaign to raise £70,000 to enable it to meet payment commitments and present the 2013-14 season. Founded in 1925 by Herbert Menges, the orchestra, which relies solely on donations and ticket sales, has seen a reduction in the number of legacies received over the past few years.

‘Orchestras everywhere, indeed the arts in general, are facing interesting challenges during the economic circumstances in which we are placed, but I am hopeful that with your support, we will survive the current situation, and emerge stronger as a result,’ said BPO music director Barry Wordsworth.

If you are able to donate please contact Brighton Philharmonic on 01273 622900, or, or send any cheques made payable to Brighton and Hove Philharmonic Society to 41, George Street, Brighton, BN2 1RJ by 17th August.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Brunswick Festival 2013

The Brighton Society Stall 2012
Don't forget to visit the Brighton Society stall on Saturday, August 17th between noon and 7 pm. Fascinating selection of books & leaflets about Brighton's history and development, and information about the Society's campaigns and successes past & present.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Monday, 5 August 2013

Van Alen penthouse - update

The application BH2012/03157 (see post here) to extend the westerly penthouse flat over its terrace, was refused by the planning committee on 12 Dec 2012. This decision was appealed by the applicant. The appeal has now been dismissed.

The Planning Inspector's report dated 18 July 2013 makes reference to the detrimental impact the extension would have on the spatial relationship with the neighbouring building, the disruption of the existing design by the additional bulk and mass, and the harm caused to strategic views of  the Kingscliffe conservation area from Madeira Drive.

One hopes this goes some small way to setting a precedent that architect- designed landmark buildings should not have their integrity impaired at the whim of transitory owners.

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Hippodrome restoration - update.

The structural survey of the building's fabric is nearing completion. There are no signs of damp ingress and falls of large chunks of the decorative plasterwork may be caused by slight movement in the foundations. This in turn is tentatively attributed to the 1901 alterations by which theatre architect Frank Matcham converted the original skating rink into a theatre. The removal of two supporting pillars to form the proscenium arch with flytower behind could have slightly unbalanced the structure. 

The overriding aim of the project team remains to design around all the important heritage features and to ensure that all work is fully reversible so that, should the opportunity arise in the future, the building can be returned to a live performance venue. It is even hoped to preserve, as a public exit/entrance, the equestrian ramp which still remains in the north-east corner. Up this ramp circus animals were introduced into the auditorium from stables located behind Hippodrome House.

The Hippodrome even in its present state is an awe-inspiring, almost breathtaking, space. Five years have passed since it was closed as a bingo hall. Rumours of other uses have come to nothing. The present proposals have strong financial backing and are the only show in town. If they come to fruition the public will be able enjoy once more something of the grandeur of the dome and the building will be safe for another generation. The project deserves support.

Looking towards the Middle Street entrance from the stage mezzanine.
See also:-