Friday, 28 April 2017

Pride 2017: a Royal Pavilion & Museums float

Pride 2016

Royal Pavilion & Museums will take part in this year’s Brighton & Hove Pride, making it the first Museum service to have a Pride float in the UK.  Pride 2017, under the title 'The Summer of Love', will mark the 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK via the Sexual Offences Act (1967). All of the RPM's  five sites – from the Royal Pavilion to Preston Manor will be represented on the float. Staff will build the float and appear on it on the day, many of them in costumes they’ve made themselves.

This is just one item in an extensive programme of projects, exhibitions, displays and activities to celebrate the 50 years since the 1967 Act.
For full programme see:- LGBTQ takes centre stage at Brighton Museum.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Improvements at bus-stops

Real Time Information boards are to be installed at the following 18 bus-stops to supplement the 180 already existing in the city:-

Marine Drive - Marine Gate, westbound
Kingsway - Westbourne Villas, eastbound
The Drive - Upper Drive, southbound
Eastbourne Road
Ditchling Road - St Matthias Church, southbound
Dyke Road Avenue – Hillbrow, southbound
Western Road – Clarence Square, westbound
Portland Road – School Road, westbound
Mile Oak shops, southbound
Fleet Street
Manor Road – Bristol Gardens
Valley Drive – Whitehorn Drive, southbound
Old Shoreham Road – Hove Park Villas, westbound and eastbound
North Road – North Laine
Whitehawk Road – Findon Road, southbound
Davigdor Road – Lyon Close, westbound
Portland Road – Coleman Avenue

The cost of  over £200,000 has mainly come from property developers who negotiate contributions with the council planning department to pay for local improvements – called Section 106 agreements.

It is expected the new signs will be working by the end of August. They will complement 180 already operating citywide..

Bus-stop parking restrictions

Parking restrictions at 11 bus stops will be beefed up to stop selfish drivers blocking access to buses for people with mobility problems. These make any driver pulling up in a bus stop liable to a £70 fine. Consultation letters to locals are going out this week.

The proposed locations (street, bus stop, direction) are:-

Bexhill Road - Balsdean Road southbound and northbound
Bolney Road - already completed
Hangleton Way eastbound
Hodshrove Road
Poplar Avenue - Sherbourne Road
Carden Hill - Rotherfield Crescent southbound
Sherbourne Road - Sherbourne Close southbound
Hangleton Road - The Twitten northbound and southbound
West Way Twitten, westbound

Friday, 21 April 2017

Road changes at the RSCH: 22 & 29 April

On Saturdays 22 and 29 of April the service road that leads to the County Hospital’s Multi-storey Car Park will be closed at its east end between 2pm and midnight. This is to allow preparations for a new building that will stand beside it. The road has to be dug up as part of these preparations.

Vehicles for the car park, the Children’s Hospital, the Millennium Wing, the Sussex Kidney Unit and the Thomas Kemp Tower should use Upper Abbey Road and Whitehawk Hill Road to enter and leave the hospital. These roads are on the west of the hospital. Please download this map to help reach the correct entrance.

RSCH site map showing alternate vehicle routes - 22 & 29 April

Vehicle access to the Emergency Department (A&E) will not be affected by the works.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Falmer Long Barn

The barn today

Restoration c.1948

Falmer Court Farm long barn is probably C16 in date and is listed grade II*. It is faced with flints with a half-hipped thatched roof and has two waggon entrances and 2 lunette windows on each side. Inside, the barn has tie-beams, crown-posts with braces and some queen posts.

It was re-thatched 70 years ago just after WW2. It seems probable that it is still the same thatch.


Monochromes from the RPM collections.

Stanmer Park restoration project

Following confirmation, in January, of a grant of £3.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme, this project will see around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape and listed buildings restored and given new life. The ambitious landscaping scheme will return the parkland close to the original 18th century design.

250 new trees will be planted, others will be relocated and groups of self-seeded trees removed.

The walled garden will be restored to become the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the newly-restored park. Dating from around 1727, the garden was originally used to grow food and plants for Stanmer House and currently houses the council’s plant nursery. Plans will see the whole area transformed to include a new garden centre, cafĂ© and seating area alongside a formal garden with water feature. Plumpton College will lead on developing and managing the garden.

The Permaculture Trust’s orchard will be stocked with new apple trees.

A listed barn beside the walled garden will be restored and put back into use.

The original Green Drive will be recreated providing an attractive shared route for pedestrians and cyclists from the Lower Lodges through the parkland.

The Frankland Monument, erected in memory of MP Frederick Frankland in 1775 on the edge of the great wood is currently in poor condition and hidden from view. The scheme will see this listed monument restored.

Parking at the front of Stanmer House will be removed, creating a simple and open arrival area. Visitors will be encouraged to park at the Lower Lodges entrance and a new car park will be created on The Patchway for visitors to the walled garden, Stanmer House and village businesses.

A rainwater catcher built around 1870 to provide clean water for Stanmer House will be restored.

Work is due to start early in 2018 and be completed the following year.

See also:- Stanmer Park Heritage Lottery bid

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Bye, bye bowling . . .

The last bowling green in use summer 2016.
For many decades the summer scene in Preston park has been graced with the sight of white-clad bowls players on emerald, beautifully manicured greens. But now no more. Two greens went out of use several years ago and were turned into wildflower "meadows". Another went last year, the last has gone this and is already showing signs of neglect.

Now gradually returning to nature.

The Men's Bowling Pavilion
Consequently the Men's Pavilion, is now redundant in its original purpose. It is a nice little building that was once used as the back drop of one of the scenes in the film 'The First Gentleman' the story of a romance between the daughter of the Prince Regent and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. This was also filmed partly in the Royal Pavilion—the first film to be shot there.

The council will soon be putting the pavilion up for lease and a meeting is to be held to discuss the viability of the community acquiring that lease for the benefit of all. This is the only remaining building in the park that could be reserved for such use.

The meeting is on 3rd May at 7.30pm in the Men’s Bowls Pavilion.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Easter Monday Volunteer Review

Volunteers marching along the Marine Parade towards the Downs

THE VOLUNTEER REVIEW AT BRIGHTON.---Lord Clyde's report on the volunteer review and field-day at Brighton on Easter Monday was published on Thursday. He praises the excellence of the arrangements by which, together with the punctuality and order of the volunteers themselves, a force of 20,000 men was brought to the places of rendezvous and told off for drill and manoeuvre. The marching past was, he says, on the whole admirably performed. The manoeuvres which followed had no other object than to practise the volunteer brigades and battalions in changing position and working together in a large body. He speaks in highly eulogistic terms of the fine spirit of the volunteers, and says that the manner in which they were commanded and " the intelligent, ready way in which they obeyed the orders they received, proved how zealously both officers and men had applied themselves to the patriotic object that all have in view.".

Map of the 1871 manoeuvres from the RPM Image Store

Friday, 14 April 2017

Candidates sought for new RPM Cultural Trust

The Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM) is recruiting trustees and a chair for its new cultural trust shadow board.

The city council currently manages the Royal Pavilion & Museums and is creating a charitable trust to manage its service operation and development in future. The trust is seen as a significant step towards the future aim of creating a dynamic, resilient cultural and heritage trust for the city, bringing together RPM and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival in a single entity.

The shadow board will guide the inception of the new organisation and help shape its structure and governance as well as new ways of working.

BHCC is looking to create a diverse board and applications from all sections of the community are welcome.

Applicants should have an understanding and passion for heritage, museums and collections and their social role and purpose. Demonstrable experience or a professional qualification in a range of sectors, including culture, arts, heritage, legal, charity, finance, property or transformational change, will be relevant to the role.

For more details and recruitment pack please follow the link:

Find out more about Royal Pavilion & Museums' future management proposals.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Patcham Mill

The listed Patcham (or Waterhall) Mill has been beautifully restored over the last decade or so. It is good to know its future as a landmark is assured.

The most picturesque view of it would be from the south-west with the Green Ridge dewpond in the foreground. Unfortunately this view is ruined by an insensitively sited noticeboard.

Extract from My Brighton & Hove:- 
"Waterhall Mill is now more commonly known as Patcham Mill . A tower-mill built in 1884-5 for baker Joseph Harris, it was the last working windmill to be erected in Sussex and continued to grind corn until 1924; part of its machinery came from the old Preston Mill. It was sold for just £50 in 1928 and was converted into a house in 1936, but it was used by the Home Guard during the war before reverting to private use in 1950. The mill, which has a rendered tower forty feet tall, was completely modernised in 1975 with new sweeps, and is now a desirable residence and listed building."

Friday, 7 April 2017

Watch this space

The Pagoda Chinese restaurant.
When this converted Thames lighter in the Marina, was the Pagoda Chinese restaurant it had a pan-tiled pitched roof. After the restaurant closed last year the tiles, presumably of some value, were stripped off. It looked a sorry sight.

Now it has been given a new flat roof and other work appears to be in progress. 

A banner on the roof.
What it is going to be is anybody's guess.


Prinny's piano to return to Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation has supported the purchase of King George IV’s only surviving grand piano at auction.  The historic piece was secured after a successful bid of £62k was made using money from Art Fund, Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, The Leche Trust and the Royal Pavilion Foundation. The piano could be on display at the Royal Pavilion as early as the Easter weekend 2017.
The piano, commissioned for the Royal Pavilion by George IV in c.1821, was made by Thomas Tomkison and is the most celebrated of Tomkison’s surviving works. The maker’s flamboyant approach to case decoration is thought to have appealed to George’s Francophile and adventurous taste. The piano, described as an elegant, rosewood grand, is extravagantly decorated, inlaid with brass, gilt mouldings, and gilt turnbuckles and has elegantly carved legs.

At a cost of £236 5/- the piano was well over twice the cost of a standard top quality English grand piano at the time. Accounts reveal that Tomkison supplied other ‘extra elegant’ pianos to the Prince Regent, but no others are known to have survived.

Brighton Town Hall - the future

The Curator speaks about the Constable Exhibition

Leader of the Council on Madeira Terraces