Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Restorations in Prestpn Park

Work has started to restore and improve the Rose and Coronation Gardens in Preston Park, in a bid to have them looking blooming lovely by the summer.

The Rose Garden
The improvements are being made as part of the Preston Park Conservation Management Plan, developed by consultants, in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council’s Cityparks team and the Friends of Preston Park.

Work in the Rose Gardens will include redesigning and planting the herbaceous borders and installing heritage benches to the bays.

The Coronation Garden project will see wild flowers and meadow grass re-instated, views into the parkland opened up, trees highlighted and brick structures repaired.

Work has already started to reduce the height of hedges in the rose garden borders and clear the beds. Weed infested soil is also being removed and replaced, ready for replanting.

Work to prepare the Coronation Garden for wildflower planting will start soon. The plants have been chosen to be wildlife friendly and increase biodiversity. The existing handrails will also be removed, and new pathways created. Fencing will be installed around the famous twin elms.

The work is being funded by section 106 developer contributions and is due to be completed by the end of the summer.Coronation garden

The two restoration schemes were the subject of a public vote last year when  250 park goers were asked which project should be started first.

The results were very close with the Rose Garden winning by just six votes. However, the council has funding to progress both schemes, so work is starting on both projects.

The Coronation Garden

Monday, 19 February 2018

Help Keep Fabrica

Only £5000 of £20,000 target to go.

Rights of way consultation

Footpath to the Chattri

The city council is responsible for maintaining around 159km of public rights of way all over the city, and has recently published a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) setting out its 10 year plan.

Now a public consultation asks those with an interest in the countryside what they think of the council’s proposals to manage footpaths and rights of way in the city.

The plan sets out how the council is planning to improve provision for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and those with mobility issues.

Proposals also include plans to create more opportunities for volunteering and explore new funding sources.

To see a copy of the Brighton & Hove Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2017 - 2027 and take part in the consultation visit the Rights of Way pages at:

The consultation closes on 18th May.

Greenway vandalism update.

Further to the earlier post BHCC is not responsible for these lighting bollards. BHCC are however trying to contact the owners presumed to be the original developers.

Aubrey Beardsley 120

Aubrey Beardsley, artist, was born in Brighton in 1872 and attended Brighton Grammar School. After a brief period as an insurance clerk in London, he followed the advice of painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones and became a professional artist.

During his short career Beardsley illustrated works such as Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Wilde's Salome and Pope's The Rape of the Lock. As the art editor of the Decadent journals The Yellow Book and The Savoy, he achieved notoriety for his black and white work — fine sweeping lines coupled with an element of the grotesque. 

Sadly, he suffered with tuberculosis and died at the tragically early age of 25. Despite this, his reputation as a significant figure in the Aesthetic movement continues to flourish.

'Beardsley 120' is co- ordinated by Alexia Lazou (Victorians Valued) and presents aspects of Beardsley's life and work in  tours, talks and films.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Greenway vandalism

The lighting bollards along the Stroudley Road section of the Greenway were ruined by mindless vandals several weeks ago. Now none of them work. Council reaction so far seems to have been to tape over the exposed wiring and openings.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Groyne repairs

The first part of the Albion groyne was built in 1876 but its width was doubled in 1896 when it was extended over the storm water outfall running alongside. It originally had gas-lighting for the benefit of fishermen at sea but this presumably became redundant when the Palace Pier opened in 1899.

The carcass wall is constructed of pre-cast concrete and flint blocks but the upstanding wall along the edge is of hand-laid flints. This wall suffers battering from both sides in stormy weather and, as a result, a long section of this has evidently suffered damage and is being rebuilt.

A sloping joint between upper and lower sections of the carcass wall probably indicates the top of the original storm water outfall.

The groyne  is grade II listed as a "groyne and pleasure promenade, serving for a time as a coal delivery pier. c1880, sections of it rebuilt through the C20. Flint, walkway of paving stones." 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Ovingdean development

View of site looking west from Falmer Rd.

View of site looking south from Ovingdean Rd.

Aerial view
Outline planning application BH2016/05530 for the construction of 45 dwellings on greenfield land was refused permission on 23 May last year but the applicant appealed. The appeal was due to commence on 24 April but at a meeting on 7th February the planning committee decided not to defend its refusal at the appeal.

Based on legal advice the council has withdrawn two of its reasons for refusal. These are:
  • Harm caused to setting of Ovingdean and Rottingdean Conservation areas and loss of gap between the villages. 
  • Increase in traffic would have a harmful impact on the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
This leaves:
  • Harmful impact on ecology and biodiversity.
  • Overdevelopment and loss of local landscape character.      
as the only standing reasons for refusal. Weighing up the planning benefits the scheme would bring against these remaining reasons  they agreed that the Local Planning Authority should no longer defend the planning appeal. Unreasonably defending a planning appeal can lead to an award of costs.

A superseded plan showed the development clustered on the western edge of the site.

Stanmer Nursery closing

Stanmer Nursery will cease trading from 1st March 2018.

The nursery is closing to make way for the restoration of the Walled Garden. This has been made possible due to the success of a bid by BHCC to the Heritage Lottery Fund, part of the Stanmer Park Restoration Project.

The old walled kitchen garden  which housed the Nursery will be restored, and a new nursery offering training and education opportunities and enjoyment for the public, will be created.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The oldest shop?

M.L.Banfield & Sons Ltd.
Expert Locksmiths & Architectural Ironmongers

, established in 1856 and situated at 1, Little Western Street since 1874, is surely a good contender for the title of the city's oldest shop.

The 'Sixty-Six' hotel revisited

"Belvedere" in Montpelier Road, c.1935, after becoming a hotel.
A Brighton Bits post of 5 years ago has since been supplemented by the following fascinating comment by someone who knew the hotel well:-

"A lovely view, which as far as I recall, didn't change at all right up to the closure in 1969-70. For the record, the rather bland extension on the left was added in the 30s, along with the sun lounge- it couldn't have been much earlier as it was one of those Crittall metal framed jobs which clicked and creaked in the hot sunshine.Through the double doors was the entrance into the Hotels dining room, which occupied the ground floor bay to the left of the entrance. It was large, light and airy. To the right hand side, by contrast, was the lounge. This was rather sombre, with all its Victoriana intact, all red flock wallpaper with heavy mouldings and Lincrusta, all painted in a yellowish cream gloss. I found it a bit stifling, especially with the fire lit. In front of that bay in the sun lounge, not visible in the picture, were the stairs down to the underground games room, bar and ballroom. It was dark and as spooky as anything down there, but I always felt compelled to go down there and wander around anyway. I must have been crazy, but it was almost like I was daring myself to do it. Anyway I never saw any ghosts, but lets just say I was very aware of the people who had once danced the night away there in the years before it became unused and forgotten.
Have you ever seen The Shining? when I saw that film, it really struck a chord of memory. That ballroom. I must have been a fanciful child, though as I said, I never saw anything like what Jack Nicholson saw!
The block to the far right was an apartment for management, and I hardly ever went there. Above the sun room were the principal bedrooms. The bay to the right contained a room occupied by an elderly American couple, the Pollacks, who were sort of friends of my parents. From what I can remember, they had been involved with some kind of illicit racket in NY in the 20s or 30s, and for reasons they never went into, had been forced to up sticks rapidly and come to the UK, and they took up residence in the Hotel. whether it was the Feds or the Mob they were getting away from, I don't know. When the Hotel closed, they were forced to take a flat in Wick Hall, which they called "The Penitentiary". They were an odd lot altogether!
Anyway, the rooms in the gables were staff quarters, and the kitchens, which even then seemed ancient and huge were in the apex between the old building and the annexe, invisible from this angle, which by the way is the West aspect, so the photographer is facing Montpelier Road.
Thanks for this, its made my day (and more) seeing this again."

See also: Belvedere

Friday, 9 February 2018

Volunteering with the Royal Pavilion


The Royal Pavilion is currently looking for a volunteer to assist with the digitisation of the conservation archives held in the workshops in the Royal Pavilion. The work will involve cataloguing, documentation, digitisation, scanning, transcribing and other related collections work.

For further information & application form: Volunteer Opportunity: Royal Pavilion Archive Digitisation

Deadline for applications: Thursday 1st March 2018

Interviews to be held week of 5th March 2018

For queries call: 01273 292833

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Tale of a terrace

1929 map

Apollo Terrace looking north.

The exotically named but evidently humble Apollo Terrace dated from the 1820s. Humble because, in 1848 the compiler of the street directory described it only as "small tenements", presumably deeming the households not worthy of further investigation. However by 1929 the terrace had 37 numbered properties all occupied.

The houses faced a high flint wall, dating from the 1840s, across a narrow roadway. Over the wall there was a 40ft. drop into the back gardens of Sussex Terrace to the west.

In January 1946, a section of the wall collapsed into the Sussex Terrace gardens and houses adjacent and adjoining the collapse were deemed to be in a dangerous condition and immediately evacuated. The vacated cottages were subsequently demolished but, on ether side of the gap, 8 continued to be occupied up to 1949, 5 up to 1951, but only 2 in 1954.

Remaining houses on the north side of the gap in the 1950s.
Photo RPM

The gap.

Monday, 5 February 2018

"Gilbert & George" for Brighton

Existers 1984

Works by the artist partnership Gilbert & George are to visit Brighton Museum. The display will comprise works ranging from 1969 to 1991 including bold-coloured works such as Existers created in 1984 and later works such as Hunger and Thirst, both created in 1992 and Family Tree 1991. The works explore the artists’ own image, their place as misfits in society and their concept of ‘art for all’.

Many of the big, brightly coloured works are from the 1980s, a period of huge energy and change for the artists, when Gilbert & George were also developing new and specifically modern techniques of photography and printing.

This exhibition draws from ARTIST ROOMS, a touring collection of over 1,600 works of modern and contemporary art by more than 40 major artists. The collection is displayed across the UK through a touring programme, supported by Arts Council England, Art Fund and Creative Scotland. ARTIST ROOMS was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Dorothy Coke - artist

'Leach" was the name of a famous Brighton fishing family who later turned to other activities.

Dorothy Coke, 1897-1979 was a popular mid 20th.C watercolour artist who taught at Brighton Art College from 1939 until her retirement in1967. During WW2 she received a short-term commission from the War Artists Advisory Committee to depict the work being performed by women in various services. She was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society.

The Imperial War Museum holds some of her works & the Aldrich collection at University of Brighton has 34 of her sketches. Sadly there are none held by Brighton Museum.

Friday, 2 February 2018

The Dome - new venues for 2019

The £21M redevelopment of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre currently underway will provide space to hire for between 50 to 1700 people with new, state-of-the-art facilities. The work is also  restoring long-lost heritage features.

For a large scale conference,  company meeting or grand banquet 
contact to find out more.

Shelter Hall site - extra money needed

Councillors are to discuss investing extra money in the scheme to save Brighton’s seafront road and  to recreate the 1880s Shelter Hall as a seafront centrepiece. The authority had originally been working to a budget of £10.6m.  So far £12.2m has been spent.  Now a new report recommends an extra £7m is needed for two key reasons:

  • To upgrade the quality of the Shelter Hall replacement building to make it more attractive to investors. It is likely to be a quality restaurant. 
  • To cover the extra cost of complex engineering work needed so far to stabilise the ground, overcome underground obstacles and deal with historic structures in a worse state than expected. 

As well as costing more, the project’s complexity means it will take longer.  It had originally been expected to complete this summer. It is now likely to be autumn 2019.

A finance report to the policy, resources and growth committee on 8th February suggested mainly raising the cash from central government.  The total would comprise £4m of Department for Transport grants, £2m of borrowing and £1m from other council sources.

Council officials say at the time the bid was made in 2015 it was not possible fully to assess risk factors such as ground conditions, the full state of historic structures and uncharted underground services.

Examples of factors which require extra funding include:

  • A huge engineering operation to stabilise the ground and structures – involving sinking dozens of metre-thick concrete piles up to 17 metres into the ground
  • Maintaining traffic flows on the A259 in order to preserve access to local businesses and avoid damage to the local economy caused by the works 
  • Improvements to the replacement Shelter Hall’s specification to boost its revenue-generation by increasing its floorspace with a larger building and mezzanine floor.  Following advice from Historic England and the council’s planning service there are additional costs arising from conservation and design improvements
  • Provision of larger public toilets
  • An historically faithful restoration of the Grade 2 listed kiosk above the Hall, which was much more rotten than anticipated
  • Other costs arising from things such as obstacles hidden underground – including three old sea walls – and the building and road structure being in a worse condition than could have been foreseen.  This has required extra work and complex engineering solutions.
  • Additional demands on mechanical and electrical services for the project. Examples include a beefed-up ventilation system for the premises and a new electricity sub-station.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

King Alfred redevelopment

How it might look from the south.
After many years of delay it looks as if the King Alfred redevelopment might actually get under way. The proposal has won £15.2m from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund – the second highest in the country. The Fund is aimed at kickstarting major housing projects where financial viability is in question.

The city council bid was submitted last December with developers Crest Nicholson. Crest Nicholson are teaming with  the Starr Trust on the project, which will include community space.

Proposals for the site include:-

A sports centre with:

  • 25 metre, eight lane swimming pool with moveable floor and 352 spectator seats
  • 20m by 10m teaching pool with moveable floor and a 400sqm leisure pool
  • Sports hall, the size of eight badminton courts and multi-purpose hall. 
  • 120 station gym, bike spinning room, workout studio, quiet activity studio and a sauna suite 
  • Gymnastics centre
  • 3 rink indoor bowls hall
  • Martial arts dojo
  • Café
  • Crèche and soft play room
  • 200 space car park for sports centre users.


  • Around 560 flats in four main blocks, the highest block on the SW corner being 18 storeys.
  • 20% of flats will be affordable homes - for rent or shared ownership.
  • Proceeds from the sale of private flats would fund a new public leisure centre.

A provisional timetable for the project is subject to concluding contractual arrangements in the first half of 2018.  It is hoped planning public consultation could  commence by mid-2018 with a view to a planning application later this year. Details of the longer-term programme will be published once contractual arrangements are finalised.  An indicative timescale would be see the sports centre open in 2023.

See also: Save Hove post.