Monday, 26 November 2018

West Street - then & now

Looking north from Boyces St.
West Street was originally much narrower than shown here. The eastern (r.h. side) was widened in 1868 and the Academy cinema on the same side built in 1911. Widening of the western side did not start until 1928 which dates this picture to the period 1911-1928.

On the corner of Boyces Street, the Half Moon lasted until at least 1970 when the licensee was a 'Gizzi', a family more usually associated with Italian ice cream. Although at first sight the building now looks completely different it seems to have retained the same fenestration even though it has had the roof replaced.

Of the two buildings up from the Half Moon, 61 West Street with the canted first-floor bays appears still intact, but 62 with the elegant first-floor bow window has been replaced with modern mock-Georgian.

The building that replaced the Academy deserves no comment.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

A Plaque to Lt. Jacqueline Nearne

This plaque originally unveiled at a special ceremony in November 2106 has found its permanent home at Jaqueline's birthplace, 32 West Hill Street.

She moved with her family to France in 1923. When France fell, she made her way back to England  and joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.  Nearne's fluency in French quickly brought her to the attention of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) where, in 1942, she trained as a courier for the French Resisitance.

On 25 January 1943, she was parachuted into France to work for the 'Stationer' circuit in central France and maintained contact with SOE networks in the Paris area. She carried spare parts for radios inside a cosmetics bag. After fifteen months in the field, she finally returned to Britain in April 1944.

In 1946 she played "Cat", a character based on herself, in the RAF drama-documentary School for Danger, 1948, about the wartime training and deployment of SOE operatives.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Save the Madeira Terraces - special event

Little Russell Street

Little Russell Street looking east from near its junction with Russell Street which now lies under the Churchill Centre. The 1958 street directory lists just the three properties on the left, no.15, a motor repairers, 15a & 16, privately occupied, and further down the entrance to St. Paul's School. At the far end on the left can be seen the side of the old Odeon cinema in West Street which was demolished in 1990.

Little Russell Street is now the easterly part of Russell Road and Russell Place is now located at the former entrance to the school. St. Paul's school moved to St. Nicholas Road in 1967. 

Russell Road today.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A Plaque to Minnie Turner

The first of a series of plaques planned to commemorate the centenary of a significant period in the Women's Suffrage movement was unveiled today at 13 Victoria Road. Minnie Turner ran her boarding house Sea View as both holiday destination and refuge for suffragettes recovering from imprisonment, hunger-strikes and forcible feeding.

Minnie was present exactly 100 years ago today when suffragettes marching to Parliament were violently attacked by police for six hours. Also present were several of her former guests and, in particular, her boarder, Mary Clarke, the WSPU organiser for Brighton, who later tragically died.

Minnie Turner was for 12 years the Honorary Secretary of a branch of the Brighton Women’s Liberal Association and a member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). In 1908, frustrated at the government’s refusal to grant women the Vote, she joined the militant WSPU.

Minnie expressed great pride that more of the suffragette leaders and speakers had stayed with her than in any other home.

The plaque was funded by the City Council with a contribution from the Brighton & Hove Heritage Commission.

Members of the Women's History Group who researched and proposed the plaque.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Burning the Clocks 2018

Brighton charity Same Sky has launched its crowdfunder for Burning the Clocks 2018, which takes place from 6.30pm on Friday 21 December 2018. The parade runs from New Road to the seafront, with around 2,000 participants and more than 20,000 onlookers.

The theme for Burning the Clocks 2018 is ‘Remembrance’. Event organisers Same Sky have created a large-scale lantern in the shape of a heart for this year’s event. This will be surrounded by smaller Remembrance hearts carried by procession-goers on the night of the parade.

As in previous years, Brighton residents can purchase lantern packs to take part in the parade (costing £30-£33, available from early November). Lantern packs contain materials, instructions and four wristbands for four people to take part in the parade. They will be available for purchase at Brighton Pavilion, HISBE supermarket in York Place, the Wood Store on Elder Place and Book Nook in Hove.

Local artist Graham Carter has generously created a new limited edition print for Burning the Clocks for the sixth year running. These are also on sale to raise funds, with 80 limited edition designs created around this year’s theme of ‘Remembrance’.

For more information on purchasing lantern packs and Graham Carter’s prints, visit Same Sky’s Facebook page - Businesses and restaurants interested in getting involved with the event as a sponsor or participant should contact

Stanmer woodland management.

Areas of work
Starting tomorrow, thinning out of trees and coppicing is beginning  in three areas – the Water Catcher, Flint Heap and Upper Lodges Wood. 

No memorial trees will be affected by this work.

Access to these areas will be restricted between 8am and 4pm for periods of between one to three days, while work is carried out.

The work is part of the council’s Stanmer Woodland Management Plan, which was approved by the Forestry Commission following citywide consultation earlier this year.

The plan aims to:

  • maintain and preserve open access
  • build resilience against Ash Dieback and other diseases and ensure existing woodland cover is maintained
  • increase biodiversity and protect nationally and locally rare flora and fauna
  • produce semi commercial timber extraction of coppice products, wood fuel and timber.

The work is being managed by Pryor and Rikett, a Lewes based forest management company.

Monday, 5 November 2018

New bus shelters.

The city is to get 5 new bus shelters at sites prioritised  according to the exposure to weather, distance from any other shelter, and number of requests from the public.

Warren Road, top of Bear Rd.

Warren Road, top of Wilson Av.

Grand Avenue, Kings House

Stanley Deason Leisure Centre, Wilson Avenue

New England Rise.
The estimated cost is £550,000 which is over £100,000 each. It seems on the high side for a fairly basic, largely refabricated, structure, but I suppose there are reasons . . .

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Church St./Portland St. site - hopes dashed

March 2018

Nov. 2018
This valuable corner site has now been left derelict for at least 25 years when it could have been providing homes, workplaces and a substantial boost to the Council's hard-pressed resources. 

Hopes were raised earlier this year that development might at last be about to begin when the licensed hoardings were moved outwards, presumably to allow building to begin to the pre-existing building lines.  The hopes were premature however - the hoardings have now been moved back. A small compensation is that we can now use the pavements again.