Monday, 6 April 2020

The Brangwyn Estate

There is some mystery about how the Brangwyn Estate between Withdean and Patcham Village was so named. It was built in the 1930s by developer W.H.Lee who, according to Carder, upset Sir Frank Brangwyn of Ditchling by using his name. However the London Road entrance to the estate was ultimately adorned by two massive lamp columns designed by Brangwyn which suggests a placatory gesture from Lee. It still leaves open the question as to why Lee chose the name in the first place. Was he a friend of Brangwyn or just an admirer of his impressive artistic oeuvre?

Although the estate is built in the ever popular Tudorbethan style Brangwyn, who had no architectural training, has looked to the fading Art Deco for inspiration and these rather grotesque creations are the result. The lamps themselves are graceful, but whereas they could have been adequately supported on cast-iron lamp standards, they are instead perched like "peas on a drum" on redundantly massive brickwork. Nevertheless the intricate decorative features are clever and must have posed a good test of the bricklayer's skill.

The lamps are never lit. In the 1930s the electrical supply will have used rubber-insulated cables which have limited life and no doubt were never renewed.

The columns are grade II listed by Historic England.

Friday, 3 April 2020

"An Illustrated Guide to the Buildings of Brighton"

For anyone interested in the notable architecture of the city and its environs this paperback is a must have.

Its genesis is also of some interest. It was compiled by the students and staff of the School of Architecture and Design of Brighton Polytechnic. It was published in 1987 to mark the 16th World Congress of the International Union of Architects which was held in Brighton that year. The theme of the Congress was "Sheltered Cities - Building Tomorrow's World".

The book is well illustrated and comprehensively indexed. In many respects, as work of reference, it is superior to "Brighton & Hove" in the Pevsner Architectural Series.

It is, of course, long out of print but there are secondhand copies available on ABE Books starting at £6 including postage.

Avian overcrowding?

At Patcham Place

It was the Rockery at Preston that was originally known as the Rookery but presumably as mature trees were lost the rooks moved out to Patcham Place and colonies were to be seen in several of the tall trees that lined the A23.  Now many of these trees have been lost but the few remaining still host  nesting rooks. The nest density seems somewhat higher than before but they are a gregarious species.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Brighton Place - then & now

2nd April 2010

20th April 2019
It is gratifying that the attractive development of Hanningtons Lane has yielded a glimpse of the end wall of Puget's Cottage, the oldest building in the Old Town, and beyond it, the cupola of the Leeds Permanent building in North Street.

See also: Brighton Place