Wednesday, 26 May 2021

A Plaque to Elizabeth Robins and Octavia Wilberforce

This plaque has now been installed at 24 Montpelier Crescent. Due to infection control measures it was deemed unadvisable to hold an unveiling ceremony. 

Elizabeth Robbins was born in America and moved to London in September 1888. She had a very active and eventful life, great success as an actor and wrote as C.E. Raimond. She met Octavia Wilberforce in 1909. 

Partly supported by Elizabeth and against strong parental oppositions Octavia entered the London School of Medicine for Women in 1913, qualifying in 1920. She entered general practice in Brighton  and ran a women's shelter near Henfield. Octavia was friendly with members of the Bloomsbury Group and treated Virginia Woolf's mental illness towards the end of Woolf's life. She retired in 1954.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Smuggler's Cottage, Rottingdean

The semi-detached cottage shown on the left in the above postcard (see also: Rottingdean) was at one time known as '"Smuggler's Cottage".

The photo on the right shows it in 1957 with a curious object above the downstairs window. It has been suggested that this was an air-raid siren left in place after the war but it seems to be the wrong shape for that.  Closer inspection reveals what might be decorative features and a hint that it is barrel-shaped. Was it in fact an ornamental brandy-barrel displayed as a nod to the smuggler's trade and in lieu of a conventional house nameplate?


Saturday, 24 April 2021

Restore the Stanmer Palm House.

The Palm House

Since 2019 Plumpton Agricultural College and BHCC with partners have been working to restore  Stanmer's Victorian walled garden, build a new Horticultural Centre of Excellence and open as 'One Garden Brighton' which will be a destination garden for the community. After laying abandoned for years the work is now complete and the garden is open to the public for the first time in its history.

The Palm House, near the gates of One Garden Brighton, is one of only three remaining of its kind in England. They were built in the 1950s for local councils and were originally heated. The Walled Garden during this time was a nursery for Brighton & Hove City Council and a space to grow plants for the city parks. 

The Palm House has not been a part of the original restoration project and the ambition is to now restore it and open it for the public to enjoy. This will involve refitting the heating system and reglazing the glass so that it can house exotic plants. Plans include adding a vaulted walkway with viewing platforms and an educational experience showcasing a wide variety of plant species. A mini Kew on our doorstep in fact.

To help get this project underway One Garden Brighton has opened a crowdfunder with a target of £500,000. 

To contribute go to 'Palm House Restoration'

Follow "One Garden Brighton' on facebook.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Circus Street so far.

Loooking south from Ivory Place

Morley Street frontage, residential

Entrance to Woodland Court

Woodland Court. Students left & at end; Residential right.

Circus Square looking south-west towards The Dance Space.

Looking north-west into Circus Court. Residential

Student block.

Looking north along Circus St. The Office near right; residential beyond.

Looking north-west from Kingswood Street.
The Office to the left; student block to the right.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Hippodrome hope

Corroded ironwork
Planning applications BH2021/01079 & /01080 warrant a glimmer of hope for the Hippodrome's survival.  Water has been penetrating the roof for some time and threatening Matcham's intricate plaster work inside. The work called for involves removing the sliding cupola and its supporting ironwork. This ironwork penetrates the roof and is a source of water leakage. Duct work is also causing leakage and will be removed together with the gang walk encircling the roof and its access steps. This will allow a new roof to be constructed over all. The new roof willl be supported on the perimeter columns and create a space from which access  can be had to the old roof and, through access points made in it, to the interior plasterwork.

Section viewed from Middle Street showing proposed new roof structure.

External appearance viewed from the west.

1. Retractable octagonal cupola
2. New roof covered in grey fibreglass material.
4.Vertical faces covered in grey fibreglass material

Saturday, 17 April 2021

The Missing Playground - update

10 years ago council officers won their fight with the developers to ensure a playground was built on the then still vacant plot K of the station site which adjoined Stroudley Road. See "Playground for the New England Quarter". The playground was part of the original planning brief so the developers were presumably well aware of their commitment.

Notwithstanding this,10 years later, the playground has never materialised on plot K and in its place stands City View, 103 Stroudley Road. 

The profit on such a building will of course dwarf the cost of a children's playground and perhaps some compensation payment was mutually agreed or a playground installed somewhere else in the neighbourhood. 

The council's Planning Team has commenced a formal enforcement investigation into this situation and Cr. Nick Childs will be putting a formal question to the Planning Committee.

ADDENDUM 18 April 2021 

A small play area does exist a short walk away from City View on the busy A270. 
It is situated in a small area closely bounded on 3 sides by the walls of tall buildings. 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Church St./Portland St. corner.

w/c by William Thomas Quartermain 1850.
Collections: Royal Pavilion, Museums & Art Gallery.

Before demoliton c.1990
photo: Carol Homewood

The current proposal

The Church Street elevation
To preserve the historic feel of the street the rooflines should step down with the gradient not defy it. See the 1990's photo. A storey at least should be removed.

The massing of the proposed block.

Planning application BH2020/02801 refers. The plans have been drawn up by TODD Architects based in Dublin & Belfast and one wonders it they have visited North Laine or are even aware the site is adjacent to a Conservation Area.

The Brighton Society are strongly opposed to development along these lines and their full objection can be read here: "A wasted opportunity in the North Laine : proposed office block at 27 – 31 Church Street."

Monday, 5 April 2021

No. 10 Ship Street

In the early 19thC. 10 Ship Street was occupied by a Ladies Seminary. By the mid 19thC.  a Civil Engineer & Architect was in residence. Later in the 19thC. it was rebuilt in  extravagant style as The Bodega, a Wine & Spirit Merchants which by the mid 20thC had become a silver service restaurant. Later on it became the Smugglers' Arms and more recently the Walrus, run by the southern  England and Wales chain City Pubs. 

It was Grade 2 listed by Historic England in August 1999.

It is good to see a splendid classical Victorian frontage nicely maintained.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

The "Surrey Style" in Hove.

In the closing decades of the 19thC sources as diverse as the writings of William Morris and the cottage paintings of Helen Allingham had created an idealised version of country life in the collective Victorian mind.  Wealthy Londoners, encouraged by the expansion of railway lines serving the capital, began to look beyond metroland to the hills and woodlands of Surrey for their retirement homes. In what was then a mainly rural county the supply of suitable properties was limited and they turned to architects such as Lutyens (influenced by Gertude Jekyll), Falkner, Bailey and Nevill to help fulfil their rural idyll. 

Apprised of their clients' domestic and comfort needs the architects turned to the Surrey vernacular for inspiration and found it in the various combinations of red-brick, red-tiles and the occasional timber framing. The Surrey style was born. Unaccountably what later came to signpost the Surrey Style were  imposing chimneys which, whatever decorative features they incorporated, were always large.

The architect of 11 Grand Avenue, Hove, was A. Faulkner. It was built by William Willett, 1900-1903. The manner in which it has, over the years, withstood the ravages of time in what is quite an exposed location bears witness to the quality of the build. It is Grade II listed with Historic England.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Court Farm Cottages (2)

Following up an earlier post on Court Farm Cottages, Vale Avenue, Patcham, work has at last to started to develop the adjoining vacant plots. Three 4 bedroom detached house are to be built to the east of the existing cottages and a further semi-detached dwelling tacked on to the west side. The existing cottages are to be restored and reconfigured to meet modern standards including new windows. The westward addition will unfortunately spoil the symmetry of the Edwardian cottages but matching bricks and detailing are proposed throughout the development so the overall effect should be reasonably harmonious. Seven parking spaces are to be provided at the rear.

Proposed front elevations from the south.

Single storey garden rooms to be added to the rear