David Robson considers the current plans to remodel Valley Gardens and is disappointed.
Valley Gardens is a precious green lung that barely survives between two arteries of thundering traffic at the heart of our City. Framed by a theatrical backdrop of buildings of different styles and periods, it has the potential to act as an exciting urban promenade, as an event space, as a place of repose. However, plans currently being advanced by the Council fail to exploit this potential and promise little more than clipped grass, trampled flowerbeds and bonded gravel.
...continue reading "How grey is our valley – we object to proposals for Valley Gardens"
The Brighton Unitarian Church in New Road is a striking building. It stands on what was originally part of the Royal Pavilion gardens. The Prince Regent sold it to the Unitarian congregation in 1819 for £650, allegedly to help stave off bankruptcy.
Just over a year later the church was finished. The architect, Amon Henry Wilds drew inspiration from the temple of Theseus in Athens, giving the building an immense pediment and columns which still dominate the east end of new Road.
The story today
Sadly, these features of the building are now decaying. As a result, it has been added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register. Attempts are being made to obtain a restoration grant.
Read more about the Portico Repair Project here.
Meanwhile the church’s activities continue, including an impressive series of weekly lunchtime concerts. The November programme starts on Friday 3rd (12:30 – 1:15 pm; coffee from 12 noon). Pianist An-Ting Chan will play music inspired by animals. See the full programme here.
Our protests, along with those of other groups, about the latest damage to Marlborough House, one of our most important heritage assets have been heard. The Council has decided to refuse the retrospective application for permission to paint the exterior of the building. We await developments with interest.
As members know, Marlborough House is the second most important building in Brighton and Hove. The current Pevsner guide calls it Brighton’s 'finest late C18 house'. Its construction, formed from a previous red-bricked house owned Thomas Shergold, in 1786 to a design by Robert Adam predates all of Brighton's Regency Squares, Crescents and Terraces. Adam intended the original to look as if it were faced with Portland Stone. This was to achieve a classical effect and is typical of Adam. Adam's style has had huge influence on building design throughout Europe and beyond ever since. It must have been a magnificent and striking sight at a time when central Brighton had few distinctive buildings. ...continue reading "Marlborough House – the Council refuses the restrospective planning application"
(The image above, prepared by David Fisher, shows the 1973 OS map (black) overlaid on an 1877 map (sepia).This shows the earlier square on the site, and access from twittens to North-West, South and South-East which still exist.)
The Regency Society is critical of current proposals to alter Brighton Square as outlined in planning applications BH2017/00762, 00768 & 00797, namely to reclad the facades of the existing shops and associated housing, to amalgamate nos 12-16 Brighton Square to form a single restaurant space, to install an enclosed dining area in the square under a canopy and to raise and thus obscure the existing fountain sculpture.
...continue reading "Brighton Square"
Nick Tyson explains why we should all be worried at the scandalous state of this unique heritage asset, and why the Council and Historic England must intervene
Marlborough House in the Old Steine in Brighton is often referred to as the second most important historic property in the city, after the Royal Pavilion. Built in the 1760s for Sam Shergold, the keeper of the local 'Castle Inn', the House was purchased in the 1780s by William Gerard Hamilton MP and shortly after this became the subject of architectural improvements by the renowned Scottish architect, Robert Adam.
...continue reading "More damage to Marlborough House"
We’ve written before about the Council’s plan to create a new conference and events centre at Black Rock. They intend it to replace the Brighton Centre. We are aware that this has the potential to make major changes in our city and we are keen to know how this is progressing.
...continue reading "The latest (or lack of it) on the Waterfront Project"
reflections on a 70 year relationship between the Royal Pavilion and the Regency Society
Brighton and Hove City Council has decided to set up a new Cultural Trust to run the Brighton Pavilion and Museums. The Council will continue to own the Pavilion and Museums but is setting up the Trust to manage it.
The main reason is to create new funding avenues: a trust will be able to raise money in ways the Council cannot. Work on setting up the Trust is starting now with the appointment of a temporary board which will include councillors. A transition year to the permanent new Trust will begin in April next year. In April 2019 the transition will be complete and a new board will take over. All existing staff will be transferred in on their current terms and conditions. ...continue reading "A new future for the Royal Pavilion"
The Brighton Old Town Conservation Area includes the medieval fishing town area bounded by North Street, West Street, East Street and the seafront.
The Old Town Conservation Area was first designated in 1973 and extended in 1977. Somewhat surprisingly a Character Statement for the area has never been produced by the council. The Old Town was recently included on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Their reasons include vacant historic landmark buildings, the weight of traffic on Kings Road (which creates a barrier to the seafront) and poorly designed shop fronts. ...continue reading "Old Town Conservation Area Character Statement"
The Council has recently announced a new proposal for Madeira Terraces including self contained serviced glass fronted units within the terraces so that the spaces can be leased or rented as cafes, shops and other businesses. It hopes to completely replace the existing ironwork. The project is likely to cost £20 to £30 million, for which the Council will seek grants and loans. We welcome the principle of these proposals but await further detail to allay concerns about the replacement of the existing ironwork. Similar structures have suffered serious problems with damp penetration. We would also like to know more about the way the new structure will relate socially to the sea-front.
...continue reading "A new vision for Madeira Terraces?"
The 1888 Shelter Hall, originally constructed to allow the public to shelter from the rain, needs to be rebuilt in order to prevent Kings Road from collapsing. Directly beneath the junction of West Street and Kings Road, it is holding up one of the busiest junctions in the City (36,000 vehicles pass through it each day). It is badly corroded and currently held up by internal props. A government grant is in place for its complete replacement, enabling improvements to the road junction at the same time. The intention is to rebuild the Shelter Hall nearer the sea to allow these to take place.
The plans include a new retaining wall with foundations several metres below the beach and a remodelled lower promenade. A new mezzanine floor is to be included along with a rotunda above. The scheme also includes new public toilets and a new walkway to the beach.
The society welcomes the development. We suggest some public seating around the new building on the upper level and a public lift between the upper and lower promenades. We also suggest that the decorative mouldings on the southern façade of the existing building should be re-used on the new building, or facsimiles created if that is not feasible.