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A Denman Century – The work of Samuel, John-Leopold and John-Bluett Denman, 1876 to 1982 (part 2 of a 2 part talk)

28th April 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Citizen's Building Society, Brighton, portrait of JL Denman by Joseph Cribb_web. Image: David Robson

An Illustrated talk by David Robson.

Three generations of Denmans ran an architectural practice in Brighton  over a period of a hundred years. During that time, they completed hundreds of buildings across Sussex including such landmarks as Lewes Town Hall, the Hove Club, The Brighton Masonic Centre, the Sussex Eye Hospital and what would be one of Britain’s last great country houses at Eridge. And beyond the Sussex boundaries they built the Royal Masonic School at Rickmansworth and the Library and Archive of Canterbury Cathedral. Paradoxically, they established a reputation both as church-restorers and pub designers: as well a building over sixty pubs, they built a total of fifteen new churches and carried out repairs and alterations to a further fifty.

The second Denman, John-Leopold, was the most prolific of the three and was active in public life. Having tried to form a Civic Society in Brighton during the 1930s, he was a founding member of the Regency Society of Brighton and Hove and served as it’s Chair and President. He was also one of the first lecturers in architecture in the Brighton College of Arts and Crafts and served as Honorary Treasurer and Vice-President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was a skilled draftsman and was a friend and patron of such artists as Joseph Cribb, Louis Ginnett and Charles Knight. His legacy includes an archive of beautifully crafted drawings that is currently shared by the Regency Town House and the RIBA Drawings Collection and an invaluable book about Sussex churches.

David Robson has been tracking down and photographing the Denmans’ buildings and believes that his work merits wider recognition and a greater degree of protection.  His double presentation will attempt to describe a broad cross-section of the work of the practice.  An exhibition and guided tour that had been planned for 2020 were cancelled because of the pandemic; David hopes to revive these when life returns to normal.

David Robson presents this lecture which was recorded in April 2021 and is available to view here:

It is also available on the Regency Society's Youtube channel for as long as the lecturer is happy for it to be available.


Image copyright: David Robson


28th April 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Regency Society of Brighton and Hove
View Organiser Website