Brighton Black Rock – have your say

Black Rock Pool

It is just over forty years since Black Rock was graced by this rather attractive and fondly remembered open air pool.

Now there are plans afoot to ‘revitalise’ the site with something new.

Two dedicated drop-in sessions have been organised by the council, to view the proposals and find out more:


St George’s Church
St George’s Road


Function Room
Master Mariner
24 Marina Square, Waterfront
Brighton Marina

Remembrance Sunday – 10th November 2019

old steine

This year Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission will be laying wreaths at both events this Sunday,10th November, as follows:
Old Steyne War Memorial
Arrive 10.30am for 11.00am
Ald. Francis Tonks, BHHC President
Roger Amerena, BHHC Heritage Commissioner and Chairman
Hove War Memorial, Grand Avenue
Arrive 2.00pm for 2.10pm Laura King, BHHC Hon. Sec.
Everyone welcome to these commemorations.


Terrible Blow For Rottingdean’s Heritage


This week saw a terrible blow for Rottingdean’s heritage. Following strenuous efforts from SAFE  (St Albyn’s Fields Evergreen) in particular, the battle has been lost to save the stunning Grade II listed former St Aubyn’s School in the centre of the village (in itself a Conservation Area) from demolition and redevelopment.  The case went to judicial review.

It is now intended that this landmark building be replaced with 93 modern housing units.

To quote the Brighton Argus article:

‘The matter was brought before High Court Judge Sir Duncan Ouseley earlier this month, but all three claims were dismissed on October 8.

The judge recognised that the development “would cause clear harm to the setting of the Conservation Area” as it would reduce Rottingdean’s “green lung” – the area between the Conservation Area and the town itself.But he said the closure of the school in 2013 had left “substantial listed buildings, adjoining the High Street, in the Rottingdean Conservation Area, unused and unmaintained”.

This was part of his reason for approving the plans.

He also said the new development “would provide a very clear enhancement to the appearance and character of the conservation area over the existing ad-hoc collection of poor quality late 20th century buildings” and was “entirely sympathetic to the Conservation Area”.

A truly unbelievable conclusion. How on earth can these 93 boxes of ticky tacky in the middle of a historic village and former home of Kipling and Burne-Jones possibly be an ENHANCEMENT to the appearance and character of Rottingdean?

It is a substantial devaluing of this Conservation Area when a sympathetic flat conversion scheme (including retro-greening) could have easily been achieved. It is also a devaluing of the listings registry and Conservation Area scheme and could easily be used to set a dangerous precedent in the city.

Such a questionable verdict is certainly worthy of a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office

Have Your Say on Brighton and Hove Graffiti Scourge

We are unanimous at Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission that the current graffiti scourge is deeply damaging to the architecture and visual impact of the city and have previously covered the subject in a post here.

maderia terraces.

Brighton and Hove City Council have now set up a public graffiti removal enforcement consultation here. It is open until 15th December 2019 and we urge as many of you as possible to complete it with your views.

While the thrust is very much how to get businesses and property owners to pay for graffiti clear up, it seems somewhat unfair to penalise the victims of graffiti.

It is the criminals who commit it who should be held to account with the fines and community service they should be sentenced to used to put the damage to rights.

Any non-commissioned graffiti is criminal damage.

The Brighton Society is very much on the same page with its views on the graffiti scourge here.

New Hannington’s Lane

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While the loss of the 18th C Timpsons premises in North Street was a blow to the city’s heritage, the new Lane is of refreshingly higher quality and sensitivity than feared with the exception of one small brutalist modern unit which lets it down. Puget’s Cottage in particular is a triumph in its restoration, albeit not open yet

With high business rates and expensive parking. units have been slow to fill. Which calls into question the wisdom of the other proposed project to extend the Churchill shopping centre down to the seafront. Yes, the Brighton Centre is hideous and in need of replacement but with retail trends the way they are, it would make more sense to replace it with a prettier conference centre, preferably more sympathetic to Brighton’s Regency past, and prevent the inevitable vacuum of the shopping areas surrounding Churchill if the centre were to be expanded.

Suffragette City!


Almost enough plaques for a tourist trail – the latest plaque to celebrate suffragettes in Brighton was unveiled by MP Caroline Lucas in the Quadrant near the Clock tower last week to mark the site of the former Brighton Suffragette Office.

The plaque was met by enthusiastic reception from the large crowd, which included some indiviuals donned in suffragette dress. Latest TV and local press also attended.


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suffragette 1

Brighton General Hospital – last intact workhouse left in Britain

Brighton General Listed Building Curtilage Map-page-001Kitchener hospital Brighton workhouse Peter Higginbotham Beighton general 7 Brighton general 6 Brighton general 34 Brighton general 19 Brighton general 24 Brighton general 25
Brighton General Hospital 2 Brighton General building 2 Brighton general 35 Brighton general 13 Beighton general 7 Brighton general 17 Brighton general 10 Brighton General building 2


A small delegation of us decided to walk around the Brighton General Hospital site at the weekend in response to the plans to redevelop it (included are just some of the photographs we took above, along with some more historical images and a map).

Despite the overcast conditions, we found ourselves blown away by the sheer size of the site and wealth of buildings on it of historic interest, not just the one Grade II listed building (Arundel), but pretty well all of them outside a few unsympathetic 20th Century additions. The quality of many of the buildings and the curving stone walls is outstanding. Some buildings even retain the original Victorian bollards on the corners to protect them against carriage wheel collision.

Why on earth does the site need to be redeveloped? we found ourselves asking.  It would probably be possible to get a good 2000 flat conversions out of what is already standing, and much more characterful homes into the bargain, with the odd cottage or individual house for good measure.

Furthermore the site is already laid out in village-like configuration and already geared up for ‘mixed use living’ with industrial/work spaces, green spaces and car parking liberally dotted around with a network of roads connecting all. All that would be needed would perhaps be a convenience store and some community spaces. Many groups of buildings are already sensibly constructed around sheltered internal courtyards – presumably for former patients to recuperate and staff to have their breaks in. This would work equally well for parents seeking safe spaces for their children or adults seeking a sun trap out of the wind on Elm Grove hill. Moreover large picture windows offering light and space and high ceilings abound. One of the most common complaints regarding modern flats is the lack of light and space in many and the low ceilings.

If any new buildings were to be built (ie a proposed ‘heath hub’), it would be better to sacrifice a car park for the purpose than most of the existing buildings or gardens and green spaces.

Brighton General hospital is said to be the last intact workhouse in Britain. Moreover it was converted into Kitchener Indian Hospital during WWI and later officially became a municipal hospital in 1935 – joining the newly-formed  NHS in 1948. It is surely worthy of an imaginative and sensitive scheme which honours its history whilst making it fit for today’s standard of living.

Sadly the wonderful Nurse’s Home on the right hand side of the hospital has already been demolished in 2011 (a rather splendid 6-storey Edwardian building on the famous steps of which generations of Brighton nurses were photographed after qualifying – the Brighton General even issued its own nursing badge.) What has been built it in its place is not a pretty sight, commanding an undeserved hillside location with sweeping views to the sea with scores of somewhat brutalistic flats, which probably do not accommodate any more people when all is said and done, and certainly not affordably.

BHHC believe a sensitive conversion of this valuable historic site would not only be more appropriate heritage-wise but greener and considerably cheaper too. It is certainly the case that today’s new-builds are nowhere near of the same quality or appearance as the heritage which is all too often swept away to facilitate them, with many newbuilds not intended to last more than 50 years, making them little better than pre-fabs.

Do take the time to walk around the site yourselves and drink it in. It is well worth your time, and even more stunning on a sunny day!

Brighton general 15

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission – AGM on Saturday 1st September

Preston Manor 1 St Peter's Church Preston

The 5th AGM of Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission will take place on Saturday 1st September 2018 at 2pm in St Peter’s Chuch, just behind Preston Manor  (please arrive around 1.45pm to ensure a seat).

The AGM includes a presentation by guest speaker Henry Vivian-Neal – on Kensal Green Cemetery and its link with Brighton resident Joseph Rogers. Henry is a Trustee of The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery and the author of books and articles about the Cemetery

Hazel Tapsell will then briefly speak on the history of St Peter’s.

The meeting will be followed by refreshments in the Servants’ Kitchen of Preston Manor (free to BHCC members – £5 per person to non-members). Optional tours of the Manor at local resident rate of £5 per person will also be available.

Please download invitation BHHC AGM 1st Sept 2018 and RSVP if coming.We look forward to seeing you there.

Have Your Say on Brighton and Hove City Plan Part 2

cityplan picture


As publicised in Brighton Argus this week, consultations have opened for Brighton and Hove City Plan Part 2, Please stand up for the retention of heritage, consideration of streetscape and provision of green spaces.

The dangers of ‘low cost’ housing are 1. It seldom exists. 2. It is often an excuse to build shoddy characterless boxes only designed to last around 50 years, which add nothing to our stunning location between the Downs and the Sea.

Consultation notes and portal here.  Ends 13th September 2018, so please ensure your comments are in BEFORE this date!