Conservation Advisory Group – Response to Old Town Consultation by Roger Amerena

brighton-old-town

Brighton Old Town Conservation Area
Draft Consultation
Conservation Advisory Group
Suggested comments on five questions set out on the
BHCC consultation portal.

By Roger Amerena

13-12-2016
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?

2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
Roger Amerena
Important Views
To be illustrated in the OTCA document
a. East Street north to Castle Square
b. East Street south from Castle Square
c. North Street from Castle Square
d. West Street south from the Clock Tower
e. West Street north from South Street
f. Ship Street south from North Street
g. Prince Albert Street from junction with Ship Street
h. Prince Albert Street west from the middle of the east section
i. Black Lion Street north to Lane End House
j. All views of the Town Hall
k. Middle Street looking north from South Street
l. Ship Street north from the Old Ship Hotel
m. East Street north from seafront
n. Market Street north from Town Hall
o. Seafront promenades
p. Seascape from Palace Pier.
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
6. Character Areas
6.1 The assessment of the four sub areas would be correct though we would add that
there ought to be a proposal to include the south and west side of the Old Steyne of those
groups of buildings which abut the OT and are of pre C19th dates. Including Marlborough
House, The Royal York Buildings, Pool Passage Pool Valley and the Royal Albion site.
A general comment on the style of presentation is that there is too much reference
to present names of buildings rather than their street numbering. A CAS should have
longevity which will not occur over time with business changes. Though landmark buildings
should be named as such.
There is also a general feeling that the creator of the CAS has taken much from text books
and not walked and understood the area, also an architect’s view not a conservationist’s
view, we feel the document is very incomplete. This is very evident as many historic lanes
and parts of the public domain are not mentioned;
a. Wenlock House closed passage on North Street
b. Lewis’s Buildings thoroughfare with its historic original C17th cobbled and paviored
gullies and gutters
c. Duke Street Yard, untouched since C18th including its unusual timber framed Grade
ll house no.37a Duke Street.
d. Duke Court
e. Duke Passage
f. Unlisted C17th 41 Middle Street with its fascinating passage approach
g. South Street
h. Ship Street Court
i. Poplar Place
j. Clarence Yard
k. C17th passage between 10 and 11 East Street through to Little East Street
l. Passage in front of and extensively behind Nos 36 and 37 East Street.
m. Closed C17th passage behind No.4 Little East Street
n. Pool Passage
The use of the word “Twitten” be it from Sussex has never been used for the small
passages and lanes in the Old Town. Citation, yes in Patcham and Rottingdean, and
elsewhere in the city in the changed farmland areas. But in the Old Town the term should
be “Passage” and / or “Lane”.

Roger Amerena
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
6.3 An omission is that on its west there is a break from the designated building line
creating a wider part, which is visually pleasing. An indication of the older part of the street.
6.5 Rounded should read “segmental”
6.6 The synagogue now disused Grade ll* considered the second most important one
in Europe was Thomas Lainson’s best work.
6.7 The Paganini Room connects to the Regency Room similar, particularly the
ceiling, to Crunden’s C18th Castle Inn Ball Room now moved and rebuilt in Montpelier
Place
6.8 Nos. 4-6 a mock Tudor reproduction coaching inn of 1933 replacing the New Ship
Inn of the 1630s.
6.12 Dominating fig which together with tamarisk were the only form of vegetation in the
town at the beginning of the C19th. Traditional close paviors are used to clad this passage.
6.14 Although refronted with tripartite segmental bayed widows in 1824, it dates…
6.15 Original paviors have been replaced with concrete slab paving.
6.16 The view north from the Town Hall towards the towers of the Chapel Royal and
Hanningtons is an important street view. Nos 11,12 and13 are C17th buildings with the
mid Sussex red tile hung roofs typical of the Lanes of that period.
6.17 This caused the loss of the 1790’s theatre though No.32 respects the height and
setback of that original building
6.20 As it passes the open space of the Friend’s Meeting House , it is fronted unusually
for this area by single storey shops with restructure 1980’s bold details, but opposite is
Lane End House Grade ll, considered the most attractive C18th building in the OT.
6.21 Reference to bow windows should be replaced with “tripartite segmental bay
windows on the upper floors”.
6.25 The extreme east end of Kings Road and Pool Valley formed the only east west
seafront road prior to Grand Junction Road being built in 1829.
6.26 Which is thought to be the eastern side of the ancient open area called the Knab.
The Lanes.
6.27/ 28 Traditionally paved with closely laid paviors.
The Seafront
6.36 The iconic railings with their teak hand rails were installed together the lamp
standards in the 1880’s by Lockwood, the Borough Surveyor. All cast by Every’s of Lewes.
The 1980’s reproduction reinstated horse and carriage guard railing also a feature
6.37 The beach itself is a major factor even with its pebbles which exist even to low tide.
6.40 the frontage dates from the C19th apart from the 1950’s east addition
6.41 This locally listed building with its cream glazed tiled façade,
North Street and West Street
6.42 and the east side dominated by St Paul’s Church Grade ll * Any future development
opposite should respect with importance of this building, although outside the OTCA
6.47 Further to the north west is Dyke Road, formerly the route via Steyning to London

Roger Amerena
Trees.
There is now modern evidence of street tree planting. Hitherto these did not exist
in the Old Town, as it was surrounded by sheep down
Signage
Street signage is predominately of the alloy signs affixed from the 1940’s onwards
when the cast iron framed porcelain signs were replaced. The last survivor is Poplar
Place. Hannington Lane will soon have these reproduction 1860’s style signs
installed.
Pavements
Presently there are almost twenty different mediums of paving in the OTCA. Traditional
paving to the area should be paviors closely laid with no grout. Originals
seen next to Puget’s cottage which would have come from St John’s Common.
Lighting
Lamp standards are mainly of BLEECO form installed at electrification as from the
1930’s with their characteristic swan necked fitting. The period Windsor lights are
modern. Originally the gas lamp standards were made by Reed of North Road with
a cradle and Camberwell lamp fitted to their tops. See St Georges Church and the
Royal Pavilion estate.
Curb stones
Presently a variety, but early ones of Purbeck Granite can be seen, later clean cut
Perthshire granite is predominant but can be seen in Ship Street north and in East
Street
Roof Tiling
The vernacular until the railway arrived in 1841 was for red tile hang roofs and
westerly facing exposed walls. Then slate appeared.

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