The seafront shelters in King’s Parade, at the bottom of King’s Avenue, once beloved of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on their visits to Hove, are set to be restored in the New Year of 2021. Full story here.
Meantime there are plenty of other parts of Hove and Portslade seafront still to be saved so please sign the petition here.
There will be a second part to this update soon.
During lockdown, Brighton and Hove City Council decided to close Brighton’s historic Madeira Drive ‘temporarily’ in order to provide ‘more space to exercise.’ Two months later movement restrictions lifted and the traders were told by a visiting council officer that there was a plan to close the Drive permanently. No public notice. No public consultation.
115 years of celebrating motoring and motorcycling history gone. Just like that. 37 traders, some of whom had been trading for decades, facing the end.
Local Mod, Ollie Wilson, and his partner, who just happens to be our Hon Secretary Laura King, decided to start a council petition to re-open Madeira Drive to all users. They also began holding regular protests by Brighton Palace Pier, assembling mods and bikers and founded a facebook group Reopen Madeira Drive To All. They appeared on local radio and television and even made the national press.
Of particular concern to Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission is the risk that the closure of Madeira Drive puts to the restoration of Grade II listed Madeira Terrace, and just when enough money had finally been raised to commence work via a Crowdfunding campaign on the first thirty arches (out of 151). In fact the Commission itself made a donation and was anxious to hear of a start date for the works.
Behind the Terrace is the longest and oldest ‘Green Wall‘ in the country and one of the earliest known attempts to intentionally create the equivalent of a ‘hothouse’ in the open air to complement the sheltered walkway of Madeira Terrace, an eco innovation which has survived to this day and is an integral part of the Terrace.
The heritage of Madeira Drive has proved the ideal backdrop to heritage vehicle events such as The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and other events celebrating bikes, scooters and vehicles which have long outlived their carbon construction footprint, and may indeed have something to teach the modern vehicles of today with their efficient and more repairable mechanisms. Madeira Drive has also been home to the speed trials since 1905. It is seldom used as a through road, but as a destination and a spiritual home where mods and bikers hang out together at weekends, patronising the local cafes as they keep an eye on their pride and joy bikes.
On a daily basis 393 parking spaces are now out of commission through the closure of Madeira Drive, and just after the council had agreed that all parking revenue from Madeira Drive could be ploughed into the restoration of Madeira Terrace (not just an integral part of the Drive but part of the structural support for Marine Parade above). Moreover the coach parking is currently suspended which affects the local hotel trade and the disabled and those with electric cars who cannot get to the Madeira Drive charging station are being discrimated against.
An opposing petition was started to try and keep Madeira Drive closed, but has so far reached less than a third of the more than 10,500 signatures collected so far on the Reopen Madeira Drive to All petition.
So what can YOU do to help?
- Please sign and share the petition here to reopen Madeira Drive if you have not already).
- Please take a few minutes to fill in the belated council consultation on Madeira Drive here.
- You are also welcome to join Reopen Madeira Drive To All Facebook group here, now 1300 members strong.
- Come to next protest on Sunday 9th August – from 10am – Madeira Drive – photo shoot at 1pm. All welcome!
The petition was supposed to go before full council on 26th July, but regrettably owing to sudden change of leadership to the Greens, it will now be discussed on 13th August. Brighton and Hove City Council have however conceded that offical events can resume, though this decision comes too late for 2020 and does not take account of the smaller or unofficial events. Nor that the traders need trade year round and not just for offical events.
Now after two worrying fires in a week (one at Black Rock toilets and one actually under the Terrace in the old Reading Room) as inevitable dereliction of Madeira Drive takes hold, we hear worrying murmerings about the future of Madeira Drive having to be ‘re-thought’.
We would disagree. Madeira Drive has always had a clearly defined role and purposes in this city, which remain popular and money-spinning to this day, if allowed to continue. Madeira Drive doesn’t need ‘rethinking’. It just needs reopening. Before any more risk or damage to its heritage can occur.
Cyclists and walkers already have a wide expanse of dedicated space opposite and once Madeira Terrace is restored that will re-open a lot of additional pedestrian (and commercial) space currently locked within for safety reasons including a mid terrace walkway above the sheltered walkway. Interestingly daily photographs taken by members of Reopen Madeira Drive Facebook group are showing that Madeira Drive itself is scarcely being used by the cyclists and walkers it has been given over to, who tend to stick to their designated cycle path and wide pavement area.
Visiting Eastbourne with a heritage colleague recently we were struck by the stunning conversion of All Saints Convalescent Hospital in the Meads area just below the cliffs.
Erected in 1869 by architect Henry Woodyer in high gothic style, All Saints Hospital was the vision of Harriet Brownlow Byron, Mother Foundress of the Community of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, to provide the first purpose-built seaside convalescent hospital in Great Britain. The All Saints Sisters tended their patients and establised a philosophy of care which continued for over a century.
This former Grade II listed hospital is contained in around 10 acres of grounds, not unlike the Brighton General Hospital in size and scale, and was cleverly converted after its closure as a hospital in 2004 by Berkeley Homes.
Without obvious compromise to the historical integrity of the exterior, Berkeley managed to fit in additional floors and still ensure that all residents had their share of large windows and high ceilings. Sensitive additional units were discreetly and almost seamlessly inserted in the gaps with a range of handsome garages by the gate house, which may or may not have originally comprised a stable block, as far as the untrained eye is concerned.
We spoke to a couple of residents there, one of whom had lived there for around ten years and they couldn’t have been happier. They said there was a real community feel to the place.
There are 105 housing units in all with the chapel separately owned and maintained as a special event venue and community space for hire.
What a wonderful example of what can be done with a former hospital!
Let Brighton & Hove City Council take note when Brighton General Hospital site becomes available.
Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission has been in high level discussions with Brighton & Hove City Council concerning its proposal for the historic Brighton General Hospital site to be designated as the city’s 35th Conservation Area. The reasons are many. It is the last almost complete “workhouse complex” left in the country, the Kitchener Indian Hospital from 1916-20 where hundreds of wounded sepoys were nursed and then the Brighton Municipal Hospital, and has been a landmark across the city for 154 years.
Madeira Road, Brighton, looking east. Drawing by H.S. Hine
In the collection of (and by permission of) R.V.Amerena Esq.
This is a fascinating view of workman repairing the wooden guard rail along Marine Parade from suspended scaffolding with a swooping seagull beneath.
The Victorians did not often record tradesmen at work, particularly for a guard rail repair, so this drawing is rare.
The artist Hine was sat at a spot immediately beneath 127 and 128 Marine Parade. Madeira Road was constructed and named as such in 1872 which ran along a new sea wall, after the Aquarium was built, to Duke’s Mound then up to Marine Parade. Duke’s Mound was named after His Grace the 6th Duke of Devonshire who was at 1 Lewes Crescent for thirty years until 1858.
As there is no evidence of Lockwood’s Madeira Terrace structure of the 1890’s in the drawing, and also no record of the Paston Place Groyne, known as the Banjo Groyne, built in 1877, this view then has to be drawn by Hine between 1872 and 1877.
The Great Sea Wall was constructed between 1830 – 38, with the wooden guard rail the whole length of Marine Parade at its top. The present iconic iron railings with dolphin motifs also designed by the borough surveyor Philip Lockwood replaced that wooden structure from 1880.
With thanks to Bill Hunt of TopDog PR for his excellent blog post detailing the story so far.
There are MANY discussions and debates still to be had before the future of this unique site is decided. It is only the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust who appear to be in a hurry to get Brighton General Hospital sold off out of public ownership and at the highest price.
The City of Brighton and Hove is to commemorate Edward Bransfield R.N. (1785-1852), the navigator and explorer who discovered Antarctica in 1820, by erecting a Blue Plaque on his former home in Brighton. The ceremony will take place at 11 Clifton Road on Thursday 30th January 11.30am for 11.45am 2020 to mark the 200th anniversary, to the day, of Bransfield’s pioneering discovery which began the celebrated era of Antarctic exploration and later featured Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. Everyone welcome.
Edward Bransfield lived in Clifton Road from 1847 to early 1851 and later moved to 61 London Road where he died on October 30, 1852 at the age of 67. He is buried in the Extra-Mural Cemetery, Brighton.
The Brighton and Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel has approved the Blue Plaque with the support of the Remembering Edward Bransfield Committee. The unveiling ceremony will be performed by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Alan Robins, with Rear Admiral Richard John Lippiett CB. CBE. DL in attendance.
Bransfield was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1785 and press-ganged into the Royal Navy in 1803 at the start of the Napoleonic Wars. Despite this modest start to his naval career, Bransfield rose through the ranks and became an accomplished Ship’s Master with special responsibility for navigation.
In 1819, while stationed in Valparaiso, Chile, Bransfield was ordered to investigate reports of uncharted islands seen by the merchant vessel, Williams. Under Bransfield’s command, Williams sailed alone into unknown waters and on January 30, 1820 made the first-ever sighting of the Antarctic mainland. The land forms part of the Antarctic Peninsula and was named Trinity Land. The waters he crossed now carry thousands of tourists to Antarctica and are known as the Bransfield Strait.
The Plaque Panel set up by Brighton & Hove City Council VisitBrighton in 2005 is the successor to schemes run originally by Brighton and Hove Corporations and the Regency Society. The first plaques in Brighton appeared in 1925 and the scheme is now believed one of the oldest initiatives for plaque installations in the world, apart from that in London.
The Remembering Edward Bransfield Committee is a voluntary group established to commemorate Bransfield and to erect a monument in his birthplace of Ballinacurra, Cork. After arranging support from international and Irish sources, the monument was unveiled on January 25, 2020.