Brighton and Hove, a city on the English Channel coast in southeast England, has a large and diverse stock of buildings “unrivalled architecturally” among the country’s seaside resorts. Much of the city’s built environment is composed of buildings of the Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras. The Regency style, typical of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, is characterised by pale stuccoed exteriors with Classical-style mouldings and bay windows. The urban area, designated a city in 2000, is made up of the formerly separate towns of Brighton and Hove, nearby villages such as Portslade, Patcham and Rottingdean, and 20th-century estates such as Moulsecoomb and Mile Oak. The conurbation was first united in 1997 as a unitary authority and has a population of about 253,000. About half of the 20,430-acre (8,270 ha) geographical area is classed as built up.
Since the present urban area’s settlements first developed as fishing villages and downland hamlets, the local architecture has been influenced by characteristic styles and the use of materials rarely seen elsewhere. Black glazed mathematical tiles and bungaroosh are unique to Brighton and its immediate surroundings, and tarred cobblestones with brick quoins, salt-glazed brickwork and knapped or plain flints were also common in early buildings. Stucco—perfectly suited to seaside conditions—predominated throughout the 19th century, such that “of nowhere else did it become so universally characteristic.” Bay windows, a common feature of seaside resorts, were treated distinctively; balconies, sometimes roofed, were included on most 19th-century houses; Victorian and Edwardian houses were often designed as villas, with elaborate porches and decorative gables; and terraced housing is prevalent. The Regency style was so popular and influential that it persisted much longer than in other places, while Gothic Revival architecture is almost absent in secular buildings—although the style was popular for 19th-century churches, of which the city has a large, high-quality range.
Brighton’s earliest council houses date from the 19th century. Two landowners donated land around the present St Helen’s Road in 1897, and simple polychromatic brick cottages were built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Much council building took place in the 1960s and 1970s, often in the form of tower blocks. In Hove, the Conway Redevelopment Scheme lasted from April 1966 until July 1967. Hundreds of slum houses were replaced by five towers with between 54 and 72 flats each; the ten-storey Conway Court is the tallest. Dark red and buff brickwork, small areas of blue plastic panelling and recessed balconies characterise the buildings. About £2 million was spent. In 1976–77, old council houses in the Ingram Crescent area off Portland Road were replaced by low-rise flats in a modern style with varied architectural features such as weatherboarding-style timber, dark brickwork and catslide roofs. The first council houses built in the city since the 1980s were completed in 2013. In July 2010 the council announced plans to demolish Ainsworth House, a 1960s low-rise block in the Elm Grove area, and build a higher-density high-rise “family complex”. Planning permission was granted in April 2011, and the 15-home development called Balchin Court was opened in September 2013. In November 2011 squatters had occupied Ainsworth House, which was in a dangerous condition because it contained asbestos. In February 2016 work started on a larger development of council flats on the site of the old Whitehawk Library. Kite Place, a block of 57 flats, was finished in January 2018, at which time it was reported another 29-unit block was under construction nearby.
The shortage of building materials caused by the First World War prompted the government to seek alternatives. Hundreds of prefabricated homes were built, especially on the outskirts of the urban area, but more innovative were the two all-metal houses built in 1923 on the Pankhurst estate. The government paid half the cost of construction of the “Weir Steel Homes”. They were demolished in 1969. In 1934, the New Zealand-based architecture firm Connell, Ward and Lucas built three Cubist houses on a hillside site on the Saltdean estate—among the earliest buildings of that style in Britain. More were planned, in an attempt to demonstrate that the design could work on a large scale; but no more were built, although some later houses in the area adopted elements of the style. Two of the three “iconoclast machines for living”, as they were called in 1987, survive in much-altered form, “forlorn among their conformist brothers and sisters”. The starkly white-painted cubes were originally sold for £550.
The fields around the ancient village of Hove were owned by a few large landholders, whose gradual release of land for development in the 19th and early 20th centuries contributed to the town’s distinctive pattern of growth: individual architects or firms designed small estates with a homogeneous overall style but with much variation between them. The Wick Estate’s land was transformed between the 1820s and 1860s into the Brunswick Town estate, consisting of grand Regency/Classical-style squares and crescents of houses, with smaller versions in grid-pattern side streets. Next came the Cliftonville estate, which filled the gap between Brunswick Town and Brighton. Two-storey semi-detached stuccoed villas in the Italianate style, often with canted bay windows, characterised the early part of the estate—the long north–south roads between Church Road and the seafront. Cliftonville (now Hove) railway station opened to the north in 1865, stimulating further development in a similar style. A railway architect, F.D. Banister, designed most of Cliftonville, including number 42 Medina Villas (his own home during the 1850s) and three surrounding houses, whose Jacobethan red-brick exteriors and curved gables contrast with the surrounding villas. The West Brighton estate’s rapid development began in 1872 on land bought from the Stanford family, the area’s largest landholders. Until the Stanford Estate Act of Parliament was passed in 1871, no houses could be built on the land, despite tremendous pressure for growth; within 12 years, 550 acres (220 ha) were developed and Hove’s housing stock had trebled. Sir James Knowles and Henry Jones Lanchester were the principal architects, and William Willett built the houses to a high standard.
Commercial and industrial architecture
The redevelopment of Brighton’s three major commercial streets—North Street, West Street and Western Road—in the 1930s means that they are now characterised by distinctive interwar commercial buildings. Western Road has “a good run of large” department stores and other shops: a ship-like Art Deco corner building by Garrett & Son (1934) incorporating Clayton & Black’s Imperial Arcade (1924), the Moderne former Wade’s (now New Look) and Woolworth’s stores (1928), the British Home Stores (1931 by Garrett & Son; now Primark) and the Stafford’s hardware shop (1930; now Poundland) in American-influenced and Continental European-influenced versions of the Classical style and both decorated with elaborate motifs, and the “unusually palatial” Neoclassical Boots the Chemist (1927–28; now McDonald’s). Covering the block between Dean and Spring Streets, its stone façade has four evenly spaced Ionic columns in the centre of the upper storey—originally a restaurant and tearoom which featured regular orchestral performances. Mitre House is a monolithic red-brick and stone structure dating from 1935. Now housing miscellaneous shops at ground-floor level, it originally incorporated the south coast’s largest branch of International Stores, a car showroom and Brighton’s branch of W H Smith below its five storeys of flats. It replaced the 19th-century premises of Le Bon Marché, which after closure in 1926 were acquired by Brighton Corporation to house shops whose premises had been compulsorily purchased. Older buildings survive on the south side, including two Classical-style bank branches—Thomas Bostock Whinney’s Doric-columned Classical-style Bath stone Midland Bank (1905; now HSBC) and Palmer & Holden’s heavily rusticated National Westminster Bank of 1925, with large arched windows flanked by pilasters and a prominent balustrade on the parapet. The north side of North Street became the centre for bank and office buildings, though. Survivors include Denman & Son’s “sombre Classical” Barclays Bank branch (1957–59), a very late use of that style, the Modernist/Brutalist Prudential Buildings (1967–69, by the Prudential’s in-house architect K.C. Wintle), originally that company’s headquarters but now shops and a hotel; another Thomas Bostock Whinney-designed Midland Bank branch, built in 1902 with a colonnade of Tuscan columns and a balustrade at the top, typical of the Edwardian era; and the former National Provincial Bank branch by Clayton & Black and F.C.R. Palmer (1921–23; now a Wetherspoons pub), with intricate carving and use of detail throughout the Louis XVI-style Neoclassical stone façade. Nearby at 163 North Street is “the chef d’œuvre of Clayton & Black, an ebullient essay in Edwardian Baroque”, which they built in 1904 for an insurance company. The Boots store which replaced the Regent Cinema in 1974 had a “sculptural quality” because of the way its steel frame projected beyond the glazed curtain walls. Derek Sharp of Comprehensive Design Group undertook the work, but it the building was re-clad and redesigned in 1998, losing the original impact. Waterstones bookshop opposite, designed for Burtons in 1928 by their in-house architect Harry Wilson, has a Classical theme with full-height pilasters.
Brighton’s parish church, dedicated to St Nicholas, dates from the 14th century, St Andrew’s Church at Hove is a century older, and the formerly outlying villages of Ovingdean, Hangleton, Rottingdean, West Blatchington and Portslade have even more ancient buildings at their heart. Nevertheless, the defining characteristic of Brighton and Hove’s religious architecture is the exceptional range of richly designed, landmark Victorian churches—particularly those built for the Anglican community. The city’s stock of such churches is one of the best outside London: this is attributable to the influence of fashionable society and the money it brought, and to the efforts of two Vicars of Brighton, Henry Michell Wagner and his son Arthur, to endow and build new churches throughout Brighton’s rapidly developing suburbs and poor districts. Both men were rich and were willing to pay for well-designed, attractive and even flamboyant buildings by well-known architects such as Benjamin Ferrey, Richard Cromwell Carpenter and George Frederick Bodley. An early preference for the Classical style, as at Christ Church (now demolished) and St John the Evangelist’s at Carlton Hill, gave way to various forms of Gothic Revival design—principally in the starkly plain form of the gigantic St Bartholomew’s Church and the even larger St Martin’s, whose fixtures and furnishings are classed among the best in England. However, Charles Barry’s imposingly sited St Paul’s Church (1824), which began the Gothic trend, was not commissioned by the Wagners; nor were Hove’s new parish church, the Grade I-listed All Saints (1889–91) or Cliftonville’s St Barnabas’ (1882–83), both by John Loughborough Pearson. St Michael and All Angels Church, built in two stages by Bodley (1858–61) and William Burges (1893–95), was established by Rev. Charles Beanlands, a curate under Arthur Wagner at St Paul’s. The two parts, in different interpretations of the Gothic Revival style, harmonise well, and the interior (mostly by W. H. Romaine-Walker) is one of the city’s grandest. The present St Mary the Virgin Church is the second on the site: Amon Henry Wilds’s Classical building collapsed during renovation and was replaced in 1877–79 by William Emerson’s “dynamic” Early English/French Gothic design—his only church in England.
Also characteristic of the Victorian era was the rebuilding or restoration of the area’s ancient churches. Richard Cromwell Carpenter rebuilt St Nicholas’ Church from a ruined state in 1853–54, and Somers Clarke did more work in 1876. George Basevi carried out an “uninspiring” neo-Norman revamp of the 13th-century St Andrew’s Church in the 1830s, James Woodman and Ewan Christian “over-restored” St Peter’s Church at Preston Village in 1872 and 1878, and the 11th- and 12th-century St Peter’s Church at West Blatchington was initially rebuilt by Somers Clarke in 1888–91 and comprehensively extended in 1960 in a complementary style by John Leopold Denman. The partly Saxon St Wulfran’s Church, Ovingdean (the city’s oldest building) was altered in the 1860s, although the overwhelming impression is that of a 12th-century Downland village church; and similar work was carried out at St Helen’s Church in Hangleton in the 1870s, which nevertheless “retains its medieval character”.
Civic and institutional architecture
Brighton, Hove, Brunswick Town and Portslade have each had a town hall, but only those at Hove and Brighton are still in use and Hove’s was rebuilt after a fire. Medieval Brighthelmston used a building (called the Townhouse) which was more of a market hall, and a later building (1727) known as the Town Hall was principally used as a workhouse. Work on the first purpose-built town hall began in 1830; Thomas Read Kemp laid the first stone, and Thomas Cooper designed it on behalf of the Brighton Town Commissioners (of which he was a member). Brighton Corporation spent £40,000 to extend it in 1897–99, to the design of Francis May. Its severe Classical design, with huge Ionic columns and wide staircases, was criticised in the 19th century, and May’s infilling of the cruciform building’s wings affected the composition’s symmetry. Nevertheless, English Heritage has awarded it Grade II listed status.
Brunswick Town Hall, built on behalf of the Brunswick Square Commissioners, was the first town hall in the Hove area. Its Classical-style stucco façade concealed stone and brickwork. It cost £3,000 and opened in 1856. The three-storey building served Brunswick Town and Hove jointly from 1873, when the Hove Commissioners moved in; but more space was needed, so leading Victorian Gothic Revival architect Alfred Waterhouse was controversially commissioned to design a new building on a large site bought from the Stanford Estate’s land. The Brunswick building, at 64 Brunswick Street West, passed into commercial use, is now part of the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, and is Grade II-listed.
Waterhouse was thought by some Hove Commissioners to be too important an architect to design Hove’s new town hall, but work went ahead in 1880 and it opened in 1882. Local housebuilder J.T. Chappell executed Waterhouse’s design, which was an elaborate Renaissance Revival-style red-brick and terracotta edifice with plentiful stonework and ornately mullioned and transomed windows featuring tracery and coloured glass. A prominent clock tower supplied by Gillett & Johnston’s predecessor company Gillett & Bland rose from the roof. The building was destroyed by fire on 9 January 1966, leaving only the west side standing. Restoration was considered, but by the 1960s Victorian architecture was considered old-fashioned and unworthy of preservation, and the remains were demolished by 1971 to make way for a replacement building.
The Queen Anne-style Portslade Town Hall has not been used for that purpose since 1974, when Portslade Urban District became part of Hove; nevertheless part of the premises are still used by Brighton and Hove City Council. The building was originally the Ronuk Hall and Welfare Institute—a social club and multi-purpose hall built for workers at the nearby Ronuk wax polish factory. Gilbert Murray Simpson designed the red-brick building for the company in 1927; the first stone was laid in July of that year, and the hall opened in 1928. It was lavishly furnished and decorated with paintings by well-known artists. Portslade Urban District Council bought the “impressive” building for £36,500 in 1959. Its main hall has two balustraded galleries.
The Buildings of England series called the “majestic and intimate” University of Sussex “the best architecture of the second half of the 20th century” in Brighton and Hove. Although buildings are still being added on the 200-acre (81 ha) site, the original development by Basil Spence (1960–65) retains its original character—especially in the relationship between the buildings and the undulating downland landscape on the semi-rural site (carved out of the Stanmer estate). Spence’s buildings are “post-1955 Modernist”, influenced by both Le Corbusier and the “epic monumentality” of Ancient Roman architecture. They include a library, lecture rooms for arts and sciences, a non-denominational place of worship, an arts centre and Falmer House, the university’s social centre. All are articulated in red brick and concrete, with hollow vaults, concrete beams, arches and fins. New buildings including numerous halls of residence have been added at various times by architects including Eric Parry, the RH Partnership, ADP Architecture, DEGW and H. Hubbard Ford.
The University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb site consists of Mithras House, a former industrial building, and “a collection of utilitarian modern buildings” flanking Lewes Road. Mithras House dates from 1966 and was built for industrial use; more prominent is the 300-foot (91 m), ten-storey slab of the Cockcroft Building. Built entirely of concrete—mostly precast except for the lowest storeys—it has an east-facing entrance flanked by two-storey concrete piers and set below panels of flint. The main elevations are “busy” with a regular rhythm of windows. Long & Kentish’s adjacent Aldrich Library (1994–96), curtain-walled with concrete and aluminium, is a “light and elegant” contrast to Cockcroft. The curvaceous Huxley Building (2010) also adjoins. The University also has a site at Grand Parade, which consists of the Phoenix Building and the former College of Technology. The former, designed by Fitzroy Robinson Miller Bourne and Partners in 1976, forms a “brutal intrusion” into the early-19th-century terrace of Waterloo Place: only two of its 14 houses remain. Now known as the Grand Parade Annexe, the former College of Technology—a Modernist building with sections of unequal height and windows set in prominent concrete frames—was designed by Percy Billington between 1962 and 1967. Described as “one of Brighton’s better postwar buildings” for its sensitive relationship to its prominent curved site, the layout of its windows recalls the 19th-century terraces it adjoins. It replaced the former Municipal School of Art by J.G. Gibbins, built in 1876–77 of brick, terracotta and granite in the 14th-century Italianate style.
Brighton College is the only surviving building in the city by George Gilbert Scott: his Brill’s Baths have been demolished. Many additions have been made to his 14th-century Gothic-style flint and Caen stone complex, on which work started in 1848. The design has been criticised by Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel and Nikolaus Pevsner, who called the ensemble “joyless” and preferred T.G. Jackson’s “lavishly Gothic” additions of 1886–87, in which terracotta was used extensively. BHASVIC is a “splendid” former grammar school on Old Shoreham Road in Prestonville. Designed by S.B. Russell in 1911–12, in a Neo-Georgian/Queen Anne style with extensive red brickwork and wings joined to a central section by a series of staircases lit by round windows), it occupies a prominent corner site and retains its original iron gates with the emblems of Hove and Brighton Boroughs and East and West Sussex. The Municipal Technical College on Richmond Terrace, north of Grand Parade (now flats) was designed in 1895–96 by the Brighton Borough Surveyor Francis May. Extensions of 1909 and 1935 were in a complementary style with brick and dark terracotta, and the whole complex has been described as “Free Jacobean” in style. Roedean School (1898–99), a girls’ boarding school high on the cliffs towards Ovingdean, is a Free Jacobean composition by John William Simpson. From the centre of the symmetrical range rise two identical towers. Several wings then project forwards from this central block, each with a large gable end. Simpson also designed the chapel in 1906, a sanatorium in 1908 and a library in 1911. Hubert Worthington worked on a dining room extension in the 1960s. St Mary’s Hall, a private school affiliated to Roedean but closed since 2011, has a symmetrical façade with prominent gables and mullioned windows. The design resembles simplified Tudor Revival, although it is early for that style (George Basevi designed it in 1836).
Leisure and entertainment buildings
The Duke of York’s Picture House is the oldest cinema still operating in England, and was one of the world’s first when it opened in September 1910. It is next to the fire station at Preston Circus and occupies the site of a 19th-century brewery. The architects were Clayton & Black. There are some Classical and Palladian touches on the elaborately decorated façade, notably in the four-arch colonnade, but the overall style is Baroque. The symmetrical front elevation has full-height rusticated pilasters on the two end bays, giving them the appearance of towers. The “monumental” Savoy Cinema (1930, by William Glen) just behind the seafront was later converted into a casino. The 3,000-capacity building has a tall and prominent entrance in a free Art Deco style with some Classical touches. Its Sussex bricks were given a white glaze, and the building was nicknamed “the white whale”. “The most impressive of Brighton’s interwar cinemas”, though, was the Regent—designed in 1921 by Robert Atkinson and replaced in 1974 by a commercial development. It was Classical-style inside and out (the interior was the work of Walpole Champneys) and had a winter garden just below the roof. Its replacement was the Odeon Kingswest, converted in 1973 from the Russell Diplock Associates-designed Brighton Top Rank Centre of 1965. The “intrusively aggressive” Brutalist structure has no windows and a low, “emphatically horizontal” appearance, but its jagged roofline of bronze-coated aluminium shapes give it prominence on its corner site. “Hove’s most opulent cinema” (and its only purpose-built one) was the Granada (1933) at Portland Road in the Aldrington area. F.E. Bromige designed the Art Deco building, whose “striking angular tower” and corner site made it a landmark. The Art Deco theme continued inside. Closure came in 1974 and the building became a bingo hall. It was demolished in 2012 in favour of a mixed-use development. Another 1930s cinema that became a bingo hall in the 1970s and later closed is the Astoria Theatre on Gloucester Place in Brighton. Demolition was authorised in 2012, although as it is a Grade II-listed building the final decision lay with national government. Edward A. Stone designed the building in a French Art Deco style with a steel-framed interior clad in pale stone blocks decorated with faience.
The Brighton Dome complex incorporates the Studio Theatre, Corn Exchange and a concert hall. It has occupied its large corner site at the junction of Church Street and New Road in North Laine since William Porden built it for the Prince Regent in 1804–08. Borough Surveyor Philip Lockwood converted the buildings into an entertainment complex in 1867–73, then the next Surveyor Francis May and theatre architect Robert Atkinson did more work in 1901–02 and 1934 respectively. Atkinson’s additions included the theatre, which faces New Road. All of these schemes retained the Indian/Islamic architectural influences of Porden’s work. Atkinson gave the concert hall an Art Deco interior, while May’s interior work was “of an eclectic Neo-Jacobean kind”. Also on New Road is the Theatre Royal, another early-19th-century building remodelled several times subsequently. Charles J. Phipps extended the theatre in 1866, and Clayton & Black gave the building its present appearance in 1894. Their work includes a colonnade of cast iron columns of the Corinthian order, an exterior of “vivid red brick” and a series of dome-topped turrets on the roofline. The former Brighton Hippodrome in The Lanes was designed as an ice rink in 1897, but Frank Matcham converted it into a theatre and indoor circus in 1901–02. Elaborate Rococo-style interior decoration and Royal Pavilion-style onion domes above the stage contrast with a low-key exterior with short towers at each end and a coloured glazed awning. Elsewhere, the Brighton Little Theatre occupies a Classical-style stuccoed former Baptist chapel of 1833, and the Emporium Theatre uses the former London Road Methodist Church-a Free Renaissance-style building designed in 1894 by James Weir and extended and refaced in 1938.
The seafront was originally dominated by defensive structures and batteries, including some designed by James Wyatt. As the threat of foreign invasion lessened in the 19th century, Brighton and Hove’s seafront was redeveloped with pleasure and recreation as its focus, and from the 1860s it represented “the idée fixe of how [a seafront] should look”. Bandstands, elaborately roofed kiosks, shelters with decorative awnings, pale green railings and tall, ornate lamp-posts are found regularly along the whole seafront; most structures date from the late 19th century and many are Grade II-listed.
The West Pier (1863–66 by Eugenius Birch), dedicated entirely to leisure and promenading, was “one of the most important piers ever built”—but after its closure in 1975 it decayed, caught fire twice and is now a rusting hulk stranded in the sea. Many of its features were innovative, from the screw pile foundations developed by Alexander Mitchell to the Royal Pavilion-inspired Orientalist kiosks and other buildings which defined how seaside architecture should be. Further dome-topped entertainment venues were added in 1893 and 1916; the first of these was built because a new rival had appeared closer to the centre of Brighton. Between 1891 and 1901, £137,000 was spent on the Palace Pier. It was built by Arthur Mayoh to a design by R. St George Moore, and many additions were subsequently made—starting with an elaborate Winter Garden (now the Palace of Fun) by Clayton & Black in 1910–11. A funfair was built at the seaward end, 1,760 feet (540 m) from land, in 1938. Domes, elaborate kiosks and ornate columns characterise the pier.
Birch was also responsible for Brighton Aquarium (now the Sea Life Centre) in 1872. The 21-bay double-aisled interior remains as built, but of his High Victorian Gothic-style work on the exterior only an “attention-seeking clock tower” survives, because the building was revamped in 1927–29 by the Borough Surveyor David Edwards. He rebuilt it in pale artificial stone in the Louis XVI Neoclassical style. Also in 1872, the long, straight Madeira Drive—which runs at sea level below the East Cliff—was greatly extended. Borough Surveyor Philip Lockwood designed a “superb” two-storey arcaded promenade alongside the cliff; it includes a pagoda-roofed lift to Marine Parade. Work took place in 1889–97, and Madeira Drive was extended further to Black Rock in 1905.
Brighton Marina at Black Rock dates from 1971–76 and has little architectural interest: an “insipid neo-Regency” pastiche style was used for many of the residential buildings, and the wide range of commercial premises are dominated by a vast supermarket. Module 2 Architects drew up a masterplan for these buildings in 1985. Additional commercial development called The Waterfront (1999–2000 by Design Collective) pays no homage to existing architectural styles but has a “distinctive arched roofline”. The Marina faced opposition when it was proposed, and a proposed development consisting of a 28-storey tower block and hundreds of other homes—first agreed in 2007 and signed off again in 2013—continues to cause controversy.
The esplanade at Hove is well known for its brightly coloured timber beach huts. The first were installed in around 1930, 290 were in place by 1936 and there are now several hundred.
Transport and other architecture
Brighton railway station, a Grade II*-listed structure, was built in two parts. Most of David Mocatta’s stuccoed Italianate building of 1841 survives—albeit hidden by H.E. Wallis’s extensions of 1882–83. He added an elaborate iron porte-cochère over the forecourt and an impressive curved train shed, 21 bays and 597 feet (182 m) long, at the rear. Its glazed three-span roof is supported on octagonal fluted columns. F.D. Bannister, the chief architect of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR), made other alterations at the same time, such as removing an entrance colonnade designed by Mocatta. The modern entrance has round-arched windows and doorways which recall its design. The roof was comprehensively restored in 1999–2000. Elsewhere in the city, the stations at Hove (original building), Kemp Town (demolished), London Road and Portslade were built to a common design in the 1850s–1870s. The “stately” two-storey buildings are Italianate, reminiscent of a Tuscan villa, and have symmetrical layouts. London Road station, by W. Sawyer in 1877, also has a wide staircase leading up to its entrance. Moulsecoomb, newly built in 1980, was designed by the Chief Architect’s Department of the Southern Region of British Railways. Intended to be difficult to vandalise, it has two “well-detailed” Swiss chalet-style wooden and tiled buildings linked by a footbridge. Preston Park’s platform-level buildings were replaced in 1974 by flat-roofed timber and glass structures, although the yellow-brick street-level entrance survives. Aldrington has basic shelters emphasising “utility rather than elegance”.
The Grade II*-listed London Road viaduct (1846) by John Urpeth Rastrick used 10 million yellow and red bricks, spectacularly spanned the undeveloped valley until terraced houses crowded round it, and made it possible for the LBSCR to reach Lewes and Newhaven. The Builder of 1847 proclaimed Brighton to be “immensely improved” by the “exceedingly striking” structure. A cornice and balustrade runs along its 1,200-foot (370 m) length. Similar but smaller viaducts crossed Lewes Road (540 feet (160 m) and 28 arches; demolished in stages in 1976 and 1983) and Hartington Road (three arches; demolished in 1973) as part of the Kemp Town branch line. Further up Lewes Road, near Moulsecoomb, another Rastrick-designed viaduct of 1846 spans the dual carriageway at an acute angle. It is built of blue brick and has three segmental-arched openings. A concrete brace was inserted in one after wartime bomb damage. Two more viaducts, both Grade II-listed and designed by Rastrick, cross New England Road. The earlier, western viaduct (1839–41) carries the main line and was designed as a triumphal arch in stone and yellow brick. It was given full Masonic honours when built. A cast-iron arched bridge of 1851–54, cast at the nearby Regent Foundry, carried the now removed line to the goods yard and locomotive works. It consists of four parallel ribs forming an arch with open spandrels. There is a latticework parapet of iron and stone corbels.
Bungaroosh, a low-quality composite material, was commonly used in construction in the 18th century. The material contained miscellaneous objects such as broken bricks, lumps of wood, pebbles and stone; this mixture was then shuttered in hydraulic lime until it hardened. Bungaroosh walls were often hidden behind stucco or mathematical tile façades, and are susceptible to water penetration. Mathematical tiles, a similarly localised material, were designed to be laid overlapping each other, giving the appearance of brickwork. Glazed black tiles are closely associated with Brighton, and survive on 18th- and early 19th-century buildings such as Royal Crescent, Patcham Place and the shop at 9 Pool Valley. Other colours of tile are occasionally seen, such as cream (in the East Cliff area) and honey (commonly used by Henry Holland, including on his design for the original Marine Pavilion). The tiles gave bungaroosh buildings an expensive-looking façade and were easier to work with than bricks.
Rendered stucco façades “are a defining characteristic of Brighton and Hove’s historic core”. Stucco gave the appearance of stone, left a smooth finish and could be worked into intricate patterns on mouldings, capitals, architraves and other embellishments. It was used prominently on long, continuous terraces of houses, such as in the Brunswick and Kemp Town estates. Rustication was sometimes used, especially at ground-floor level. Typical decorative mouldings include standard features of Classical architecture such as columns of various orders, pilasters, parapets, cornices and capitals. Stucco façades were not always well-regarded: writing in 1940, Louis Francis Salzman considered that stucco “hides what architectural features [the buildings] may possess and produces dull uniformity, entirely lacking in character”.
Brick buildings are common throughout the area. Pale gault brick is characteristic of some mid-19th-century residential developments, such as the area around Grand Avenue in Hove and the Valley Gardens area of Brighton (both conservation areas). Later in that century, smooth red brickwork became more common. Yellowish stock bricks were popular in the 19th century for non-residential buildings and walls which were not readily visible. Different coloured bricks, such as brown and grey-blue, were often used in quoins and dressings on walls made of flint or red bricks. The layout of brickwork “has a significant effect on a building’s appearance”; the Flemish bond pattern is encountered most frequently in the city. On Victorian and Edwardian houses, brick chimney-stacks often served a decorative as well as a functional purpose, and were sometimes tall and ornate: examples include the Queen Anne-style houses at 8–11 Grand Avenue, Hove (1900–03, by Amos Faulkner).
Stone was rarely used as a building material, as it was not prevalent locally. Some churches and banks of the 19th and early 20th centuries were built of Bath or Portland stone, and Kentish ragstone was used for St Joseph’s Church on Elm Grove, but few ordinary residential or commercial buildings have any stonework. Artificial stone was sometimes used for exterior features such as cornices and columns, though, especially during the Victorian era. Flint was historically a common building material as it was “always readily available in Hove, Portslade, West Blatchington and Hangleton”. Agricultural buildings and cottages used random (unknapped) flintwork extensively, as did all four parishes’ ancient churches and others further east such as Ovingdean and Rottingdean. Flints were collected from the beach and the South Downs or dug out of the fields, where they were often found near the surface. A flint pit survived at Southern Cross near Portslade until the 20th century. It became popular again as a building material in the early 19th century, by which time several styles of flintwork had developed: rounded pebbles in seafront buildings, whole flints in rural cottages and agricultural buildings, knapped (split) flints, and random flintwork with brick dressings. The use of stone or brick quoins and dressings on flint walls, necessary for structural reasons, enhances the appearance of such buildings, “sometimes to great decorative effect”. Knapped flint was used particularly in farmhouses in nearby villages which later became part of the urban area: Court House and Down House in Rottingdean, Home Farmhouse in Withdean, Southdown House in Patcham and several houses in Ovingdean and Stanmer have them. The Sussex dialect includes specialist words for types of flint: the irregular joints between randomly laid knapped flints are “snail-creeps”, and rounded pebbles are “pitchers”. An old “Brighton Vernacular” style has been identified: small cottages with cobblestone walls laid in courses, whose windows and doors were edged with red brickwork. Many examples of this style were demolished during the mid 20th-century slum clearance programmes.
Source From Wikipedia