SCORES of historic buildings around Brighton and Hove could receive new protection against demolition or irresponsible development in a review of the council’s local list. From hotels, pubs, churches, gardens and even bollards. 
NEIL VOWLES looks at the hundreds of suggested landmarks of architectural merit currently going under the microscope

SOME of the city’s most distinctive and well-known buildings are set to receive greater protection by being added to the local list.

More than 500 entries on Brighton and Hove City Council’s local list have been suggested by architecture lovers, conservationists and residents with local authority officers set to spend months weighing up the benefits of each application.

While local listing does not carry the same powers as the statutory national system of grade listings, it can still be a factor when deciding on planning applications.

Regency Society chairman Roger Hinton said the review was welcome and well overdue with the last list compiled before Brighton and Hove authorities were unified.

He said: “The powers of the local list are minor but it is a positive thing that citizens and residents can say it might not be fantastic architecture worthy of English Heritage listing but its good and we like it.

“And in planning applications it could tip the balance if councillors are not quite sure, it could save a building from disfigurement or demolition.”

The newly-considered additions to the list include a number of notable buildings that residents might be surprised are not already included.

Other entries split public opinion while there are a number of unusual buildings tucked away from public gaze.

Among those set for new listed status include the much-loved Dubarry Building in Fonthill Road, which was built in 1930 to house a major perfume and cosmetics factory.

The site, which is currently the subject of a planning application to build nine flats on its roof, is described by officers in their recommendation as a relatively rare example of an early 20th century factory of particular artistic quality.

Historic seafront hotels in The Old Ship Hotel, which was established before 1600 and is the oldest in Brighton, and the Hilton Brighton Metropole, which dates back to 1888-90, as well as the former Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Dyke Road, which has undergone a multi-million pound transformation into apartments, are all likely to be added to the list without any raised eyebrows.

But also set to make the list are several Marmite buildings that divide opinion including Hove Town Hall in Norton Road.

The hall is described in the Pevsner architectural guide as a “gentler form of Brutalism than might have been expected at an earlier date”. However it is not to all tastes.

The design is said to be influenced by the Hilversum town hall in The Netherlands and when first built in 1970 to replace its fire-damaged predecessor, included a nuclear bunker.

The local listing comes too late for the recent planning permission granted last week for a major overhaul of the site.

The fellow brutalist-lite Brighthelm Community Centre in North Road, and the National Spiritualist Church in Edward Street similarly divide opinion and are recommended as additions to the list.

The modern designs of Marine Gate in Marine Drive and the University of Brighton Faculty of Art in Grand Parade are also not thought of as worthy by all.

Roger Amerena, Brighton and Hove heritage commissioner, said: “It is an unattractive style, the rough concrete of the Brighthelm has not aged well and has fungus on it and Hove Town Hall was a mistake, it’s a complete waste, there are height issues and it is always cold.”

Traditionalists are more likely to cheer the proposed inclusion of the White Lodge in Roedean which features the work of not one but two star architects.

The original design was created by J.W. Simpson in 1904, who also designed Roedean School and Brighton War Memorial, while 1920s additions were drawn up by revered architect Edwin Lutyens as a favour to his friend and then property owner Victoria Sackville-West.

Kitty Edwards-Jones, who attempted to get White Lodge listed in 2001, said: “It would be brilliant if it was added to the list.

“There is a long way to go to restore it back now but what it will do is stop it being damaged any further.

“There are many beautiful buildings in Brighton and they all deserve listing but this is the only Lutyens and the social history of the house is incredible with the Bloomsbury Group and that whole bohemian set.”

The colourful life of the former 1891 congregational chapel in Sudeley Place, Brighton, which became the King’s Cliff Cinema in the 1920s, specialising in pornographic films before its closure in 1986, before becoming housing, is also considered worthy of retention.

To send your comments on nominations for the list email or write to Heritage Team, Kings House, Grand Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LS. The deadline for responses is March 15.

Local quirks

It is not just grand imposing buildings that require local listing protection. Sometimes the smaller almost undetectable little markers of history need the most protection and recognition.

Two ornate nineteenth-century bollards at the south entrance of St Nicholas Churchyard, in Dyke Road, a semi-circular boundary stone by Elm Grove Primary School which marks the boundary for St Martin’s District Council and unusual cast iron 19th century gate piers outside a home in Cavendish Place are all included.

The impressive Patcham Clock Tower is recommended for inclusion along with the Blakers Park Clock Tower, off Preston Drove.

The flint boundary wall along Falmer Road in Rottingdean is also set for protection because of its significance as the remnants of the former Rottingdean School but a flint cobble wall along Montpelier Road is set to be removed from the list despite its links to the former Vicar of Brighton Reverend Henry Wagner.

The anchor of the Athina B, which beached in Brighton in January 1980, is deemed ineligible for inclusion on the local list because it is not permanently fixed to its plinth in Madeira Drive and is not designed to be public art.

However, Mr Amerena said “street furniture” gave a valuable insight into the city’s history.

He said: “People don’t realise that conservation areas don’t include the public highway so we have lights and kerbstones that should be protected.”


A number of under-threat pubs have been given a boost by having their social importance recognised.

The Rose Hill Tavern, in Rose Hill Terrace, which is currently the subject of a planning application to turn it into a three bedroom flat, is recommended having served thirsty customers from at least 1864.

The Poets Corner, in Montgomery Street, Hove, The Heart and Hand, in North Road, The George Payne, in Payne Avenue, Hove and The Joker, in Preston Road, are among more than a dozen others.

Among the most intriguing of pubs included is the Bow Street Runner, in Brunswick Street West, Hove, which was first mentioned in street directories in 1867 and was previously the old Brunswick Police and Fire Station.

The Good Companions, in Dyke Road, which is reported to have opened on the day Britain declared war on Germany in 1939 and The elegant Jolly Brewer, in Ditchling Road, are also included.

Not all pubs put forward have been accepted however.

One of the city’s smallest boozers, the Hand in Hand in Upper St James’s Street, rejected because its roof has been much altered and the building is considered “insufficiently atypical of the area”.

Mr Amerena said: “With pubs I think the interior is just as important with the public and private rooms, the saloon, the ladies room which is all quite different to the one large room we tend to have now.”

Open spaces

It is not just bricks and mortar that can be given greater protection, with parks, gardens and open spaces all included.

Dyke Road Park, which was converted during the wars from allotment gardens, Hove Lawns, used for promenading by the well-to-do well into the 20th century, and Kipling Gardens, in Rottingdean, are all considered worthy.

The Brighthelm Centre Rest Gardens in Brighton, despite being a former burial ground and modern reputation for attracting street drinkers is also recommended for listing.

Meanwhile Regency Square Gardens have been discounted because the addition of car park underneath the soil in 1969 has “led to the loss of the original design and integrity”.


Brighton has long been synonymous with the motor engine, ever since the first cars spluttered their way down from London in the 1890s. That history is reflected in many sites deemed worthy of retention.

The early 1950s petrol pumps are thought to be from one of the first, if not the first, petrol station in Brighton, although they cut an incongruous figure these days down a residential road.

Other sites marking transport innovation set to be added include the Brighton Corporation Tramways Depot in Coombe Terrace – used today by Brighton and Hove Bus Company.

Passengers also used to flock to the Electrobus Charging Station and Bus Garage in Montague Place between 1908 and 1917 when Brighton had the busiest electrobus service outside of the capital.

The brick-built warehouse was the first and only purpose-built charging station in the city.

The Victorian Fonthill Road Railway Bridge in Hove, dating back to 1840, and the unassuming timber tram shelter in Ditchling Road, at the junction with Upper Hollingdean Road are also being considered as worthy additions to the list.


For a city dubbed the “most Godless city in Britain”, we have a lot of churches – many of which have been included in the list.

The Fountain Centre, in Braybon Avenue, created by notable architect L. Keir Hett, the “modest” St Matthias Church, in Ditchling Road, which is recommended by virtue of its “unusual tower”, the neo-classical Nonconformist chapel Europa House, in Goldstone Villas, and the First Church of Christ Scientist Religion, in Montpelier Road, are just some of the more eye-catching religious buildings set to be added.

Possibly most intriguing of all is the French Reformed Church, Queensbury Mews, Brighton, which was built in 1887-8 to serve the French speaking population and visitors and is one of only two such purpose-built churches in the country.

The Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue, in Lansdowne Road, Hove, which is a remodelled gym, has not made the grade being judged to be “of modest architectural and townscape interest”.

As well as churches, St Nicholas Churchyard, in Dyke Road, is set to be included.

It marks the final resting place of local notables including female soldier Phoebe Hessel, dipper Martha Gunn, curry house entrepreneur, Sake Deen Mahomed, and actress and royal mistress Anna Maria Crouch amongst others.

The Jewish Burial Ground, in Florence Place, which has known some pretty undesirable neighbours in the past including a dust yard, abattoir and now the Hollingdean Depot and Waste Transfer, is also recommended.


With 500 buildings and landmarks suggested, there are inevitably going to be a few that do not make the grade.

There is a strong clamour for the Van Alen Building, in Marine Parade, but council officers deemed it should not be included as it does not meet the qualification for “exceptional interest”.

Valerie Paynter from SaveHove said: “I think it should be on the list because it’s one of the only modern buildings that has that status, that adds something to the urban grain and the townscape, you look at it and say ‘yes, that’s what the seafront is for’.”

The Jubilee Library, in Jubilee Street, fails to qualify having only opened in 2005 while Patcham Junior School, in Warmdene Road, is deemed to be of “insufficient architectural or townscape merit”.

BHASVIC playing fields meanwhile was deemed to not “hold sufficient design or historic interest”.

Another Marmite site which has been rejected for listing is the wedding cake AMEX House, in Edward Street, which council officers claim relates poorly to the street scene, is “unduly aggressive in longer views” and is criticised for its bulk and “windswept piazza”.

Mr Hinton disagrees. He said: “I would describe it as a welcome relief from the neighbouring buildings which loom over Edward Street on the north side.”

Among the buildings set to lose their local listed status are The Amsterdam Hotel, in Marine Parade, Adaptatrap Percussion shop, in Trafalgar Street and Easthill House, in Easthill Park, Portslade.