Brighton's Pepperpot needs £100k of work

First published in News by

Major refurbishment work on a landmark building has uncovered fascinating new details about its history.

But it has also revealed the need for further restoration work costing more than £100,000.

Supporters of the Pepperpot in Queen’s Park, Brighton say new discoveries have added to the significance and understanding of the building but are also set to delay any plans for a future practical use of the building.

A £70,000 council project to repair and refurbish the grade II listed building was due to be completed in May but is now expected to continue until at least September.

While work to repair and weatherproof the 19th century structure was being carried out, conservationists discovered that it was built from Ranger’s Artificial Stone making it one of the first in the country to be built in this early form of concrete developed by Ringmer builder William Ranger.

Further research by Nick Tyson of the Regency Society looks to have solved an age-old mystery – the original purpose of the Pepperpot.

An entry in the Arcana of Science and Art in 1836 listing the year’s top inventions and designs revealed that the Pepperpot, then known as Belvedere Tower, was home to a steam engine to pull up water from a well below.

The current work has seen top-floor windows and the front door replaced and a special paint applied to the exterior.

A full restoration of the exterior would cost an estimated £100,000 while work to the interior, where staircases and floors are currently being supported by scaffolding after aging joists rotted away, would add further cost and delays.

The Friends of the Pepperpot had hoped to be able to convert the building into a bed and breakfast, café or community space but this could be delayed by five years or more as further restoration work is funded and carried out.

The group has entered into talks with the building preservation charity The Landmark Trust, which let out unusual buildings as holiday homes, and two representatives of English Heritage attended the most recent public meeting discussing the Pepperpot’s future.

Any future refurbishment could rely on Lottery funding and any bid would be boosted with the support of the Landmark Trust.

The continuing work has also thrown into question a heritage open day and a special light display on the building which were both scheduled for September.

Chris Lowe from the Friends of the Pepperpot said: “It would have been fantastic to have a slick, elegant looking repair but that has not been possible to achieve.

“What we have had is not just a repair but a part restoration which has made the Pepperpot more secure and weather treated.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Following discussion with our planning conservation officers, English Heritage, the Georgian Group, the Regency Society, the Friends of the Pepperpot, and due to budget limitations, it has been decided to have a conservation approach for repairs to the main tower rather than a full restoration of the rendered surfaces.

“The contractor is revising the programme in line with this approach, which will be available shortly.”

Caroline Stanford, historian for the Landmark Trust, said: “Designed by Charles Barry, this small building is clearly of some significance and in need of a new use.

“We are currently assessing whether Landmark can help with its future.”

How would you like to see the Pepperpot used in the future? Tell us below, write to our letters page or email letters@theargus.co.uk

Comments (12)

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2:14pm Fri 5 Aug 11

SomeBlokeFrom says...

Regardless of what it is or was, it seems they just want to use it for some novelty factor café or 'holiday home'.... Really? and this is cause to use tax payers money?
£70,000 of the councils budget, from our pocket? ridiculous, either do away with it or leave it as it is, now it's been weather-proofed. or sell it to a private owner and let them take care of paying for it.
Regardless of what it is or was, it seems they just want to use it for some novelty factor café or 'holiday home'.... Really? and this is cause to use tax payers money? £70,000 of the councils budget, from our pocket? ridiculous, either do away with it or leave it as it is, now it's been weather-proofed. or sell it to a private owner and let them take care of paying for it. SomeBlokeFrom
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Fri 5 Aug 11

Davrow says...

It just takes the tax payers money, the thick councillors don't care what they spend it on, you do not want a cafe or any other silly idea, pull it down and make into a useful roundabout, and save our money.
It just takes the tax payers money, the thick councillors don't care what they spend it on, you do not want a cafe or any other silly idea, pull it down and make into a useful roundabout, and save our money. Davrow
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Fri 5 Aug 11

Tessa Paige says...

Great to see everyone working together to achieve a result that will preserve the building and find it a good use – not easy with something like the Pepper Pot. But I think Nick Tyson is from the Regency Townhouse, rather than a representative of the Regency Society.
Great to see everyone working together to achieve a result that will preserve the building and find it a good use – not easy with something like the Pepper Pot. But I think Nick Tyson is from the Regency Townhouse, rather than a representative of the Regency Society. Tessa Paige
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Fri 5 Aug 11

SicklySeagull says...

As it has not served any purpose for many years lets not waste another penny,use the cash to improve one of the Councils Old Folks homes.
As it has not served any purpose for many years lets not waste another penny,use the cash to improve one of the Councils Old Folks homes. SicklySeagull
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Fri 5 Aug 11

tinker000 says...

Dont Take it from my hard council tax money
Dont Take it from my hard council tax money tinker000
  • Score: 0

6:34pm Fri 5 Aug 11

Falstaff says...

Yes, let's not spend any money on the very thing that makes Brighton & Hove unique, brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city and gives pleasure to all but the most curmudgeonly - our heritage. The Pepperpot is a listed building and all owners of listed buildings by law have to keep them in good order or they will get forced to do so. That's how it should be - this generation has no right to deny future generations the history that makes living somewhere like here worthwhile. So good on the people who are securing the Pepperpot for the future. And if the Landmark Trust can help find it a new use, so much the better.
Yes, let's not spend any money on the very thing that makes Brighton & Hove unique, brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city and gives pleasure to all but the most curmudgeonly - our heritage. The Pepperpot is a listed building and all owners of listed buildings by law have to keep them in good order or they will get forced to do so. That's how it should be - this generation has no right to deny future generations the history that makes living somewhere like here worthwhile. So good on the people who are securing the Pepperpot for the future. And if the Landmark Trust can help find it a new use, so much the better. Falstaff
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Fri 5 Aug 11

Surely not! says...

Davrow wrote:
It just takes the tax payers money, the thick councillors don't care what they spend it on, you do not want a cafe or any other silly idea, pull it down and make into a useful roundabout, and save our money.
Yes I too want to live in a cultural desert.. I think I'll move to Newhaven!
[quote][p][bold]Davrow[/bold] wrote: It just takes the tax payers money, the thick councillors don't care what they spend it on, you do not want a cafe or any other silly idea, pull it down and make into a useful roundabout, and save our money.[/p][/quote]Yes I too want to live in a cultural desert.. I think I'll move to Newhaven! Surely not!
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Fri 5 Aug 11

sussexram40 says...

As much as I'd like it to see the full restoration works be done, in the current financial climate I think it would be irresponsible to throw any more money at it. We have to put important services and people ahead of monuments and historic buildings.
As much as I'd like it to see the full restoration works be done, in the current financial climate I think it would be irresponsible to throw any more money at it. We have to put important services and people ahead of monuments and historic buildings. sussexram40
  • Score: 0

7:49pm Fri 5 Aug 11

sussexram40 says...

Perhaps the Council should try to sell it off in an auction. There could be an eccentric who would like to own it and then the maintenance liability would be passed to private hands. Doubt they'd get much as the buyer would factor in the cost of the works in his bid but even if they only got £100 for it, that would be a saving to the public purse in future repair bills.
Perhaps the Council should try to sell it off in an auction. There could be an eccentric who would like to own it and then the maintenance liability would be passed to private hands. Doubt they'd get much as the buyer would factor in the cost of the works in his bid but even if they only got £100 for it, that would be a saving to the public purse in future repair bills. sussexram40
  • Score: 0

7:56pm Fri 5 Aug 11

Davrow says...

Surely not! wrote:
Davrow wrote:
It just takes the tax payers money, the thick councillors don't care what they spend it on, you do not want a cafe or any other silly idea, pull it down and make into a useful roundabout, and save our money.
Yes I too want to live in a cultural desert.. I think I'll move to Newhaven!
No you stay in where you live now and then you wont miss the playgrounds.
Don't forget to change your underwear.
[quote][p][bold]Surely not![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davrow[/bold] wrote: It just takes the tax payers money, the thick councillors don't care what they spend it on, you do not want a cafe or any other silly idea, pull it down and make into a useful roundabout, and save our money.[/p][/quote]Yes I too want to live in a cultural desert.. I think I'll move to Newhaven![/p][/quote]No you stay in where you live now and then you wont miss the playgrounds. Don't forget to change your underwear. Davrow
  • Score: 0

9:29pm Fri 5 Aug 11

John Steed says...

the Colosseum in rome was another early form of concrete structure luckily it never had a roof to start with so it has quite nicely survived some 2,000 years and of course is open to the public

security word required in the box Vast-Huge is the argus developing artificial intelegence
the Colosseum in rome was another early form of concrete structure luckily it never had a roof to start with so it has quite nicely survived some 2,000 years and of course is open to the public security word required in the box Vast-Huge is the argus developing artificial intelegence John Steed
  • Score: 0

10:30pm Fri 5 Aug 11

Gaz the great says...

Have always loved this unusual building since early childhood, so I believe this is money well spent. As for a waste of council tax-payers money, I am sure the current lot have many more ideas, on how to waste it.
Have always loved this unusual building since early childhood, so I believe this is money well spent. As for a waste of council tax-payers money, I am sure the current lot have many more ideas, on how to waste it. Gaz the great
  • Score: 0

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