Many world-famous architects have designed buildings in Brighton and Hove. They include John Nash, responsible for the Royal Pavilion and Regent Street in London.

Sir Charles Barry produced St Peter’s Church before designing his masterpiece, the Houses Of Parliament at Westminster.

But local architect Thomas Lainson, almost unknown outside Brighton, was a major influence in the resort during the 19th century.

His work includes Brooker Hall in Hove, the Royal Alexandra Hospital For Sick Children in Dyke Road, Middle Street synagogue in Brighton and a number of churches.

Although his solid style, typical of the time, went out of fashion during the middle of last century, most of his work still stands.

Born in 1825, Lainson was a married man with six children. He became an architect with his own practice in 1860 and was responsible for a great deal of house building.

He designed Brooker Hall; the most magnificent of many mansions in New Church Road, Hove, for Major John Vallance which was finished in 1877.

Brooker Hall has been used since the 1920s as Hove’s museum and stands in grounds now laid out as a public park.

The building is in the Italianate style made popular in Victorian England by Osborne House, the royal residence on the Isle of Wight.

The handsome red-bricked Royal Alexandra was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1877. It remained in use for more than a century before being replaced at the Royal Sussex County Hospital site in Eastern Road.

Lainson designed it in Queen Anne style with terracotta mouldings, at a cost of only £10,500.

Many later additions somewhat spoiled the original concept, but though it is now derelict, it is still handsome.

Another fine work by Lainson was the warehouse for the Co-Op, later used by Pickford’s, in Holland Road, Hove.

Lainson was also responsible for the Bristol Road Methodist church in Kemp Town – red-bricked and Romanesque with a small spire.

The synagogue in Middle Street is perhaps his best building, and it is a tribute to Lainson that he was chosen for the commission, even though he was not Jewish.

The Byzantine exterior is impressive enough but the highly ornate interior is well worth a look. Additions were made over many years to Lainson’s original design.

Most of the windows were donated by the wealthy Sassoon family, friends of King Edward VII. The synagogue, not now in general use for worship, has recently been restored and is listed.

Lainson later went into business with his two sons, Thomas and Arthur, and when he died in 1898, they carried on the practice.

The firm carried out a lot of work in the Poets’ Corner area of Hove. It also built St Aubyn’s Mansions on the seafront and the New Club in King’s Road, Brighton.

Lainson was surveyor to the Wick and Vallance estates in Hove and designed Adelaide and Lansdowne Mansions.

In Brighton, he built an elegant terrace in Sillwood Road with impressive balconies and verandas. The houses are now listed.

He was perhaps not in the top flight of architects but his work has stood the test of time and a Brighton and Hove bus has been named after him.