Beat the heat

Mind the gap

Mind the gap

AS THE thermometer soars and summer at last starts to kick in one of the coolest places to be in Brighton is not lying stretched out on the beach—but chilling out in one of our glorious Regency houses.

In winter, period houses can be draughty, hard to keep warm and the heating bills make the council tax bill look like small change. But in summer they come into their own and are far less likely to need air conditioning than modern houses. This is an important advantage, because it takes twice as much energy to cool a room by one degree as it does to warm the room by one degree.

All the design features of Brighton’s period houses—those fireplaces, the draughty sash windows and those thick walls—that make the houses so hard to heat in winter, make them a really cool place to be in the middle of a heatwave. Continue reading

Our AGM: the results

St Michael's

St Michael’s

This year’s annual general meeting was held on Thursday 29th May at 7:00 pm. Chairman Jim Gowans was re-elected unopposed, as were the other officers of the association. There is a full list of the current committee members here. Two places on the committee are vacant.

The meeting approved also the annual report and accounts for 2013-14.

Members who were unable to attend the annual general meeting will have received their copy of the annual report with the July issue of our newsletter, which was distributed to members in the middle of July. Our annual report and accounts can also be found here: Annual Report 2013-14.

After the formal proceedings were over Geoffrey Mead gave an illustrated talk about Sussex Literary Landscapes. The July newsletter will include a report of his talk.


Explore our lovely area

IMG_1693Take a walk round our lovely conservation area with local expert Geoffrey Mead, of the University of Sussex. As part of the Brighton fringe festival Dr Mead is conducting a number of tours around the area in May and June.

Dr Mead is a well-respected local tour guide and an acknowledged authority on the local architecture. The tours take an hour and a half and will take in all the main features of the area, as well as some lesser known items.

The tours start at St Nicholas Church at 2pm on 17th, 24th and 31st May. In June there are tours on 1st, 7th and 8th June. The cost is £7. For details of the next tour see our coming soon page.

Pop-up boards

Letting standards slip

Letting standards slip

ALTHOUGH the conservation area has been board-free since the end of 2012 the odd estate agent still occasionally puts up an illegal board.

This board, in Montpelier Terrace, was photographed in February. The MCHA reported it to the council and the board was removed within a week.

Estate agents’ boards were banned on residential properties in almost all of the city’s central conservation areas in September 2010. However legacy boards–those that had been put up before September 2010 could remain. This created a messy changeover.

Continue reading

The 2014 AGM

st michaelsThis year’s annual general meeting will be held at 7 pm on Thursday 29th May in St Michael’s church. After the formal business the guest speaker will be Geoff Mead, who will give an illustrated talk about Sussex Literary Landscapes.

Members should have received the 2013 minutes and this year’s agenda, together with a flyer for the talk, with the March issue of our newsletter.

For more details see our events pages

Email problems

A technical fault has meant that we did not receive any emails between mid-November and mid-January. If you sent us an email recently and did not get a reply could you please email us again on the contact form.

Save our front gardens

IMG_4833AT a recent Conservation Advisory Group MCHA chairman Jim Gowans successfully proposed a resolution urging the council to save front gardens, not just in conservation areas but throughout the City and to prevent them being turned into car parks.

Planning applications for hard-standings were made last year in Powis Grove and Victoria Street. The MCHA objected to both applications and while planning officers have turned them down an appeal has been lodged by the applicant in Powis Grove and Victoria Street has lodged a fresh application.

However, the council did grant itself permission (despite the Association’s objections) to allow the creation of a hard-standing in front of 20 Windlesham Road. Officially this road only adjoins the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Conservation Area. But the road with its elegant “arts and crafts” houses has been part of the area that the MCHA aims to protect since 1970.

This council-owned property has not only lost its garden to car parking but has also lost its beautiful original timber door and window frames. Concrete and plastic now dominate. So much for a commitment to heritage and the environment. Continue reading

South of the border

IMG_4541IN 1903 Brighton Corporation began the long process of widening Western Road when it bought the front gardens of several houses on the north side, all in the block between Montpelier Road and Hampton Place, writes Mick Hamer.

At the time Western Road was barely 24 feet wide for much of its length—very little wider than the side streets that run into Western Road, such as Dean Street and Spring Street.

It took more than 30 years to widen Western Road. The last piece of the jigsaw fell into place when Mitre House opened in 1935. The corporation had succeeded in widening the road carriageway to at least 36 feet, so that it could take three or even four lanes of modern motor traffic.

The result of this widening was the loss of some historic Regency and early Victorian buildings, similar to those on the south side of Western Road, which was not affected by the widening. But these lost buildings  were replaced by some fine art deco buildings, which despite more modern shop fitting at street level are still remarkably intact above the ground floor. Continue reading

When England played cricket on Montpelier Crescent

IMG_4620SEPTEMBER in 1843 was extremely hot, writes Mick Hamer. Or as The Times rather quaintly put it, there was an unusual “elevation of the temperature”, as the mercury climbed to reach 86 °F in the capital. But the heatwave came to an abrupt end on 25 September.

It was the end of the season in more ways than one. For it was the last time that top-class cricket was played on Lillywhite’s grounds. Not long after the three-day match ended on 27 September the developers moved in and started building the houses in Montpelier Crescent (see photo).

The final match was between the gentlemen of Sussex–a team of well-heeled amateur cricketers–and the professional players of Sussex, led by the county’s veteran bowler William Lillywhite, one of the most famous cricketers of the age. Not only was the cricket field named after him but he was also the father of John Lillywhite who is generally thought to have founded the London sportswear firm.

Continue reading

Shopping therapy

The ever-popular local historian Janet Pennington will be giving a talk on the history of the small shop immediately after our AGM on Thursday 30th May in the library of the Brighton and Hove High School, Montpelier Road, Brighton. For more details about our AGM, including the 2012-13 annual report see our events section.

Come along and discover how the story of the corner shop and local shopping parades fits in with today’s retail revolution.