Most of the walk is on fairly friendly sloping ground but there is a steep bit near the end. After that, it's downhill all the way to the finish. Allow an hour or so.
We start in Palmeira Square, with our backs toward the sea. Pause to admire the Floral Clock. It's been there for so long now that some people believe it must be Victorian. It was actually put there to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Turn left and walk towards St John's Church, skirting the flower stall and the recycling bins. Just past the church is First Avenue. Walk towards the sea. Near the bottom, the last yellow brick house is No 12, the childhood home of novelist and playwright Patrick Hamilton (1904 - 1962). Patrick was born in Hassocks and the family moved to Hove when he was four. They left a few years later. His plays include Rope and Gaslight, both made into successful films. Amongst his novels is The West Pier, described by Graham Greene as the best book ever written about Brighton. The plaque was paid for by Penguin Books.
Go to the bottom of the road, turn left and walk along the seafront. Cross the bottom of St John's Road, pass the Adelaide Crescent slopes and cross Holland Road to Brunswick Terrace. We are now in Brunswick Town proper. The estate was built in the 1820s on land belonging to Thomas Scutt. The form of Brunswick Terrace, Brunswick Square and their service roads echo (whether by intent or accident, we don't know) the deign of Kemp Town in Brighton. The first house in Brunswick Terrace is No 42, which has been a hotel for most of its existence. In 1848 it was let as a furnished house to Prince Clemens Metternich (1773 - 1859), the newly-exiled Chancellor of Austria. He was one of the most important men in early nineteenth-century Europe and whilst in Hove he was visited by many of England's elite. The present plaque replaces an earlier one of the same shape. It was the Regency Society's first plaque in Hove and was unveiled by the Austrian Ambassador in October 1952.
Brunswick Terrace is split by Lansdowne Place. Turn up here and cross over. On the right, past the Dudley Hotel, at No 16, a blue ceramic plaque commemorates John Leech (1817 - 1864), friend of Dickens, a humorous artist who contributed to the early issues of Punch. This plaque, paid for by a television company, contains what is now the only mention of Charles Dickens to be found in the City, as Dickens' own plaque was lost in the fire which destroyed the Bedford Hotel in 1964. Come back towards the sea. Just before the Dudley Hotel there is a turning called Brunswick Street West. It is here that we invite you to make an optional detour. Follow the road round, past the boarded-up 'Prince of Wales' pub and up the hill towards 'The Bow Street Runner'. The imposing building next door has an interesting history. It was built in 1856 as the offices of the Brunswick Town Commissioners and in 1873 became Hove's first Town Hall. It fulfilled this role until 1882 when the second Town Hall, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, opened in Church Road. In 1975 Hove Corporation put up a plaque, which has now disappeared, commemorating its use. The building was until recently a snooker club, but is now boarded up. return the way you came but, as you pass the 'Prince of Wales' again, look at the cottage on the opposite corner. It's built in what is known as 'Brighton Vernacular' style, of coursed black-painted cobbles with brick quoins.
Return to the seafront and walk along the rest of this arm of Brunswick Terrace. We're now making for Brunswick Square where there are six plaques to find, three on each side. Turn into the Square and look for No 53. The plaque commemorates the Dunbar Nasmith Home, a centre for Polish sailors during World War II. The home was named after Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar Nasmith, C-in-C, Plymouth and Western Approaches.
At No 45, Edward Carpenter (1844
- 1929) was born. He came from a naval family but rebelled against
the society into which he had been born. He took holy orders but
relinquished them. He became involved in the university extension
movement and wrote on social subjects. At onetime he managed to combine
his literary activities with those of market-gardening and sandal-making.
The house right up in the corner on this side of the square is No 33. It is, I think you will agree, a very elegant house. It was here that the celebrated musician Sir HamiltonHarty (1870 - 1941) died. He was conductor of the Halle Orchestra from 1920 to 1933. He composed a number of songs, a violin concerto and the tone-poem With the Wild Geese. He was knighted in 1925 and is commemorated not only by this Regency Society plaque but also by a chair of music at Queen's University, Belfast.
Cross to the other side of the square and walk towards the sea. No 17 is where Robert Bevan (1865 - 1925) was born. His family, who were bankers, had land in Cuckfield. At this time a house was being built, which is probably why he was born at his grandmother's house in Hove. He studied at the Winchester School of Art and in Paris. He painted landscapes and scenes of life in London and has now been recognised as one of the finest post-impressionists of the twentieth century. Continue down the square noting, as you pass, No 13, The Regency Town House. We are looking for No 4, where Sir Roger Quilter (1877 - 1953) was born. Son of Sir Cuthbert Quilter, he was educated at Eton before studying music in Frankfurt. He composed numerous songs including settings of Shakespeare, Keats, Herrick and Shelley. His work in the theatre included the music for Where the Rainbow Ends. The Regency Plaque was unveiled in 1977.
Two doors away, at No 2, Hove Borough Council honoured Sir George Augustus Westphal (1785 - 1875). He served in the Royal Navy with distinction, becoming an admiral in 1863. The plaque notes that he was wounded at Trafalgar. What it does not record is that, whilst he waited to be treated, Lord Nelson's coat was placed under his head as a pillow. In later life, Sir George was able to authenticate the coat worn by Nelson at Trafalgar by the fact that some braid was missing, cut off where his own blood-soaked hair had stuck to it!
Turn the corner to the eastern half of Brunswick Terrace. The Round family moved into the newly-built No 15 in 1827 and it was here that J. H. Round (1854 - 1928) was born. He was to become one of the most distinguished historians of his day, opening up new lines of research, especially in the study of Saxon and Norman history. He stressed the need for accuracy and was not afraid of courting controversy. On a lighter note, his maternal grandfather was the poet Horace Smith, who dubbed Brighton "Queen of Watering Places". J. H. Round's death ended a hundred-year-long association by the Round family with this house.
Walk along the rest of Brunswick Terrace,
turn up Waterloo Street, pass the elegant St Andrew's Church, to Western
Road. Cross, by crossing to your left and make for Brunswick Road,
opposite. The road is steep and tree-lined, so be careful on the
uneven pavement. However, the climb to the top is worth it.
The last house on the left is No 29/30. This is Lansworth House,
now owned by the YMCA. In the 1880s it housed a preparatory school,
run by the Misses Charlotte and Katie Thomson. Amongst their pupils,
between Autumn 1884 and Easter 1888 was Sir Winston Churchill (1874
- 1965). It was on the front of this house that Hove Corporation
put their first official plaque. It's a handsome affair, surmounted
by the arms of Hove, but in need of a bit of a clean. It set a precedent
for, like many of the later Hove Corporation plaques, it was sponsored.
Turn the corner and, no, you're not seeing things, there is another one,
this time a blue ceramic job, on the Lansdowne Road side of the building.
Yes, this one's for Churchill too, like the other one, sponsored, and still
with the same mistakes on it, much to the ire of visiting Americans.
(Sir Winston's school dates are wrong and the sisters' surname has gained
Now you've recovered from the climb up Brunswick Road and turned the corner, it's downhill all the way. We're making for Palmeira Avenue passing, as we go, Wick Hall, the Farm Road synagogue, and, having negotiated the traffic lights at the junction with Holland Road, the Law Courts. A short distance past the courts is Palmeira Avenue.
We've left the most colourful plaques to
last. Walk down the left-hand side of Palmeira Avenue to No 14.
You can't miss it, there's an enormous yucca threatening to take over the
pavement. This was the home of Victoria Lidiard (1889 - 1992).
her plaque was unveiled by Betty Boothroyd, then speaker of the House of
Commons, in 1996. It's in the colours of the suffragette movement
- purple for dignity, white for purity and green for hope, though the purple's
turned out rather blue! Victoria was a life-long campaigner for women's
rights and as a young woman spent two months in Holloway prison because
of her activities.
Cross over the road to No 13, to another plaque, this time in the chocolate of Surrey County Cricket Club. This commemorates Sir Jack Hobbs (1882 - 1963), Surrey and England, the first professional cricket player to be knighted. In a distinguished career he played in 61 test matches, scoring 5 410 runs. By the time he retired he had made 61 237 runs for Surrey, including 197 centuries. His plaque is decorated with the MCC lions and Surrey CCC's Prince of Wales feathers. This plaque was paid for by Cllr Brian Rowe and the Sussex Cricket Society.
This is the last plaque on this trail:
walk just a little further down the road and you're back in Palmeira Square,
this time on the other side of the Floral Clock.
We hope you enjoyed plaque-spotting with us. The ones on this walk represent only a small proportion of the total in Brighton and Hove. If you would like to learn more about the area we can recommend the following books: Antony Dale's Fashionable Brighton 1820 - 1860 gives a good overall history of the area. Judy Middleton, on the other hand, has compiled a massive Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade in 14 parts. In this she covers each street in great detail. Volume 2 'B' covers much of Brunswick Town and is available from City Books, 23 Western Road, Hove. To see how a Regency house works, get hold of a copy of The Regency Town House - An illustrated guide and history to 13 Brunswick Square, Hove. It is available from a number of outlets in Brighton & Hove.
This walk comes from The Regency Society. For more information about the society's work go to www.regencysociety.org