Queen's Park, Brighton (also known as Brighton Park)2739

East Sussex, England

Brief Description

Queen's Park, Brighton is a late-19th-century public park of about 7 hectares set in a sheltered valley. Formerly known as Brighton Park, the site was renamed in honour of Queen Adelaide. Features include a wildlife garden, a scented garden and a lake.

History

The earliest park on the site was planned as part of a speculative housing development by John Armstrong, who from 1822 intended to develop it as an area of the new Regency suburbs of Brighton. The central combe was enclosed and laid out as parkland with a carriage drive, and the surrounding plots were sold as development plots. The land was sold in 1830 and a private villa was erected, but the commercial development around the park continued. The site was secured for the town in 1890. George Ward, the Borough's Head Gardener, and Francis May, the Borough Surveyor, prepared plans for the design of the public park. It was opened to the public on 10 August 1892.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal site for general public use.

Terrain

The site occupies a steep sided valley with a pronounced fall to the south.

Detailed Description

The following is from the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

An early 19th century park originally planned as the focus of a private housing development, extensively planted up when acquired by Brighton town council as its second public park in 1892.

SITE DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORD, SETTING

Queen's Park covering 7 hectares lies 1 kilometre to the east of Brighton town centre. It occupies a steep sided valley with a pronounced fall to the south. There are wide, open views from the park southwards to the sea.

REFERENCES used by English Heritage:

Printed material

The Story of Queen's Park, The Friends of Queen's Park (1992)

The Gardeners Magazine, (1842), pp 352-354

Brighton Gazette, 23 December and 6 January 1825

Maps

Plan of the park, c. 1826

Plan from the Parks Department, 1932

Illustrations

Watercolour and lithograph, c. 1834-1836

Description written: December 1995

Revised: February 1996

Revised: January 2000

Features
  • Planting
  • Description: Wildlife garden.
  • Planting
  • Description: Scented garden.
Lake, Walk
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal site for general public use.

Directions

About 1 kilometre east of the centre of Brighton.
History

Detailed History

The following is from the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The earliest park on the site was planned as part of a speculative housing development by John Armstrong. In 1822, Armstrong leased an area of downland on the eastern side of the Steine valley, his intention being to develop it as an area of the new Regency suburbs of Brighton. The central combe was enclosed and laid out as parkland with a carriage drive, and the surrounding plots were sold as development plots for the building of large detached villas. Each of these were to stand in its own garden and have 'an uninterrupted view of the varied scenery of the park, the downs, and the sea' (Brighton Gazette, 23 December and 6 January 1825). Access to 'Brighton Park' as it was called, was permitted by subscription. Armstrong leased an acre of land at the southern end of the site to the 'Royal German Spa', run by Hooper, Struve & Co.

Around 1830, the land was sold on to Thomas Attree, a local solicitor. Attree erected a substantial wall around the 25 hectare estate, planted a number of major tree clumps in the central park area and, in 1831, commissioned the architect Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) to build a villa at the northern end of the site. While Attree intended this for his own personal use as a country house on the edge of Brighton, he also continued the original idea of promoting the commercial development of villas around the perimeter of the park. However, Cowell's Villa was the only one to be built at this time.

In 1836, the site's name was changed from 'The Park' to 'Queen's Park' in honour of Queen Adelaide. Visiting in the 1840s, Dr Granville said the park was the 'only decent plantation to be seen near or about Brighton' (quoted in The Story of Queen's Park, 1992). Although J C Loudon, visiting the park in 1842, admired the situation and the thriving trees which had been established, he criticised their large massing which lacked 'single trees and small groups to break (them)' (The Gardeners Magazine, 1842).

Following Attree's death in 1861, the park was sold, the auctioneer suggesting its suitability either for the development of detached villas, or for use as a public park and place of recreation 'such as most large towns now possess'. The estate sold for well under the estimate, being purchased by a Mr Duddell of London. On his death in 1887, the estate failed to sell at auction. In 1890 after negotiations with Duddell's widow, the Race Stand Trustees, namely Aldermen Abbey, Brigden and Ridley and Mr Seymour Burrows, purchased the 7 hectares of parkland including the Spa. The same Trustees had been responsible for securing Preston Park for the town, which opened to the public in 1883.

The total cost of acquisition amounted to £13,500, of which £9,500 went to Mrs Duddell and £4,000 to the town council for their work on the roads, sewers, gas and water to be done on her behalf. A minimum value was fixed for the surrounding houses to be erected, with restrictions on design. The town borrowed a further £8,166 to complete the lay-out of the Park, and another £450 to repair the tower, entrance gates and lodges. George Ward, the Borough's Head Gardener, and Francis May, the Borough Surveyor, prepared plans for the design of the public park. It was opened to the public on 10 August 1892. A new circular carriageway was formed round the park, its easy gradients involving considerable levelling of the ground surface, and elsewhere extensive ground modelling enhanced the variations of the natural topography, particularly on the sides of the combe. A path system over 2.5 kilometres in length of serpentine, gravelled paths leading from the boundary road through the park were laid out, and a concrete lake was constructed with a rivulet planted with ferns and creeping plants, and crossed by rustic bridges. Much of the pre-existing planting was rearranged, and over nine thousand new shrubs and trees were planted and new raised and mounded flower beds were formed.

Having passed into institutional use, Attree's villa was demolished in 1974. A successful local campaign in the 1970s improved the condition of the Park and led to the formation of the Friends of Queen's Park in 1988. Tree cover in the park was severely reduced as a result of the Great Storm of October 1987.

Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Other websites

Owners

  • Brighton & Hove City Council

    King's House, Grand Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LS
References

References