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|A Straight Line Walk Across Brighton
by Paul K Lyons
18 - Magdalene's confession time, Turner's palette, and Noble's sweet ode to love
Dean Street interrupts the terrace on the south side, but the next road to cross Upper North Street is called Spring Street to the south and Clifton Place to the north. On the corner with Clifton Place there's a cute pub, The Windmill, with colourful window boxes. It dates from about 1828, and may have been named after the nearby Vine Mill (according to Tim Carder's 'Encyclopaedia of Brighton'). And there's a cute story about one of its landladies - Lilian Victoria - on the BrightonandHove website, written by Jean. Lilian was illegitimate, but married Harold Davis when 20 years old. They had two sons, both born in the pub. But Harold died very soon after the youngest was born. Within months, Lilian had married again, this time to Bertram a stationery salesman. With him she had a daughter - Jean's mother.
Opposite The Windmill are a launderette, Blend which sells office furniture, and Spring Street. The block between Spring Street and Hampton Place is dominated by the bold red brick buildings of St Magdalene Church. In the centre of the block is the church itself, dating from the early 1860s. It has lovely architectural detail (small blue tiles for example) designed by Gilbert Blount (who trained as a civil engineer under Brunel) after the Early English and Decorated styles. The Sacrament of Penance is offered on Saturdays at 10:30am and 5-5.30pm, and after weekday masses. On the east side of the church, is a presbytery, about 100 years old, and on the west, is a community centre (the former church school). West of the community centre is a pub called The Hampton (grey and black paintwork, free wireless internet access offered), and then Billy's Cafe on the corner with Hampton Place.
Opposite the church, on the north side, Victoria Street leads up the hill (Clifton Hill), and Upper North Street becomes Hampton Terrace for the rest of the block, until it reaches Montpelier Street, which is an extension of Hampton Place. Three of the houses on Hampton Terrace have shop frontages, one for Walter's Hairstylist, and two for Deskdotnet, a mortgage company. Identical posters fill one of the windows. Each one has a symbol, like a no entry sign but with a bull's head instead of a car, and underneath it says, 'No bull, just straight talking advice.'
At the end of Hampton Terrace, just before Montpelier Street, there is a very pretty villa with a veranda, window shutters and a roof garden. I think this is where George Cobb Junior lived until he died in 1877. I am indebted to Reg Mayhew's website for this information. Cobb was a solicitor, and a friend of J M W Turner. He is said to have drawn up Turner's (contentious) will, and then, on Turner's death, he inherited the painter's palette which he then passed on to a local artist, R H Nibbs. Subsequently, Nibbs gave it to the National Gallery. Cobb also served as a Brighton Councillor and Alderman.
At this junction, looking down Hampton Place to the sea, the Regency terraces are cream and white, while looking up Montpelier Street they are all white. The street names are very confusing. After this crossroads with Hampton Place and Montpelier St, Upper North Street (having been Hampton Terrace for a bit) now becomes Montpelier Terrace (and further on it will become Montpelier Place). On its north side, Montpelier Terrace is rather special with a series of listed villas, with attractive verandas, balconies and ionic pilasters, mostly built in the 1830s and 1840s. The Rev F W Robertson, founder of Brighton Working Men's Institute, lived at number 9; and Ray Noble, a bandleader and composer, was born at number 1 in 1903 (according to a difficult-to-read plaque). Much of Noble's success came in the United States, where he also worked in the movies, but he eventually returned to England, and died in London in 1978. Here are the lyrics of one of his compositions - 'Love Is The Sweetest Thing'
'Love is the sweetest thing
Love is the strangest thing
Whatever heart may desire
Love is the greatest thing
by Paul K Lyons
A Straight Line Walk Across Brighton - along the 450 northing
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