PALMEIRA SQUARE is a mid-19th-century residential development in Hove
, part of the English city and seaside resort of
At the southern end it adjoins
Adelaide Crescent , another
architectural set-piece which leads down to the seafront; large
terraced houses occupy its west and east sides, separated by a public
garden; and at the north end is one of Hove's main road junctions.
This is also called Palmeira Square, and its north side is lined with
late 19th-century terraced mansions. Commercial buildings and a church
also stand on the main road, which is served by many buses (some of
which terminate there).
The land was originally occupied by "the world's largest
conservatory", the Anthaeum —a visitor attraction planned by
botanist, author and building promoter Henry Phillips . The giant
dome's collapse and total destruction on the day it was due to open in
1833 made Phillips go blind from shock, and the debris occupied the
site for many years. Work began in the early 1850s and was largely
complete in the mid-1860s, although commercial and residential
buildings such as Palmeira House and
Gwydyr Mansions continued to be
added at the northern end throughout the late 19th century. English
Heritage has listed the residential buildings on the western, eastern
and northern sides of the square at Grade II for their architectural
and historical importance, although one building has the higher Grade
II* status because of its opulent custom-designed interior.
* 1 History
* 2 Transport
* 3 Residents
* 4 Heritage
* 5 Architecture
* 5.1 The square
* 5.2 Surrounding buildings
* 6 See also
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 8.1 Bibliography
The ancient parish of
Hove covered 778 acres (315 ha) of good
agricultural land on the southern slopes of the
South Downs , leading
down to the
English Channel . There was Celtic and Roman occupation of
the area, and a Bronze Age barrow was found close to Palmeira
Square's northern end when the land was being developed. Inside was a
wooden coffin, a stone axe, a bronze dagger and the
Hove amber cup ,
a relic of national significance now held at the
Brighton Museum ">
Palmeira Square lies north of
Adelaide Crescent . Church Road and
Western Road form its northern side.
One of the main farms was Wick Farm, which covered about 250 acres
(100 ha) of land immediately west of the parish boundary with Brighton
. The first post-Norman Conquest landowners were the de Pierpoints;
in 1573 the estate was bought by the Stapley family, of which Anthony
Stapley became famous as one of the regicides of King Charles I . In
1701 it was acquired by the Scutt family from Brighton. Western Road
and its continuation Church Road, the earliest east–west route
through Hove, bisected the estate.
On the land was a chalybeate spring, later called St Ann\'s Well ,
which became a popular visitor attraction by the mid-18th century. In
the early 19th century, its fashionable reputation increased as
Brighton began to grow rapidly as a high-class seaside
resort. Following the lead of Queen Adelaide , who would ride to St
Ann's Well to visit the spa and take the waters, wealthy residents
and visitors to
Brighton travelled across the parish boundary to walk
round the gardens, visit the ornate pump-room and enjoy the apparently
health-giving properties of the iron-rich water. _ The houses on
the west side were completed first. An "elegantly handled ...
double curve" marks the transition from Adelaide Crescent
(foreground)_ to Palmeira Square. The Enclosures belonging to the
houses have pathways and shrubs.
Rev. Thomas Scutt, who owned the Wick Estate land by the 1820s,
started to sell plots of land to "capitalis on the insatiable demand
for building land along the seafront". Brunswick Town was the first
result of this, and when
Sir Isaac Goldsmid, 1st Baronet bought the
rest of the land (over 216 acres (87 ha)) in 1830 he continued Hove's
residential expansion by commissioning
Decimus Burton to design
Adelaide Crescent and by agreeing to fund the construction of "the
world's largest dome" at its northern end. The ostentatious Anthaeum ,
proposed by botanist and horticultural writer Henry Phillips and
designed by prominent local architect
Amon Henry Wilds , was to have
been a vast circular conservatory containing exotic plants and trees.
It was built between 1832 and 1833 but collapsed spectacularly the day
before its scheduled opening date, making Phillips go blind from
shock and apparently distressing Goldsmid so much that he abandoned
any further plans for development of his land for 20 years—during
which time the wrecked glass and iron structure lay where it fell at
the north end of the incomplete Adelaide Crescent.
In the early 1850s, Goldsmid (who had been given the title _Baron de
Goldsmid e de Palmeira_ by the Queen of Portugal in 1845) decided to
restart development at Adelaide Crescent. He abandoned the original
plan for a horseshoe-shape plan and in 1851 commissioned an unknown
architect to extend it northwards into a bottle shape, north of which
(on the site of the Anthaeum) would be a new residential square:
Palmeira Square. The remains of the Anthaeum were cleared in the
early 1850s (or possibly as late as 1855), and work began.
Houses on the west side of the square, close to the western boundary
of the Wick Estate land, were the first to be built. The
southernmost houses on each side are attached to the north end of
Adelaide Crescent, which was completed in the early 1860s; "the
transition from crescent into square is most elegantly handled in a
double curve". Between 1855 and 1870, 34 houses were built, all in
the same "vigorous and healthy" post-Regency Victorian /Italianate
style. It took several years for the houses to be occupied. Numbers
33 and 34 on the west side were the first to be taken, in 1859, and by
1866 none of the 17 houses on that side were empty. The first house on
the east side was let in 1864, and it took ten years for the whole
square to be occupied. Early residents included a wine merchant, a
factory owner, and Lady Emily Fletcher who shared the house with her
mother, five children and nine servants. St John the Baptist\'s
Church serves the area.
An Anglican church to serve the area was provided in 1854. St John
the Baptist\'s Church , a flint-built Decorated Gothic Revival
building with a landmark spire, was designed by William and Edward
Habershon. Work began in 1852, and the site (at the northwest corner
of Palmeira Square, where it joined Church Road) "compels traffic to
take an abrupt turn before proceeding westward". It may have been
built there to block attempts to build a road north from the Palmeira
Square area into the mostly undeveloped land to the north which later
became the Cliftonville area of Hove. In keeping with the high-class
surroundings, the church was "for many years one of the most
fashionable" in either
Brighton or Hove.
The houses of
Palmeira Square were separated from Church Road by a
private road which ran parallel (east–west) to the main road,
creating a second square of open space. Only residents of Palmeira
Adelaide Crescent could gain entry to it; there was a chain
across each entrance and a watchman controlled admission. Church Road
itself was laid out as a thoroughfare in 1851; until then it had been
a footpath. In the same year, an Act of Parliament (the Brunswick
Square Improvement Extension Act) was passed to bring Palmeira Square
and nearby developments into the jurisdiction of the Brunswick Square
Commissioners. Had this Act not been passed, the square would have
been governed solely by "the rather nebulous authority of the Parish
officials of Hove". One consequence was that Sir Francis Goldsmid
(who inherited his father Sir Isaac's estate on 1859) was able to
delegate responsibility for the maintenance of the Palmeira Square
Enclosure (the garden between the west and east sides) to the
Brunswick Square Commissioners from April 1865. Previously Goldsmid
himself had to employ and pay a gardener. 33 Palmeira Mansions
has an ostentatious late Victorian interior.
In 1891, the
Hove Commissioners (who now had civic responsibility for
the square) tried to make the private road north of the square a
public thoroughfare by removing the barriers. Objections from the
residents delayed this plan for several years, but the road did
eventually open to the public. Accordingly, the land to the north was
now considered part of the
Palmeira Square area, and the development
as a whole consists of two garden squares. The first is the original
development bounded to the south by Adelaide Crescent, to the north by
the former private road which is now a widened continuation of Western
Road and to the west by the 34 houses of the square. The second is the
lawned section formed by the junction between the extension of Western
Road, Church Road and the connections between them, and all the
surrounding buildings of the late 19th century. Gwydyr Mansions
date from 1890.
The open land in between these roads was laid out with grass and was
named the Palmeira Mansions Enclosures after the "very fine" Palmeira
Mansions were built on the north side of Church Road in 1883–84,
effectively forming a new north side to Palmeira Square. Local
architect Henry Lanchester designed the mansions and Jabez Reynolds
built them. Some of the houses were still unoccupied by 1891 because
of a slowdown in the property market. Despite this slump, another
local firm, Clayton "> This floral clock was inaugurated in 1953.
On 2 June 1953—the day of the
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II —a
floral clock commemorating the event was unveiled in the centre of the
Palmeira Mansions Enclosures.
Hove Council's Director of Parks and
Cemeteries, G.A. Hyland, was the designer. Its slightly raised
circular design may be a reference to the nearby Bronze Age barrow,
which was destroyed by building work at the north end of the square in
1857. It was the only one on the Sussex coast and was larger than
examples found on the
South Downs . (The centre of the site is at
50°49′39″N 0°09′49″W / 50.8275°N 0.1637°W /
50.8275; -0.1637 (Site of Bronze Age barrow, Hove, Sussex) , about
100 yards (91 m) north-northeast of St John the Baptist's Church).
The clock had a double face—the first floral clock in the world to
have this feature—each with a diameter of 9 feet (2.7 m).
Clockmakers James Richie & Son, who had designed a floral clock in
Edinburgh , provided the mechanism. About 35,000 flowers were
initially planted, and special temporary floral designs were sometimes
put in—for example, to commemorate
Palmeira Square is
the starting point for route 25 to Sussex and
Palmeira Mansions are in the background.
Palmeira Square is a key destination for the city's buses: many serve
it en route to other destinations, and the high-frequency route 25
terminates there. The following routes, all operated by the Brighton
">kcie lived at number 3, and Sir Julian Goldsmid, 3rd Baronet lived
next door at number 4; he died there in 1896. Architect John C.L.
Iredel, a member of the Chichester Diocesan Panel of Architects who
designed the former Emmanuel Church in
Worthing in 1975–76 and
Buxted parish church six years earlier, lived at number 8 and
died there in 1990. On the east side of the square, Henry
d\'Avigdor-Goldsmid lived at number 18 during the 1950s. Lord George
Montacute Nevill (son of
William Nevill, 1st Marquess of Abergavenny )
and his wife Florence owned number 22; he died there in 1920. Next
door at number 23,
William FitzClarence, 2nd Earl of Munster lived
with his wife
Wilhelmina Kennedy-Erskine . They were still living
there at the time of their deaths in 1901 and 1906 respectively.
Other residents of the square at various times have included diplomat
Shane Leslie and Peter Birkett, who designed boats in which
Richard Branson won transatlantic races in 1986 and 1989.
_ Palmeira Mansions (7–19 pictured)_ are listed at Grade II.
The east and west sides of
Palmeira Square have been listed
separately at Grade II by
English Heritage , and Palmeira Mansions at
the north side of the square has also been listed at this grade under
two separate listings. Grade II status is awarded to "nationally
important" buildings of "special interest". As of February 2001 there
were 1,124 such buildings in the city. The east side (numbers 1–17)
and west side (numbers 18–30) were listed on 10 September 1971.
Numbers 7–19 Church Road (Rochester Mansions, Palmeira Mansions and
Palmeira Avenue Mansions) and 21–31 Church Road (the other sections
of Palmeira Avenue Mansions and Palmeira Mansions) were listed on 4
February 1981. Number 33 Palmeira Mansions was listed at the higher
Grade II* on 18 July 1978; such buildings are defined as
"particularly important of more than special interest". There were
70 Grade II*-listed buildings in the city of
Hove as of
Palmeira Square forms part of the 95.92-acre (38.82 ha) Brunswick
Town Conservation Area , one of 34 conservation areas in the city of
Hove . This area was designated by the council in 1969.
Brighton "> The houses of
Palmeira Square have stuccoed façades
and rise to five storeys.
Palmeira Square is "quite different from Adelaide
Crescent or Brunswick Square ... when
Victorian architecture was out
of fashion, condemned as being heavily Italianate ". Having been
"one of the most notorious examples" of the tendency in
Hove for residential developments to take much longer than planned,
it developed as a natural evolution of the style of neighbouring
Adelaide Crescent. Begun as a Regency-style set-piece, this developed
in a Neo-Renaissance direction, before work resumed in the 1850s in a
simpler post-Regency style.
Palmeira Square was then built in a "more
full-blooded" interpretation of this Victorian/Italianate theme.
Palmeira Mansions, completed nearly 30 years after work started on the
square, were designed in the same style and contribute to the square
as a single composition, "continuing its ... grandeur and scale".
Palmeira Square's style, marking the transition from Regency into
Victorian Italianate, has been likened to the terraces around London's
Hyde Park that were built at the same time. Architectural historians
Ian Nairn and
Nikolaus Pevsner , writing in the 1960s, stated that
this gave the square "architectural interest" but "little
architectural merit", though. Another author, comparing the houses
with those of Adelaide Crescent, wrote of "an undisguised Victorianism
of a vigorous and healthy, but nevertheless decidedly inferior,
The 17 houses of the west side form a long, straight terrace of five
storeys. Under their stucco façades is brick, rubble and bungaroosh
—a composite building material commonly found behind stucco in 18th-
and 19th-century buildings in
Brighton and Hove. Each house has
three windows to each storey (either blocked or containing a sash
window , and pilasters and quoins between some of the neighbouring
buildings mark the terrace out into a symmetrical five-part
composition which has been described as either 2–4–5–4–2 or
2–5–3–5–2. The top storey is in the form of an attic, and the
treatment of the windows is different: they are on a moulded cornice,
and some are arched. On the floor below, the windows are surrounded by
Vitruvian scroll patterns, and at the storey below that they are
flanked by pilasters which hold up an entablature and small pediment .
A cast iron balcony surrounds the first-floor bay windows and is
supported by the top of the Doric-columned entrance porch, which has a
stuccoed balustrade . According to one writer, "the heavy emphasis of
porches give the square an air of respectable solidity"—as do the
heavy doors with their recessed panels, moulded ornamentation and
decorative fanlights . Original interior fittings include a large
"Jacobean -cum-Baroque " chimneypiece in the hall of number 32. _
H.J. Lanchester's Palmeira Mansions of 1883–84 (21–31 pictured)_
are in the same style as the rest of the square.
The terrace on the east side is identical, again having 17
five-storey houses with hipped slate roofs hidden behind parapets ,
three-window ranges with sash windows and heavy Doric porches. As on
the west side, the house in the centre projects slightly from the
terrace and has a larger square bay window rising through the first
and second floors, forming a loggia which is supported on a colonnaded
porch with rustication .
H.J. Lanchester's Palmeira Mansions are Italianate in style, like the
houses of the square. Some are stuccoed, but others have been painted.
The walls are of brick and the roofs have slate tiles. The outermost
houses (7, 19 and 21) have entrances set in their side elevations.
Each house is five storeys including an attic storey, which has dormer
windows added in the 20th century. Each house has a three-window
range, and the centremost building is topped by a curved gable .
That at numbers 7-19 has a heraldic emblem, possibly that of Sir Isaac
Goldsmid, in its tympanum . The outermost buildings have full-height
canted bays . Each storey is separated by a string-course across the
full width of the building. The first-floor windows are arched and set
forward slightly below an entablature and a central pediment .
Straight-headed windows on the floor above are embellished with
scrollwork, individual pediments and a bracketed entablature. At
third-floor level, slightly round-headed windows are set in square
recesses. At first-floor level, a cast iron balcony runs across the
width of the building; it is supported by the Doric-columned porches
in front of each entrance.
Number 33, the other end of the western section of Palmeira Mansions,
is listed separately at Grade II* for its "outstanding" and
"remarkable collection of fittings from the 1880s" (A.W. Mason bought
the house in 1889, although the work may not have been completed until
1899). These include multicoloured marbled floors, staircases,
handrails, panelling, columns and dado rails ; lincrusta wallpaper;
gilded ceilings in a Moorish style ; stained glass in various styles;
ostentatious chimneypieces, including one by Doulton and others with
"riotous swirling motifs"; an overmantel made of
Venetian glass ;
decorative light fittings depicting cherubim and serpents; ceramic
tiles by Arts and Crafts designer
Walter Crane ; and a
Thomas Lainson designed Palmeira House in 1887.
Gwydyr Mansions is at the northeastern corner of the square, between
Rochester Gardens and Holland Road. An opulent set of mansion flats
designed by local firm Clayton elsewhere, there elaborate gables ,
turrets and canted bay and oriel windows .
Palmeira House, designed in 1887 by
Thomas Lainson of Lainson & Sons,
was that firm's first building for the
* ^ Numbers 31–34 inclusive have not been listed by English
Heritage; they were converted into flats called _Palmeira Court_ in
* ^ _A_ _B_ Middleton 1979 , p. 1.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Nairn & Pevsner 1965 , p. 454.
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Buildings and architecture of
* Conservation areas
* LISTED BUILDINGS: GRADE I
* GRADE II*
* Grade II: A–B
PLACES OF WORSHIP
* LIST OF PLACES OF WORSHIP (see list for links to individual
* List of demolished places of worship
* French Convalescent Home
Grand Ocean, Saltdean
* 75 Holland Road
* Marlborough House
New England Quarter
Percy and Wagner Almshouses
Portslade Manor _(ruined)_
* Preston Manor
Regency Town House
* Tower House
Van Alen Building
* Bedford Square
* Belgrave Place
* Bloomsbury Place
* Brunswick Town
* Eastern Terrace
* Hanover Crescent
* Lansdowne Square
* Marine Square
* New Steine
* Norfolk Square
* Norfolk Terrace
* Oriental Place
* Palmeira Square
* Park Crescent
* Pelham Square
* Powis Square
* Regency Square
* Royal Crescent
* Russell Square
* Vernon Terrace
* Wykeham Terrace
* Churchill Square
* Citibase Brighton, 95 Ditchling Road
* Gothic House, 95–96 Western Road
* 20–22 Marlborough Place
* 155–158 North Street
* 163 North Street
* 2–3 Pavilion Buildings
* Princes House, 166–169 North Street
* 9 Pool Valley
Brighton General Hospital
Brighton Town Hall
Hove Town Hall
* Jubilee Library
* Kings House
Ovingdean Hall School
* Royal Alexandra Hospital
Royal Sussex County Hospital
* The Keep
* The Montefiore Hospital
* University of
University of Sussex
University of Sussex
* SCHOOLS: LIST OF FORMER BOARD SCHOOLS
* Blatchington Mill School
Brighton Aldridge Community Academy
Hove High School
Brighton College Preparatory School
* Cardinal Newman RC School
* The Dharma School
Dorothy Stringer High School
Hove Park School
* King\'s School
Longhill High School
Ovingdean Hall School
Patcham High School
Portslade Aldridge Community Academy
St Aubyns School
HOTELS AND INNS
* HOTELS: Bedford
* Grand (1984 bombing )
* Old Ship
* Royal Albion
* Royal York
* INNS AND PUBS: The Cricketers
* Freemasons Tavern
Hangleton Manor Inn
* King and Queen
Royal Pavilion Tavern
* Astoria _(former)_
Brighton Dome and Studio (Pavilion) Theatre
Brighton Hippodrome _(former)_
* Duke of York\'s Picture House
* King Alfred Centre
Marlborough Pub and Theatre
* Old Market
Regent Cinema _(demolished)_
* Theatre Royal
* MUSEUMS: Booth Museum
Brighton Fishing Museum
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Hove Museum and Art Gallery
Brighton Palace Pier
Royal Suspension Chain Pier _(demolished)_
* Beacon Mill,
* Waterhall Mill,
West Blatchington Windmill
* Anthaeum _(demolished)_
* Barford Court
* Clock Tower
* 11 Dyke Road
Hove War Memorial
* Pepper Pot
* St Dunstan\'s
Steine House (YMCA)
Whitehawk Hill transmitting station