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bits and pieces on Brighton and thee beyond…..

Posts Tagged ‘victorian building’

The Royal Alex

Posted by Sara on May 11, 2009

royal alex2Would you believe this beautiful building is still under threat of demolition from developers Taylor Wimpey? This week, developers Taylor Wimpey are appealing to get permission to demolish this building and replace it with a block of flats.

RA turretsSituated on Dyke rd, in the Montpelier and Cliftonhill conservation area, the Royal Alex was opened in 1881 and was childrens hospital until it’s closure in 2007. Designed by respected architect Thomas Lainson, the Alex is built in a red brick Queen Anne style with terracotta decoration and is a fine example of Gothic revival  architecture. This is an important local landmark, full of character and historical interest and unique buildings such as these, once they are knocked down, can never be replaced.

Shortly after buying the site, the developers have claimed that conversion of the building was beyond economic repair – despite submitting no evidence to show this and despite the fact that this was a fully functioning hospital shortly before they took it over. More worryingly, it is alleged that Taylor Wimpey continue to treat this building with a lack of respect, leaving windows open and the property vulnerable to the elements and vandals.

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Taylor Wimpey put in an application to demolish this building and replace her with 149 flats, a GP’s surgery and 66 parking spaces. This was refused by the planning committee in December 2008 but Taylor Wimpey are appealing the decision against both the refusal to demolish the hospital and the refusal against their application to construct a new block of flats on the site.

The hearing is due to start at 10am on 12th May 2009 at Brighton Town Hall and is expected to run for four days. It should be very interesting and I’ve heard there are going to be some very good speakers in opposition to the plans. The more people who can show up and demonstrate that they care about the fate of this building, the better.

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Journeys end in lovers meeting

Posted by Sara on May 10, 2009

ra2Having spent a fair amount of my childhood growing up in crumbly old houses, hotels and hospitals, I like to think I’m a bit of a connoisseur of creepy buildings. Very few books and films ever manage to capture the essence of what makes some buildings  ‘hold darkness within’ but The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a genuinely chilling tale that perfectly encapsulates just the right blend of psychological suspense and supernatural menace found in all great ghost stories and hauntings.

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Last night I went to see an adaptation of this book at the Brighton Little Theatre and it was fab. I won’t say too much, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone going to see it, but the set and the cast were brilliant and did a fantastic job of bringing  Hill House to life and staying faithful to the eerie, sinister atmosphere of the book. It’s on every night from Saturday 9th to Saturday 16th May. Tickets only £8.50. Some still available from their box office.

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And talking of Gothic Victorian Mansions, please look look out for updates on the fate of the old Royal Alex Hospital. Situated on Dyke road this beautiful local building (photographs above and the subject of most of my ‘spooky house’ photos) is still under threat of demolition from developers Taylor Wimpey. A hearing to decide the fate of this unique and important historical  landmark starts at Brighton Town Hall on 12th May at 10am. The more people who attend to show their support for the Royal Alex the better. Please don’t let them destroy this beautiful building.

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