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Photo of the facade

The Facade of All Souls Church, Eastern Road from the North-East
Image reproduced with permission from Brighton History Centre

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  • All Souls was one of several churches built in the early nineteenth century to serve the rapidly expanding area of Kemptown. The parish it served was very poor. I think I am right in saying that All Souls was the first church in Brighton to have a robed choir, and this almost caused riots at the time, with shouts of ‘popery’ from some parishioners! All Souls became an Ango-Catholic stronghold as time went on, and was greatly enriched with many beautiful fixtures and fittings. These included a set of magnificent windows by C.E. Kempe, paintings from the former church of the Resurrection and magnificent vestments by Sir Ninian Comper. The church closed in the 1960s and the building was demolished when Eastern Road was widened. The windows were saved but have disappeared into the ether! The tower clock and bells went to St. Mary’s Rock Gardens and were then bought by….me! Yes, I am mad….the pendulum is 12 feet long!

    By Michael Maine (05/11/2003)
  • I had remembered, incorrectly it seems, the church as All Saints and All Souls. I was a choir boy there in 1946/1947. The dressing rooms on the south side were a shambles and the strongest boy had the job of pumping the organ and was paid extra.

    By John Sullivan (04/01/2004)
  • Thank you for the information. I too was a choir boy about this time and became an altar boy later. Father Barnard was one name I remember. I wonder what happened to the tombs under the church? Regards from Western Australia

    By Dennis Beeney (05/12/2004)
  • Further to Michael Maine’s comments about the windows at All Souls, one of these windows is now gracing the south transept at Norwich Cathedral. I remember Father Curwen who was one time vicar at All Souls, then to St. Patrick’s Hove and also assisting at St. Agnes’, Hove.

    By Trevor Norkett (25/05/2006)
  • Dennis Beeney asked about the tombs. I asked Len Brown ex foreman of Woodvale cemetry. The tombs were removed and the bones were boxed and re-buried in a mass grave at Bear Road cemetry. He recalled that the oldest tomb was for a man in his thirties who died in 1837.

    By Dennis Parrett (05/02/2007)
  • I was a choirboy at All Souls during the early 1960s along with several other lads who lived in or around Essex Street and Hereford Street, and I was attending Queens Park School at that time. The tombs were in the crypt under the church and us youngsters found the area rather frightening to be in alone. We recieved a modest payment for being in the choir (about 10 shillings a month, 50 pence in today’s money) but at that time it was a useful amount.

    By John Edwards (03/08/2007)
  • Easter 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of the closure of All Souls’ and, in conjunction with St Mary’s Rock Gardens which is planning a commemorative exhibition at that time, I am preparing a booklet about the church and its history, helped by virtually all its records, registers, magazines etc., being readily available to access.  I would love to have contact with anyone who has photos or personal memories so that these can be included.   The six Kempe windows have all been restored and are in the archives (and on the website) of the London stainded glass window repository in the basement of the Glazier’s Hall near London Bridge.

    By Malcolm Kemp (15/08/2015)
  • My great great grandfather lived in this area and All Souls Church was listed. He died  in1901. Would he have been buried here and then moved when the church was demolished? Rather sad to think of a mass grave. He was of Irish origin and well known in horse racing circles. He bred and trained the horse that won the Grand National in 1850 and 1851.

    By Jane Church (09/09/2015)
  • Re the horse trainer/breeder mentioned. I should have said his name was Joseph Osborne of County Meath, Dardistown Castle, Ireland. His wife was Jane , known as Jenny/Jane/Janet. His death information listed All Soul’s Church and he lived at 43 Freshfield Road as well as 13 Chesham Street. He moved to Brighton sometime after 1881 and is listed in the 1891 and 1901 census. Born County Meath abt 1810/14, died Brighton 1901 leaving his widow Jane who died in 1904. If anyone has heard any stories about him (some old bloke in the pub boasting about winning the Grand National) I would love to hear about it. He was, by all accounts, quite a character and well known in aristocratic circles. 

    By Jane Church (10/09/2015)
  • Hi Jane, regarding your first message, it would have been the funeral service that was conducted at All Souls church and it is most likely that he was buried in the Extra-Mural Cemetery (contact Woodvale Cemetery if you wish to establish whether and where he was buried there). It is extremely unlikely anyone would have any personal recollections of Joseph Osborne, but plenty of information is available about him which you could research (assuming you have not already done so). For example, he wrote at least two books: ‘The Horse Breeder’s Handbook’ (1881, reissued 1898) and ‘The Two Year Olds of 1899’ (1899) – both might have anecdotal snippetts in them. He was also a journalist and a contributor to ‘Bell’s’ magazine, for which he wrote articles under the pseudonym of ‘Beacon’. The likelihood is that he moved to Brighton either in late 1890 or early 1891, as he does not feature in the directories before 1891, when he was listed at 13, Chesham Road. Regards

    By Andy Grant (12/09/2015)
  • Malcolm: Please let me have your address as I have a newspaper cutting you might be interested in. Leave a message on 01273709385 Brian Ogilvie (St Nicks)

    By Brian Ogilvie (13/01/2017)
  • Such an interesting thread.
    I am trying to find some photos of the inside of All souls. I’m currently doing a family and I found ancestors lived in Essex st, Montague St and married at All souls. Sadly the houses have been pulled down.
    Does anyone know where abouts in Eastern Rd All souls was at ??
    Would love to see more photos and perhaps the booklet.

    By CD (10/08/2023)
  • All Soul’s was on the south side of Eastern Road, between Upper Bedford Street and Lavender Street.
    There are photos of the interior in the Historic England Archive, available to view online. It’s a bit of a performance to find them. Start by copying this link into your browser:
    When the page loads, type “Brighton” in the “City, town or village” search box
    Then select “City of Brighton and Hove” from the list of options
    Then select “Brighton, East Sussex”
    Then select “Churches”
    Then select “A-St.A”. This takes you to a ‘box’ of 92 photos, of which about 24 are of All Souls. The All Souls photos include street views and photos of the interior.

    By Gill Wales (12/08/2023)

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