Opened by Reverend Arthur Wagner in 1864
The Church of the Annunciation was built by The Reverend Arthur Douglas Wagner, and opened by him on the 15th August, 1864. Visitors to the area are surprised to find a parish church clinging to one of Brighton’s steepest hillsides and in the heart of Hanover’s tightly packed streets. But when the Reverend Wagner decided to build the church, the area consisted mainly of poor workers’ cottages amid the market gardens on the hill.
Built to serve the poor of the district
Brighton’s wealthy in those days were very well served by the established church, but Reverend Wagner’s vision was to bring the light of faith and education to the poor. Fashionable churches of the day charged ‘pew rents’, obviously poor families could not afford to worship in such places. In the Church of the Annunciation, labouring families of farm, railway workers and fishermen found a place to worship and enjoy the fellowship of their immediate neighbours.
The parish in 1877
An observer describing the parish in 1877 wrote, ’50 years ago there were only a few houses scattered among the market gardens…now there are 16 streets of small modern houses; two streets are occupied by small shopkeepers of various trades. At 1pm the streets are thronged with men returning from the station works for their dinners; this shows the occupation of many of the inhabitants. Others are employed in various houses of business or do shop work at home. There are also a great number of small laundries. With the exception of the bottom row of houses, the whole parish is essentially poor. Many of the houses contain two or more families’.