History notes and photo gallery

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

a) HISTORY: The Percy Almshouses at the bottom of Elm Grove were erected in 1795 (see ” Lewes Road “), but they remained in a quite isolated position until the construction of Hanover Crescent and Hanover Street in about 1822. However, most of the densely-populated district which has become known as Hanover was developed from about 1860, typically small terraces with angular window bays. Hanover ward was first designated in 1894, covering the area between Lewes Road , Southover Street , Queen’s Park Road and Elm Grove , but it has been expanded since to include the area between Lewes Road , Grand Parade , Carlton Hill , Queen’s Park Road, Pankhurst Road, Freshfield Road, Elm Grove and Franklin Road. Since being designated a ‘general improvement area’ in 1969-76, Hanover has become a more attractive residential district and has escaped the massive redevelopment of the adjacent Albion Hill area. Together with Albion Hill , Hanover has a population of around 7,500.

b) HANOVER CRESCENT and HANOVER STREET : Hanover Crescent itself consists of twenty-four grand, listed houses which were completed by A.H.Wilds for one Henry Brooker in about 1822, the year in which the Level was laid out. Despite the use of bow fronts, shell motifs, and Corinthian and ammonite pilasters, they do not, however, form a unified composition. In 1844-6 11 Hanover Crescent was the home of Sir Rowland Hill, the originator of the penny post and the chairman of the London and Brighton Railway Company from 1843, while novelist Horace Smith lived at no.10 from 1826 until 1840 before moving to Cavendish Place. The two lodges, single-storey buildings with Tuscan columns and pediments, are also listed, as is the garden wall; the small garden itself was taken over by the corporation in 1884 following the Brighton Improvement Act.
Hanover Street , behind the crescent, is an attractive road of small cottages with front gardens, and bears the date 1822 on no.1. In 1988 Hanover Street and Hanover Terrace were added to the ValleyGardens conservation area. The nearby nos.1-4 Southover Street also form an attractive group of early-nineteenth-century, cobble-fronted cottages. {44,45,126,259,311}

c) CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION: The Anglican Church of the Hanover area is the Annunciation of our Lady, Washington Street, which was built for Revd Arthur Wagner to a modest Early English design by William Dancy. Opening on 15 August 1864, the flint and red-brick church was partially rebuilt in 1881 by Edmund Scott who added the aisles and the south chapel in memory of John Keble and Edward Pusey, two leaders of the ritualist movement. In 1892 a tower and short spire were added by F.T.Cawthorn who also added the vestry and installed the large east window; this has stained glass by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and was originally installed at St Nicholas’s Church in 1853. The Annunciation was served by curates from St Paul’s until the parish was formed in 1881, and in 1884 it was consecrated. The adjacent vicarage was built in 1897 in memory of Revd Reginald Fison, the second vicar of the parish.
The Church of the Annunciation became heavily involved in the arguments over ritualism that centred around Arthur Wagner (see “Religion” and “Wagner, Arthur”). Following lengthy hearings by the Church Association a number of crucifixes, statues and other ornaments were removed on 1 September 1903, but they were almost immediately returned as the more acute phase of anti-ritualism passed. Further ornamentation was added in 1924-34.

d) OTHER BUILDINGS: Cobden Road public slipper baths were opened in April 1894 by the mayor, Sir Joseph Ewart, in a red-brick building with shell and dolphin decorations at the corner of Islingword Road . Closing in 1976, the building was used as the Hanover Community Centre until 1982 and then as a resource centre, but it was converted into flats in 1985-6 with the inaugural tablet remaining in the entrance hall. The community centre itself moved to 33 Southover Street . Built in 1872 as St Mary’s School for Boys, this building became the AnnunciationSchool in about 1900 and the corporation’s handicraft school in 1924, but was used as an education supply store after the war. Harry Cowley (1890-1971), a hero to the downtrodden poor of the town, was born at 33 Lincoln Street. No.145 Islingword Road was the Lewes Road Dispensary for Women and Children from 1899 until 1905 (see “Clifton Hill (Windlesham Road)”). {83,94,96,123,281}
Belgrave Street Congregational Church was built in Early English style by Thomas Simpson, rendered, with a pitched roof and large windows. It opened on 1 January 1863, but closed in 1942 and became an annexe of the technical college. Islingword RoadMission opened in 1881 as a Primitive Methodist chapel, but became a mission hall in 1893; it is now an Evangelical Free Church. The building between nos.21 and 22 Islingword Road was a Baptist Chapel for many years. Bentham Road Congregational Mission Hall opened in 1882 and became a Free Church in the late 1950s; it closed in the late 1980s. {62,83}
Hanover Mill , a tall post-mill erected in about 1838 but demolished in the late 1890s, stood on a site approximating to 39 Bernard Road. {109,249,249b}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder

Comments about this page

  • I loved finding the picture of the church I was christened in (the annunciation of our lady) and the priest at the time of attending sunday school as well. I would love to find out his name again as I cannot remember it but he was brilliant.

    By Pat Knapman (26/06/2007)
  • The Lewes Road Dispensary for women and children was opened on Monday October 31st 1899, as is reported by the Sussex Daily News on Tuesday November 1st:
    ”Lewes Road Dispensary, No 145, Islingword Road, Brighton, which provides gratuitous medical aid for women and children, was opened on Monday, the time of attendance being from two till three o’clock. Gratifying appreciation of the new institution was shewn by the attendance of a good number of patients.”
    If anyone has any photographs of the former dispensary before 2005, I would greatly appreciate a copy. Thanks.

    By A. Gasiorek (22/05/2008)
  • My great, great grandfather Jabez Reynolds Senior built 200 houses in Hanover – all those in Washington Street, Coleman Street and St Martin’s Place – as well as the Church of the Annunciation for the Wagner family.

    By Joanna Biddolph (23/02/2013)

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