The 'Pepperpot'

The Pepper-pot was built to house the villa’s pump and water tank. It supplied water by force from the pressure of water contained in the large tank in the top of the tower.

Various uses
It has since been used for printing and publishing the Brighton Daily Mail; as an observation tower in the Second World War; a scout headquarters; an artist’s studio, and finally as a public convenience. Today it is not used at all.

Inside the ‘Pepperpot’
In April 2003 I was allowed inside the ‘Pepperpot’. The photographs here record my visit and show the views from its windows.  It was very damp, very smelly and there was a layer of slime on everything! It’s a real shame that it’s being left in this state.

Comments about this page

  • Your postcard shows that the Pepperpot was always known as Pepperbox.

    By R. Barontini (11/07/2004)
  • Despite the postcard showing the name as being ‘Pepper Box’, in the 50s we knew it as the ‘Pepperpot’. My father used to have the keys when the Scouts used it and I remember going up it on several occasions. The long wooden ladder/stairs stick in the mind – alright going up, but a bit more disconcerting coming down!

    By Richard Thornburgh (23/08/2005)
  • I am interested to know more details of the photo described as a view from the top window. What is the name of the church and what is the name of the road? Currently researching my family history on my grandmother’s side. It is possible she was a pupil at a convent in Bristol Road in 1901.

    By Kay Coss (11/09/2005)
  • The church is St Luke’s – if I remember correctly.

    By Ian (09/07/2006)
  • Please could you tell me who built the Pepperpot and when it was built. Thank you.

    By Anne (31/07/2006)
  • Anne, the villa mentioned is Thomas Attree’s and it was built around 1831. You can find out more by clicking on ‘History of Atrre’s Villa’ in the Queens Park section of this site.

    By Andrew Bradstreet (01/09/2007)
  • I used to live in the area and can remeber using the Pepperpot’s toilets in the 1970s. Have always wondered what it was like up top though, so the photos have given me some insight, although it’s a bit of a shame they’re so small & dark.

    By Gary Christer (18/10/2007)
  • I found this building on Sunday 15th June 2008 and fell in love. I cannot believe it is being left to rot.  Here are some photos I took:

    By Ruthy Mandry (17/06/2008)
  • There are currently owls roosting in the Pepperpot.

    By Roger (22/09/2008)
  • How about joining Friends of the Pepper Pot? More details at

    By Nigel Spall (16/03/2010)
  • A Friends of the Pepperpot group now exists (from Jan 2010) to get it restored and back into use. Have a look at our website or look for Friends of the Pepperpot on Facebook. There will be events at the Pepperpot in May 2010 and Sept 2010 – join us and save this local landmark.

    By Amanda Brace (28/04/2010)
  • My book “Brighton Diaries” relates my life between 1929-1943 in the area of the Pepperbox with actual dates for I kept diaries. I was born at 113 Queen’s Park Road on the 26th May 1922 and started at the St. Lukes Terrace School in 1927 and joined St. Luke’s Church Choir in 1929. There are over 70 photographs / illustrations including one of the Pepperbox. It is a shame that the name has been changed to the Pepperpot because that does not reflect the age of the building which was built at a time pepper was dispensed from boxes.

    By Ken Chambers (05/06/2010)
  • I lived in Brighton for many years around the Queens Park area, Windmill St and Freshfield Road. The story I heard a few times was that Mr Attree who built the house used the Pepperpot to watch his ships coming up the channel. Not sure if this is true but its a nice story. A wonderful website by the way it has brought back a lot of memories for me. Thanks 

    By Mike Peckett (22/06/2011)
  • Mike Peckett, I’m currently researching the history of the Pepperpot for my MA in Illustration at the Brighton School of Art. I’m interested in the rumor of the pepperpot once having served Mr Attree as a tower “to watch his ships from” – do you happen to know any more about this? And you said his ships – did he own several himself? I couldn’t find any information on the internet for that. Thank you!

    Editor’s note: you can post a local history question here and it will be picked up by one of our local historians.

    By Nele Anders (18/10/2012)
  • Don’t know about the ships and Mr Attree, but I do remember going in there in the early 60s to the very top of the Pepper Pot to get our Cub and Scout camping equipment which was stored in there. We were the 13th Brighton St Luke’s pack, all red neck ties, who had their meetings at the St Luke’s Church Hall – now long gone and now Tidey house or something.

    By Terry Anderson (18/10/2012)
  • I remember the Pepperbox (Pepperpot) very well, we used to store our newspapers here that we collected when we were in the cubs.

    By Bill Potter (29/05/2013)
  • How old are you Terry? I was there in the ’60s and at the Cubs ’60-’63, I think. Would I know you or Bill? I’m 61 at the moment.

    By Ron Edmonds (31/05/2013)
  • 62 now Ron. If my memory is correct the cub pack leaders were a Mr and Mrs Greaves. I was a seconder in the cubs.

    By Terry Anderson (06/07/2013)
  • As a Brightonian I am saddened that the Pepperbox is now called the Pepperpot. Many years ago my father corrected me when I called it the Pepperpot – it’s not the Pepperpot and, as far as I’m concerned, it never will be. There again we seem to have two sets of Laines now – the north and south. Come on all you Brighton historians – start correcting these people that want to change everything. Let’s look after our town’s history.

    By Anthony Miller (16/09/2013)
  • Didn’t they live up Queen Park Rise, Terry?

    By Ron Edmonds (20/09/2013)
  • When I was on the buses 99% of the passengers asked for the Pepperbox!

    By James Type (04/12/2013)
  • It was called the pepper box in the 1950’s. I used to belong to the Cubs/scouts which were housed there. I attended St Luke’s Infants & Junior schools and then moved to Queens Park Senior in 1958. Great times.

    By Keith Boyson (15/05/2016)
  • I was born and bred in Brighton in the 1940s and 50s and to me it has always been the Pepperbox, and always will be. I can remember getting on a bus (41 or 42) at the junction in Elm Grove and asking for “Half to the Pepperbox”! Another thing that annoys me is the change of the Palace Pier to Brighton Pier. I totally agree with Anthony: leave these names alone!

    By Kathy Nichols (16/05/2016)
  • Anthony (16/09/2013), you could make a start with the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, which calls the nearby bus stop ‘Pepper Pot’.

    By Alan Hobden (16/05/2016)
  • Dear Kathy, I was living in Elm Grove in the mid 30s, and remember the trams; followed on by the trolleybuses. The buses had conductors on them and they called out every bus stop, and the name was Pepper Box. We had to go into the Pepper Box to get our gas masks. The man who gave these out was a Mr Linsted who also looked after the Benthem Road Mission Hall which the Life Boys used. I later went from the Life Boys to the Boys Brigade (the 6th). I went to Elm Grove School Juniors, then to St Luke’s Seniors (1942).

    By Charlie Bull (02/10/2016)
  • Hello Charlie. I was always fascinated by the Pepper Box when I was growing up because rumour had it that if you ran round it seven times a witch would pop her head out of one of the windows. Needless to say we never tried it! I lived in Totland Road and went to St Joseph’s School (1946) at the bottom of Elm Grove, then Margaret Hardy (1953) and finally my last school year was spent at the newly built Westlain Grammar School (1957). My dad went to St Luke’s round about the late 1920s.

    By Kathy Nichols (05/10/2016)
  • Dear Kathy, I was still living at 91 Elm Grove (now the corner school playground) until 1948. The house was called Highland Villa, and had a story that it was haunted. You must have passed by on your way to St Joseph’s. Back to the Pepper Box. Do you remember the Monkey Puzzle Tree in the front garden, that was half way down Tower Road? The headmaster (Mr Brown) of Finsbury Road school lived there. If you google on ‘maps’ Tower Road, you can still see the tree, which is now a big tall one. Thanks to you, for talking about the pepper box, as I would not have looked it up. We used to creep up the bank opposite to watch the Xaveroan College boys, (with a little envy,) playing in their smart whites. 

    By Charlie Bull (14/10/2016)
  • My mother and grandmother both grew up nearby (my grandmother within 100 yards). They both always called it the Pepper Box. I used to catch my bus to school from the stop opposite.

    By Bob Eager (21/05/2019)

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