Owned by Thomas Attree, the 'King of Brighton'
By the time Thomas Attree had purchased Queen’s Park he had become one of the most influential and powerful solicitors in Brighton. Indeed, he had been named ‘King of Brighton’ because of the number of public offices he held. Attree had become vestry clerk, solicitor to the parish officers, solicitor to the Guardians and clerk to the Town commissioners.
Solicitor to the royal family
He was also responsible for stamp distribution in Surrey and Sussex, as well as having his own firm where he acted as solicitor to the royal family (Attree was employed by the Prince Regent to purchase some of the properties that stood in the way of the Royal Pavilion.) Attree is also attributed with having been the originator of the Sussex County Hospital and Brighton Dispensary.
A new Act of Parliament
By 1825 though, after a new act of parliament changed how local government was organized, Attree found he had lost all his official appointments except that of Vestry Clerk, which he kept until 1830. It was about this time he purchased the Park and appointed the eminent and fashionable architect Charles Barry to design the villa he subsequently lived in. Many of the people who visited Attree at his villa agreed it was a fitting residence for someone who had done so much for the town and helped it prosper.
Attree’s vision for the park
Attree insisted that building would only be permitted around the perimeter of his private park and that the centre should remain an area solely for recreation. His vision laid the foundation for the park as it is today.
His charitable work
As Attree grew old he liked to be charitable and approachable. One story mentions that Attree presented every Brighton man and woman over seventy with a crown piece that became known as ‘Attree Gold’.
Attree died in his villa in 1863 aged 85. His wife and son had both died before him.