First mentioned in 1288

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.

Brighton ‘s western neighbour was first mentioned in a record of 1288, a small medieval fishing village which grew up almost on the foreshore itself. Over the centuries much land was washed away by the sea, just as at Brighton, and Hove remained impoverished such that until 1825 only some 300 people lived in the parish, principally in the old village which then stretched along Hove Street, with a few scattered farms in the rest of the parish’s 778 acres.

a) ST.ANNE’S WELL : There was one eighteenth-century location in Hove which was of real significance to Brighton, however. The ‘chalybeate’ (iron-bearing) waters of St Anne’s Well were known before the development of Brighton as a resort, but it was Dr Richard Russell who developed the spring as a small spa when he had a basin erected there in about 1750 and recommended it to his patients. St Anne’s Well therefore contributed to the successful establishment of Brighton as a health resort. In about 1830 an Ionic-style pump-room was erected at the spa to cater for the fashionable visitors who included Queen Adelaide, but its popularity declined from the mid nineteenth century and the estate was laid out as a private pleasure garden in 1850 by Sir Isaac Goldsmid. It was later acquired by Hove Corporation and opened as a public park on 24 May 1908. The pump room itself was sadly demolished in 1935, but the spring still issues its brown waters which now run as a stream into an ornamental pond. The gardens were also the home of one of the world’s first film studios, that of local pioneer George Albert Smith in the 1890s and 1900s.

b) DEVELOPMENT of HOVE: In 1825 construction of the BrunswickTown estate (q.v.) commenced within the parish of Hove, but it was governed by a local Act of Parliament from 1830 and was generally considered part of Brighton anyway. The first real development of Hove to the west of Adelaide Crescent came in 1851-2 with the construction of Albany, Medina, Osborne and Ventnor Villas on the Stanford family’s estate, the district known as Cliftonville. Later that decade came the development of the Goldsmid family’s Wick estate around the Avenues, an area which came to be known as West Brighton; indeed, Cliftonville Railway Station was renamed West Brighton in 1879 before becoming Hove Station in 1895. During the latter nineteenth century the rest of the Stanford estate was developed, mostly with very large villas and terraces in a dull yellow brick, a characteristic of Victorian Hove contrasting with the white and cream stucco of Regency Brunswick Town and Brighton.
Municipally, the Brunswick Town Commissioners became the Hove Commissioners in 1873, an urban district authority was created in 1894, and a municipal borough corporation was chartered in 1898. Aldrington was annexed for municipal purposes in 1893, and on 1 April 1928 the borough of Hove was extended to include Hangleton , Preston Rural, most of West Blatchington and part of Patcham, bringing the total area to 3,953 acres; Aldrington , Hangleton , Hove and West Blatchington maintained their separate parochial status, however. (There was also a small transfer of land with Brighton in the Seven Dials area to produce an easier boundary.) Vast areas of middle-class housing were developed in Aldrington , Hangleton and West Blatchington , with more expensive housing in the Preston Rural and Patcham (Tongdean) areas. On 1 April 1974, under the 1972 Local Government Act, the urban district of Portslade-by-Sea was merged into the new borough of Hove with the urban parishes abolished.

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.

The following resource(s) is quoted as a general source for the information above: {1,2,45a,100-101).

Comments about this page

  • I have memories of St Ann’s Well gardens from many visits as a child and later both as a teenager and an adult. For reasons I cannot fathom I have always thought the pool rather sinister.

    By Edward Castle-Herbert (22/05/2007)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *