A potted history

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 steep road that formerly ran through one of the poorest areas of the town, Carlton Hill has now been redeveloped for most of its length, principally in the 1930s and ’60s, except for some red-brick terraces which remain either side of Blaker Street. The lowest part is now known as Kingswood Street; the area to the north, including the flats and market, is dealt with under “Albion Hill“.

On the southern side of Kingswood Street once stood the Catholic Apostolic Church. This Early English, red-brick chapel was built in 1865, but after closing in 1954 it was used as a student centre by the adjacent art college until it was demolished in 1964 when the college was rebuilt. {48a,62,76}

Higher up Carlton Hill, on the northern side, is the:
a) GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH of the HOLY TRINITY: Built for the Revd Henry Wagner by George Cheeseman, and designed in Doric-style by George Cheeseman junior, this church was consecrated on 28 January 1840 by the Bishop of Worcester and former Vicar of Brighton, Dr James Carr, as the Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist. The facade was altered in 1957 by L.A.Mackintosh whose monogram, topped by a crown, lies to the left of centre; the eagle motif to the right is the emblem of St John. The church, which seats 1,200 worshippers and has large galleries, never attracted a large congregation and closed in 1980, but plans to convert it into a detoxification centre were rejected after a public inquiry and it remained empty until March 1986 when the listed building was taken over by the Greek community. The adjacent Edward Riley Memorial Hall opened in 1938, but has been used as the Diocesan Centre for the Deaf (Sussex Deaf Association) since St John’s Church closed. {44,62,64a,65,123}

To the west of the church is:
b) TILBURY PLACE: No.1 Tilbury Place is a large, three-storey house, formerly St John’s Lodge. Erected in the 1810s, it was occupied for many years by merchant Edwin Tarner and his wife Laetitia (nee Tilbury), and was inherited by his son, Edwin Tilbury Tarner. It was left to Brighton Corporation in 1933 by Miss Laetitia Tilbury Tarner, who had devoted her life to the parish, and it became the Tarner Home, a charitable home under Miss Blanche Fair to provide skilled nursing for the desperately ill who could not themselves otherwise afford it. St John’s Lodge is now a listed building, as are the attractive houses of Tilbury Place adjoining, nos.2-5, which are also part of the Tarner Home. This is an excellent example of a Georgian-style terrace, faced in yellow brick and fitted with excellent fanlight doorways.

The garden of St John’s Lodge is now the Tarner Recreation Ground in Sussex Street, 1.24 acres acquired in January 1934 and remodelled in 1987-8. An old flint garden wall remains on the eastern side with a blocked-up archway and figurehead. Nearby stands a small tower which is now a listed building. Faced in knapped and squared flint with seventy or so steps, it is closed to the public but is said to have been built in the mid nineteenth century by Edwin Tarner to enable him to sight his ships in the Channel in time to meet them at London docks. Tarnerland Nursery School opened in 1933. {44,64a,83,123,126}

At the end of Tilbury Place is Prior House, now the Brighton Unemployed Centre, but built in 1936 as the Brighton Girls’ Club which was originally founded in 1928 at 17 Nelson Row. It was named after the club’s secretary, Peggy Prior, but became a remedial education centre in 1970. {48a,115,123,311}

Opposite Tilbury Place is the remaining length of:
c) MIGHELL STREET: Mighell Street was demolished in the early 1970s for the Amex House development and only nos.34-35 now remain, an early-nineteenth-century listed farmhouse now divided into two dwellings; its cobbled facade and Doric doorway are unfortunately obscured by fences and trees {44}. Mighell Street Hall stood on a site now occupied by the Amex House forecourt in Edward Street. It was built in 1878 as a Strict Baptist chapel by T.Boxall on the site of the Globe music hall, and was used as St John’s Church Hall from 1910 until 1927, and then a spiritualist church until it was demolished in about 1965 {62,83}.

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

  • Can anyone tell me any information about the Carlton Tavern that was next to the Apolistic Catholic Church?

    By Carol Nieser (22/03/2009)
  • The two houses at the top of Mighell St – we used to go scrumping apples in the gardens. I remember the elderly lady who lived there, she chased us once, four of us, we were about 10 years old, she chased us all the way back to George St before we lost her in the alleyways. But oh my days, we thought she would never give up. I recall us legging it, lobbing apples in every direction, and laughing rather nervously with her in hot pursuit. She was a game old girl, bless her.

    By Alan Purton (27/05/2010)
  • Carol, it was at 92 Carlton Hill. The pub next to church was the Star Tavern which was ran by my great great grandparents. See the following link: http://www.mhms.org.uk/directories/pikes-1918-image-059

    By Paul (19/10/2017)

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