What's in a name?
My name is Tony Hadley. I live in Cubitt Terrace, Chichester Place, Kemp Town.
Cubitt Terrace is a terrace of five houses at the lower end of Chichester Place. Built in 1986, they replaced a row of garages which had been sited on the garden of No 1 Chichester Terrace – land which had been sold for development following a fire at 1 Chichester Place to finance reparation of the fire damage. The developers, Hatley’s Builders, originally marketed the houses as Chichester Mews, assuming the title ‘Mews’ would be attractive to potential purchasers. Not only were the houses not mews properties in either siting or design, the absurdity was compounded by the presence of a relatively unspoiled original mews of the 1820s directly to the rear of the development. The local authority intervened – not because of the title ‘Mews’, but rather, it asserted, because there were too many uses of the term ‘Chichester’ in the area.
As one of the original purchasers, my solicitor was informed that the five houses would forthwith be known as Cubitt Terrace. This news was received with modified rapture. Firstly, Thomas Cubitt, as the builder of Lewes Crescent, Sussex Square, Chichester Terrace, and many other late Regency properties in Brighton and Hove (a plaque identifies his own house in Lewes Crescent), is a name of some significance to the area.
Secondly the houses fronting Chichester Place certainly comprise a terrace. However, the appropriateness of the new name was somewhat marred by the local authority’s mis-spelling of Cubitt. The properties were to be permanently saddled with the title ‘Cubbit Terrace’. It could not be changed because the Land Registry had been informed. Eventually some jobsworth in the planning department agreed that the error should be rectified – too late, I suspect, for the Land Registry, and the deeds of Number 3. Maybe it should have been left unaltered, to become yet another of those quirky anomalies so characteristic of Brighton, and to raise an occasional smile through the fallibility of local governance.