Lewes Crescent and Sussex Square
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.
d) LEWES CRESCENT : This magnificent crescent, with a span of 840 feet, has twenty-eight four-storey houses which follow Busby’s original plan of every third house bearing giant Corinthian pilasters and iron balconies; those on the eastern side also have Doric porches and verandahs. The fa..cs.ades were completed by 1827, but most houses remained shells for several years.
Builder Thomas Cubitt lived at no.13 from 1846 until 1855. Nos.15-16 were used as a military hospital during the First World War. Fife House, 1 Lewes Crescent together with 14 Chichester Terrace, was the residence of the sixth Duke of Devonshire from 1828 until 1858; the embankment down to Madeira Drive in front of his house is named Duke’s Mound after him. From 1896 until 1924 this house was the home of Princess Louise, daughter of Edward VII, and her husband the Duke of Fife; the King himself stayed here during his convalescence in 1908. No.18 was the home of actress Anna Neagle and her producer husband Herbert Wilcox from 1953 until 1969. Their neighbour at no.17 for a number of years was Lord Frederick Elwyn-Jones (1909-89), a Labour M.P for nearly thirty years, a prosecutor at Nuremburg, and Lord Chancellor in the 1970s.
e) SUSSEX SQUARE: Measuring about 300 feet wide by 550 feet long, Sussex Square was commenced in 1823 and the fa..cs.ades were complete by 1827, but most of the fifty houses were mere skeletons which were let or sold for completion. No.25 was the first private house on the estate to be occupied, in 1826 by Philip Storey, Kemp ‘s brother-in-law. Kemp himself lived at no.22 from 1827 until 1837. All the houses have four storeys, Doric or Ionic porches, and ironwork balconies; every third house has pilasters, mostly with Corinthian capitals, but several houses remain unstuccoed and are faced with yellow brick. The centre-piece of the square is the pedimented nos.24-27, all decorated with Corinthian pilasters. No.32 Sussex Square even has giant, fluted Ionic pilasters on its rear facade in Bristol Place.
The square naturally became the residence of the rich and famous. Perhaps most famous was Revd Charles Dodgson, better known as the author Lewis Carroll, who lived at no.11 from 1874 until 1887. Nos.19-20 were the home of the first Marquess and fifth Earl of Bristol between 1831 and 1859. Formerly Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the Addington government of 1801-4, he was created Marquess in 1826, and was an important local landowner who contributed land and finance to many local institutions. The Marquess died on 15 March 1859 and was buried in the Lewes Road Parochial Cemetery (now Woodvale) . He is commemorated by several streets in the Kemp Town area, by the Bristol public house, and by the Bristol estate .
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.