Montpellier Lodge/Heather Court

Heather Court, on the site of the old Arnold House Hotel | Photo by Peter Groves
Heather Court, on the site of the old Arnold House Hotel
Photo by Peter Groves
Montpellier Lodge | Photo by Peter Groves
Montpellier Lodge
Photo by Peter Groves

The simple symmetry of both the design of Heather Court and Montpellier Lodge are somewhat similar, however the aesthetic result share little in common.  The beautiful simplicity of Montpellier Lodge has lasted the test of time, however Heather Court, just next door, looks like an outdated relic of ghastly early 1970’s architecture.

Heather Court
Heather Court was built in the early 1970’s following demolition of the Arnold House Hotel.  The house originally built on this land in 1861 was once owned by Brighton philanthropist Mr Henry Willett (1823 – 1903), and had extensive gardens running south to the backs of the houses in Codrington Place (now Western Road).  After his death, his family continued to live in the house until 1917.

Survival of Montpellier Lodge
In 1924 the house was owned by Mr Heather who in 1939 opened it as the Arnold House Hotel.  Later the beautiful adjoining house Montpelier Lodge, was acquired and absorbed by the hotel.  In 1971 it was decided to demolish the old hotel so that flats could be built on the site and in the extensive garden.  Luckily Montpellier Lodge survived!

Comments about this page

  • I lived in Arnold House from 1929 until 1940. The original house was owned by Henry Willett and had the largest garden in Brighton. Robert Heather owned it privately until the Hatry crash when he lost all his money and turned his beautiful house into an hotel. It was at this time that I lived there. The garden had a putting green and a croquet lawn beyond and was kept immaculately. The adjacent house was bought to accommodate the increasing number of guests. Subsequently, following the war and Robert Heather’s death, Arnold House was demolished to make way for a block of nondescript flats though the house next door survived. The garden was sold to Waitrose for a car park.

    By Tony Dell (24/07/2008)
  • Wasn’t the garden sold to WAITROSE, not Tescos?

    By Roy Grant (26/01/2009)
  • Yes, you are right. It was Tesco’s

    By Tony Dell (01/09/2009)
  • No, it was definately Waitrose, Roy is correct, it’s not Tescos.

    By Peter Groves (05/01/2010)
  • I’m was very sad to read of the demolition of the beautiful old house which was the’ Arnold House Hotel’. All I have is a faded postcard of the beautiful place. I wasn’t fortunate enough to go there. However, my parents stayed at the hotel whilst courting and sent the postcard home. Unfortunately there is no date on it, but I’d estimate it at around 1952. It must have been demolished soon afterwards. What a terrible shame, an era and place forgotten. Thank you Tony Dell for your story. I’m so glad to have been able to find information as to the hotel’s sad fate.

    By Wendy Mulley (21/07/2010)
  • Of course, now that I have read this again I agree it was Waitrose who bought it. It was an act of vandalism that the original house was demolished and outrageous that so beautiful a garden should have been sacrificed to become a car park. I went into that car park last week and I looked up to where the old house used to be and I realised what a scandal it was that Brighton Council did not save the house from destruction. At a time when playing fields and back gardens are being sold for money it should be understood the irreparable damage that has been and is being done.

    By Tony Dell (21/05/2013)
  • Just being going thrugh some old London Transport local area timetable booklets of the 1940s & 1950s and a number of those for Windsor, Staines & Egham areas have adverts for the Arnold House Hotel at 34 Montpelier Terrace, Brighton. They advertise ‘Happy Weekends for 25/- full board and ‘All In’ planned holidays from 10/6 to 21/- per day. How times have changed !

    By Alan Bond (28/07/2013)
  • Alan, it would be good to get the advert scanned in and “add a page”.

    By Peter Groves (28/07/2013)
  • This is an interesting thread for me. I have just found a group photo including both my late parents, inscribed Arnold House Brighton, Sept 13th, 1938. The group is arranged in rows, just like the later photo on this site, but it seems to me they look like an organised group of some sort rather than a collection of people who happen to be at the same hotel, and I wonder what the house was being used for in 1938? If it was a hotel, it suggests that the assertion that the house became a hotel in 1939 is at least a year out (or maybe somebody just wrote the wrong date on the photo; not impossible, but it looks as if the inscription was done at the studio). Does anybody have any ideas?

    By Graham Matthews (12/04/2014)
  • Graham, I have just located a photo of a large group taken at Arnold House on 16th July 1935. The photo was taken by Deane, Wiles & Millar and includes my late parents and two of their friends. I would like to know the reason for their visit to Arnold House since it was not yet converted to an hotel.

    By Elisabeth Davies (nee Painter) (23/06/2014)
  • Hi Graham & Elizabeth,  The opening of Arnold House as a hotel in 1939 appears to stem from James Gray, who states this to be the case in a write-up accompanying a later picture of the hotel. The words used in the article virtually replicate what Gray stated. However, it is probably a matter of semantics regarding what constitutes a hotel. Arnold House almost certainly either consisted of private apartments or it was being used as a boarding / lodging house during the 1930s. The opening as a hotel might have been reflective upon the additional acquisition of a licence to sell alcohol and official categorisation as such. Regards, Andy

    By Andy Grant (25/06/2014)
  • I have come across a group photo with a lady holding a sign “Arnold House Brighton, Aug 22, 1939.” My mother is in the photo and she lived in Grimsby so I am not sure if this could be a staff or guest photo.

    By Jane Hutchison (Canada) (07/01/2016)
  • I have a simple wooden coat hanger from Arnold House. Printed on it are the words: Arnold House is a jolly house. 9 hole golf. Croquet. Ping Pong. Dancing. I am happy to send it to anyone who would value it as a memento.

    By Jean Burbidge (28/11/2017)
  • Our only family holidays of the late 50s and early 60s were taken over the Easter week-ends.  We always stayed at The Arnold House Hotel, and I loved it.  As a 6 year old, I was introduced to table-tennis, darts, and billiards in the basement games room.  There would be a dance in the ballroom (the twist was favourite), and coach trips arranged by the host, Tommy, who I believe is the chap in the group photo (holding the sign) I have just seen on the Vintage Postcard Galley site.  I was saddened to see that the hotel has been replaced by flats, but not surprised.  Such a shame that a beautiful building, such as this, should meet this fate.

    By Susan Hodgson (24/08/2018)

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