Designed by Brighton architect Amon Henry Wilds

The houses in Park Crescent were designed by the eminent Brighton architect Amon Henry Wilds and erected over a period of several years from 1849. They form a chain of linked villas around a private garden which was formerly the site of the Royal Garden’s cricket ground.

The Royal Gardens were laid out in 1822 on the northern part of the Level. James Ireland had purchased the Level from Thomas Read Kemp, the founder of Kemp Town. The gardens included not only the cricket ground but also assembly rooms with reading, refreshment and dressing rooms on the ground floor and an elegant promenade above. There were also pleasure gardens, an aviary, a maze, a grotto and a small lake. The grounds extended back to where St Martin’s church in Lewes Road now stands.

Despite the attractions and special events, the Gardens were not a financial success and fell into decay. The flint wall, now a listed structure, on the northern side of Union Road was the southern boundary and is all that now remains of the gardens.

Comments about this page

  • I was a frequent visitor to my grandparents’ house in Park Crescent during the 1950s and early 1960s. I loved staying there because the bedroom faced onto the Lewes Road and the noise of cars going past and lights showing through the curtains seemed very exciting at the time (I’d probably hate that now). When my grandmother was older she used to sit at her front-room window in the afternoon and enjoy watching the activity and bustle outside. I used to play for hours by myself in the walled private garden – burrowing through bushes, spinning round on the lawns until I was dizzy and then lying looking up at the trees, making friends with cats, finding the place where the gardeners had a hidden compost heap. On the far side from my grandparents’ house, I’m sure I remember a gap where a house had been bombed in the war.

    By Honor (23/10/2008)
  • Nice story. I remember similar things, though at a rather later time – my best friend had a house in Park Crescent in the late 80s. We used to climb out onto the roof through a skylight in the converted attic playroom. I’ve just moved back into a flat next door to my old best friend’s house and am looking forward to the garden in summer! The woman Joyce who lives in the flat upstairs has lived there for 50 years and remembers the bombed out shells of the two houses opposite the Park Crescent Pub.

    By ben carias (26/01/2010)
  • I lived in Park Crescent from 1970 – 1983. Sadly our family moved away when I was 13 as our flat was dilapidated. My memories of the park are all happy ones. It was a great community spirit with an annual garden fete in July and bonfire and fireworks on Nov. 5th. I wonder if this still happens? I also have memories of playing in the bombsite (3 houses missing) opp. the Park Crescent Inn. These were rebuilt in 1982/3 to the original spec. I would like to go back one day to see if it has changed, but my memories of this special place are probably best left intact.

    By Martin J. Fuller (10/06/2012)
  • Things remain pretty much unchanged in Park Crescent to this day. There is still a very strong community bond and the kids still play freely in the gardens, making dens, playing games. And cats roam around watching the kids. Annual garden fetes and cricket matches are held, and a bonfire and fireworks around Nov 5th. The only thing that has gone are the tennis courts. It is still a little gem in Brighton. Long may it continue.

    By Jules Davis (19/03/2013)

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