Edward Tilbury was a wealthy London Merchant and had taken his son-in-law, Edwin Adolphus Tarner into business with him after his marriage to Letitia (nee Tilbury) in 1834. Tilbury resided at 1, Patriot Place during the 1830’s. It would appear that around the same time he built the tower and landscaped the gardens surrounding ‘the Lodge’, which in contemporary times became known as ‘the Creche’.
Change of name in 1859
After the death of Edward Tilbury in 1859, the Lodge was inherited by Edwin and his wife. The name for St. John’s Lodge was not conferred upon it until 1864, and the road was also renamed to Tilbury Place at this time, in honour of Edward Tilbury. For most part of the next 20 years the lodge was occupied by tenants, thereafter becoming the family home of Edwin Tilbury-Tarner.
Letitia Tilbury-Turner: patron
Edwin’s sister, Letitia Tilbury-Tarner was the last occupant of the Lodge and became one of the principal patrons of the area. Upon her death in 1933 she bequeathed the house and grounds to Brighton Corporation. The 1.24 acre grounds became the Tarner Recreation Ground in January 1934.
Nursery school in 1933
Margaret McMillan opened an open air nursery school on 9th October 1933 with its entrance in Sussex Street. In 1937 it was taken over by Brighton Corporation and renamed the Tarner Land Nursery School; it was rebuilt in 1960.
Historical research by Andy Grant