Slopes and Esplanades

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.

g) SLOPES AND ESPLANADES, Madeira Drive : The attractive slopes to the beach in front of the cliffs were begun in September 1828, and were completed in August 1830 to the design of William Kendall. Two esplanades were built below the cliff top connected to the Lewes Crescent gardens by a tunnel beneath the road; the tunnel’s esplanade entrance is flanked by two small cottages, one of which was occupied by the head gardener, the other by the estate constable. The cliff-top esplanade and the sea-wall were built in two sections in 1833 and 1835, and in February 1835 Kendall added a reading-room on the lower esplanade which was used for many years for committee meetings.

The slopes were not enclosed and remained open to the public. In 1865 though, the committee erected a fence along the western boundary, an action which initiated a long argument with the corporation which insisted that the land belonged to the town. The extension of Madeira Drive to Black Rock in 1895 led to further fences and hedges, and the committee decided to exclude the public completely in February 1896. Eventually agreement was reached and an exchange of land

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.

Comments about this page

  • The bottom left hand picture showing the path up the slope leads up and through the hedges; this area used to be know as Cats’ Creek for some reason I never understood, unless lots of cats used to be seen and heard around the bushes.

    By Kenneth Ross (04/05/2007)
  • It’s a shame the reading room or ‘Temple’ is spoilt by the looming brutal concrete above it.

    By ray ellerton (24/03/2022)

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