Kemp Town Society

c/o 4 Sussex Square, Brighton, BN2 1FJ

Company Limited by Guarantee No. 7734051

Registered Charity No.1146155


 Newsletter Feedback and Membership email correspondence to: joan@rottingdean.me


Kemp Town Society was first registered as a Charity on 28 August 1988 (though formed in 1973) with the purpose of the conservation of the Kemp Town Estate and became a Company Limited by Guarantee in August 2011.  The Kemp Town Estate is made up of Sussex Square, Lewes Crescent, Arundel Terrace and Chichester Terrace, together with the Enclosure in the centre of the Square and Crescent and the gardens inside the railings of the Terraces.  People sometimes wonder why, when Brighton is full of wonderful late 18th Century and early 19th Century houses (and aren’t we lucky to live in a City with so many beautiful historic buildings), the Estate is so important.  Well, it is one of only four Grade I listed Estates in England and the only one by the sea, so it is unique.  The other Grade I Estates are Regents Park, Bath and Cheltenham, so it is in illustrious company.

Yes, the Estate  unfortunately suffered ugly alterations to some of its rooflines and at the backs of the houses in the 1970s when England was in the grip of a mania for ‘modern’ tower blocks, and there was pressure  to build at any price.  This is distressing, but does not mean that we must allow vandalism to continue.  We must do all we can to stop it being made worse under the current pressure for housing and risk losing the Estate’s set piece unity and charm.   With imagination and love it is possible to alter the insides of the houses and flats for modern living without destroying their internal period features, and certainly without altering the external appearance.  This is what your Committee and in particular Derek DeYoung through CAG and I through supporting the Marina Campaigns and attendance at events such as the Hospital Liaison Group meetings and the Blue Plaque Committee meetings try to help bring about.  It is a mammoth task.  We need your help.

Please drop a note through the door of 4 Sussex Square if you see a planning notice go up on a lamp post or street sign.  Please help us conserve this unique Estate.

Jill Sewell, Secretary

Correction and Clarification – from Joan

In my ‘A very brief history of the Kemp Town Enclosures Railings’ I had typed that At the 2014 Kemp Town Enclosures Annual General Meeting it was agreed that the Estate residents would be levied with an additional amount over the following three years to pay for the railings enclosing their gardens.  When in fact it was agreed that the Estate residents would pay an increased levy to maintain the Kemp Town Enclosures Limited reserves at the previous level in view of the previous years’ expenditure having been more than usual and the anticipated greater expenditure in the current year.  It was also agreed that there would be another meeting to discuss funding for future capital expenditure in the light of the anticipated need for expenditure on various repairs and replacements in the next few years including the replacement of the Southern Boundary railings.  The second meeting was held on  Saturday 25 April. 


Robert Powell of Marine Gate represents the Brighton Marina Action Group, which comprises Kemp Town Society, Roedean, Courcels and Marine Gate.  On 16 and 17 June Robert will return to the High Court in London on our behalf.  He has contributed the following article to our Newsletter to give us all valuable background information.

A Final Skirmish    By Robert Powell

“On June 16th/17th I will return to the High Court in London to appeal to three High Court Judges to halt the building of eleven tower blocks in the tidal harbour of Brighton Marina.

Some KTS residents have asked – Why? Surely they exclaim, it can’t be stopped now – two of the lift/stair towers are already seven storeys high and there are four cranes operating on the site.

My answer is that what is being built is illegal and I shall, with the assistance of Solicitor Advocate Richard Buxton from Cambridge, endeavour to convince three Law Lords that building should be curtailed. Even if they allow the two towers currently being constructed I hope to stop the remaining nine towers.

In 2006 Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Department granted permission for the project which comprises eleven tower blocks, the tallest being 40-storeys. In all there would be 853 apartments. But the Council did not consult the plan deposited with the 1968 Brighton Marina Act. It is apparent they did not have a copy of the plan for it was only in 2013 that it was located in the House of Lords Library. As a result  two towers of the towers, one being the 40-storey tower, are outside the so-called ‘Limits of Deviation’. Put simply, Parliament laid down certain limits to the extent of the development and these have been exceeded. The Act also stipulated that development should only be ‘landward’ of the tidal flood barrier. The barrier comprises the embankment to the south of David Lloyd Leisure Club, the West Quay and the Boardwalk.  All consented eleven towers are ‘seaward’ of the tidal flood barrier.

Furthermore the will of Parliament was expressed in a letter from the then Minister for Housing and Local Government Michael Greenwood MP on 29th September 1966 that said ‘no building shall exceed the height of the cliff’. And again in a letter from the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment Anthony Crossland on 30th May 1975 to the original architect Louis de Soissons that ‘ no building should exceed 15 metres (49ft)’. It is apparent the Brighton and Hove City Council paid no heed of this in giving consent in 2006.

It is abundantly clear we will get no assistance from the Council Planning officers or the majority of the members of the Planning Committee. They cannot admit their ‘mistake’ in 2006. To do otherwise would leave the Council open to legal action by the developer who claims to have already spent £25million.

Our only recourse is to go to the High Court. It is expensive. It has already cost £45K and to take the case to appeal in June it will cost a further £30K. I estimate we have already collected £22K ,for which I thank all the donors, so I am appealing for assistance in raising the remaining £8K.

We specifically want the three Law Lords to give a ruling on s5 and s40 (2) of the 1968 Brighton Marina Act. If we are right and we believe we are, then the remaining nine tower blocks could be halted.

Finally to those critics of our actions who say “but Brighton need houses’, we agree, but, not in the tidal harbour to the south of the flood barrier. It is utterly unsuited for family housing, there are no schools, there is no space for children to play, there is only one access in and out of the Marina.

We have been battling against this huge overdevelopment for ten years at considerable personal cost and I hope that the June court date will bring the matter to a successful conclusion.”


Did you know that in 1951 there were no less than 18 apartments in No. 11 Chichester Terrace ? Or that Mr. Bush negotiated the right with Thomas Kemp to dig a tunnel from no. 13 Arundel Terrace  to the beach in order to get his supplies delivered for his brewery ? Or that residents on the Estate not only were expected to pay for the upkeep of the Pleasure Gardens but for the street lighting in front of their houses ?

During the last two years six tireless volunteers have entered many thousands of lines of data on to spread sheets. The occupants of all the houses on the Estate that are in public records have been recorded from the earliest days up to 1970 and at last we have the material to build our web pages. Many illustrations have been gathered.  These are now under construction, Arundel Terrace will go live first followed by the other three sections of the Estate.

As well as the record of who lived in or owned each house, you will be able to access information concerning the building of particular houses, the interesting stories of some of those residents, see the very signatures of Thomas Read Kemp, Thomas Cubitt and other well known names of people concerned with the development of the Estate. Wander around the pages discovering the story of our wonderful houses and their inhabitants.

I have had some major contributions from current residents who have made in depth studies of their properties or who are in possession of extraordinary sets of original deeds and leases. BUT there is room for so much more.

Have you written a history of your house or do you have a stunning Cubitt plaque in your hall, or a quirky balustrade on your stairs ? Prints or photographs old or new ?The project is still very much a work in progress and I am hoping that you will introduce much more material in the next few weeks.  If you have anything at all that you think would be of interest please either email me  vanessaminns.no28@gmail.com or telephone 01273 699690

YES YOU CAN ! This  is your opportunity to join in the building of a huge resource that we can all enjoy.

Vanessa Minns : WBLMH  Editor


The KTS Committee sadly miss Tony Hadley, who died on 25 August 2014.  He was a particularly kind and thoughtful Vice-Chairman who contributed a great deal in helping us follow the proper procedures.

We are now really most fortunate to have Vaughan Rees OBE and Simon Smith serving on the committee and they will be formally proposed as Trustees at our AGM.

David Gort is resigning as the Fund Raising Events organiser due to poor health and we are, therefore, inviting someone from our membership to take over this interesting coordinating position.  Financial guidance and back-up will be provided by the Treasurer.

Come 2016 I will have served on the KTS committee for over 10 years so I now believe the time has come to ask for a replacement to take over my role as Treasurer/Membership Secretary and  someone to produce and distribute the quarterly Newsletter.  I will be most happy to discuss the duties with members willing to be co-opted in readiness to take over in January and to assist them for the first few months up to the elections at the 2016 AGM.

KEMP TOWN SOCIETY’S 2015 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING IS SATURDAY 23 MAY @10.30 – Noon at the Brighton Steiner School, Roedean Road, Brighton (by the mini roundabout with  Whitehawk Road).

Joan Griffiths, Treasurer/Membership Secretary


It’s now less than three months to…..


on SATURDAY 18 JULY 2015, from 12 til 4-ish in the North Garden.

This year’s theme is ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave”….

We will have the usual great mix of jazz and swing from Johnny Muxlow’s Hot Five

** A wine bar with jugs of Pimm’s  ** A Strolling Magician ** An enticing Raffle ** Our far-famed Bring-a-plate food stall ** Cake and produce stall ** Piñatas, face painting and a treasure hunt for the children, plus a PRIZE for the best nautical/piratical costume.

**NEW THIS YEAR** will be:

A beautiful scarf and pashmina stall run by Sue Dunlea from Sussex Square (as seen in “Artists’ Open Houses”)

A secondhand book stall with added Kemp Town artefacts

A bring-and-buy toy and baby clothes stall.


… giving wonderful prizes for the raffle

… baking a cake or making jam for the cake stall

… donating books, toys and baby clothes (in good condition) for the stall

… helping to put up and take down on the Friday/Saturday

… volunteering an hour or two on a stall (chairs provided!)

… helping with children’s activities (parents – do let us know if you have good suggestions for entertaining the children, or better still, are prepared to organize them!)

… doing an impromptu performance (we’ve had Morris dancers and acrobats in the past)

… simply coming along and bringing your friends!

KTS members free entrance, non-members £5. EVERYONE is welcome.

Please send all suggestions, donations and offers of help to Ann Wroe,

Flat 3A, 14 Lewes Crescent.  Phone: 07833 050351 or

0207 8307044(daytime at work).  Email: annwroe@economist.com 


Saturday 13 June 11 am – 3 pm –Kemp Town Enclosures gardens open day.  The KTE private gardens will be opened to KTS members who do not have a key.  The gate opposite 4 Sussex Square will be manned from 11am to 3pm and there will be a conducted tour at 12 noon to give a historical overview. Do bring your picnic along and enjoy the atmosphere of these beautiful gardens.

Friday 21 August – evening performance ‘Mack and Mabel’ Chichester Festival Theatre.  Based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, Mack & Mabel has Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman La Cage aux Folles.  Olivier Award-winner Michael Ball returns to Chichester to play Mack Sennett, following his celebrated performance in Sweeney Todd.  Rebecca LaChance makes her Chichester debut as Mabel. The Artistic Director is Jonathan Church whose most recent musical hits for Chichester include the award-winning Singin’ in the Rain (2011).

A 3-course pre-performance dinner will be served at Murrays at The Ship Hotel.

The coach leaves Sussex Square bus stop at 3.45 pm

The fully inclusive cost is £64 and the numbers are limited to 30 people.   So book now!


***            BOOKING FORM FOR ‘MACK AND MABEL’ FRIDAY 21 AUGUST               ***

Please send to: Joan Griffiths, 15 Rottingdean Place, Falmer Road, Rottingdean BN2 7FS

 (or pop into 4 Sussex Square letterbox by hand if that is more convenient)

From Name………………………………………….Email or phone……………………………………


…..….tickets @ £64 each  = £………….. cheque payable to KEMP TOWN SOCIETY


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