Unearthed – architect design for Madeira Road

Found in a second hand shop…a framed print of how Madeira Road could have developed. By architect John Johnson, and published in The Builder, May 5, 1883, the ‘improvements’ show features that are still in place, and many now lost or never implemented.

print of madeira road east brighton 1883

Surviving still – albeit with sections lost over the years – is the ‘green wall’, running from the Chain Pier (now the sun terrace) to Paston Place. Banjo groyne is there. There is the idea of a lift from Marine Parade (the print shows two lifts) – now part of the Concorde 2 of course. There were gardens and squares in Kemp Town. There were extensive lawns and bandstands on Madeira Road. Some of these were built and maintained for many years, but have all now been lost. And there was planting in the road – hedges close to the Madeira Terrace, which this architect hadn’t envisaged.

Obviously not taken forwards are the grand looking hall to the east of the Chain Pier, and the car free streets!

print showing east brighton seafront madeira road 1883

Questions remain. Was there an architectural competition, and was the winner the Council’s own Philip Cawston Lockwood who imagined the Madeira Terrace? Whose idea was it to establish the green wall? And what is today’s vision for the future of East Brighton seafront?

New shoots

A note from our Treasurer…

“On Saturday 23rd November I took 60 cuttings from the Japanese Spindle on Madeira Drive – the green wall.  I took the cuttings from along the green wall, from the end of the arches and up Duke’s Mound.   I took from the new growth, the lighter greener leaves.  With the help and expertise of family (Mom) 60 cuttings are now planted and will hopefully grow inside over winter.  Like the other cuttings James has nurtured and that are now planted in, these will I hope eventually add to the green wall, filling it out and helping it to grow the whole way along.

Japanese spindle cuttings in glasses on table

The cuttings are varied in length, and taken from different parts of the green wall, to see if some take better than others.  Each of the stems has been cut at an angle, soaked in water overnight and dipped in organic rooting gel, and planted into deep compost pots.  The top of the soil has been covered in course grit to keep moisture in and help keep the soil compacted.  They are all inside a light conservatory that’s insulated and that is heated.  I’ll let you know how they get on and hopefully we can plant them in next year sometime.”

Joss

Madeira Drive work days – new dates

Portslade Green Gym volunteers will be down on Madeira Drive, looking after our famous ‘green wall’ on the following dates. Why not come along and say hi, and get yer fingers dirty with some good honest work cutting back weeds…and looking after our new Japanese Spindle cuttings!

  • 3 October 2019
  • 7 November 2019
  • 5 March 2020

Madeira Drive environment – representing your views

Today is the first meeting of the stakeholder forum for the Madeira Terraces regeneration.

Building Green is a member of the forum, and represents the views of the natural environment sector, along with colleagues from the built environment.

If you have any general comments to make, please add them to the comments on this post, or email them by 6pm today.

We will keep you posted on the discussions and further opportunities to have your say.

For our ‘three point plan’ on the Madeira Drive environment, click here.

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Volunteers restore oldest, longest green wall in UK

Volunteers restore oldest, longest green wall in UK

Today volunteers with Building Green planted 45 Japanese Spindle plants to fill the gaps in the green wall at Madeira Drive, Brighton & Hove.

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Some of the volunteers at work

Originally established in 1872 this green wall is the oldest and longest of its kind in the UK. The plants were grown on from cuttings taken from the site and should one day reach as high as their 20m tall, 150 year old neighbours!

A big thank you to everyone involved.