Madeira Drive – updated history page now live

Building Green’s page on the history of Madeira Drive has been updated. There’s more to do – this is undoubtedly a passion project! – but it’s a fascinating story so why not take a look.

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Building Green volunteers successfully save trees for oldest, longest green wall

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Brighton & Hove Building Green volunteers ready for work…the Martlet’s ‘be more snail’ by the Green Wall just happens to have a garden and green wall theme!

In a successful partnership, volunteers from Brighton & Hove Building Green have worked with the council and contractors New Lawn and PH Beck to successfully save some Japanese Spindle plants.

The plants are about 40 years old, and were removed from their current location above the Concorde 2, coppiced, and re-planted along Madeira Drive Green Wall. There they will sit alongside their 140 year old neighbouring spindle plants, which were established by the Victorians around 1880. We hope they will grow well there, filling in gaps in the original planting scheme and helping towards the restoration of this unique vertical garden.

The work on the Concorde 2 was necessary to repair leaks in the roof. No-one realised how much concrete and rebar was used to create these planting beds – there are several of them along the length of the green wall to create habitat on the upper level.

The vision is to fill in the gaps in the green wall, which once stretched the whole length of Madeira Drive and is the oldest and longest in the UK.

Madeira Drives, old and new

Approximately 100 years separates these photos, showing Madeira Drive, the Volks railway, Kemp Town and the Madeira Drive green wall

 

Volunteers save plants for country’s oldest ‘green’ wall

Filming/photo opportunities at Madeira Terrace green wall: Sunday, 30 September, 11am or Wednesday, 3 October, between 12 noon and 2pm. Please let Julie Harris Julie.harris@brighton-hove.gov.uk  and James Farrell know if you are interested in coming along.

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Happy Green Gymers after a hard morning’s work at Madeira Drive green wall

Work will begin next week to carefully transplant a group of Japanese spindle which has been growing in containers above Concorde 2 on Madeira Terrace for more than 35 years.

When they heard plants needed to be moved to enable repairs to the building, local community organisation Building Green got in touch offering to save the plants.

Japanese Spindle has been happily growing along Madeira Drive since the Victorians established a ‘green wall’ in the late 19th Century. It’s the oldest and longest of its kind in the country, and was designed to enhance the famous ironwork of Madeira Terrace.

James Farrell, founder of Building Green, said “We are working with the council to rescue some old Japanese spindle plants that need to be removed as part of structural improvement to the Concorde 2. The plants are a special feature of the Madeira Drive green wall, a ‘vertical garden’ which was established by the Victorians to enhance the seafront and Madeira Terrace.

“The green wall now contains more than 100 species of flowering plants, and is the longest and oldest of its kind in the country. The plants will be safely moved to a new home along the green wall at Duke’s Mound.”

Building Green has trialled coppicing (safely cutting from the base where the plants will regrow) on sections of the green wall and this technique will be used to transplant the spindles.

Councillor Alan Robins, lead member for tourism, development and culture, said: “We really appreciate the conservation being done by all the partners on this unique green wall. Thanks to them, as part of the work we are doing to maintain Concorde 2, the spindles will find a new home and won’t be lost. At 20 metres high and 1.2km long, the green wall is quite a feature and hosts an incredible diversity of plants and wildlife which is perhaps surprising in this exposed location.”

Volunteers from Building Green have been working with the council, Portslade Green Gym and other partners for several years to manage and restore this unique and important natural heritage.

It is thought the spindles being moved date back to the 1980s when they were planted in concrete troughs on the upper level of Madeira Terrace to improve the environment for visitors. The majority of spindle along the green wall is more than 140 years old and grows from ground level up and behind the walkway of the Terrace. It has glossy leaves and produces pink and orange berries.

Boom! Funding secure for Madeira Terraces campaign

So it’s done – thanks to local campaigners, members of the public, local businesses and some particularly big donors, the Save Madeira Drive campaign reached its target today.

Total reached = £466,149

More soon – great news for now.