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.
Those wonderful Green Gym volunteers were at it again this week, pruning and improving the famous Green Wall at Madeira Drive. Thank you Green Gym!
The green wall originally extended down to the Palace Pier, and Building Green would love to see it fully restored to its original condition.
That ain’t going to happen unless the Madeira Terrace restoration goes ahead – the green wall and the Victorian terraces are inter-related – so please donate to the ‘Save Madeira Terrace’ campaign.
Currently standing at £381k out of a required £422k…deadline 30 November!
So why not a Brighton High Line at Madeira Drive?
Flying high above New York City’s Meatpacking district is the High Line. You’ll have heard of it – it’s in the top 5 most Instagrammed sites in the world, receives over 7 million visitors a year. The cost was $273m. The additional tax revenues alone are estimated at $900m, with some $2bn additional local economic activity.
According to GreenPlay LLC, “The High Line district (including the Chelsea neighborhood), long back-on-its-heels, is now one of the hottest markets for upscale residential, retail, and office-center development.”
A recent visit by Building Green left us even more impressed than we expected to be. Run entirely by a Trust and a volunteer workforce, the place was packed with happy, strolling visitors. Gardeners moved through the planting, leaving wafts of mint and other fragrances in the wake of their secateurs. There were shops and stalls – all profits back to the Trust – as well as public art, recliners and all around the activity of cranes and new development in progress. As the sign on a new apartment block put it “Think the High Line is Cool? Check out our Roof Deck and no fee rentals“.
Now to Brighton. We already have a high line – it’s Madeira Terraces, created by the Victorians for similar motives to the modern New Yorkers. Work is underway to source funding for their repair and restoration, and we have the marvellous backdrop of the Madeira Drive Green Wall for visitors to enjoy again in future as they walk the regenerated seafront.
But what if the terrace deck itself was greened? Planted with attractive, fragrant and salt tolerant plants that were a reason for walking the terrace itself? The terrace as a destination, not just a roof for new businesses or a viewing platform for occasional events? It can be done technically. It has access including a mid-level lift at the Concorde. It may well provide an additional avenue for funding, and add value to the offer the restored terraces provide through increased footfall, marketability and environmental quality.
What do you think? Here at Building Green, we will be promoting this vision and encouraging the Council to adopt it. Can you help? Here’s a collage that provides some food for thought.
Building Green’s intrepid survey squad spent last weekend under the terraces at Madeira Drive. Armed with clipboards and Bob the Builder hats, we surveyed the extent and health of the green wall, and updated the list of plants and other wildlife found there.
The results are in. Ton up! We have now broken the 100 species barrier…104 species of plant to be exact…and found a number of other wildlife using the wall that we hadn’t seen before. We counted 117 trunks of 150 year old Japanese Spindle – not including the plants at Duke’s Mound further East, or those in the planters on the terrace itself.
This really strengthens the case to designate this wall a ‘local wildlife site’ in the Council’s forthcoming City Plan. It would be the only green wall site of importance for nature conservation in the UK, and deserves this recognition.
Here is the full list of species. Interesting finds include Japanese Holly Fern, shown below, Hoary Stock, and Holly Blue and Painted Lady butterflies.
Big thanks to our volunteers, and to the Council for the PPE and access.
Download a PDF of the survey: Madeira Drive Green Wall Plant Species List 12.09.2017
Species list from survey 12 September 2017
|Scientific Name||Common Name|
|Passer doemesticus||House sparrow|
|Parus major||Great tit|
|Columba livia||Wood pigeon|
|Celastrina argiolus||Holly blue|
|Vanessa cardui||Painted lady|
|Vanessa atalanta||Red admiral|
|Meles meles||Honey bee|
|Bombus lucorum||White tailed bumblebee|
|Agrostis stolonifera||Creeping bent|
|Anisantha sterilis||Barren brome|
|Anthriscus caucalis||Bur chervil|
|Anthriscus sylvestris||Cow parsley|
|Arctium minus||Lesser burdock|
|Asplenium adiantum-nigrum||Black spleenwort|
|Avena sativa||Common oat|
|Ballota nigra||Black horehound|
|Berberis darwinii||Darwin’s barberry|
|Buddleja davidii||Butterfly bush|
|Campanula porscharskyana||Trailing bellflower|
|Capsella bursa-pastoris||Shepherd’s purse|
|Carex pendula||Pendulous sedge|
|Catapodium marinum||Sea fern grass|
|Catapodium rigidum||Hard fern grass|
|Centranthus ruber||Red valerian|
|Cerastium fontanum||Common mouse-ear|
|Crithmum maritimum||Rock samphire|
|Cirsium arvense||Creeping thistle|
|Cirsium vulgare||Spear thistle|
|Clematis vitalba||Traveller’s joy|
|Convolvulus arvensis||Field bindweed|
|Conyza canadensis||Canadian fleabane|
|Coronopus squamatus||Greater swinecress|
|Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora||Monbretia|
|Cymbalaria muralis||Ivy-leaved toadflax|
|Cyrtomium falcatum||House Holly Fern|
|Diplotaxis muralis||Annual wall rocket|
|Epilobium ciliatum||American willowherb|
|Epilobium hirsutum||Great willowherb|
|Erigeron glaucus||Seaside daisy|
|Erigeron karvinskianus||Mexican fleabane|
|Euonymus japonicus||Japanese spindle|
|Genista hispanica||Spanish gorse|
|Geranium molle||Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill|
|Geum urbanum||Wood avens|
|Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus||Eastern gladiolus|
|Hedera helix||Englsh ivy|
|Hemerocallis fulva||Orange day-lily|
|Hordeum murinum||Wall barley|
|Hyacinthoides hispanica||Spanish bluebell|
|Hypochaeris radicata||Cat’s ear|
|Lactuca serriola||Prickly lettuce|
|Linaria purpurea||Purple toadflax|
|Lolium perenne||Perennial ryegrass|
|Malva sylvestris||Common mallow|
|Malva x clementii||Garden tree mallow|
|Matthiola incana||Hoary stock|
|Melilotus officinalis||Ribbed melilot|
|Narcissus pseudonarcissus cv.||Garden daffodil|
|Onopordum acanthium||Cotton thistle|
|Pentagottis sempervirens||Blue alkanet|
|Phyllitis scolopendrium||Hart’s-tongue fern|
|Picris echioides||Bristly ox-tongue|
|Picris hieracioides||Hawkweed ox-tongue|
|Plantago coronopus||Stag’s-horn plantain|
|Plantago lanceolata||Ribwort plantain|
|Plantago major||Greater plantain|
|Poa annua||Annual meadow grass|
|Polypodium vulgare||Common polypody|
|Rumex crispus||Curled dock|
|Rumex obtusifolius||Broad-leaved dock|
|Sagina apetela||Annual pearlwort|
|Sagina procumbens||Procumbent pearlwort|
|Sedum acre||Biting stonecrop|
|Sedum album||English stonecrop|
|Senecio cineraria||Silver ragwort|
|Senecio viscosus||Stick ragwort|
|Silene alba||White campion|
|Sisybrium officinale||Hedge mustard|
|Sisybrium orientale||Oriental rocket|
|Sonchus asper||Prickly sow-thistle|
|Sonchus oleraceus||Smooth sow-thistle|
|Sonchus arvensis||Perennial sow-thistle|
|Spergularia marina||Lesser sea spurrey|
|Stellaria media||Common chickweed|
|Taraxacum officinale agg.||Dandelion|
|Triticum aestivum||Bread wheat|
|Urtica dioica||Common nettle|
|Veronica x franciscana||Hedge veronica|
Building Green are attending the launch of the Crowdfunding appeal for Madeira Terraces today. This will be key to securing the ‘proof of concept’ for the restoration of the Victorian terraces, which are integral to the status of the Madeira Drive Green wall.
The Council says that the crowdfunding is a way to kick start this process. “It will:
Provide restored and rejuvenated new arches to show just how tremendous and beautiful the restored project could be
Allow us to test restoration methods and take apart the structure to investigate the ways in which it can most cost effectively be restored
Provide a new focal point – a show case or “show home” for the bigger project and a way to attract in commercial and external funding for the wider project.”
Building Green will continue to work with the Council and partners to press for and advise on the protection and restoration of the living wall which pre-dates and is integral with the Terraces.
Building Green was asked to advise on some leaks above Concorde 2 recently, which meant a rare trip to Max Miller walk via the Victorian lift in the building. I managed to get a nice pic of the fish detail on the drainpipe – this is one of the cast iron supports for the terrace…no wonder there are rust and decay issues!
The walk – and the Madeira Terraces – have been closed for some time due to safety fears.
Building Green attended an important first meeting about the future of Madeira Drive recently.
The Council hosted the meeting, and invitees included a number of community organisations like ours, local businesses, interested residents and others. There were some big names in the room, which bodes well for the level of interest in regenerating the neglected East Brighton seafront.
Building Green spoke about the value and importance of the Madeira Drive Green Wall, which contributes vital natural heritage alongside the built heritage of the seafront. We will be offering the expertise the support of our volunteers to ensure the green wall is protected and enhanced as part of any future development.
The meeting discussed the new crowdfunding appeal – to be launched soon – plans and suggestions for future development, and ‘meanwhile’ uses to bring much needed life, recreation and business activity to Madeira Drive.
On our way to the meeting, we stopped off at the Fishing Museum and found a woodcut that offers an important clue to the founding of the green wall. For some time, Building Green has been looking for evidence of when the wall was first planted (with Japanese Spindle). Our hunch was that it was earlier than 1880, though the only documentary evidence points to 1882 (JB Evison 1969 ‘Gardening by the sea’). Well, I know you’re holding your breath, so…the woodcut print was published in 1872 and seems to show evenly spaced shrubs planted along the footing of the cliff. How exciting!
For a full history of our wonderful Madeira Drive, visit our unique page.