Saturday, 18 September 2010

Beware of the Burghers

x P1040868 Brighton Town Hall is part of the architectural furniture of this city, a Grade II listed edifice of creamy magnificence, with a foundation stone laid in 1830 by Thomas Kemp of Kemp Town fame. x P1040869 It’s located just off the seafront, and last weekend’s Open Door provided the chance to have a look around inside. Most startling thing about the tour? Not the police station in the basement, where in 1844 the Chief Constable was murdered in his office; nor the amazing mosaic floors with their odd-looking dolphins. x P1040837 But the newspaper articles from 1965 arrayed in the council chamber, showing plans for a new town hall. This vision of hideosity, a prime example of the new brutalism, was trumpeted as something of which the town could be proud. Naturally, the benefits included a new road scheme, which would have meant not just demolishing the old-fashioned town hall, but the ancient road pattern around it. x P1040881 Now, whenever I pass the town hall, I will give silent thanks that this brave new scheme never came to pass, and Brighton was spared such an example of enlightened town planning.

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