Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bald Venture

Southwater’s first brewery follows in the tradition of a passion for brewing for which Horsham, West Sussex, has been renowned throughout history. Owner and head brewer Keith Donoghue is currently operating on a small scale but with enormous enthusiasm and sterling standards. Baldy brewery cask ales are crafted for all seasons and tastes with new recipes and specials being added regularly.

Beers include Blonde Bombshell (blonde ale); Fiery Redhead (ruby ale); Southwater Special Bitter (premium bitter); and Kiln Dust (a porter and a nod to Southwater’s brickworks history). A healthy demand means that a bigger kit and brewery is in mind. Regular outlets will be the Beer Essentials, Horsham, and the Selden Arms, Worthing. Keith is also supplying local festivals. For more info contact 07718 641195;

Adapted from the Sussex Drinker, no. 71, autumn 2012.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Quadrant, Brighton

Occupying a landmark position opposite the clock tower, the block of buildings that originally formed North Street Quadrant was erected c.1854. Numbers 12 and 13 were initially separate premises accommodating, at various times, a naturalist, wireworker, coal company office and a grocer and cheesemaker. They became conjoined as the Quadrant Hotel in 1864. Of four storeys and roughly wedge-shaped, the top three floors are stucco covered with the roof obscured by a parapet. The Quadrant closed for a period of time when the block was redeveloped some several years ago. Saved by its English Heritage Grade II listing of 30th March 1999, the pub reopened in 2007.

The ground floor exterior has, in the words of the listed description, “composite pilasters of grey granite supporting fascia with modillion cornice and console stops.” The TOM BOVEY, WINE & SPIRIT IMPORTER signs are of genuine late-Victorian vintage uncovered during the reopening. People with sharp eyes will note they were designed by S. JONES & COMPY (PATENT FASCIA), KINGS ┼ LONDON. N. Tom Bovey was the landlord of the Quadrant at the turn of the 20th century, the period when the extant lower bar was fitted. His wife, Carrie Bovey, carried on the license until 1938.

The interior is on split-levels, the lower section at the south end being the attraction with some c. 1900 fittings. There is a moulded ceiling, panelled semi-circular chunky counter and a brick and wood surround fireplace between bar front and stairs. At the rear exit to Air Street is a bowed staircase screen with a pair of engraved glass panels, one a replacement. Across the central circular servery is a carved bar gantry that according to the listed description has an “unusual central arch with scrolled brackets and ornate pediment over [and] mirror-panels to either side flanked by fluted Ionic columns supporting bowed entablatures and mirror-glass to toplights.”

The flat-arched front entrance to the lower bar is set back with old panelled and glazed door with a wrought-iron screen over the porch. The left flank wall of the porch has glazed, moulded and coloured tiles. In the curved window at the right can be detected the faint outline of applied letting once painted onto the glass:

The Quadrant
Saloon Lounge
Choice Wines and Spirits

Accessed either from the lower bar or by the north east door is the higher level bar, post-war and plain, with the counter being a copy of that in the lower area. The first-floor room, once called the Clock Tower Bar, and before that the Crystal Rooms, now contains nothing of interest, but architect’s plans for first floor alterations of April 1950 do have the virtue of showing how the ground floor bars were then laid out.

The Saloon Bar, now at the lower level, was in 1950 partitioned off from the rest of the pub and entered from either the front porch or the Air Street stairwell. A lift was situated mid-way along the south facing wall. The Public Bar, now the top bar, was entered either from the existing north east door or by what was a matching front porch entrance to that still existing to the Saloon Bar. At the north-west corner was a Private Bar, adjacent to and of similar size to the Public Bar. Running from the middle of the circular counter to the north wall was a partition with a doorway both separating and giving internal access to these two north bars.

Including the two matching porch doorways along the front, there were, then, six entrances to the Quadrant, only three of which are now in use. Part of the space that the Private Bar then occupied has been incorporated into the top bar but the remainder is behind the resituated internal west wall.
Walk around into Air Street to see the two blocked up doorways that once led into the Private Bar. I would guess that the bar counter in the top bar was replaced when the Private Bar fell into disuse, the room partitions were removed and the front porch entrance to the Public Bar was replaced by the windows and frontage we now see along that side.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Devonshire Arms, Brighton – Once a House of Repute in Sussex

Although converted to housing at some point since 2006, the building that was the Devonshire Arms survives at 52 Carlton Hill in an area where much was swept away by post-war ‘slum clearance’ schemes. The other Kemp Town Brewery pub, the Sack of Shavings, at 29 Carlton Hill is long since vanished. The KTB publication of the early 1930s, “Houses” of Repute in Sussex, states that the Devonshire Arms “formerly covered with plaster, now appears as a very neat brick house with modelled panels in the wall at one side.” While an accurate description of the improved neo-Georgian exterior (see the black and white photograph), this single sentence vastly understates the extensive work required for what was really a rebuilding of the pub.

The architect’s plans for August 1928, drawn up by J. L. Denman and Son, show the existing licensed premises to have been confined to the narrow, south facing end of the building, with a Club Room on the corner of Marine View and Carlton Hill, and the Public Bar adjacent. Behind this was a series of private quarters, including at the north end a couple of old cottages, 24 and 25 Marine View, previously unlicensed and used by a former tenant for storage. In a letter to the Licensing Justices, dated 24th April 1929, the Chief Constable of Brighton, Charles Griffin, stated of the old Devonshire Arms that “as existing, the premises are badly constructed and very unhealthy.”

The proposed alterations to the licensed areas were as follows: the position of the Public Bar and Club Room to be reversed with the latter to also take up space formerly occupied by the tenant’s Sitting Room and Scullery; a Bottle and Jug Department to be constructed north of the Public Bar, having an entrance mid-way along the Marine View side; and north of this a Private Bar will be made on the site of the old cottage that was 25 Marine View; the front of the premises in Carlton Hill will be modernised, with a lobby entrance to the Public Bar on the left and Club Room on the right and the existing front windows to be replaced by large bow windows.
In summarising the reasons for the proposed alterations, the same themes arise as previously noted in plans for improved public houses of the interwar period: (i) the complete separation of the tenant’s private accommodation from the licensed premises, in this case transferring the whole of the living apartments to the first floor making a self-contained flat with a separate entrance at the far north side along Marine View; (ii) the provision of modern lavatories for both men and women, in this case on the site of cottage and yard that was 24 Marine View; (iii) increased supervision of the licensed premises, in this case to place in the middle of the pub an almost octagonal counter so that the licensee can survey all of the bars from a central vantage point.

Once again the Chief Constable sounds a rueful note that “the floor space of the bar will be increased approximately from 320 to 500 square feet. This does not include the new Bottle and Jug Department, which will have an area of 27 square feet.” But he concludes that “the alterations if allowed will permit of better supervision on the part of the licensee and the police.” Despite this, there seems to have been some problem in getting the approval from the Licensing Justices at the Special Sessions of 11th September 1928. One of the ‘approved’ stamps on the plans has an ink cross drawn through it; the other has the word ‘Not’ added in ink before the ‘approved’.

If there was a sticking point it may have been the difficulty of having a door leading directly from the Private Bar into the street. Owing to the steep gradient of Marine View this would have necessitated a flight of some six steps on the inside, with all the obvious trip hazards this would imply.

In the end, admission to the Private Bar from Marine View was to be via the door to the tenant’s first floor apartments. A landing was to be made here at ground floor level with the left side door leading upstairs to the first floor and the right side door leading down a flight of steps to the Private Bar. Although this was obviously not ideal given the desirability of completely separating the entrances to private and licensed areas, what appear to be an otherwise identical set of plans were given the required approval at the Special Sessions of 24th April 1929. Harry Dutton became the tenant around 1934, from which year the above local newspaper advert dates. From the way it reads, Dutton may have been a retired Brighton and Hove Albion FC player.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Heart and Hand, Brighton - An Introduction to Stavers Hessell Tiltman

Regular readers of this Blog will be aware of the Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries (henceforth P&BUB) from my posts on their Pompey Royal Golden Ale. Future Blogs will also begin to turn attention towards some of the pubs once owned by that now-defunct Southsea brewery. By so doing I will introduce the Brighton-based architect Stavers Hessell Tiltman (1888-1968) who was architect and engineer to both P&BUB and their Brighton predecessors, the Rock brewery, although Tiltman’s best known work is probably the Art Deco flight terminal at what is now called Brighton City Airport, Shoreham-by-Sea.

The Heart & Hand, 75 North Street, Brighton existed by 1854 in what was then North Lane, although the pub was known as the Hand & Heart until at some point between 1879 and 1884 when the name was for some reason reversed. Two right hands holding a heart is a traditional symbol of concord. The distinctive green glazed tiling and faience work that mark out many pubs that were once houses of the P&BUB is in this instance the product of a 1934 set of alterations.

The Portsmouth United Breweries company added ‘Brighton’ to its name in February 1928 after its acquisition of the Rock brewery at 61 St. James Street, Brighton. The old photograph, probably from the Edwardian era, reproduced on the front cover of a 2011 local directory shows the Heart & Hand as a Rock brewery house with stucco finish to the walls below a slate roof.

The ‘ground floor as existing’ on plans of March 1934 drawn up by Tiltman marks out a Bar Parlour to the right of what is the Jug Department door along the Upper Gardener Street side on the old photograph. Whereas, what in the photograph is certainly a Private Bar entrance door on the far left North Road side leads to an area simply named ‘Bar’ on Tiltman’s pre-alteration plans, although he shows it as partially partitioned from the larger bar entered through the double-doors at what is geographically the south-east corner. A horseshoe-shaped servery was located at the centre. A brick-floored kitchen was at the north end (where the building drops from three to two storeys along Upper Gardner Street). The lavatories and yard were in the north-west corner.

The exterior work today remains intact. Moving along the North Road side to Upper Gardner Street we have in leaded glass, “Bar” on a disused door (the site of the new Bottle and Jug Department on Tiltman’s proposed plans); “United Ales” on a double window; “H & H” on the corner double door; “Heart & Hand” on a double window; “Saloon Bar” on another disused door; and “United Ales” on a single window. Replacement coloured glass appears in the window that once looked out from the alcove.

By contrast, there is nothing left of the interwar interior. The hearth, alcove and seat have gone. The counter and back fittings are replacements. The screen that would have run from the left corner of the counter to mark off the Bottle & Jug in the south-west corner has been removed and the doorway there blocked up by a matchwood dado that encircles the interior. This I would guess was fitted in the 1950s or 1960s when the toilets were re-situated and the 1934 fittings were taken out.

Still, the Heart & Hand is a decent and popular pub to go for a drink. Harveys Best Bitter and Sharp’s Doom Bar are in good condition and the leaded windows are viewed to best effect from the inside. There are also two other P&BUB pubs in Brighton, also designed by Tiltman, that have much better preserved interiors. These are the Crown, Grafton Street and the Rose Hill Tavern, Rosehill Terrace. We will meet them in future Blogs.