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. 

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