The History of 13 Chichester Terrace

1 Sales Particulars

2 Mr Haslewood remembers Horatio Nelson

3 History of No 13 and No 14 Chichester Terrace

4 Memoir Rene Dee

When Chichester Terrace was built, numbering started at the eastern end and proceeded west..

These Particulars were published before the numbers were changed to start at the West end next to Chichester House.

1 Sales Particulars

Brighton Patriot 27 September 1836

Messrs. “Webb, 1, Marine-parade, Brighton. TERRACE, KEMP TOWN. Beg to notify, that by order of the Proprietor, they will sell by Auction, at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton, on TUESDAY, 18th October, 1836; at Twelve for One precisely, unless previously disposed of by private treaty, of which notice will be given, ALL that valuable and important FREEHOLD RESIDENCE, No. 2, CHICHESTER-TERRACE, KEMP TOWN, within one door of the MANSION of the, DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, fronting the Sea, and commanding an unlimited view thereof, but agreeably retired therefrom by a lawn and private carriage drive leading to the beautiful and unrivalled enclosure and ‘promenades OF THAT DISTINGUISHED TOWN, the, pleasure grounds which are. accessible only to the residents by which it is surrounded. The house is of handsome elevation possessing a handsome suite of drawing and dining rooms , library, eight airy and lofty bed chambers, (damaged text)

The House and furniture may be had by appraisement.

2 Mr Haslewood remembers Horatio Nelson

In the early days of Kemp Town, a notable resident was old Mr.Haselwood. He resided near the Duke of Devonshire. It was with Mr. Haselwood that Lord and Lady Nelson dined after Nelson’s return from Copenhagen in 1801, on which occasion Nelson cautioned his wife, telling her to be careful what she said. Immediately after this event, Nelson left her and never lived with her again.

Battle of Copenhagen, 2nd April 1801, British fleet used toforce Denmark into an Alliance against the French.

3. History of No 13 and No 14 Chichester Terrace

The two houses, 13 and 14 Chichester Terrace, were ready for habitation and first let between 1828 and 1835, No. 14 being completed first followed by No. 13 seven years later; excavation and foundation work for the whole terrace had begun in May 1823. The facades were designed by Thomas Cubitt as part of a grand design by Thomas Read Kemp whose dream it was to create Kemp Town, a giant new estate outside Brighton. Today it includes Sussex Square, Lewes Crescent, Arundel Terrace and Chichester Terrace with the Kemp Town Enclosures (or Gardens) in the middle, although the original plans were much more extensive. The facades were designed by Thomas Cubitt as part of a grand design by Thomas Read Kemp whose dream it was to create Kemp Town, a giant new estate outside Brighton. The houses were built by many different builders to this specified exterior design. However the interiors were often built to the specifications of the new owner. That is one reason why the houses on the estate have different interiors and may vary in overall size.

Both our houses and No. 1 Lewes Crescent (adjacent to No. 14 Chichester Terrace) have a particularly colourful history. In fact, there is no question that between them they have the most distinguished history of any in Kemp Town, their list of visitors and tenants including five Kings, four Queens, and nobility and aristocracy of the Duke and Duchess of Fife (as daughter of Edward VII she later became the Princess Royal), took No. 14 and No. 1 Lewes Crescent, connecting them internally. (No. 1 Lewes Crescent is still known as Fife House.) In 1921, after the Duke’s death, the Princess Royal separated the two houses again, the section with day. In 1835 the first tenant of No. 14 was the sixth Duke of Devonshire. In 1896 the rounded façade – originally part of No. 1 Lewes Crescent - now becoming part of No. 14 Chichester Terrace. That is how the houses are demarcated today.

The builder of No. 13 Chichester Terrace was a man called William Hallet who in 1855 became the second Mayor of Brighton. He built the house for Major-General Sir Frederick Ashworth who had commanded a division of Wellington’s army when it crossed the Pyrenees, and who became the first official Chairman of the Kemp Town Committee. Four Prime Ministers stayed in Kemp Town in the first half of the 19th century, including Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel and William Gladstone. The Earl of Aberdeen stayed at No. 12 or 13 Chichester Terrace for two months in the winter of 1836-37, and later as the guest of Major-General Ashworth in 1845-46 when he was Foreign Secretary.

In 1924 “Lady Cadogan and Another” purchased No. 14 in its reconverted state for £4,000 exactly. On the death of the subsequent owner, Admiral R.R. Neeld, it was sold by auction to William Fergusson at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton on 31 October 1939. The sale price of £2,000 is not surprising given that the Second World War had just broken out. The house at that period was described as comprising: 11 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 5 reception rooms, dressing room, servants hall, housekeeper’s room, spacious domestic offices, all main services and a hand operated passenger lift serving the ground, first and second floors! William Fergusson also purchased No. 13 Chichester Terrace.

During the Second World War years, the houses were not occupied in the normal way but used by troops (Canadians in particular) as billets. When I first moved in to my flat, I found Canadian cigarette packets in the loft! Records suggest that conversion of both houses into the existing 13 self-contained flats was carried out between 1938 and 1963. On 22 March 1939 permission was given by the County Borough of Brighton to convert No. 13 into six flats; on 16 April 1940 interim permission to convert No. 14 into seven flats was granted.

In December 1963 William Fergusson sold both houses for £19,525 to Rowestone Investments Ltd, who drew up our own original leases. The first flat sold on a 999-year lease was Flat 8 on 28 February 1968 when it was bought by Olive Anne Twine for £6,500.

Rene Dee

Memoir Rene Dee

​4 Memoirs Rene Dee

The first thing to say is that my records show that the facades of both what are now 13 & 14 Chichester Terrace were built by Thomas Cubitt. The interiors of each house were not, as they were designed and built by a variety of builders to the individual specifications of their owners. I do have a chronology of these which make for interesting reading, if you don’t already have these. I know I supplied information concerning these a very long time ago so you may already have this. However, of note is that the builder of 13 Chichester Terrace was William Hallet who in 1855 became the second Mayor of Brighton. He built No. 13 for Major-General Sir Frederick Ashworth, the first official Chairman of the Kemp Town Committee. He had commanded a division of Wellington’s army when it crossed the Pyrenees. Four nineteenth-century Prime Ministers stayed in Kemp Town during the first half of the century, and the first was the Earl of Aberdeen who stayed in No.12 or No. 13 Chichester Terrace for two months in the winter of 1836-37 and later at No.13 in the winter of 1845-6 when he was Foreign Secretary as a guest of Major-General Sir Frederick Ashworth.

Concerning my own recollections of the Kemp Town Estate and its Gardens when I first arrived here in January 1973 with my late wife, Eileen, first as tenants and subsequently as owners of Flat 11, 13 Chichester Terrace, I list a few of the more noteworthy ones below and some background information on myself.

1. I had lived in Brighton as boy from the age of 3-6 following my birth in Basle, Switzerland in 1946, so my first school was on the corner of Grantham Road and Ditchling Road (no longer there) where I remember my mother sending me there on my first day in lederhosen and a Swiss jacket! Post-war British children were unforgiving!

2. Next, I was a frequent visitor to Brighton during 1964 when I was stationed as a soldier in The Intelligence Corps in its HQ Camp in Maresfield (no longer there). I remember dances at the sumptuous Ballroom with its amazing sprung floor that was where Boots of North Street now are. I also remember one of the first of Richard Branston’s Virgin record shops which had booths with earphones to listen to the latest hits! That was also on the corner of North Street. I left the Army in 1966 and a year later travelled overland to Nepal and back on a 3-month expedition with 12 others in a Long Wheelbase Land-Rover. We travelled through the then Yugoslavia, crossed the Bosphorus by Ferry (no bridge then), drove all the way up the Black Sea Coast to Mt. Ararat in Turkey which we climbed to the snow line, then right across northern Iran via Meshed, Tehran and then west to east through Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass, North West Frontier into Pakistan, Kashmir and India and to Kathmandu. We returned via southern Pakistan and into southern Iran through its Great Salt Desert to Isfahan and back through Central Anatolia in mid-winter.

3. In March 1969 I came back to work for an adventure overland travel company called Safari as a driver/leader taking groups of young people across France and Spain and into Morocco. This company was based in Eastern Road, Brighton and led the way for a new surge of similar adventure travel companies operating all over the world. It also led to the formation of my own adventure travel company, René Dee Expeditions, based in the Old Old Steine, following a smaller partnership called Maghreb that was promoted by Trail Finders at their very first office at 48 Earl’s Court Road (I was there at their launch) where I shared a desk with a fellow iconic travel company called Sundeckers which operated overland trips to Nepal and back using London Double-Decker buses!

4. It was not until January 1973 that my late wife and I decided to move down to Brighton and make this our permanent home and moved into where I still live 48 years later.

5, My recollections on arrival to live at 13 Chichester Terrace at that time were of apprehension, as the residents of Kemptown and its Estate were still a mix of crusty “Old Colonels”, and “Luvvies” from theatre and the entertainment business. We were the opposite as long-haired Dylan-loving overland adventure travellers with a freewheeling approach to life that didn’t always match the expectations of our fellow residents in and around the square! However, I very soon became a commuter to Chatham, Kent, having found work as co-director of the Daily Mail Ski Show and the BBC Radio Show, both held at Earl’s Court. One of the highlights of this period was when Diana, Princess of Wales, attended the opening of the 1986 Show, following my formal invitation for her to do so. I carried on commuting to London following a change of jobs in 1991 when I became Marketing Manager, and later MD, of the Royal Horticultural Society’s trading subsidiary responsible for the commercial activity of it’s two London Halls operating as a prime multi-purpose venue, as well as the location for its own London flower shows. I stayed there 20 years and during this time researched, compiled and published a definitive book of the history of the RHS Halls and the events that had been held in them since the opening of its first Hall and offices in 1904. This is called, Sweet Peas, Suffragettes & Showmen: Events that Changed the World in the RHS Halls

6. I retired at the same time in 2011 and became a trustee of the Friends of the Intelligence Corps and much later an active trustee for a project to relocate the Museum of Military Intelligence to a new venue.

7. I also acted as Secretary to David Morris in his capacity as Chairman of Kemp Town Enclosures Ltd. for a year. One of my primary reasons for doing so had been the unpleasant experiences I had had some years before when our son was a small boy who enjoyed playing in the gardens with 3 of his friends (who also lived on the Estate) but were often pursued aggressively and relentlessly for playing ball games and climbing trees! There were two people on the Committee at that time who were overly officious, especially to my son and his friends. Regrettably, they saw the Gardens as somewhere that should be protected from small children for the benefit of grown ups only, and enforced this until I made representations against their unnecessary stance and enforcement of “the Rules”.

8. I see the Gardens in a new light and admire greatly the work of the Gardeners who look after them so magnificently. They are a joy to be in at any time of the year, and a precious benefit to all leaseholders and owners of the flats and houses on the Kemp Town Estate. I am also thrilled at the decision made by those living in Chichester Terrace to create the garden strip in front of the terrace with the mixed plantings that are there. Once again, the gardeners do a fantastic job of ensuring that they are tended to create the most exotic display in the summer, by contrast with the bland strip of plain grass in front of Arundel Terrace!

9. Finally, I was the founding director of the Property Management Company, Mistralcrest Properties Limited (MPL) that was bought especially so we could purchase the Freehold of 13 & 14 Chichester Terrace from the Liquidator of Rowstone Investments Ltd. on 15th April 1983. They had mismanaged the properties and had gone into liquidation in November 1977. MPL continues to manage both properties.

I hope this is of interest!!!

There is no shared documentary evidence the the facades of these houses were built by Thomas Cubitt. However Rene has some original documents which may prove the case. Editor

Remarkable Visitors

Lord Aberdeen

Lord Aberdeen stayed here when Foreign Secretary. 1845-6