Starting from the sea front in Brighton, a pleasant walk can be made through to Hove, passing some rather magnificent architecture and three good statues. Art on the streets in the centre of Brighton is described on a separate page.
We start from the sea-front by the collapsed West Pier, constructed by the great Victorian pier designer Eugenius Birch, 1863-66. Facing the pier is Regency Square, almost completely unaltered, though a carpark lies underneath. And here is the first statue - the Boer War Memorial, bearing a chivalrous bronze soldier with trumpet.
Walking along the Esplanade Walking in a westerly direction (keeping the sea on your left), a variety of lamps, shelters and a bandstand are examples of the excellent ironwork to be found in Brighton - the lamps especially are in a variety of spiky, doubled and other designs. Some of the ironwork dates from from 1866; most is much later.
Just after the ornate bandstand is the Edward 7th Memorial, with a most superior bronze angel with wreath - it silhouettes well against the evening sky. The edifice is signed by M. A. Trent, of London.
Next, the enormous Brunswick Terraces and Brunswick Square, ranges of Corinthian-pillared buildings in butter colour, and in the Square, ammonite-topped ones. Amon Henry Wilds was one of the two architects responsible. The next square is Adelaide Square, perhaps the most elegant of them all, with white curved terraces. The architect was Decimus Burton.
Then comes Grand Avenue, wide as a square, but alas rather less than grand due to the insensitive modern flats. However, here is the most important monument in our walk, both in subject and skill of execution - the Queen Victoria Memorial by Thomas Brock. The main bronze figure is a rather old, grim Victoria, facing the sea. She holds a sceptre, and a globe with standing on top a small winged Britannia/Victory. Friezes on the granite base, also in bronze, are worth some study.
The front-facing highly-detailed frieze shows Empire - a young seated Victoria with globe and British soldier and Australian to left, and to right turbaned Indian and African. The other friezes are more sketchy and lacking in detail. Proceeding clockwise, to the left is Commerce, showing merchants bargaining in front of their ship. At the rear, Science and Art - an enthroned woman, rather symbolist and surely not Queen Victoria, is central. Science shows a boy with generator, or engine, seated on an anvil. Art is represented by an artist with palette, sculpture and tools - calipers and hammer. Behind, a man with penduli. Finally the right hand side shows Education, with a woman reading to an infant (very Brock face on latter), and a man and woman reading together, and teacher with blackboard in rear. The date of the work is 1897.
Further up Grand Avenue can be seen Lutyens' War Memorial with a very small knight on top. Grand Avenue and the Queen Victoria mark the start of Hove, and by walking up the Avenue and turning left, or carrying on a few more blocks along the shore and then turning right, the centre of Hove is reached. The main attraction there from the point of view of these pages is the Art Gallery, which is to the west of the centre, in New Church Road. Apart from that, many good Victorian buildings are along the streets, the characteristic feature being the use of pale yellow-white terra cotta and brick, often with simple flower patters, and sometimes spiral decorations on the pillars next to the doors of the grander residences.
Return to Brighton can be by frequent though sometimes not very direct buses, walking back along the shore, or along the continuation of the main road through Hove which gradually fades into Western Road, one of the main shopping streets in Brighton.
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Brighton Museum and Art Gallery // Hove Museum and Art Gallery // Walk in central Brighton // Background Information