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Queen’s Park, Brighton

Until the early nineteenth century the site of the park was a rural downland valley. In the 1820s the land was acquired for development as pleasure grounds. These were a failure, but a successful spa was built to the south and a villa designed by Charles Barry was constructed to the north. The imposing entrances of Barry’s garden, which occupied the site of the park, survive. Behind the site of the villa, there is still the remarkable tall Pepperpot building that housed the engine drawing water from the chalk aquifer. After a period of neglect the site became a public park in 1890. Its central feature was an artificial stream and lake. The latter remains and is a key visitor attraction.

In partnership with Dominic Cole Landscape Architects and working closely with the Friends of Queen's Park we prepared a conservation plan. This gave a concise account of the park’s many phases, its complex history and its visual links with the surrounding townscape. It includes proposals for the conservation of key features and a practical approach to planting and nature conservation in a natural sun trap. Self-contained projects were identified, each of which would contribute to the conservation and enhancement of the park.

Client - Brighton and Hove City Council

  1. The original idea of villas surrounding a subscription garden failed and the site became a public park
  2. The pond was built for model boating but is now successfully managed for wildlife
  3. The listed drinking fountain survives but the adjacent artificial watercourse has been filled-in
  4. The sheltered south-facing site allows plants like giant bugloss to seed themselves
  5. There is the opportunity to reinstate long views to the sea with the Edwardian clock tower as a focal point
  6. Charles Barry’s gateways dominate the main approaches to the park