Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Belvedere

"Belvedere" on the west side of Montpelier Road (no.66) was a lavish Jacobean style mansion erected in 1840 for the unmarried sister, Mary Ann, of the Rev. Henry Mitchell Wagner, the famous Vicar of Brighton. It was well set back from the road and surrounded by lush mature trees and shrubbery that brought a hint of the country into the heart of Brighton. After the death of Henry's wife, Mary raised his son Arthur Douglas Wagner . Arthur eventually inherited Mary's considerable wealth and carried on his father's work of church building in the poorer areas of Brighton. Arthur became Vicar of St. Paul's in West Street and continued living in Belvedere until his death in 1902.

After Arthur's death it became the "66" hotel, then the Park Royal Hotel until demolition in 1965. A private block of flats, now Council-owned, was erected on the site.

Only the wall and gate-posts (both listed) now remain.

5 comments:

  1. Arggghhhhh....what a waste: what a travesty. I suppose at the time (1965) it seemed a good idea. Municipal authorities ruined more of our town than the Nazis ever did

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  2. Where on earth did you find this photo? its the only one Ive ever seen of the old Park Royal. My parents knew people here, and as a small boy I spent much time here, roaming around unsupervised on long afternoons. I vividly remember the spooky, disused underground balroom, complete with bandstand, bar and snooker tables, all just left, untouched. Also the massive (to me)grandfather clock in the lobby, measuring its slow seconds in the hush. Also the massive jacobean staircase, all heavy ballustrades, and the huge, scary ebony statues which stood on the landing in front of the big mullioned window visible in the picture. The place always seemed to be virtually deserted of guests and staff, and was a creepy, gothic paradise to explore. The hotel closed in the late 60s, so we could no longer go there, and became a sort of nightclub for a few years. It actually wasnt demolished until about 1971. I remember cycling past when I was about 11 (I was born in 1960), and seeing the remains of the great staircase burning in the half- demolished shell. It was a winter day, and I felt like crying, as I knew a part of my childhood had gone. I loved that place. Thank you so much for posting this, and I'd love somehow to be able to find some other pictures. any ideas? Mark Thompson

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  3. Thanks Mark for those memories, most interesting, and thanks for correcting the demolition date. It is horrid to recall the destruction that went on in the 60s/70s. Not just in Brighton of course.

    Photos seem very rare. This one was from an old Brighton Guide book, hence the poor quality. I will keep looking.

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  4. Thanks for that. V true about the god- awful destruction that went on, but Brighton has been particularly badly served by its councils re architectural thuggishness- so many excellent buildings I can remember from childhood have gone, and it wouldnt be so bad if it wasnt for the fact that with very few exceptions, the replacements arent worth more than a pig could spit. So many backhanders, so many fat, happy councillors, so much dross. Thank god for the spirit of Brighton which makes it all a bit more bearable! Mark.

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  5. Since writing this post two other views have come to light. See:-
    http://brightonbits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-sixty-six-hotel.html
    http://brightonbits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-sixty-six-hotel-2.html

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