I write further to the recent interesting letter from BE of West Hill. I am engaged in a study of St Nicholas Road and have also noted the naming of nos 28-31 (not quite as BE said, being Bingham House at No 31 and Arnold House at No 29). But I am afraid that I have not yet found out why these houses are so called (and have the names prominently engraved on their facades).
As St Nicholas Road had numbered plots and houses from the start of its construction in 1867, there was no need to name any of the houses. Nos 28-31 are only referred to by name sporadically in street directories in the late 19th century and had no early occupants with any similar names. Former residents of St Nicholas House at No 28 had a theory that it was so called because clergy from St Nicholas Church lived there. But the magnificent Vicarage for St Nicholas was, of course, built in 1835 in Montpelier and still forms part of Brighton & Hove High School for Girls. The only clerical occupant of No 28 I have found was the Rev James Ade who did live there from 1872 to 1883 but it appears that Mr Ade was the Minister of, or connected with, Christ Church Tabernacle in New England Road, which appears to have been an independent church, so nothing to do with St Nicholas or the established church.
My personal hunch is the builder of these four houses decided to ‘upgrade’ them by giving them names. Given that the road was mostly occupied in its first 50 years by mainly modest, middle class folk (mostly renting), this may not have been a successful marketing ploy! But I would be interested to know of any other explanation. I hope to pursue research in the local archives next year and will report back on anything that comes up on this issue.
St Nicholas Road resident
Further to BE’s question about the named houses in St Nicholas Road, I live in Arnold House. I know that these four with names are the original houses on the road. St Nicholas is the oldest of the four and the largest. I understand that it has a closed-off tunnel connecting it to the church.