Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch

ALTHOUGH DELAYED BY the Covid crisis, Brighton and Hove City Council are planning to conduct a review of the Local List of Heritage Assets – a list of local buildings, monuments, and other sites such as parks which may not be of sufficient national importance to warrant their inclusion in the Statutory List which is maintained by Historic England (formerly English Heritage), but may nevertheless be valued for their contribution to the character of the local area or for their local historical associations. 

The last review in 2015 resulted in five buildings or structures within the West Hill Conservation Area being included in this Local List. The five comprise (rather remarkably) three pubs, one chapel and one set of petrol pumps! The pubs are the Royal Standard, the Queen’s Head and the Grand Central (more of which in a later article) and the chapel is the Providence chapel in West Hill Road (pictured below). The petrol pumps are outside 19A Bath Street and date from the early 1950s. These pumps, which are unfortunately lacking their original advertising “Shellmex” globes, are of historic interest as part of one of the first (if not the first) petrol stations in Brighton. 

The host building is a 19th century residential property which was greatly altered in the 20th century to allow the ground floor to be used as a petrol station and garage. The chapel in West Hill road was built in 1894-6 by architect Charles Hewitt as the Nathaniel Episcopal Reformed Church. Acquired by a Strict Baptist congregation in 1965, it was renamed Providence Chapel before being re-opened in 2013 as the West Hill Baptist Chapel. 

Its architectural style and red brick are a pleasing contrast with the (mostly) white painted rendered facades of the surrounding streets, whilst its sympathetic scale and unpretentious design all contribute to its being a valuable local heritage asset. 

If any readers of the Whistler wish to suggest additions to the local list, please send them to the editor. Do bear in mind that a number of buildings and structures in the West Hill area are already nationally listed, the most notable being Brighton Station which is Grade II.  

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