Building Regency houses

Each September between 1995 and 1999 we used to stage an event called 'Heritage Open Weekend' on the lawns of Brunswick Square. This brought together some of the best craftspeople in the area and provided a showcase for the crafts and skills that built the historic houses of Brighton & Hove, skills that should still be used today to conserve them.

At its height, Heritage Open Weekend was attracting between 12,000 and 15,000 visitors annually.

The event offered insights into many aspects of historic development, such as the professional side of the building industry, looking at the role of architects such as C A Busby and A H Wilds; the various stylistic influences that impacted on design during the Georgian and Victorian eras, such as those drawn from the Classical and the Gothic; the economic cycles that affected development, such as the speculative bubble of the early-1820s and the Great Stop of late-1825; and the many craft-related activities associated with the construction industry. We also covered topics such as the materials from which Brighton & Hove houses are built, including locally sourced materials such as brick, bungaroush and render, and imported products from outlying areas around the UK and further afield, such as roofing slate, paving stone and timber.

Presenting such a large event over a five year period produced reams of written materials about building practice and conservation, including exhibiton boards, descriptive leaflets and a comprehensive Event Guide.

We have now trawled through all of these, extracted the content and uploaded it to this Building Regency houses section; so whether you prefer large sea-front mansions, graceful middle class properties or small working class homes and factories, we hope you will find something here of interest.