Angel House (No 1 Brunswick Terrace) is right on the Hove/Brighton boundary and was built in the 1820s. It was one of the first properties built by Regency architect Charles Busby as part of the stunning Brunswick estate development. It is understood that No’s 1 to 6 were built early on in the development and may well have been used as show homes for prospective purchasers of houses in Brunswick Square.
The Prince of Wales (later George IV) famously had his own summer residence here in the form of the Royal Pavilion, which in turn attracted the fashionable elite. Another part of Brighton’s attraction at this time was the seawater and taking “the cure” became the antidote to Regency extravagancy. Drinking 2 pints a day after a morning dip was seriously promoted as a means of keeping many disorders at bay. The prestigious Brunswick development capitalised on these interests and quickly became the Belgravia of the South Coast and the place to see and be seen in. The smooth running of a Regency household would require as many as 8 or 9 servants and these substantial townhouses have extensive lower basement areas and rear wings to accommodate the needs of the residents.
Over the years the Brunswick Terrace and Brunswick Square have gone through many changes and in the 1930s and 40s were under threat of being demolished. Thankfully this didn’t happen and in 1964 the area was recognised as the jewel in Brighton and Hove’s crown and became Grade 1 Listed. So once again Busby’s Regency development has become highly fashionable and sought after, thus ensuring its future for the enjoyment and inspiration of the next generation.
Angel House itself has had a varied history. As well as being a family house for many years it was a dentist surgery in the 50s and 60s and in 1964 was converted into 9 bedsits. In the mid 70s it was converted back to a whole house again and occupied by a well known local actress who used to let rooms to artists and writers. The 1980s anecdotal book “Breakfast in Brighton” was written in Angel House and if the stories are true many a 60s rock star has crossed the threshold including John Lennon and numerous others.
Ownership changed in the mid 90s and the house was rented out and became quite run down. When we took the property on in early 2005 there was a lot of work to do in the basement and the rear east wing and this was tackled straight away. The rest of the house from the ground floor was lived in by 5 of us all of whom had an interest in the arts and personal development. We had a fantastic 5 years together living in a community minded way, running and facilitating many wonderful creative events and workshops.
After this time it became clear that the main house needed major structural attention and the decision was made to close the house and to begin the painstaking process of complete restoration.
The original planned time scale for the works was 18 months and of course we all know how that story goes. Three years later richer in wisdom and poorer in pocket we have completion! Like any love affair it has been up and down and sometimes I have wanted to run away screaming from the intricate challenges that such a project throws up but we have been blessed with the support of some very skilled people along the way who have stuck with the project and the vision. The house uncannily always seems to draw good things to it and time and again we have had good fortune that seems to have gone beyond simple luck.
So here we are now and a new chapter starts. Already we have had many wonderful events here including Hendricks Gin running their very intriguing “Carnival of Knowledge” during last years Brighton Festival and more recently having Paul Weller here modelling for DAKS clothing and performing a couple of his classic songs. Given its fairy tale position and romantic interiors many people have approached us over the last year to have their wedding or civil partnership here. We are delighted to now be in a position to open our doors to couples and to offer Angel House as the most exclusive and utterly charming venue we believe you will find on the South Coast. This house was built for celebration and is a special place; we hope you will come and visit us soon to experience this for yourself.
Phill Haiselden May 2014