During May 2015 BHT Heritage delivered two guided history trails for members of the public as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.
The trails, which were co-delivered by a BHT client, commenced at the War Memorial in the Old Steine and meandered through the town to Montpelier Place, sharing the fascinating heritage of First Base Day Centre along the way.
The trails also touched on the Wagner and Cheesman families, who heavily influenced the rapid growth and development of the town.
The Wagners were a wealthy and influential family, devoted to improving the situation for people experiencing poverty. They were the force behind the construction of many churches and houses that were built between the 1830’s and the late 1800’s, and were responsible for saving St Stephen’s Hall from demolition in 1850. The Cheesman family builders rose to a high status, having been commissioned by the Wagner family to design and construct many new churches in the town. The Cheesmans were chosen by the Wagners to re-erect St Stephen’s Church on Montpelier Place in 1851.
Attended by 40 members of the public, the sold-out trails also took in East Street, which was the eastern limit of the ancient four-street village, the Old Ship Hotel, which directly competed with the Castle Tavern’s ballroom, St Nicholas Churchyard and the Montpelier and Clifton Hill conservation area. The trail finished at First Base Day Centre, where attendees were invited to explore the interior of the building and to view how the building has evolved as a result of recent restorative design innovations.
Excellent, thank you – would love to see more of these kinds of tours around Brighton and Hove all year round
Very accessible, enjoyable and packed with tidbits of information to keep our heritage story alive
Photographs from the events are courtesy of a former BHT client.