Archive for June 2015

Brighton Sewer Tour

Clients of various BHT projects visited the captivating hidden depths of Brighton’s Victorian sewer network, which dates back to the mid-19th century and spans 44 miles.

Brighton Sewer TourEntering the system via Pier Arch 260, the group watched a short video about the sewer system before putting on hard hats, head torches and gloves and entering through a heavy, water-tight door into a safety passage. At the end of this tunnel we were able to look down to the East to West intercepting sewer; an egg-shaped chute designed to control water flow and break down solid matter.

Sand from the beach was used to cement together the red bricks which form the perfectly circular tunnels. Sewage was initially discharged into the sea, however after a campaign to build an intercepting sewer, waste water was taken out of town.

During the tour we descended down to the Overflow tunnel, which leads to an outfall on the Albion Groyne. In the 1990’s Europe’s largest storm water storage tank was constructed under Brighton beach. It is 3 miles long and a diameter large enough to drive a double-decker bus along the inside of the tank. The storm tunnel comes into use during extreme and prolonged weather, after which it is pumped back into the main sewer system.

Brighton Sewer TourNowadays, all of the city’s sewage passes through the Peacehaven treatment facility which is hidden in a valley, out of sight.

At the end of the tour we switched on our head torches and walked single-file along a fascinating 200-yard stretch of the Overflow tunnel. At our feet, a small trickle of clean water ran along the length of the tunnel. We returned to ground level (and fresh air!) via a short vertical ladder which took us up through a man-hole cover in the Old Steine.


Brighton Fringe History Trails

During May 2015 BHT Heritage delivered two guided history trails for members of the public as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.

History TrailThe 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.

History TrailAttended 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.