Adelaide Mansions

To the west is the Stanford Estate of First to Fourth Avenues; to the east, Adelaide Crecent; and to the south, the calming Hove Lawns. Adelaide Mansions is a symmetrical block of just four grand houses on Hove’s historic seafront.

The neighbouring Grade II* Listed Adelaide Crescent was built by London architect Decimus Burton from 1830-50 for Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid. The Grade II Listed Mansions, similar at a glance to the Crescent, followed in 1873 to the designs of prolific local architect, Thomas Lainson. Lainson was also responsible for the Middle Street Synagogue, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Norfolk Terrace and New Church Road.

Adelaide Mansions and Crescent are both terraces of tall, gleaming white townhouses, but on closer inspection, the Mansions are far more ornately adorned with every detail imaginable. There are a number of different mouldings above the large windows and an intricate iron balcony with stunning sea-views runs across the width of the second floor. Each of the four Mansions has five generously-proportioned storeys and a basement. A balustrade parapet hides the pitched roof.

Numbers 1 & 2 Adelaide Mansions were combined many years ago into a single building and converted into luxury apartments. The staircase has been removed from No. 2 and the void absorbed, as new rooms, into the surrounding flats. This transformation has led to some exciting layouts with winding passages, staggered floors and hidden annexes. In places, it is very hard to work out what is original and what is new due to the sympathy of the conversion. Numbers 3 & 4 have also been combined to form a single building but were originally converted into the Lawns Hotel, not flats, in 1918. In the Hove Official Guide 1937-8, the hotel was ‘noted for its quiet comfort and excellent cuisine’. The hotel had around 25 permanent residents by the 1970s. The bar was refurbished in 1990 to become the Zipadeedodah Bar and, that same year, the First Avenue Restaurant opened on the premises. The venture was not a success. By 2001, Numbers 3 & 4 had been completely converted into flats which meant that the entire Adelaide Mansions block had become private apartments.

It’s a great shame that the block’s namesake, William IV’s wife, Queen Adelaide, died 24 years before it was built. I’m sure that she would have agreed that this fine development is worthy of the use of her great name.