Tamworth House

76 Marine Parade is a Grade II Listed bright-white stuccoed Regency townhouse on the glorious Kemp Town seafront. Marine Parade was extensively developed from 1790 and Tamworth House, to give No. 76 its restored name, is a particularly fine example of the period.

Tamworth House is thought to have been built in the 1820s by Charles Barry (later Sir Charles) who went on to build the Houses of Parliament in London and St Peter’s Church in Brighton. The Royal British Legion owned the building from the 1930s until 2004 when sympathetic developer, Doug Pearch, snapped it up following sealed bids. He quickly ripped out all of the non-original features and began the detailed restoration work that a building of this quality deserves. With high celings, Italian kitchens and views over three piers (Palace, West and Worthing) and the Marina, the overall effect is one of absolute luxury. The property appears to have four storeys but on closer inspection has six including rooms in the mansard roof and also a sub-basement below the main basement which leads to the building’s most talked-about feature – the tunnel.

A small hole was the clue which led to the discovery and excavation of a massive tunnel running all the way down to the beach. Once concrete, rubble and general junk were cleared it was clear that something special had been unearthed. The picture speaks for itself really. The lucky owners of the building’s six flats will have private access to the tunnel.

Another famous local tunnel of the same period is that which runs from the locked communal gardens in Lewes Crescent down to the lower promenade. Several other less famous tunnels exist off Sussex Square. Around that time, the Prince Regent built a tunnel running from the Pavilion to the Dome to keep out of site for various reasons. Not so well known is the tunnel running from St. Andrew’s Church in Hove to the pub opposite! Although of a much later period, the extensive Second World War military tunnel network below the hills of South Heighton by Newhaven are by far the most impressive in terms of depth, length and secrecy, but that’s another story.

Fox & Sons are selling the flats (or apartments as Doug calls them) from £250,000 to £700,000 which just goes to show that if you want a tunnel of your own, you must be prepared to dig deep.