Jaipur Gate

Although the Jaipur Gate sits imposingly at the front of Hove Museum & Art Gallery’s well-maintained grounds, it can hardly be described as a gate. It is in fact a replica of a form of bandstand that would have once stood in the courtyards of Indian temples and palaces.

The Colonial & Indian Exhibition in South Kensington was opened by Queen Victoria in 1886 and attracted 5.5 million visitors. The Jaipur Gate formed the entry to the Rajputana section of the exhibition and its construction was paid for by the Maharaja of Jaipur. It was transferred to the Imperial Institute after the closure of the exhibition and was donated to the Hove Museum in 1926. Interestingly, Hove Museum’s own 11ft high iron gates have a wealth of history of their own. They are originally from Bramford Hall near Ipswich and came to Hove in the 1950s.

Skilled Indian craftsmen carved and assembled the teak Jaipur Gate but it was actually designed by two Englishmen called Colonel Samuel Swinton Jacob and Surgeon-Major Thomas Holbein Hendley. The inscription on the front, in English, Sanskrit and Latin, is the motto of the Maharajas of Jaipur and reads, ‘Where virtue is, there is victory’. The Latin inscription on the back reads, ‘From the east comes light’. The Gate was removed from the grounds of Hove Museum between December 2004 and June 2006 and was extensively refurbished. Its copper dome was replaced, its legs were raised from the ground, decayed timber was replaced and a lead roof was introduced. It’s now looking better than ever.

There are several monuments in Brighton & Hove with an Indian connection. Most obviously, the Royal Pavilion draws on Indian architecture for inspiration but not many people know that it was used as a hospital by wounded Indian soldiers during the First World War. Its South Gate was a gift from India for this reason and was dedicated for the use of the inhabitants of Brighton by His Highness the Maharajah of Patiala in 1921. The stunning Chattri Memorial sits 500ft above sea-level to the north of Patcham, and marks the site of the ‘ghat’ where many Indian soldiers were cremated. It was also paid for by the India and was unveiled in 1921 by the Prince of Wales.

Hove Museum is well worth a visit in its own right but the Jaipur Gate adds that extra bit of spice!