Waterloo Arch

The Battle of Waterloo of 1815 would still have been fresh in the minds of many when Waterloo Street in Brunswick Town was named. The public house at the bottom of the road – now the Iron Duke – opened as the Kerrison Arms Hotel after Sir Edward Kerrison, a famous Hove resident who served at the Battle as one of the Duke of Wellington’s officers. Another, James Smith, a greengrocer on Waterloo Street, was also a veteran. 

Brunswick Town was developed during the 1820s as a self-sufficient enclave of fine townhouses and service buildings such as stables, a church and a market. The market never really took off though and soon became a riding school. When Alfred Dupont took over the establishment in 1875, he decided to reinforce the connection with Waterloo Street by building a decorative arch.

The Classically-inspired Waterloo Arch was built in 1877. It was Grade II Listed in 1971 but by 1980, Hove Borough Council had plans for a major renovation. A ramshackle asbestos and steel building was attached to the structure on the south side of the passageway and the Council’s negotiations with its owners were proving troublesome. By 1985, however, both building and arch were owned by the Council but despite there then being a real need for action, funding was not available.

Following the presentation of a residents’ petition with 150 signatures, money was found to enable the project to take place. Hove Council, the Montpelier & Clifton Hill Association and English Heritage paid for the works. Christopher Dodd, a local architect, was employed for the job as was the structural engineering firm, Dixon Hurst & Partners. The unwanted lean-to was removed and the arch was refurbished. It was reopened in 1986 by the then Mayor of Hove, Ed Cruickshank-Robb. To this day, the materials and redesigned space have stood the test of time well. York stone and brick paving along with tasteful flowerbeds – today maintained by residents – gave the then most chaotic Waterloo Street a much-needed calming influence.

There are fine arches around Brighton & Hove at several locations including Queen’s Park, Down’s Cemetery and Nicholas Churchyard. The Waterloo Arch is a great one though because it is so central yet so tucked away. One of the best ways to learn more is to go on one of Mike Robins’ famous tours of the area. Call 01273 773052 or e-mail mikerobins@live.co.uk for details.