54 Waterloo Street

Waterloo Street was named after the Battle of Waterloo that still would have been fresh in people’s minds when the road was laid out prior to 1825 as part of Brunswick Town.

No. 54 was once the home of the Robins family including Mike Robins, Brighton & Hove’s much-loved tour guide and former Custodian of St. Andrew’s Church. On one of his tours, Mike once pointed out to me the tombstone in St. Nicholas Churchyard of Ebenezer Robins who founded his successful brewing business in about 1820. The house is today the home of Paris and Meg Stone.

The five storey Regency building was commissioned in 1832 by Ebenezer as a wedding present for his son, also called Ebenezer. It was completed in 1833, in time for the wedding. The Robins offices and shop were in fact several doors down and the brewery was behind between Waterloo Street and Western Street (with entrances off each). When Paris and Meg bought the building in 2003, it was an absolute wreck as photos of the renovation project on the walls of the house now clearly attest. Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme was so impressed with the Stones’ home that it picked it as 13th best in the country.

The Stones always knew that the project would be large; it was bought as a wreck after all. Major work along the way included, well, pretty much everything possible. On top, is a roof terrace accessed via a delightful spiral staircase. The terrace provides a unique view of Embassy Court from behind; one that shows the parallel lines of the open walkways at the rear; something that is particularly striking at night when illuminated. Inside, the Stones’ furniture has been carefully chosen to respect the Regency pedigree of it surroundings. A fine Art Deco drinks cabinet is the exception to the rule though.

Meg has been advising Brighton & Hove City Council on its renovation of the Birdcage Bandstand but, more importantly, would like to run the café below herself when the works are complete. There certainly won’t be many people in the running with the same level of knowledge that Meg has of the Birdcage’s history and, indeed, with the same amount of love that Meg has for the City. Having sampled the culinary delights of Meg and Paris’ kitchen, I know that she is better qualified than anyone to get the job!