Western Pavilion Drawing

When my good friend Mike Robins, the well-renowned local tour guide, told me excitedly about his discovery, I knew straight away from the tone of his voice that he was onto something special.

To give some background, Western Terrace is the delightful cul-de-sac off Western Road opposite Waitrose in Brighton. There are not many buildings on the short road but each is noteworthy.

The first is Gothic House which was built by Charles Augustin Busby and Amon Henry Wilds in, as its name suggests, the Georgian Gothic style. Wilds was responsible for the composition of five classical houses on the west side of the road which feature his trademark Ammonite capital – a pun on his first name. The great condition of these five houses may be attributed to local builder John Regan who turned them back into residential dwellings following a spell as Debenhams storerooms. I don’t know who built the coach house but I suspect that it was Wilds also.

Wilds was certainly responsible for the Grade II* Listed Western Pavilion. A plaque bearing the date 1831 bears testament to the fact that he both designed and lived in the unique structure. Wilds was a prolific local architect and his distinctive work included Montpelier, Hanover and Park Crescents. He later lived in Gothic House.

Mike Robins called me to say that he had found in his possession an original pen sketch of the Western Pavilion, dating from the mid-nineteenth century. It features the distinctive residence alongside Gothic House prior to the addition of the Art Deco extensions which flank the entrance to Western Terrace. The artist must have worked from close to the spot now home to the recycling bins on the pavement outside Waitrose.

The Western Pavilion has fascinated many over the years including John Small whom I worked with during his time as the Regency Society’s Honorary Secretary. During the course of his architectural training nearly sixty years ago, John was assigned the task of putting together plans and elevational drawings of an interesting building. No doubt John and the artist responsible for Mike Robins’ drawing both wish they had picked an easier building to draw!

Mike’s drawing is now in the possession of Nick Tyson who runs the Regency Town House in Brunswick Square. Nick hopes to display the drawing in due course whilst Mike still holds out hope for its confirmation as a long-lost Constable.