26 Brunswick Terrace

New Church Road, Holland Road, Lansdowne Road and Palmeira Avenue in Hove are each home to a synagogue, as is Middle Street in Brighton. How many people though are aware of the synagogue on Brunswick Terrace in Hove?

The portion of Brunswick Terrace to the west of Brunswick Square consists principally of townhouses of five storeys including the basements and roof rooms. But on close inspection, the central house, No. 26, has an extra floor above, seen from the street as a small room topped with a miniscule dome. That room was added to the building as the private synagogue of Philip Salomons who lived in the grand house below with his family.

Salomons was a Jewish financier and, indeed, one of the founders of the London & Westminster Bank (now NatWest). He served locally as both High Sheriff of Sussex and Deputy Lieutenant of the County, and, like his father, he held the position of Warden of London’s New Synagogue.

The roof-top synagogue is essentially a pedimented box with windows looking out over the lawns and sea below. The architect is not known. It was once home to Salomons’ famous collection of Judaica but now contains just a single bench seat along one side. Its Tablets of the Ten Commandments are now preserved in the collection of the Salomons Museum in Tunbridge Wells. The room is topped with an octagonal cupola sitting on an octagonal drum. The tradition of building synagogues with octagonal domes may be attributed to the belief that that the dome of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was octagonal.

26 Brunswick Terrace really does deserve a column in its own right as it may well be the largest house in Brighton & Hove (not including the Royal Pavilion of course). It is true that it is now divided into flats but, as a single residence, its gross internal floor area must be somewhere in the region of 15,000 sq ft. A typical Brunswick Terrace house is huge but No. 26 is over three times the size of its neighbours and stretches right back to Brunswick Street West behind.

The Salomons family occupied the whole building from the early 1850s but a fire in 1852 led to a move to 18 Brunswick Terrace whilst repairs were carried out. Things are hopefully more peaceful at No. 26 today – the building is now home to the Noise Abatement Society!