7 Wilbury Crescent

A huge north-facing window in the attic space of 7 Wilbury Crescent, a somewhat intriguing house near Hove Station, is an instant giveaway of its life as the home of an artist. It was in fact the home of several artists.

In its current dilapidated state, the semi-detached property is straight from the pages of an Enid Blyton book. Its overgrown front garden draws the eye and a number of interesting external features invite further curiosity.

First, it is somewhat odd that the house is a semi. Semi-detached properties are generally built as matching pairs. In this instance, each of the two houses is distinct.

No. 7 was designed by Denman & Son for Charles and Averil Burleigh and was granted planning permission in 1903. Denman & Son was responsible for many fine local buildings including the Sussex Masonic Centre on Queen’s Road and the Freemason’s Tavern on Western Road. The house was built in 1907 and is thought to have been the first on the street.

There are two principal floors along with a huge attic studio space above and a sprawling cellar complex beneath. Little has been done to the house over the years though a large conservatory-like studio was added to the rear of the building during the 1920s. Bakelite door handles, ancient wallpaper (attached using Sellotape in places), a kitchen so old that it would now be thought ‘retro’ and all sorts of other fascinating details add up to the refurbishment project of a lifetime.

Just as there are paintings strewn all around the house, there are paintings dotted around the garden also, presumably unwanted. The garden is an absolute delight actually. A stone path weaves past huge trees, shells and statues right up to the end of the garden. From the back, it is difficult to see the house but an unusual view does exist in the opposite direction. There is a good view of the bridge to the west but an even better view to the east of the point where the line from Hove divides into the lines to both London and Brighton. Well, I found it interesting anyway.

7 Wilbury Crescent is currently for sale through Elliotts and potential purchasers are invited to submit offers as sealed bids by the end of May. Budding artists, or indeed anybody whose creativity stretches beyond magnolia and laminate flooring, should be put in the picture.