90 Montpelier Road

Scooby-Doo would often get up to all sorts of antics whilst exploring some sort of curious dark house on a hill with his investigative colleagues.

I’ve often heard 90 Montpelier Road in Brighton referred to as ‘the Scooby-Doo house’ on account of its former haunted look. It is now gleaming though after the completion of an extensive refurbishment project which cost its owner, HR Developments, in excess of £300,000.

Timothy Carder described the corner villa in his Encyclopaedia of Brighton as being “notable on account of its cast-iron and stained-glass porch”, which is reached via a flight of gorgeous marble steps. The porch has its own ornate gates, which is quite a rarity, but sadly the front gates at the entrance of the pathway are missing as are several components of what looks a fascinating mechanical doorbell system.

Montpelier Road was developed from the 1820s and this particular building consists of two principal storeys along with a floor below and a floor above. This divides up into two flats in the basement, two on the ground floor, two on the first floor and one in the attic beneath a Welsh slate roof. The building was Grade II listed in 1971 and I understand that it has now been nominated for a prestigious Montpelier & Clifton Hill Association conservation award.

A large part of the works involved transforming a non-original, but very old nevertheless, rear extension into a self-contained one-bedroom house. A horrible industrial-style sliding gate has been replaced with an appropriately-detailed wall on the Montpelier Terrace side of the building. An opening has been left though as a dedicated entrance – which includes a ‘VR’ Royal Mail collection box in the gatepost – for the occupant of the rear mini-house.

As I stood outside before I met up with Dave Roberts, the ‘R’ in HR Developments, I heard all sorts of approving comments from passers-by (incidentally, Paul Hazeldine is the ‘H’). Some commented on the new plants and granite setts in the front garden. Others liked the refurbished double-glazed timber sash windows. Several said that it now shows up Montpellier Hall behind which is now looking very unloved, perhaps even derelict.

Now that 90 Montpelier Road no longer looks haunted, ‘the Scooby-Doo house’ no longer seems an appropriate name for this grand historic structure. ‘Grosvenor House’, as mentioned on the porch lantern and on the chrome door furniture, is much more fitting.