Palmeira Court

One of the finest flats in Hove spanning three houses in Palmeira Square is opening for the annual Artists Open Houses event in May.

Palmeira Square was built on the Wick Estate, an ancient landholding whose boundaries included the coast road, the Brighton/Hove border, Dyke Road and the Stanford Estate. Its first documented mention was in 1267 at which point it was mortgaged to ‘Samuel, son of Isaac the Jew of Norwich’. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (the first Jewish baronet) bought the estate in 1830 after a portion had been sold off to form Brunswick Town.

Palmeira Square was developed in an Italianate style from 1852-65. It is interesting that the Wick Estate still owned 26 of the houses in 1945, bearing in mind that it was essentially a development company. Today, 20 of the 72 houses on Palmeira Square and adjoining Adelaide Crescent are owned by Associated Property, a Merseyside-based company, seemingly purchased from the shrinking Wick Estate during the 1950s. Blocks in their impressive portfolio include Palmeira Court, Adelaide Court, Churston Court and White Court. They are all maintained impeccably well and new tenants are found by recommendation.

Palmeira Court consists of three distinct blocks of large flats in Palmeira Square, each of which is formed from several houses. ‘Block A’ Palmeira Court spans five entire houses – 30-34 Palmeira Square. Hove Council granted the Wick Estate planning permission for the conversion in 1904 and the work was carried out the following year. Essentially, a lift (overlooked by the family crests of Lord Byron) was added to the central house and the staircases of the four others were removed. Ten lateral flats were created. A connected service block was built behind, principally accessed from St John’s Road. Many servants were still required, but far fewer per residence than if the buildings remained as houses.

The home of photographer Ted Davis and Richard Hawkes is surely the best of the bunch. It is at first floor level (which means sea views, high ceilings, balconies and accessibility sans lift). Incredibly, it spans three of the original houses. There is no other flat in Brighton & Hove like it.

Ted and Richard will be opening throughout May as Studio323 Photography for Artists Open Houses. We all obviously visit exhibiting artists for their enticing artwork, and not their exquisite addresses. This needn’t be the exception as Ted’s photographs are out of this world too.

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