12 September, 2006


What more can I say about Brighton? I visited some places this time that I hadn’t visited before, mostly on the west side of Dyke Road, my attentions are usually confined to the east. I saw St Michael and All Angels Church, which is really two churches, the new nave and aisle having been added as an extension to the former nave and two aisles. I did rather better for Kings England Books here as a bookshop had a stock of them at reasonable prices. It just goes to show that you don’t need to go to a book town.

I was down at Mike and Ken’s for the duration of my stay and we entered the pub quiz at the Star Bar, acquitting ourselves very well I thought, although I made a blunder on the flavour of fennel leaves. I didn’t walk on the pier this time but walked down to Hove Lagoon, where the film stars have their retreats right on the beach.

My first day was spent visiting Preston Manor and church, the Manor being a museum of life in Edwardian days for both the couple who lived in the house and their 15 servants. The fifteen did include three gardeners but even so I’m not sue what they would have done all day, even if clothes were more difficult to launder, fires required laying and lighting and rooms required scrubbing rather than hovering. They can’t have scrubbed them every day. The reason it was given to the Council appears to be that the money for its upkeep ran out. The house and its curators were pleasant and informative but did not mention the ghosts that are supposed to haunt the place, besides a reference to an extraordinary séance in the guide book. This had taken place in 1896 after mysterious apparitions and inexplicable phenomena had troubled the family. There is a collection of 18th century furniture and a large pride of Buddhist lions in the cabinet in the dining room.

The redundant church of St Peter at Preston was locked when I called, so I had to borrow the key from one of the pubs in the village. Inside there were stained glass windows showing the cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity (also translated as love). There are wall paintings, including one showing the murder of Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered at the altar by drunken knights who considered that they were doing the King’s bidding. These paintings were saved from a fire one hundred years ago.
Brighton’s new public library, the Jubilee Library, is housed in a futuristic building, giving much convenience to its readers. The photos show this and the weather vane on the old church of Brighton, St Nicholas.
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