Steel plate engraving by W J Alais after the drawing by George Ruff. Published by W Grant, 5 Castle Square, circa 1851.
This rare engraving shows the view straight up Trafalgar Street, and the newly built bridge can be seen joining the station forecourt with the recently developed northern end of Queen’s Road. Immediately above this, on the horizon, can be seen Hudson’s Mill, situated on what became West Hill Road. One of the most interesting aspects of this print is the church on the right-hand horizon. This is All Saints, Compton Avenue. The church was built in 1852 and opened in 1853. There are no known Victorian engravings of this church, and the reason why we can put a circa date of 1851 on the print is because the tower, which is depicted in the print, was never built. So the artist, George Ruff, obviously knew of the plans and drew the church as it was intended, and before it became clear, probably towards the end of 1852, that the tower was to be abandoned. This is not without precedent in Brighton prints, see also a print of St Peter’s with the intended spire that was never built.
The middle distance of this scene, with the smoking chimneys, shows the industrial community of what was then the town’s northern suburbs, while the foreground illustrates the privileged world of green enclosures, strolling figures, smart carriages and tall bow-fronted homes. To the left of Trafalgar Street, the Gloucester Hotel is in Gloucester Place, and to the right, behind the church, is York Place. This side of the church is Richmond Place.
All images of the Gloucester Hotel
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