Ireland’s Royal Brighton Gardens


There is a close-up of part of this image at BPC00183. There is another version of this image at BPC00141.

Copper-plate aquatint engraving by George Hunt after H Jones, published in C & R Sickelmore’s Select Views of Brighton, c1827.

The artist is viewing the scene, with a cricket match in progress, from just up the Ditching Road, near the present site of Warleigh and Vere Roads. The road in the immediate foreground is where Upper Lewes Road now runs, the Lewes Road itself runs along the far side of the cricket ground, and the wide muddy trackway leading up the hill, far right, is now Elm Grove.

Ireland’s Pleasure Gardens are in the distance and we can just make out the Aviary’, the ‘Bird Room’ and the ‘Gothic Tower’  at the far end of the gardens. When the pleasure gardens of the Promenade Grove were purchased by the Prince of Wales in 1802, to be added to his Pavilion estate, Brighton was lacking in this kind of rural diversion for the nobility until James Ireland, a local woollen-draper and undertaker, opened these pleasure gardens in 1823. The cost of a subscription to the gardens for a lady and gentleman for one year was one guinea. In addition to the gardens, Ireland also established a new cricket ground, to replace the pitch on The Level which the Prince Regent stopped using when he became King. Ireland’s business was never a great success and it lasted a little over twenty years, which is strange given the success of the Promenade Grove which it replaced, albeit some twenty years later.

Illustrated in Old Brighton: A Collection of Prints, Paintings and Drawings  by Eileen Hollingdale. George Nobbs Publishing, 1979, p 114.

Also illustrated in J.G. Bishop’s A Peep into the Past: Brighton in the Olden Time, published by Bishop 1880, opposite p 94, and in the 1892 edition opposite p 102.

Images of Brighton 953 and illustrated on page 88.

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