12 January 2016

Hove Plaques Index I - M

Listed below:- Iron Duke, Richard Jefferies, Victoria Lidiard, Squadron Leader Robin McNair, Tony Magdi, Alderman Barnett Marks, Prince Clement Metternich,
The Iron Duke
Judy Middleton (2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Iron Duke Pub
The wooden plaque is to be found, not on the front of the building, but around d the corner on the south wall. The wording is as follows:

‘Built in 1828 on behalf of Wigney & Co. Brewers of Ship Street, (it) is the oldest accommodation inn of its type in Hove, once standing in near isolation on an often wild and windswept underdeveloped coast track between Brighthelmstone and Old Shoreham.
The formation of modern Hove originated from a meeting held at this historic inn on November 1st 1829.’

Incidentally, Antony Dale puts the date of the first meeting as 31 October 1829.
copyright © J.Middleton
The Iron Duke was originally called the Kerrison Arms. 
The proprietors of Brunswick Town, later to become the Brunswick Square Commissioners, called the meeting to discuss how the area should be governed. The new development was in a unique position. Although it was built right next to the Brighton boundary, it could not be governed by rules appertaining to that town. On the other hand, although the development was within the parish of Hove, the old village was situated at some distance away, clustered around what is now called Hove Street but was then known as Hove Drove. It needed a special Act of Parliament for the Commissioners to be given the powers to govern what was in effect a new town. They oversaw such details as policing, night watchmen, scavengers (early rubbish collectors) street lighting, the employment of gardeners for the private garden enclosures etc. The men in charge continued to meet in the hotel until 1831 when they had their own committee room at last.

A restrictive covenant on the property was dated 3rd November 1825 and was between William Wigney and George Wigney, Brighton brewers, on the one part and Thomas Scutt, landowner on the other. Wigney & Co. continued to own the hotel until 1850 when another form of Brighton brewers, Vallance & Catt, took over. Mr Catt took sole ownership in 1892 but in 1899 Tamplin’s became the new proprietors.

In the early days the hotel was known as the Kerrison Arms. It was named after a celebrated local resident SirEdward Kerrison (1776-1853) who followed a military career and rose to the rank of Major General. He was one of the Duke of Wellington’s officers during the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo. By 1818 Kerrison and his wife Mary Martha lived at Wick House, Hove, where they stayed until 1825. In 1821 their son Edward Clarence was born in Wick House. But this happiness was overshadowed by the dreadful events of 1822 when the Kerrisons’ two daughters, Mary Adelaide aged five and Ann aged four, died in June within six days of each other. In 1825 the Kerrisons moved to 27 Brunswick Terrace. Kerrison’s second wife was the second daughter of the third Earl and Countess of Ilchester but they did not have any children. Kerrison served as MP for Eye in Suffolk from 1829 to 1852.

It is probable that Waterloo Street was so named because of its association with Kerrison. Although the street’s name has remained the same, the hotel went through different name changes and finally settled on Kerrison’s boss rather than Kerrison. Thus it became the Iron Duke after the popular nickname for the Duke of Wellington.
copyright © J.Middleton
The Iron Duke has a colourful inn sign.

(For later details, see this blog, under Hove Pubs – The Iron Duke).

Dale, Antony Fashionable Brighton 1825-1850 (1947)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade 

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)
 Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque – 87 Lorna Road
Richard Jefferies was born at Coate, near Swindon and grew up to become a great English naturalist, prose poet and novelist. His books proved to be immensely popular. His first great success was The Gamekeeper at Home (1878) followed by Wild Life in a Southern County (1879) and The Life of the Fields (1884) His autobiography was published in 1883 and was entitled The Story of my Heart.

From 1883 to 1884 he lived at Hove, in a new four-storey house in Lorna Road. The residence was called Savernake House. It is not clear whether or not he chose the name himself. But he was certainly fond of Savernake Forest. There the avenue of beeches with their smooth trunks and branches arching overhead reminded him of a Gothic cathedral. It is not generally known that Jefferies lived in Hove for a while. Some authorities pinpoint the location as West Brighton

This house is now numbered 87 Lorna Road and there is a simple stone plaque to his memory. But when he lived in the road there were only eight houses. On summer evenings he used to see a great number of bats flying around and once he spotted a weasel crossing the road.

He was fond of walking over the Downs beyond Hangleton where the wind smelled ‘like an apple freshly plucked’. His walks were more than mere exercise for the body and he entered into a spiritual dimension. He wrote ‘the intense feeling caused by the sunshine, by the sky, by the flowers and the distant sea is an increased consciousness of our own life.’

In 1883 the spring was wet and dreary but with some sunshine the gorse soon flowered and ‘the willow wrens sang plaintively among it.’ The bright yellow of the gorse provided a striking contrast to the stonechat with ‘his blackest of black heads’.

There were also wheatears and goldfinches to be seen and going along Dyke Road he saw a meadow pipit while kestrel hawks came right to the edge of town. He preferred Brighton and Hove to Eastbourne because he considered the latter town had too many trees. He wrote ‘the atmosphere is full of light … the glare is one of the great recommendations of Brighton … the dryness of the place gives it character … trees are not wanted in Brighton.’
copyright © D.Sharp
Richard Jeffries gravestone bearing the inscription  
To the honoured memory of the
Prose Poet of England's fields and woodlands
(Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery)

Jefferies also enjoyed walks along the sea-shore. He described a January day there in The Life of the Fields. ‘Under the groynes there is a shadow as in summer; once and again the sea runs up and breaks on the beach, and the foam, white as the whitest milk, hisses as it subsides among the pebbles; it effervesces and bubbles at the brim of the cup of the sea.’

Jefferies lived in the Lorna Road house with his wife Jessie and their children. They had a daughter and a son and a second son was born on 18 July 1883. But his life was a short one because he died of meningitis in 1885. The death affected Jefferies to such an extent that he was unable to attend the funeral.

The other son, Richard Harold Jefferies, remembered the kind Jewish family who lived next door to them in Lorna Road and gave them gifts including Passover bread.

Richard Jefferies died at the early age of 38 from tuberculosis at Goring on 14 August 1887. He was buried in Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery.

In 1927 his name was inscribed at the foot of the dome in Hove Reference Library as one of four famous Hove residents.

Arkell, Reginald Richard Jefferies (1933)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Internet searches
Jefferies, Richard The Life of the Fields (1884)
Jefferies, Richard The Story of my Heart (1883)
Looker, S.J. Jefferies’ England
Looker, S.J. editor, Worthing Cavalcade. Richard Jefferies. A Tribute by various writers (1946)
Middleton, J. A History of Hove (1979) Worthing Cavalcade; Concerning Richard Jefferies. By various writers. (1944)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
Victoria Lidiard (1889-1992)
Judy Middleton (2003 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque - 14 Palmeira Avenue, Hove
She was born Victoria Simmons in Windsor but grew up in Bristol and she was one of twelve children. She was a bright, inquisitive child and when she was sent to a Dame School, she asked so many questions that the exasperated teacher often made her stand in the corner.

She was obliged to leave school at the age of fourteen because her father held the opinion that educating daughters to the same level as sons was a waste of time and money because girls would only get married.

Victoria did not agree and felt so strongly on the issue that she joined the suffragette movement whilst still a teenager. Her mother and sisters felt the same way and joined the movement too. Soon Victoria was standing on street corners selling copies of Votes for Women.

In 1912 during a campaign to allow women to enter universities and become Members of Parliament, she threw a stone at the War Office in Whitehall and broke a window. Victoria was arrested and marched off to Bow Street Police Station, with a policeman on either side grabbing an arm and another following behind. She broke the window with her first stone but she had seven more stored in her pocket; these she dropped one by one as she was being marched along. But the policeman bringing up the rear carefully retrieved each one and Victoria was astonished when later on they were solemnly displayed in court.

The suffragettes’ behaviour horrified the self-righteous male-dominated establishment who considered the women’s demands were a violation of the natural order. Consequently, these women were treated harshly and some even with violence. Victoria was sent to Holloway Prison but her mother had forbidden her to go on hunger strike. Victoria’s chief memories of the place were a beetle in her porridge and the sound of her sister shouting encouragement from the road outside prison. Victoria knew many of the prominent women in the suffragette movement.   In later years she used to wear a brooch in the shape of a cage as a reminder of the cause and her time behind bars.

In 1918 Victoria married Major Alexander Lidiard MC of the Manchester Rifles. Victoria confounded her father’s bleak expectations by becoming one of the first women to follow the career of a consultant optician; her husband was an optician too.

In her later years Victoria lived at 14 Palmeira Avenue and on 23 December 1989 she celebrated her 100th birthday, the oldest surviving suffragette in Sussex.

She was featured in a special exhibition at the Museum of London, which ran from 1992 to June 1993 and was called The Purple, White and Green. Suffragettes in London 1906-1914.

Her last years were spent campaigning for the ordination of women to the priesthood. On her 100th birthday she commented ‘There is no real reason why women should not be ordained but there is just a huge amount of prejudice against it.’
copyright © J.Middleton
St John’s Church, Hove

Revd Ralph Seelig knew Victoria during her last ten years and said she used to hold meetings of the Brighton & Hove Unity Fellowship in her own home. Local architect John Small remembered her as a frequent worshipper at St John’s Church. She was always smartly dressed and her favourite ensemble was a dark cloak and a red hat. Victoria was a vegetarian and an animal lover from a young age and she was enthusiastic about Scottish country dancing.

Victoria died aged 102 in October 1992 and Revd Ralph Seelig conducted her funeral. She left £140,000 in her will with £111,723 going to the World Society for the Protection of Animals and various bequests to religious orders and charities in the South East.

On 5th July 1996 the Right Honourable Betty Boothroyd MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, unveiled a plaque in honour of Victoria Lidiard at 14 Palmeira Avenue. The plaque was in the suffragette colours of purple, white and green and many of the female guests also adorned themselves in those colours. The same colours were festooned around the marquee erected in Palmeira Square Gardens where a reception was held while the Hanover Band provided the music. A large photograph of Victoria in her younger days dominated the scene.

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Internet searches

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
Squadron Leader Robin McNair (1919-1996)
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

 copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque - 292-302 Portland Road
Robin McNair’s immediate family was based in Brazil where his ancestors had moved from Glasgow in the 1840s. He was born in Rio de Janeiro and like many British families abroad, he was sent back to the old country for his education. This meant that from the age of nine until he was eighteen, he was obliged to spend the school holidays with his great-aunts who lived in Tisbury Road, Hove and later Norton Road, Hove. It is probable that his aunts had a great influence on his beliefs. But he was also educated at Douai School and it must have had happy memories for him because he kept up close links into adulthood. McNair was a devout Roman Catholic and it was an advantage to have the Church of the Sacred Heart in Norton Road so close at hand. In later years he endeavoured to raise funds for the church and he was very successful too. He was also involved with charities.

He was a man who enjoyed his sport, being something of an all-rounder. At Douai he was captain of cricket and rugby. At Hove he played scrum-half in the teams of both Sussex and Hove Rugby Club. Then in the summer he turned his attention to cricket and was a leading bat for Hove Cricket Club. During the war he played squash for RAF Fighter Command.

When he left school he worked for Lloyds Bank, Church Road, Hove.

Flying was another interest of his and he took flying lessons at Shoreham Airport. Seven months before war broke out in 1939 McNair joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was thus well placed to be in the thick of things when the balloon went up.

He flew with different squadrons during his time of service; his aircrafts included Spitfires and Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain and Hawker Typhoons over German-occupied France. He also flew Defiants and in 1945 he flew a Gloucester Meteor, Britain’s first jet fighter. 

McNair was shot down twice. This meant he qualified for the caterpillar club, an exclusive association for those like McNair who had made a successful exit from a stricken aircraft and landed safely thanks to a parachute. It needed a cool head and one parachute drop was anything but routine because he had to struggle to untangle the lines.

He made an incredible number of flights; there were 110 operational sorties plus some 500 RAF missions. He also flew as a fighter pilot and he must have been a lucky flyer when you consider the average lifespan of a fighter pilot was brutally short. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. At the age of just 25, he was an acting Wing Commander, one of the youngest men to hold the post. Wartime photographs show him as a handsome young man with a handlebar moustache so typical of Battle of Britain pilots.

McNair was modest about his achievements because he could never forget the friends who did not come home. He was equally solicitous for the dead crew of shot-down enemy aircraft and ensured a Mass was said on their behalf.

Legendary fighter ace Group Captain Douglas Bader thought highly of McNair and gave him a special mention in his only book, which is a mine of information about Spitfires and Hurricanes. Bader wrote about the dreadful winter of 1940/1941, when the blitz was in full swing with German bombers sweeping in at night, time and time again. As for the British, specialist night-flyers with the proper equipment did not yet exist. Instead, it was decided to send Hurricanes and Spitfires aloft when there were clear skies to try and fight the enemy bombers. As most of the pilots were used to daytime flying, it really was a stab in the dark. But the young pilots were keen to have a go.

There were difficulties to overcome including the height they were required to fly at in order to avoid friendly fire from anti-aircraft guns. Then there was the fact that visibility through the windscreen was not good owing to the design of the 12-cyclinder engine, which vented flames through small exhaust pipes placed on either side of the long nose.

At this point McNair was still a sergeant. When McNair took off in his Hurricane of 96 Squadron it was 10.30 p.m. and his instructions were to patrol Liverpool and the area round about. From his vantage point he could see the fires on the ground where German aircraft had dropped their bombs. It was a clear night with bright moonlight when McNair spotted the dark shadow of a Heinkel 111k. He at once turned to follow it and was a short distance away from its tail before he fired. Although oil spattered his windscreen McNair saw that there was great deal of smoke coming from the Heinkel.    

He homed in for two more attacks and saw the bomber going down. By this time McNair’s Hurricane was at a dangerously low altitude and he needed to gain height speedily to avoid barrage balloons. When McNair landed safely he was almost totally out of fuel.

(It is interesting to note that there really was a night flyer at Hove. He was Squadron Leader Lewis Brandon who wrote a book about his experiences entitled Night Flyer, which Winston Churchill praised warmly. In 1965 Brandon became the landlord of the Albion in Church Road).
 copyright © J.Middleton
The Albion, Church Road.
After the war McNair did not return to working in a bank. Instead he enjoyed a successful career in civil aviation.

In 1940 he married Estelle Townsend and the couple went on to have seven children, four daughters and three sons. Robin McNair died in Chichester on 18 May 1996, three days before his 78th birthday.

On 26 September 1999 a new block of flats in Portland Road, Hove was officially named after him. Estelle and six of the children were there to witness the ceremony.

McNair has been remembered in other places too. There is a McNair Road in Southall, Ealing and a blue plaque with similar wording to the Hove one. But the Hove one omits ‘1944’ after ‘Death and Glory Operation’ while the final sentence on the Ealing one is ‘Remembered for his courage and humanity.’ He is also remembered in the Battle of Britain Monument in London.

Bader, Douglas Fight for the Sky (1973 republished 2003)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Internet searches
Obituary in the Independent 27 May 1996, written by Norman Franks

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
Tony Magdi (1958-2010)
 Judy Middleton (2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
The plaque is attached to a tree planter on the east corner of Portland Road and Westbourne Gardens.
Tony Magdi was brought up in Cairo and when he moved to England he kept in touch with his best friend George Jeha (who lived in Canada) and his cousin Morris Morkour (who lived in New York) and they would visit each other through the years. Tony Magdi married Louise and they had two children Joseph and Christina. Unhappily, both children died young from spinal muscular atrophy, which was a great grief to them.

Tony Magdi ran a greengrocer’s store on the corner of Portland Road and Westborune Gardens. He became a well-known local character and built up a following of loyal customers. He was famous for his generosity and often gave away fruit or vegetables as a bonus to customers. He was always aware that people with enough, had a duty of care to those who were worse off. He regularly donated money from his profits to help poor people in Egypt. He often told his friends how much he enjoyed running his shop and meeting his customers.

On 7th October 2010 Magdi and his friend Jeha who had just arrived for a visit, were in Magdi’s green Jaguar parked near his shop. Magdi opened his car door, causing three passing cyclists to swerve out of the way and one fell off. Typically, Magdi was most apologetic for the accident and offered the young man a drink of water. But one of the group, a 35-year old man from Brighton, became aggressive and punched Magdi in the head.   

Magdi was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital but when the severity of his brain injury was realised, he was transferred to Hurstwood Park Neurological Unit at Haywards Heath. He had two operations on his brain and was put in an induced coma to help him recover. Doctors were hopeful about the outcome. But Magdi caught an infection and his body could not cope; he died on a Sunday 28 September 2010.

The local community was very sad at his death; tributes poured in and were published in the Argus. His funeral service was held at St Mary and St Abram Coptic Church, Davigdor Road. Magdi’s cousin Morris Morkour flew in from New York to attend. He said that Magdi used to shut his shop every January in order to come and visit him in America. But in January 2010 Magdi had a premonition of his death and told him ‘This is the last time I am going to see you cousin Morris. I feel this year I am not going to stay. I am not going to live anymore.’ He entrusted a sum of money to his cousin to be given to the poor in Egypt.

Magdi’s friend George Jeha ran the shop for a while and looked after the flat but he had to return to Canada at the end of the month.

The cyclist appeared in court in June 2011 and was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to eighteen months in prison but it seemed likely he would only serve nine months.

There were many articles about Tony Magdi published in the Argus always accompanied by a photograph of him wearing his distinctive Burberry trilby hat.

Amongst the many tributes, here are two of them

Valerie Paynter wrote hers before he died. ‘Tony Magdi’s greengrocery is not just an independent local business, Mr Magdi is the very essence of the spirit, which make independent traders often unique. Bowls of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, whatever just for £1 or a pair of aubergines for £1.50 were his way of selling everything. Sometimes you would get a little lecture from him on some point or you would find a huge bunch of bananas added to your shopping as a gift. Tony Magdi does not just run a business, he looks after people.’

Christopher Hawtree wrote: ‘He was a remarkable, unusual, distinctive, kind man. Last time I spoke with him … he gave me three cauliflowers. A simple thing, and now unforgettable.’

Local people were determined he should not be forgotten and a collection raised nearly £2,000. In discussions with the Council it was decided that a one-metre square planter holding an olive tree should be placed near the shop. The memorial plaque placed upon it reads ‘When you have enough you can afford to share. Words spoken by Tony the Greengrocer. His customers from Brighton and Hove enjoyed his amazing generosity, which extended to charities in Egypt.’

Argus 8/11/10  11/11/10  13/11/10  15/11/10  17/11/10  30/11/10  10/12/10  21/12/10  4/1/11  21/1/11  14/2/11  4/6/11

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
Barnett Marks (1863-1944)
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
There are two plaques that commemorate Alderman Barnett Marks, Mayor of Hove. The left relates to the extension of St Ann’s Well Gardens 1 May 1913 and the right to the opening of Stoneham Park on 1 October 1913.
Barnett Marks was born in London, son of Elias Marks. At the age of sixteen he took ship for South Africa to work in the ostrich feather trade but he soon graduated to trading in jewellery. A treasured memento of his time in South Africa was a gold locket a grateful father presented to him when he saved his son from drowning in 1881. It was no easy feat because the drowning man in his panic pulled him beneath the surface of the water three times.

When the Boer War broke out, Marks’s trade in luxury goods dried up. But nothing daunted he set off for the Kimberley diamond fields where he managed to make some money. Unfortunately, this enterprise was cut short when he caught enteric fever. His doctor informed him that his only chance of a complete recovery was to return home to England.

In 1882 he purchased a jewellery business in Church Road, Hove and continued to trade there for 25 years. In 1884 he married Pauline, daughter of William Robinson, at Newport. There were two sons of the marriage who both served in the Army, and a daughter called Vera.

Alderman Barnett Marks
Mayor of Hove
 illustration from the
Brighton Season Magazine of 1911
In 1902 he was elected a Hove councillor and soon made himself indispensable. The Brighton Herald (24 August 1910) wrote a piece about him being elected as mayor in Coronation Year. ‘If any man has earned the distinction, Councillor Barnett Marks has done so. Nothing goes on in Hove without him. Has a mayor to receive a presentation; has a regatta to be arranged; have entertainments for the poor to be worked up; has a subscription to be helped along – there is Councillor Marks in the thick of things.’

He was Mayor of Hove from 1910 to 1913. In 1921 Joseph Douglas painted his portrait in oils and his friends presented it to the town to hang in Hove Town Hall.

Marks’s pet project was the Hove Soup Kitchen for the benefit of poor people and those without work. But he found time for plenty of other commitments too. He was Chairman of Hove Conservative Club, President of Hove Tradesmen’s Football Club, one of the original directors of Brighton & Hove Albion, President of Hove Cricket Club, Captain of Hove Bowling Club and a committee member of Hove Swimming Club. He served on Hove Education Committee for 26 years; he was Chairman of Brighton Eye Hospital for 20 years and served as an Overseer of the Poor. He was a keen Freemason and at one time Worshipful Master of Atlingworth Lodge.

He was also a Jew and served as a trustee of the Middle Street Synagogue as well as being on the council of Brighton Hebrew Congregation and one of their honorary auditors for eight years.

An extraordinary amount of energy seems to be the keynote of this diligent man. But he was not afraid to rock the boat. In 1935 a party of German officials visited Hove and were entertained in some style at Hove Town Hall. At that time many people held German progress in high regard and in fact there was active cooperation between the youth of the two nations. The Hove movement was called Britannia Youth and it was a party of Hitler Youth who came to visit Britannia Youth at Hove. Alderman Marks publicly refused to attend the function because he had lost a son in the Great War. This son was Lieutenant Arthur Sampson Marks of the Royal Sussex Regiment who served with a trench mortar battery in France for over a year and was invalided home with severe shell shock. The unhappy man was in and out of hospitals and eventually was given a desk job. But his constitution was never the same again and when he caught pneumonia in 1918 he died after just two days of the illness.

Perhaps his father was more perceptive than many in seeing where current political events in Germany might lead.

Barnett Marks celebrated his 70th birthday in typical style by throwing a party for hundreds of old age pensioners. In the 1930s he lived at 33 Tisbury Road and he died on 31 May 1944.    

Brighton Herald (24 August 1910) 
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Middleton, Judy Hove and Portslade in the Great War (2014)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
Prince Clement Metternich (1773-1859)
Judy Middleton (2001 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque – 42 Brunswick Terrace, this drawing of the plaque was done in 1979. 
His full name was quite a mouthful, Prince Klemens Wenzel F├╝rst von Metternich. His name became known throughout Europe because he was the foremost diplomat of his time and he had taken part in the Congress of Vienna. But even such an eminent personage was not immune to the dangers of popular unrest and indeed the year 1848 was dubbed the year of revolutions. In that year Metternich fled the turbulence of the continent and found refuge in England. It was a relief to the family to spend some months in a country that was not in turmoil.

Metternich’s private life was also worthy of note because he fathered sixteen children and there may well have been others; seven of the children were born to his first wife.

When Prince Metternich arrived at Hove, his third wife Princess Melanie and their four youngest children Richard, Melanie, Paul and Lothar, came too. The arrival of such an eminent party meant that the Brighton Master of Ceremonies, Colonel Eld, hastened to meet them at Brighton Station and escort them to 42 Brunswick Terrace where they took up residence. The Metternichs thought their Hove house was superior to the one they had occupied in Eaton Square, London. The Metternichs remained at Brunswick Terrace from September 1848 to April 1849. 

The season that year at Brighton was brilliant with the place full of celebrities. Many prominent people also beat a pathway to Brunswick Terrace to visit Prince Metternich. They included Lord Brougham, Lord Aberdeen, Lord and Lady Palmerston and Disraeli. Prince Metternich also entertained his sister Princess Koresewich.

Metternich’s daughter Melanie was the person responsible for the reconciliation of her father with his old flame Princess Dorothea Lieven. Princess Lieven (1784-1857) had a famous Paris salon and the two lovers exchanged letters for eight years but by the time of their rapprochement, they had not set eyes on each other for 26 years. The first impression of the ravages that time had wrought on both of them was not favourable. But they had so much in common because they shared a wide circle of mutual friends and acquaintances to gossip about and there was always politics. They met most days, either at the Bedford Hotel where she was staying or at Brunswick Terrace. She did not like the fact that Metternich had known Napoleon and she had not.

Metternich enjoyed the mild temperature and pure air at Hove. He was astonished to see a magnificent magnolia grandiflora in Brunswick Square gardens and it reminded him of a similar one he had enjoyed at his villa on Lake Como. He liked to walk beside the sea, watching the procession of carriages and pedestrians taking their constitutional with the shipping out at sea providing another point of interest. Meanwhile, Princess Metternich rediscovered her faith in God by contemplating the wide expanse of sea in front of her windows.    
copyright © J.Middleton
The original stone plaque from which the above drawing was made
The stone plaque commemorating Prince Metternich’s stay must be one of the first plaques put up at Hove and the Regency Society were responsible for its installation rather than Hove Council. The stone plaque follows a classical style and blends well with its surroundings but it cannot be said the inscription is as legible as white lettering on a blue background.

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Dale, Antony Fashionable Brighton 1820-1860 (1947)
Middleton, J. A History of Hove (1979)
Internet searches
Underwood, Eric Brighton (1948)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
page layout by D.Sharp