Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Pepper Pot

There are quite a large number of towers around Brighton, usually clock towers, and this one is something of an oddity.  Commonly known as the Pepper Pot, many long-time locals insist that it should be called the Pepper Box although it is sometimes known simply as the Tower.  It is now a listed building but nobody is quite certain what its original purpose was.

We do know that it was built in 1830 and that the architect was Charles Barry, he who was also the architect for the Houses of Parliament.  It was built for Thomas Attree, a property developer, who had Charles Barry design a villa for him as well.  Some say that the tower housed a water pump and supplied water to the villa from a tank in the top of the tower.  Another suggestion is that it was intended as a vent for sewers, or maybe it was simply a folly.  A nice story is that it was used by Mr Attree to watch for his ships coming up the Channel.

Whatever its original purpose, the tower has been put to a variety of uses.  During the 1860s, the new owner used it to print his newspaper, the Brighton Daily Mail, while in World war II it was used by the military as an observation post.  After that it became the headquarters for a Scout group and an artist's studio before public toilets were built in an extension.  It fell into disuse and disrepair before the Council, into whose ownership it had passed in Victorian times, managed to find funds to restore the building.  But I have no idea what it is used for nowadays; if, that is, it is used at all.


Linda said...

Beautiful photo!

Brighton Pensioner said...

Linda, thanks for dropping by. The photo is actually one I borrowed from Wikisomething; I quite forgot to give the due credit.