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© Mr Jonathan Brooks

IoE Number: 481176
Photographer: Mr Jonathan Brooks
Date Photographed: 03 July 2007
Date listed: 13 October 1952
Date of last amendment: 26 August 1999
Grade II

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BRIGHTON TQ3203NE ST GEORGE'S ROAD 577-1/49/795 (North side) 13/10/52 Church of St George the Martyr and railings (Formerly Listed as: ST GEORGE'S ROAD St George's Church) GV II Anglican church, now merged with the parishes of St Anne and St Mark. 1824-1825. Built by architect Charles Augustin Busby for Developer Thomas R Kemp to serve the estate at Kemp Town; upper west gallery added by Thomas Cubitt c1835; chancel, liturgical furnishings, benches, gallery supports and fronts added in 1890, the architect probably Arthur W Blomfield. Stock brick in Flemish bond; stucco dressings. Roof of slate. PLAN: square east end; north-east vestry; rectangular bay; 3 bay narthex; bell turret. Greek Revival style. EXTERIOR: the entire eastern bay dates from 1890; on the outside its design repeats motifs from the nave elevations, windows, entablature, brick in Flemish bond, but the entire is set back from the plane of the side walls to articulate the east end in the Victorian fashion. The chancel space projects slightly from the east elevation and is topped by a triangular building. The east window to chancel is round arched, of 3 round-arched lights, with traceried head; the upper arc of the east window deflects the architrave of the entablature. The sill band to the chancel window is continuous across all 4 elevations, marking, along the nave, the height of the galleries. Entablature, east window, sill band, entrances, projecting sills of the other windows, and giant pilasters at west end are executed in stucco. Round-arched window to either side of chancel window; below segmental-arched windows to vestry and organ loft. North and south elevations are nearly identical, each of 8-window range including the east bay; each bay has one round-arched window above, lighting galleries, one segmental-arched window below lighting under galleries. Flat-arched entrance to south-east corner, with sidelights, set in an aedicule; 8-panel door of original design. This doorway repeated in the west face of the single-storey vestry at the north-east corner, this structure added in 1906. In each west bay of the nave elevations, a flat-arched door with architrave and entablature. The west elevation is the grandest of the 4. Like the east, it is divided into 3 bays. Each side bay has a flat-arched door, similar to that in the west bays of the north and south nave elevations, and a round-arched window above. The centre bay is treated as a giant distyle in antis porch of the Ionic order; the entablature steps out above the distyle in antis porch, forming, in effect, a portico. In the centre of this portico is a flat-arched door with round-arched window above. Outer order and entablature topped by a semicircular antefix finial. Above is a cupola in 3 stages: the first is a Greek cross in plan with a clock to each of 4 elevations; second is square in plan with a distyle Tuscan portico to each side spanning a round-arched opening containing bell louvres; the third is a square in plan with chamfered corners, a roundel to each long side; an 8-sided dome terminates the composition. INTERIOR: entrance through narthex, to north and south of which are stair wells leading to gallery. East window in stone, subordered, with springing band across chancel wall only; reredos of 6 coupled pilasters of the Composite order, entablature, pediment to centre bay, base of paired high socles with dado panelling. The chancel is a memorial to the parents of Sir Charles Lennox Peel, a descendant of the well known politician and from whom the congregation bought the freehold of the church in 1889. In this transaction Sir Charles retained ownership of the Peel family vault beneath the church. Round arch divides chancel from north vestry and south organ loft, round arches with architraves resting on square piers with acanthus capitals; responds to north, south and east wall. The vestry and loft each have a round-arched entrance. On axis with chancel piers and supporting the north and south galleries are full-height, cast-iron colonnettes which taper to acanthus capitals; acanthus corbel supports gallery lintel on west face of chancel piers. Galleries return across west end on a segmental plan; upper west gallery follows the same plan as that below but is narrower. This second west gallery was added in the 1830s by Thomas Cubitt to accommodate the increase of worshippers who flocked to St George's after Queen Adelaide made this her Chapel Royal; as a result this top gallery came to be known as Queen Adelaide's gallery. The west galleries are supported on 8, plain, cast-iron colonnettes which are off the axis of the north and south supports. Originally the gallery and roof supports were of iron cast in the form of Tuscan and Ionic columns respectively. The effect of the 1890s gallery supports, their thinness and indeed their style, reflect the Evangelical form of worship for which St George's had been known since it first opened. The underside of the gallery retains its original boarded ceiling. The gallery fronts and all benches of 1890. The second tier of gallery support an entablature running east to west, from which springs a boarded, barrel-vaulted roof of 6 bays articulated by transverse ribs; each bay subdivided by smaller transverse ribs into 3 compartments. Flat, boarded ceilings over galleries, the ribs continuing from the vault to cornice at top of wall. Elevation of side walls: panelled dado, segmental-arched window with wide splays, round-arched window with wide splays above; all the tinted glass dates from the late C19 or early C20; glass to east window of late C19, designed in the style of C13 stained glass. Font placed near west entrance. The west wall has 3 flat-arched doors with architraves. The organ dates from the time of the church's construction, when it was located in the west gallery. In the 1840s the organ was moved to the east end of the church; at the 1890 renovation, it was moved to its present location in the gallery of south chancel bay. The current organ case dates from the 1890 renovation, when the instrument was rebuilt to give it greater range and power. The electric lights were installed in 1906. The brass lectern was given to commemorate Queen Victoria's 1897 Jubilee. HISTORICAL NOTE: Kemp built the church partly as an investment hoping that pew rents would generate income. Disappointed by the revenue, decreased by growing opposition to pew rents, he sold the freehold to Laurence Peel, youngest son of Sir Robert Peel, the well-known politician whose family owned land in the area. (Carder T: The Encyclopaedia of Brighton: Lewes: 1990-: 166A).

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