St Anne's Church

Built c1863: demolished 1986

By Michael Maine

Designed by Benjamin Ferrey

St. Anne's Church stood in Burlington Street. It was designed by Benjamin Ferrey, who was a pupil of Pugin, the architect of much of the Palace of Westminster. St. Anne's was faced on its exterior with Kentish ragstone. The interior featured much carved stonework by the Victorian firm, Farmer and Brindley, including many carved heads, one of which I rescued with hammer and chisel when the building was demolished.

An unexpected closure

It was closed in the mid 1980s, in spite of having the largest congregation in Kemptown, and having had the most money spent on it in recent years. The church also had some fine stained glass including a spectacular east window by O'Connor from the 1860s; a beautiful iron and brass screen enclosed the choir. This was designed and made by William Bainbridge Reynolds, one of the finest 20th century metalworkers. This was restored and is in the music room of a local house.

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Photo:St Anne's Church photographed in 1984

St Anne's Church photographed in 1984

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Photo:St Anne's Court photographed in 2014

St Anne's Court photographed in 2014

Photo by Tony Mould


The loss of the reredos

Perhaps the saddest thing to relate is that the building had a fine stone reredos, a carved representation of the Last Supper behind the altar; it was coloured and gilded. The firm handling the demolition of St Anne’s decided that they could not extract the reredos. Unfortunately, the east wall was demolished on it; that was a terrible shame.

Do you remember?

Do you remember St Anne's. Did you attend services there? Maybe you live in St Anne's Court, the building which replaced it? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.

This page was added on 28/02/2014.
Comments about this page

While studying at Brighton Polytechnic and working for the local council I was given the opportunity to visit this church prior to it's demolition. I also remember taking several photographs of the interior which were later offered and given to a local historical society in Grand Parade, the name has slipped from memory. This church along with so many other demolished buildings in Brighton shows a distinct lack of foresight by planners who could have saved them for posterity. This was a nice little church that had a nice homely feel about it even when visited while deserted.  A sign of the times and lost solely for financial reasons.

By Roger Ivermee (01/03/2014)

Yes I remember St Anne's during my time at the  Nautical Training Corps (NTC). We had our  remembrance parade from the Castle Square where we would march up to Burlington Street where the service was held in St Anne's. NTC HQ  was around the Richmond Hill area. I cannot  remember the actual address - maybe somebody reading this can help or maybe you were also also NTC members?

By Joe Mann (11/03/2014)

Yes I remember St Anne's with great affection. I was in the choir in the late 50's when Canon James was the vicar. My grandfather was a church warden while I was in the choir. The organist was Stan Houlgate. Some of the men were Stephen(?) Botting, an estate agent, Maurice Packham, a school teacher, Geof Locke, ...Richardson, ...Becket, ....Crittenden, the Collier brothers, publicans of the Queens, the Calloway brothers. The services were a joy with settings of many anthems Te Deum, Magnificat and Nunc Demitus etc. Was sad to see that it was no longer there when I paid a visit some years ago. I remember in particular the anthems we sang around the coronation and Stainers Crucifixion which, in addition to the church, we sang in the chapel of the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

By John Blunden (28/01/2017)

My great-great grandfather, Reverend Alfred Cooper MA, was curate at St Anne's from when it was built in 1863 until his death in 1914. 

By Lisa Hughes (01/10/2018)