Cubitt Terrace

What's in a name?

By Tony Hadley

My name is Tony Hadley. I live in Cubitt Terrace, Chichester Place, Kemp Town.

Cubitt Terrace is a terrace of five houses at the lower end of Chichester Place. Built in 1986, they replaced a row of garages which had been sited on the garden of No 1 Chichester Terrace - land which had been sold for development following a fire at 1 Chichester Place to finance reparation of the fire damage. The developers, Hatley's Builders, originally marketed the houses as Chichester Mews, assuming the title 'Mews' would be attractive to potential purchasers. Not only were the houses not mews properties in either siting or design, the absurdity was compounded by the presence of a relatively unspoiled original mews of the 1820s directly to the rear of the development. The local authority intervened - not because of the title 'Mews', but rather, it asserted, because there were too many uses of the term 'Chichester' in the area.

As one of the original purchasers, my solicitor was informed that the five houses would forthwith be known as Cubitt Terrace. This news was received with modified rapture. Firstly, Thomas Cubitt, as the builder of Lewes Crescent, Sussex Square, Chichester Terrace, and many other late Regency properties in Brighton and Hove (a plaque identifies his own house in Lewes Crescent), is a name of some significance to the area.

Secondly the houses fronting Chichester Place certainly comprise a terrace. However, the appropriateness of the new name was somewhat marred by the local authority's mis-spelling of Cubitt. The properties were to be permanently saddled with the title 'Cubbit Terrace'. It could not be changed because the Land Registry had been informed. Eventually some jobsworth in the planning department agreed that the error should be rectified - too late, I suspect, for the Land Registry, and the deeds of Number 3. Maybe it should have been left unaltered, to become yet another of those quirky anomalies so characteristic of Brighton, and to raise an occasional smile through the fallibility of local governance.

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
Hello Tony. I used to live at 12 Chichester Terrace when I was a child, and I read that you say Cubitt Terrace had been built in 1986. I am not sure where this is in relation to Chichester Terrace. I remember the back of the flat used to lead onto a side road and there were some garages there, is that where the new houses have been built? If you have a photo of the terrace, would it be possible for you to scan it through for me, also if you have one of the back of Chicester Terrace, as I would love to see what it looks like now? Hope you do not mind me asking you. Thank you.
By Sally (02/03/2004)
Good history Tony but I think you have made the common mistake of thinking that 1 Chichester Terrace is the first house in Chichester Terrace. It isn't! Chichester House is the first house in the terrace and it was on the rear gardens of Chichester House that Cubitt Terrace was built after the fire in the early 80's.
By Oliver (15/05/2005)
I am just in the process of purchasing the ground floor flat in Rendel Court, 1 Chichester Terrace. I would love to know more about the building and am searching the web for any information I can gain. If you have any information that would be of help to me, please email me on Townsendmarcus@hotmail.com. Anything however small would be appreciated.
By Marcus Townsend (16/06/2005)

I lived in Chichester House and well remember the day of the fire.  We lost all of our belongings and most of our furniture and it was a shock to become homeless in the space of a few hours.  I remember wading through sooty water seeing personal possessions floating about. Chichester House was never the same again and I was sad to see Cubitt Terrace built on part of it.

By Janet Pike (16/01/2014)

I lived in Chichester House and well remember the day of the fire.  We lost all of our belongings and most of our furniture and it was a shock to become homeless in the space of a few hours.  I remember wading through sooty water seeing personal possessions floating about. Chichester House was never the same again and I was sad to see Cubitt Terrace built on part of it.

By Janet Pike (16/01/2014)

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