Crown Gardens

Photo:Crown Gardens 1

Crown Gardens 1

Helen Smedley

Photo:Crown Gardens 2

Crown Gardens 2

Helen Smedley

Photo:Crown Gardens 3

Crown Gardens 3

Helen Smedley

Photo:Crown Gardens 4

Crown Gardens 4

Helen Smedley

Photo:Snow 1

Snow 1

Helen Smedley

Photo:Snow 2

Snow 2

Helen Smedley

Photo:Garden at No.7  1

Garden at No.7 1

Helen Smedley

Photo:Garden at No.7  2

Garden at No.7 2

Helen Smedley

Photo:Garden at No.7  3

Garden at No.7 3

Helen Smedley

By Helen Smedley

Crown Gardens, a twitten in the city centre, has the distinction of being one of the famed Back Passages of Brighton!

Every May, during the Festival, groups of visitors and sometimes even residents are taken on a walking tour of alleys and passages -  including the illustrious twittens - around our fair city. When proceeding along Crown Gardens, they are encouraged to take a look at the secluded and charming small gardens along the western side.

The terraced cottages on the western side of the twitten Crown Gardens date back to the 1820s, and were originally the homes of grooms and other employees of the Royal Pavilion and its stables, the latter situated where the Dome is now. These two-storey houses have front gardens, and also terraces at the back, on the western side, which abuts onto Kew Street. Strangely enough, though, the steep bank at the back of the properties does not belong to the houses but is owned by the Council.

The houses on the eastern side of the twitten are of later and various dates, but they have had to adhere to strict planning regulations which ensure that they blend in with the 19th-century character of the twitten. This is not to say that renovations cannot be carried out; indeed, a couple of years ago, the Council replaced the paving stones so that we are no longer so liable to trip over, and wheeling suitcases or trolleys along is not such a noisy business.

Living in Crown Gardens has many delights, and few disadvantages – save for car owners, who have to rent garages elsewhere. Having deliveries and workmen in can present problems too, given the lack of parking in the city centre; that is if they can find tucked-away little Crown Gardens in the first place!

It’s true that we have our fair share of inner-city problems, but there is an excellent co-operative and friendly spirit in this twitten, which is one of the main joys of living here. And, it goes without saying, it is an incredibly handy location – commuters can walk to Brighton station in just a few minutes, and it is a stone’s throw from the shops of Churchill Square, North Street, Western Road, and the lively, vibrant North Laines. If you fancy popping out for a drink and/or a meal, you don’t have to worry about driving or getting a bus: you can just stroll down the road to several of the fleshpots of Brighton.

On a couple of occasions during the year, more people than usual study their maps (often in vain – Crown Gardens does not even appear on some maps!) and make their way to our secluded abode. There is a marvellous artists’ Open House during the Festival in May, and in addition to the artworks and charming ambience, there are delicious home-made cupcakes on sale…..and in the summer another of the homes, with a delightful garden (see photos below), plays host to the increasingly well-known Garden Gadabout in aid of the Sussex Beacon. So our twitten is definitely worth a visit when these houses and gardens are open, and on other occasions, Crown Gardens makes for a peaceful, traffic-free short cut for local residents and visitors who may wish to avoid the jams and crowds of Queen’s Road on their way from the station to the seafront….But not too many, please!

This page was added on 18/06/2010.
Comments about this page

Helen: Thank you for putting this page together. It's nice to learn more about the history of a twitten I often walk along on my way to and from the station.

By Bob Young
On 10/07/2010

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