In The South

New chapter for Brighton’s Old Reading Room

Graham Robson January 11, 2023

To mark the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s #HeritageTreasuresDay on Wednesday, January 11, Brighton & Hove City Council celebrated the Grade-11 listed Old Reading Room and Temple buildings, which are currently being restored as part of the Black Rock Rejuvenation project.

Built in 1835, and designed by architect William Kendall, the Old Reading Room was originally built to provide shelter for residents of Lewes Crescent seeking a place to read in comfort with a view of the sea.

It was later used for meetings of the Kemptown Committee and as plant store and potting shed.

Restoration work includes the installation of floor to ceiling glazing to the southern elevations to retain the sea views along with works to provide flat outdoor spaces for outdoor seating. The building is in the process of being let as a new café.

The nearby Grade 11 Temple, also designed by Kendall, was originally built as a romantic, yet practical, ruin and shelter. The restored building will also be let as a café later this spring.

The restoration work is part of the Black Rock Rejuvenation Project, being led by Brighton & Hove City Council, with funding from Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

Councillor Tom Druitt, Chair of the Eastern Seafront Project Board, said: “We are delighted that these two unique historic buildings are not only being restored and enhanced, but also brought back into use as cafes to be enjoyed by those visiting the eastern seafront and newly rejuvenated Black Rock site.”