J’♥ la France – the Hove way

♥ Since the 1920s, fewer and fewer buildings in Hove have borne French names – alas, many have been Anglicised, with two laudable exceptions.  Where did these names come from?  I’d love to know.

Normandy House 1 - Copy - Copy.JPGNormandy House, at 18 The Drive was first occupied in the early 1960s.

Who chose the name and why? 
 

 

Brittany Court 2In 1928, Brittany Road was no more than a building site, with several new houses under construction.  The following year, two of the houses were finished and had been given French names, St Brieuc and St Malo.  By 1930, one more Francophile owner had given his house an appropriate name, Bretagne and Britanny Court, recently completed at 134 New Church road, had its first occupants.

The boat looks somewhat like one of the ships that raided Brighton in 1514.  Did they come from Brittany?

Lorraine Court - Copy

Lorraine Court, at 61 Osborne Villas, was built in the late 1950s on land that had, until then, been the back gardens of houses in Medina Villas.  Not to be confused with Lorraine Court in Davigdor Road, Brighton. Could this be a tribute to General de Gaulle’s croix de Lorraine [cross of Lorraine], symbol for the Free French Forces during WW2?

Paris HouseThere is no mystery about the name of Paris House at 3 Wilbury Villas, just by the railway bridge. The building firm of H. J. Paris took over the premises early in the 1950s.  It was perhaps this company which built the modern, rather bland, brick block which stands there now.  The firm lasted into the 1980s, but has since disappeared from directories.  Not to be confused with The Paris House pub in Western Road, Hove.

And last but not least, the quirky Château Plage, needs no explanation.

Château Plage - Copy

fin symbol

The French Emperor and the Rottingdean lad

William Balcombe was born in Rottingdean in 1777.  On 18th October 1815, he received the fallen Emperor, Napoleon I into his home.  Not in Rottingdean but on the bleak island of St Helena in the middle of the Atlantic.  Not in a grand mansion but in his simple colonial villa, The Briars.  And not even in the villa itself.  Napoleon opted for an outbuilding.  The great man did not want to inconvenience his gout-ridden host’s wife and children.

The Briars 1853

The Briars was perched on a little hill. This 1853 image does not show Napoleon’s tent (pavillon) attached to the main house. University of California Libraries

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The Laughing Onion

In 2014, the following announcement appeared in The Argus:

J-J Jordane death notice

Jean-Jacques Jordane

The Stage Thursday 20 April 1967 (c) British Newspaper Archive

The announcement is deceptively bland.  It gives very little clue to the life of this charismatic man, chanteur and chef/owner of the Laughing Onion Restaurant in Kemp Town.

If you read no further, watch Stephen Matthew’s wonderful short video about Jean-Jacques

Jean-Jacques looked every bit the French pin-up ‘boy’ of the time and spent 18 months in the early 1960s performing in Britain. Continue reading