Have you ever wondered why Brighton has so many Anglo Catholic churches?

Come to St Michael’s, Victoria Road, Brighton BN1 3FU Friday 29th March 6.30pm for a talk by eminent local historian, Sue Berry.

£8 on the door (doors open at 6pm)

Controversy – in Brighton’s Victorian Churches

The Brightonian Cartoon

The Brightonian Cartoon

The earlier phase of the Anglo Catholic movement greatly influenced worship in the Anglican Church from the 1840s.  It also created national headlines for Brighton which made a change from news about celebrities and sewerage issues.

St Paul’s in West Street was the first centre for the debates over the return of rituals regarded by some as Roman Catholic and, a threat to the simpler Anglican approach to worship which had developed from the Tudor period.  The Rev Arthur Wagner, incumbent of St Paul’s, was sometimes subjected to unpleasant behaviour in public because of his views and behaved with great dignity.

Wagner attracted very committed curates who went on to be the incumbents of other churches in Brighton which also became notorious for their Anglo-Catholic practices such as St Michael’s, St James, Bartholomew’s and The Annunciation.

Dr Berry will briefly explore what Anglo-Catholicism was and why it upset some so much and concentrate on its influence in Brighton


Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor, by François Baron Gérard, c.1805

New Year, New Look

At the end of 2018 we finished our new look WCs at West Hill Hall. Nothing much went to plan as we discovered the roof was rotten in the men’s loo and would probably not have lasted the winter so it was not a moment too soon that we began the refurbishment. Simon and Peter from Skydec battled through the setbacks and worked around the classes in the Hall as best they could.  Our thanks to them for completing another splendid upgrade to West Hill Hall.

Looking forward to 2019, at The Whistler office, we welcome in the New Year in style as we unveil a new look to the printed version of the newspaper, thanks to the entirely voluntary efforts of professional designer, Joanna Bettles. Joanna is a busy mum of three; she moved to West Hill from London with her family just over 3 years ago. Joanna has nearly 20 years’ experience in the publishing industry, and couldn’t help herself when she saw the opportunity to get her hands on The Whistler. She tells us she wants to help make our local area the best it can be.

Save the Dates

This year the WHCA local history Tuesday talks at 7.30pm are:

14 May with Dr Geoffrey Mead

‘Backstage Brighton’ – a fascinating talk on Brighton’s rich and varied theatrical history.

15 October with Louise Peskett

‘Notorious Women of Brighton’ – wilful princesses, music hall stars, headstrong courtesans, suffragettes, entrepreneurs. Brighton has always attracted women who dare to do things differently.

New at the Hall

Musical Theatre Classes Mondays

Years 7-11: 4.15 – 5.45pm

Years 3-6: 5.45 – 7.15pm

£15 per 90 minute session.

Small, focused singing, acting and movement sessions working towards LAMDA Musical Theatre examinations (university recognised qualification).

Students work on vocal technique, acting through song, and confidence in performing.

Classes are now waiting list-only but for more information please contact Natalie Sexton



Dear Editors

I write further to the recent interesting letter from BE of West Hill. I am engaged in a study of St Nicholas Road and have also noted the naming of nos 28-31 (not quite as BE said, being Bingham House at No 31 and Arnold House at No 29). But I am afraid that I have not yet found out why these houses are so called (and have the names prominently engraved on their facades).  Continue Reading »

While we’re on the subject of researching houses, there is a fascinating website called My House My Street (mhms.org.uk), created by staff and volunteers at The Regency Town House in Hove, a grade I listed building of the mid-1820s as part of architect Charles Busby’s ‘Brunswick Estate’, being developed as a heritage centre and museum. Continue Reading »

Genealogy can be addictive!

Having lived in the same house in Compton Avenue for over half of my life, a few years ago I decided it was high time that I started researching its history and inhabitants, which has proved a fascinating and, somewhat, obsessive journey.

Running alongside my house research I have also been carrying on from where my late father left off investigating his, and my, ancestors, resulting in delightful and informative trips to Herefordshire and Worcestershire over recent summer holidays. Finding an elderly gent sitting outside the house where my Nan had lived in 1911 was a treat and we got an idea of how the family lived then as nothing much seemed to have changed. Continue Reading »

Over the last few issues of The Whistler we have introduced the current members of the West Hill Community Association management committee (the Trustees) to give you a flavour of who they are, what they do and maybe to inspire you to become one yourself. In this issue we meet SYLVIA ALEXANDER-VINE

I first heard of West Hill Community Association when I received a copy of The Whistler through my letterbox in West Hill Road in 1992. I had just moved back to Brighton, having lived and worked here previously as an English and Drama teacher at Dorothy Stringer in the early 1970s. Between the 70s and 90s I had worked all over the country in the theatre as a manager, a director and a producer, having learned my trade in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company in the 1960s. Continue Reading »

When I was about 5 years old I began to be aware of a special family treat. On Friday evenings my favourite uncle, Albert, would turn up on his way home from work. He was single and living in Essex. Our house was in Bermondsey and in a street market area, rather like the one in East Enders. There was even a pub across the road called the Queen Victoria. Albert would come in bringing some delicious food. One of the shops in the market was a German pork butcher. Albert was a fan, so on those evenings he would treat us all – my grandmother, my mother and father, and me – to tasty saveloys and other German sausages before he set off home. This was my introduction to ‘gourmet’ food. Continue Reading »