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Saving Madeira Terrace

Saving Madeira Terrace

It is great news that Madeira Terrace has been saved (in part) for now and one of Brighton’s most iconic features may yet be restored. Built in the mid-1800s on the east of Brighton’s seafront, it overlooks Madeira Drive and has formed the backdrop to the National Speed Trials, Brighton Marathon, the London to Brighton Bike Ride, the Veteran Car Rally and a host of other public events. The area has also featured in a number of films, notably Brighton Rock, Genevieve and of course Quadrophenia. But over the years, the cast iron has taken a battering from storms across the channel and has been badly neglected, leading to its closure for safety reasons in 2013.

As a result, many efforts and ideas came about to save the Grade II listed terrace with its 850 metres of seafront arches. Once an initial application for government funding was rejected, residents came up with the idea of a crowdfunding campaign and it was wholeheartedly taken up by the Council. The aim of the Save Madeira Terrace campaign was to kickstart the restoration and regeneration of the terraces and the target was to raise £400,000 from public pledges, with money then being used to restore 3 of the arches and enabling the council to apply for additional funding to restore the rest of the arches.

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The deadline was to raise the money by 30 November otherwise all donations would be handed back. And whilst close at one stage, the funding stormed over the line and reached its goal one day early, with 2121 backers and with £64,505 more than the intended target. Whilst a number of celebrities made donations, it was largely down to a huge number of smaller donations from local people who wanted to see a very special attraction restored and saved. Indeed, the Brighton and Hove Hotel Association made a significant donation on behalf of hoteliers and guesthouse owners. The result shows a fantastic sense of civic pride.

So the City has shown what can be done and, with funding in place to restore 3 of the 151 arches, this will hopefully provide the basis for further public funding. So whilst only a small step, it is at least a start and commences the journey to rebuild this magnificent structure for future generations.

Until next time,