Norwood, Brighton, 1892-1955

Norwood, Brighton, 1891-2, demolished 1955 – probably the most extraordinary mansion of the #LandBoom era, and one of which there arnt that many photographs- EXCEPT for a self-published 2013 book ‘Norwood’ by Roland Johnson, great nephew of the last owner, who lived there as a teen 1947-54, and included many family photos.

Designed by local architect #PhillipTreeby, it was built for financier Mark Moss, who went bust along with most financiers in the Crash, so barely lived there at all, losing it in 1894.

It was more or less Queen Anne /Elizabethan, with a dash of American #RomanesqueRevival, all in local #redbrick idiom. Architect #PhillipTreeby had his own style, on display here, and in the Woodlands Hotel in Sydney Road, also 1891, and the brick Queen Anne almost Edwardian style Invermay in Brighton. I don’t think this house is terribly ‘good’ though, very ornate in parts, plain in others, odd doubled front #bowwindow (that was the billiard room on top of the hall), ballroom off to one side, with odd curved parapet, pot plants bristling over the front terrace, a bit of a mess really. #RobinBoyd described it in 1955 as ‘frightful’ and ‘so terrible that it is good’, and ‘a mixture of a dozen styles’, but also ‘a fairy tale castle’.

Last 3 images are the gatehouse, which was very much in the style of what would later be called Edwardian, moved ‘brick by brick’ from the esplanade to the corner of Norwood and Ramsay Streets, just behind where the house was.

2nd image @library_vic from the 1955 auction/open day.

The interiors were much more elaborate than the exterior : the hall was very much in the very baronial style, complete with carved or bronze knights (main image is a photoshopped amalgam of more than one image). Some rooms were fully tiled, there were lots of #stainedglasswindows (some now at Trinity College), and a curious marble Roman bath, off a windowless bedroom downstairs. It must have been very dark, most of the main rooms have only or mainly stained glass windows, often in nooks.

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