Building » Brighton – St Joseph

Brighton – St Joseph

Elm Grove, Brighton, East Sussex

A majestic ragstone Gothic design on a prominent corner site, built in stages between 1879 and 1906.

A temporary church was built on the site in 1869. The present church was made possible through a bequest from a local resident, Matthew Haddock. The first part of the building, designed by William Kedo Broder and comprising the sanctuary and part of the nave, opened in 1879. The apse soon followed, but in 1881 the architect was killed in a railway accident. J. S. Hansom completed the east end and added a side chapel and south transept (by 1885). The west front was not completed until 1901, from designs by F. A. Walters. A north transept and a further side chapel were completed in 1906. 

List description


Roman Catholic church 1880-1906. The original design, by W Kedo Broder was for a church with a polygonal chancel flanked by outer apsidal chapels, nave, transepts, and a tall west tower and spire. The nave and channel were completed by 1880 to this design; the south transept and chapel were opened in 1885 to the design of J S Hansom; the west front, designed by F A Walters, was completed by 1901, and the north transept and north chapel by 1906. Kentish rag with Bath stone dressings, roof of slate.

EXTERIOR: the east end has an apse of 5 sides with windows of 2 lights with trefoiled tracery, and  gabled buttresses between; south-east and north-east chapels are 5 sides of an octagon with similar windows under hoodmoulds, buttresses with one offset Shallow transepts with 2 windows of  2 lights with sexfoil above under hoodmoulds, and gabled buttresses with one offset to either side, 3 stepped lancets in the gable.  Single storey vestry to north-east side. 2-bay nave with low unwindowed aisles under a lean-to roof; clerestory has 3-light windows with trefoiled tracery and 2 gabled buttresses with one offset.   The west end has a gabled porch, the flat-arched entrance set under a pointed arch with the mouldings of the archivolt dying into splayed reveals; the double doors have elaborate hinges and there is a statue of St Joseph in the tympanum; 2 pointed-arched windows above, each of 2 lights with a cinquefoil above and under a single hoodmould with a vesica-shaped window in the spandrel; 3 stepped lancets to gable, also under a single hoodmould; stair tower to left of porch, square in plan; buttress to right. Steps up to west porch in 2~flights, with flanking walls crowned by a spiked rail.

INTERIOR: apsidal chancel of 7 bays with vault-shafts of Bath stone, vaulting of white Beere brick; multi-shafted chancel arch combined with 2-bay arcade to transepts, the columns to the south with foliage caps, those to the north uncarved; slim columns to transepts with foliage capitals and sexpartite vault to crossing; nave of 2 major bays relating to the vaulting of the roof, of stone and brick as in the chancel, and 4 subsidiary bays relating to the arcade to passage aisles which consists of circular columns carrying abaci only. Organ gallery to west end.

Heritage Details

Architect: W. Kedo Broder, J. S. Hansom and F. A. Walters

Original Date: 1880

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II*