Hove is located immediately to the west of its larger neighbour Brighton. As part of local government reform, Brighton and Hove were merged to form the borough of Brighton and Hove in 1997 and in 2000 officially attained city status. Hove is bordered by Brighton on the east and Portslade-by-Sea on the west. With central Hove at its hub, resplendent with acres of Regency townhouses, terracotta mansions and elegant mews, Brunswick and Hove are one of the city’s most colourful quarters.
An ancient settlement, with the parish church of St Andrews being established in the 12th century, Hove remained insignificant, consisting of just a single street, Hove Street. By the 16th century the church was recorded as being in ruins. Reconstructed in1836 it was enlarged to its present form. The census of 1801 recorded only 101 residents in Hove, but by 1821 its population had risen to 312. The dwellings were still clustered on either side of Hove Street, and were surrounded by open farmland. This isolated location was ideal for smuggling and there was considerable illicit activity. Amazingly at the bottom of Hove Street was a bull-ring where at a bull-bait in 1810 the bull escaped, scattering spectators before being recaptured and dragged back. This was the last bull-bait to take place in Hove!
In the years following the Coronation of 1821 the Brunswick estate of large Regency houses was developed on the seafront at the eastern end of the parish, near the boundary with fashionable Brighton. Unlike today the name Hove had little prestige, and although technically within the parish, the residents of these elegant houses called it Brighton instead, feeling little connection with the impoverished village one mile distant. How times change, these days a well-known reply by residents of Hove when asked if they live in Brighton is ‘’Hove actually’’ thus maintaining a distinction with their less genteel neighbour!!
West of Brunswick the seafront forms the end of a series of avenues named in numerical order beginning with First Avenue, mostly composed of fine Victorian villas built as yet another well-integrated housing scheme featuring mews for artisans and service buildings. Grand Avenue, The Drive, and the surrounding avenues were developed through the 1870s and 1880s. Hove's wide boulevards contrast with the bustle of Brighton, although many of the grand Regency and Victorian mansions have been converted into apartments.
Central Hove stretches roughly from Hove Street in the west to Grand Avenue and Palmeira Square in the east, bounded to the North by Old Shoreham Road, with the English Channel to the south. The main commercial street of Church Road abounds with restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars and part of its charm is its obvious appeal to people of all ages. The buildings and architecture of Central Hove are its greatest attraction along with the seafront and Hove Lawns. This is a very popular location as it has the urban feel of a city but with the splendour of period properties and the space and rustic fabric of coastal life. Further along the coast to the west and north are beautiful family homes and quaint terraced houses, constituting Hove a versatile and popular residential locale, affordable housing existing alongside more exclusive high end residences.
Pedestrianised George Street is a popular shopping precinct with a Tesco superstore to its west. George Street regularly plays host to popular French and farmer’s markets. With a unique atmosphere all of its own Hove Shopping offers an impressive array of funky interior design shops, fashion boutiques and specialist shops jostling alongside international restaurants, organic greengrocers and independent cafes.
Hove is home to a number of excellent primary schools, and three major secondary schools with incumbent sixth form colleges: Cardinal Newman, Hove Park and Blatchington Mill. Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) is also very popular for further education.
A comprehensive public transport system includes buses to all districts and three railway stations, Hove station having direct access to the Brighton main line to London. Direct train journeys to London take just over an hour, and to Brighton, a few minutes. There are also numerous bike lanes across the city and along the seafront. The A259 connects Hove to the east and west coastal areas and access to the A23/M23 is minutes away by car.
Sports and leisure facilities are outstanding and cater to all tastes. The Sussex County Cricket Ground is used for county, national and international matches, music concerts and firework displays. The Brighton & Hove Hockey Club ground is also based in Hove and there is a golf club in West Hove. Beautiful parks such as Hove Park and St. Anne's Well Gardens boast generous green open spaces, children’s play areas and cafes. The King Alfred Leisure Centre has a swimming pool and gym and Hove Lagoon offers a variety of water sports plus the draw of Norman Cooke’s restaurant, a children’s playground and paddling pool. Stunning coastal walks, Hove beach, a seafront-based dedicated children’s paddling pool, sand pit, and playground area and a wide, smooth promenade making it perfect for walking with the family, there is so much on offer.
All of this plus stunningly beautiful churches, first class medical facilities, lawns, parks and outstanding architecture, Hove really is an amazing place to live.
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