In the late 1600s Dr Richard Russell first made St Ann’s Well famous by sending some of his clients to drink the water from a spring there. Dr Russell was the doctor who made Brighton well known for claiming drinking sea water is good for you. The Chalybeate (containing Iron) spring became known as one of the finest natural springs in the whole of Europe. A building was put up surrounding the well. This created a more inviting experience for visitors who travelled for the health benefits of the water from the well. The Pump house was the centrepiece in the Park, until it’s takedown in 1935.
In 1880’s the gardens were restored into a green space which held various forms of entertainment such as; open air concerts, musical tea parties, children’s fetes and they were more unique attractions like “The hermit in the cave”, a fortune teller who stayed in the gardens in caravan for 15 years.
George Albert Smith (1864-1957) held the lease on the gardens between 1892 and 1904. Before he came to the gardens, he was a hypnotist, illusionist, photographer and he gave lectures on astronomy.
During this time at St Ann’s he began creating films of which he is credited with being one of the founding fathers of the modern film industry. George built his own camera and film studio in the gardens, he shot the first ever close up, and helped to invent colour film. During this time activities in the park continued and George used the gardens as a way of making money for his film making. View his 1899 “A Kiss In The Tunnel”, one of the earliest examples of film editing.
Hove council had wanted to buy the gardens so that it could be made into a public park, negotiations went on for years and in 1906 the gardens were offered to the council on a 100-year lease. The sub committee recommended against buying the lease and finally in 1907, Mr d’Avigdor Goldsmid sold the gardens to Hove council for £10,000. On Queen Victoria’s Birthday, the 23rd of May 1908 St Ann’s Well Gardens was opened to the public.
As you can see there is deep, rich garden design history to Hove it is imperative that the gardens in the area continue to add to this history. Glorious Gardens can help you develop your green spaces and make them fit within the prestigious garden heritages of Hove.