The crowdfunding campaign towards the restoration of Madeira Terrace has ended and the target of just under £401,000 was superseded by the generous contributions of many in the city who saw the potential of the project being well worth the donation.
The final total on the crowdfunding site showed total of £466,074 was raised, which is more than enough to get the ball rolling on the next stage of the restoration project which will see work starting on a series of the arches, but importantly will unlock more money from the council and proves a strong public mandate for future funding applications.
Madeira Terrace, a Grade II-listed structure running half a mile along the seafront, was falling into irreversible disrepair without the prospect of salvage before the project picked up steam and delivered a big dose of hope, and proved that Brighton and Hove locals have an appetite for respecting and maintaining some of Brighton’s historic landmarks. The success of the crowdfunding campaign is a crucial first step in a £24m plan to save the arches.
Madeira Terrace has been said to be the longest cast iron structure in Britain or even the world. The Victorian Society has also stated that Madeira Terrace is one of 2015’s Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales.
Plans point towards the restoration of the Madeira Terraces enlivening the concourse out to the eastern side of Brighton’s famous seafront, and fostering some momentum that promises to light the touch paper and act as a catalyst for the creation of a lively new quarter for Brighton.
The campaign aims to restore at least three arches, but will also help the community to reimagine how all 151 could be used, unlocking £1m from the council, and proving a strong public mandate for future funding applications.
Organisers are unsure what kinds of ideas will be put forward by the local community, how the arches will be used or which museums, bars, start-ups, shops, or artists will fill the arches over the next year.
But organisers are incredibly excited by the prospect of injecting life back into this strip of Brighton. The project aimed to harness the city’s energy and creativity, and allow the people of Brighton & Hove to make the country’s coolest new estate – on our beach – together.
“It was about galvanising support to preserve something old while at the same time providing something exciting and different that we can all use and enjoy, for years to come.”
All backers became a ‘Friend of Madeira Terrace’, giving them multiple discounts and also voting rights on which companies initially move into the arches. So those who pledged their support are now part of an exciting new grass-roots project, and have a voice in guiding the direction of the development throughout the process.
A hotbed of Victorian invention, Madeira Drive’s history has seen piers, an aquarium, an electric railway and ‘Daddy Longlegs seagoing car’, the first speedway and the ‘famous sheltered walk’ – Madeira Terrace. Well, in amongst all that, 150 years ago, the Victorians planted a ‘green wall’. The engineers had the foresight to build the Madeira Terrace in a way which enabled the planting to continue growing up the East Cliff – a rare early example in this country of integrating built and natural environments!
The green wall has grown in majesty since its humble beginnings as a backdrop of evergreen Japanese Spindle, which was planted to soften and improve the appearance of the developing seafront.
A recent survey by Building Green found over 100 species of plants growing on the wall, which – although much reduced from its original extent – is almost certainly the oldest, longest, green wall in Europe! The Madeira Drive Green Wall is now a candidate ‘Local Wildlife Site’ – the only one of its kind in the UK!
The Duke’s Mound end is managed by Green Gym volunteers in partnership with Building Green, Brighton & Hove City Council and the Ecology Consultancy.
Building Green is working with Brighton & Hove City Council and its “Save the Terraces” Campaign to ensure that this regeneration celebrates and enhances both the built and natural environments along the seafront.
If you’re wondering who pledged how much, then you can have a look below. Notable mentions include £100,000 by Brighton & Hove City Council, £50,000 by Brighton Seafront Regeneration and Soho House, and £3,000 by Brighton and Hove Bus Company. We want to thank everyone that pledged and are excited to see what happens next with this project!