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Brighton Journal | September 22, 2019

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This Site Helps Kemp Town Residents Discover Their House’s History

Postcard of Sussex Square
Hannah Midgley

A Kemp Town resident has created a website which helps users to discover the history of their home, including information about previous inhabitants.

Who’s Been Living in My House? has been created by Vanessa Minns in collaboration with the Kemp Town Society.

Using Street Directories and census records, Vanessa compiled details about every house on the Kemp Town Estate from 1830-1970.

Famous inhabitants and visitors over the years range from Queen Victoria to drug-smuggler Howard ‘Mr. Nice’ Marks.

The site organises records by street and in each street page you can find lists of residents by house and by year, as well as census records for each house.

Writing in the Kemptown Rag, Vanessa Minns said: “My own curiosity and interest is divided between the people who lived here on the Estate and the social history that surrounded them.

“Every notable fact, story or anecdote, mostly contributed by local residents and historians, has been recorded in House Histories.

“There is no doubt that the place has always attracted extraordinary individuals; it still does today!”

Not to be confused with the larger area of Kemptown, Kemp Town describes the 19th Century residential estate conceived and financed by Thomas Kemp.

The estate was designed by Charles Busby and Amon Henry Wilds and constructed by Thomas Cubitt.

The regency style buildings that make up the estate include Arundel Terrace, Chichester Terrace, Lewes Crescent and Sussex Square.

An ivy-strewn tunnel running from Sussex Square to the seafront is believed to have partly inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (Carroll once lived at a property on Lewes Crescent).

Click here to find out who lived in your house.


  1. You are mistaken in saying that the Estate ‘was constructed by Thomas Cubitt’. He did indeed construct more than 30 of the houses but many other builders worked on the estate which makes for the interesting interiors all of which are very different. Often a single builder will incorporate identical features into his houses and Cubitt’s have many of these.

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