Sir Herbert Carden, a local solicitor, was a councillor in Brighton for 41 years. He was appointed Mayor three times and was knighted in 1930. Often called the “The Maker of Modern Brighton”, he planned intensely to bring the town into the modern era. He was the driving force behind the purchasing and modernisation of the city’s parks while he was Mayor 1916-1919 and was greatly involved in the plans for the Tramways which were run very successfully between 1901-1939.

Carden had a grand vision for Brighton, with extensive plans to merge all surrounding towns and villages into one enormous city, from Worthing to Eastbourne, moving the boundary northwards while keeping the city enclosed in a band of greenery - the Downs. He wanted to demolish all the old buildings lining King’s Road and replace them with modern buildings like Embassy Court, he even had plans to demolish the Royal Pavilion but these were quickly overthrown.

Carden was also involved in the plans to manage water locally and the water pumped from under the Downs was among the cleanest and cheapest in Britain. This became one of the most important reasons to protect the Downs. Carden began personally buying up acres of land around the outskirts of central Brighton, such as Devil’s Dyke and Hollingbury, which he then sold on to the council at cost price, so they were able to keep the areas protected from development.

Sir Herbert Carden’s most noticeable legacy are the concrete pylons he funded, marking the entrance and exit to Brighton which you can still see today on the A23. You can also find a plaque on what was his home at 103 Marine Parade, naming him the Founder of Greater Brighton.

Sir Herbert Carden

Photo credit: Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries