The building from the southeast, pictured in September 2013
Location within Brighton and Hove
|Former names||Medina Baths; Hove Baths|
|Address||Kings Esplanade, Hove BN3 2WA|
|Town or city||Brighton and Hove|
|Opening||13 September 1894|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||P. B. Chambers|
After falling into disuse it was squatted for several years. During this period the property owner, Sirus Taghan, agreed that the occupants could remain, so long as the property was kept in the same condition as before occupation. It was finally evicted in September 2006, although it was re-occupied for a week at the end of January 2007.
There are now plans to develop the building. However, several applications to demolish it have been refused by the council and opposed by local residents. There were fires in May 2013 and December 2014.
Medina House was built in 1894 as a ladies' turkish bath. An adjacent building housed a ladies' swimming pool, although that has since been demolished. It was built for the Hove Bath and Laundry Company to the design of the architect P. B. Chambers.
As part of Kings Esplanade, it now forms part of the Cliftonville Conservation Area within Hove. Its listing describes it as a "Strange and whimsical building" that "Possesses some charm and character as well as historical significance."
Previously owned by Hove Borough Council, it was at the end tenanted by a firm of diamond cutters who tried to buy the premises from the Council and were refused. Around the time that Hove Borough Council was merged with Brighton Council to form the Brighton and Hove unitary authority 1997-8, they instead sold it for circa £300,000 to Sirus Taghan.
In 1999, the building was squatted by a group of artists known as the Chalk Circle who used the space for exhibitions. The landlord imposed a small rent, about 20 pounds per squatter a week to be paid so that he won't take squatters to the court. Around July 2006 the house became divided into drug abusers and non-drug abusers. Consequently, internal conflicts arose and the small rent ceased to be collected.It was squatted until 2006, when it was evicted owing to complaints about noise and rubbish.The court ordered the eviction. The squatters appealed against the decision but were eventually evicted. City councilors had been campaigning for four years over the problems.
In 2007, the building was briefly re-squatted for about two weeks. One morning, Elijah Smith opened the door to the fire brigade and police who escorted them. The police kicked electric sockets inside the building, causing them to become a fire hazard. Under this pretext the squatters were evicted and a fire prohibition order was then placed on the building.
Following purchase in the late 1990s, Sirus Taghan obtained planning consent for a low-rise small development which would have seen Medina House demolished. Whilst the Royal Doulton-tiled main bath house area was part demolished and the pool filled in with concrete along the way, the consent was allowed to lapse and ideas of putting a tall building on the site have instead proliferated ever since (unsuccessfully).
One idea, for a 'spinning plates' tower, appeared on the front page of the local newspaper, The Argus. A local architect recognised it as having been inspired by a development in Scandinavia. No planning application was submitted to BHCC for this proposal.
Sirus Taghan has wanted to demolish Medina House and build a new tower block. He first put in a planning application for an 18 storey building in 2002, but this was rejected. Subsequently he planned a smaller tower but never put in a formal application. Taghan's[when?] proposal for Sirus Tower, a 12 storey building, which would house 25 flats. also failed to gain planning consent. Taghan has claimed that the building is structurally unsound.
Following receipt of a letter from Hove MP, Mike Weatherley, in January 2011, Brighton and Hove City Council opened an Enforcement file. A six-months s215 notice was raised in November 2011, a one-month extension granted soon after and the deadline of June 1, 2012 passed without compliance. At the time of writing a 2nd s215 notice was to be raised concerning refuse within the bath area and a letter was to be sent advising the owners of the council's position: prosecution and/or repairs by the council to be recharged to the owners and asking them what their position is.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Medina House.|
- Middleton 2003, Vol. 9, pp. 23–26.
- Montagu Evans (May 2012). "Heritage Assessment: Medina House" (PDF).
- "Medina House and former Turkish Baths: Conservation Management Plan" (PDF). University of Birmingham. March 2010.
- Squatters are finally evicted, The Argus, 21 October 2006
- Squatters move back into seafront property, The Argus, 23 January 2007
- Seafront squatters evicted, The Argus, 1 February 2007
- Quirky tower plans anger campaigners, The Argus, 16 October 2006
- Vowles, Neil. "Developer claims it's 'not viable' to keep historic bath house in Brighton". The Argus. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "Medina House in Hove on fire". The Argus. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- Kiely, Melita. "Arson not ruled out at historic Medina House baths". The Argus. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Fire takes hold at historic seafront bath house". The Argus. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Vowles, Neil. "Public baths blaze thought to be arson attack". Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Middleton, Judy (2003). The Encyclopaedia of Hove & Portslade. Brighton: Brighton & Hove Libraries.