Commemorative blue plaque unveiled at BIMM House by Mayor of Brighton

30 August, 2022

A blue plaque commemorating BIMM Institute’s central building in Brighton, BIMM House, has been unveiled by the Mayor of Brighton, Lizzie Deane, in a special ceremony.

The building is situated on Brunswick Street West and since 2010 has served as BIMM Institute’s central teaching location in Brighton. What is less known, however, is that it’s a site of historic significance to Brighton and Hove, with a rich and fascinating history.

The Brunswick Town area of Hove is considered one of the best examples of planning and architecture of its time, similar to the city of Bath in its grandeur. Designed by architect Charles Busby in 1824, Brunswick Town was a self-supporting town. The building commemorated with this plaque was originally used for civic duties. It initially housed the Brunswick Town Commissioners and was subsequently used as Hove Town Hall from 1873 to 1882.

Given the building’s importance to the local area, it is fitting that the unveiling of this blue plaque was attended by the Worshipful Mayor of Brighton, Lizzie Deane, as well as the Chairman of the Brighton and Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel, Roger Amerena; the last Chief Executive of Hove Borough council, Michael Ray; and current and former College Principals, Martin Wright and Vaseema Hamilton.

In a set of heart-warming speeches relaying the personal involvement of these individuals, Roger Amerena pointed out that this is the first time a blue plaque has been awarded to a building and not a person. It has also taken 12 years to get the plaque up on the wall due to various interruptions.

Martin Wright, College Principal for BIMM Institute Brighton, said about the unveiling:

“This building has seen interesting changes over years: It started life as a civic building and firehouse, then a snooker hall, then fell into disrepair before being taken on by BIMM as a top-level music education facility. This wonderful facility has seen some great successes with the likes of James Bay and Tom Odell. It plays a pivotal role in music education for our University.”

The Worshipful Mayor of Brighton, Lizzie Deane, had this to say: “Popular music is so important in our society. In the UK, we are responsible for setting a high standard in music globally. It is therefore brilliant that this building has become an educational establishment.”

With 1200 students now studying in BIMM Brighton alone, and tens of thousands studying as part of the wider BIMM University across the UK, Ireland and Germany, this ceremony marked a special moment to reflect on the heritage of BIMM Institute and how our group of arts colleges has grown and developed.

Because the connections we have with our students remains strong after graduation, we were delighted to be serenaded by 2018 graduate Sabrina Gunston with a set of her own material. Working as a solo vocalist and artist under the name ‘Sabrina’, she was accompanied by guitarist Edward Sansom and sang enchanting melodies in a distinctive style.

Executive Principal and Business Development Director of BIMM University, Vaseema Hamilton, sums up the whole event perfectly:

“It was a real delight to be able to welcome so many dignitaries and influential figures to Brunswick Street West. Since first exploring the possibility of gaining the building, we’ve come to understand its historical importance and I feel very privileged to be part of the team who gave a new lease of life to a building that had fallen silent. We’re proud that this is now a place where young musicians can realise their talent and launch their careers.”

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