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1840: Italian design on the Brighton line

The Italianate pavilions on the Ouse Valley Viaduct

There are two names associated with building and design of the London to Brighton railway line. While many will have heard of the name of the chief engineer John Urspeth Rastrick responsible for the

Drivers' view of the pavilions

permanent way engineering work - less well known is David Alfred Mocatta. It was his design flare that added elegance and style to the Ouse viaduct Brighton Railway Station,. We also regularly see his work when travelling on the Brighton line as he designed the intermediate stations along the line.

Born in Princes Gate, London on 17 February 1806, Mocatta studied in London from 1821 to 1827 under Sir John Soane and then travelled in Italy during 1829–30. By 1839 he was in practice in Brunswick Square in Bloomsbury where he remained until 1846, before moving to 57 Old Broad Street in the City of London. His work was well respected by his peers and he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of British Architects (later the RIBA) in 1836 and went on to become an early member of its council.

Clayton Tunnel north portal

His studies in Italy, are clearly reflected in his design work that followed.

Mocatta was appointed architect of the London and Brighton Railway in 1839, designing the company's headquarters at Brighton railway station and ten other intermediate stations on the line. They were variants on a standard plan and layout.

After the Brighton line was finished, his partnership with the chief engineer of the Brighton line, John Urspeth Rastrick bore further fruit. They jointly worked on the London Road viaduct in Brighton and the central structure of Brighton station itself. Mocatta retired early from architecture, but this was to manage family affairs, and he died in South Kensington, London in 1882.

Perhaps the most significant contribution by Mocatta to the north Cuckfield landscape was the addition of the stylish balustrades and the eight Italianate pavilions to the Ouse Valley (Balcombe) Viaduct.

Brighton railway station and headquarters

Mocatta's works include:

Montefiore Synagogue, Ramsgate, Kent, 1833

Brighton Regency Synagogue, Sussex, 1836–38

Brighton railway station and London and Brighton Railway headquarters, 1840

Croydon railway station, 1841 (rebuilt 1894–95)

Red Hill and Reigate Road railway station, 1841 (closed 1844)

Horley railway station (1841, enlarged 1862, demolished 1960's)

Three Bridges railway station, 1841 (enlarged 1855 and 1906–09)

Haywards Heath railway station, 1841, (rebuilt 1933)

Hassocks or Ditchling Gate railway station, 1841, (demolished 1880)

Pavilions and balustrade on the Ouse Valley Viaduct, 1841–42

Clayton Tunnel 'castle battlements' enhancements completed in 1841 after 3 years. The cottage above the tunnel portal was a later addition.

Further David Mocatta architectural projects are listed on the Wikipedia page for David Mocatta


View of the Brighton Station of the London & Brighton Railway. Tinted lithograph, 1841. Published by Ackermann & Co, London.


Looking up at the pavilions at the north end by Robert Skipworth. Wikimedia public domain image.

Drivers' view from the Network Rail Media website. Clayton Tunnel portal. Wikimedia public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.



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