While everyone seemed to agree that the house was impressive, some contemporary commentators made some slightly pointed remarks related to the fact that while Kemp was busily developing Kemp Town as a desirable place for the well-to-do to live, he was choosing not to live there himself.
An old portrait of the building shows it as having a stepped appearance, with a square plan and high ground floor, the first floor being stepped back and looking a little like a Greek temple, and then a slightly raised dome.
Most paintings and drawings show it with the front of the first floor flush with that of the ground floor, so it's possible that Kemp might have decided to extend the first floor outwards to provide more space: or perhaps the more stepped version wasn't actually built.
The current building seems to retain the appearance of the ground floor, and the same basic impression of the first floor (white and flat with rectangular windows although these windows seem to be different). The dome, though ... arguably the building's key feature ... has now gone, being replaced with an additional floor with mansard roof, and some high chimneys.
The house in its currently form doesn't look like anything particularly special ... with perhaps the exception of the tapering half-pillars on the ground floor walls (which have an Egyptian feel), seeing the actual building in its current state, after reading some of the contemporary descriptions is rather disappointing.
The modified building is now occupied by Brighton and Hove High School, and is behind a high wall (Although you can see it's current state on Google StreetView). It's on the corner of Montpelier Road and Temple Gardens.
- Brighton and Hove High School, Montpelier Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3AT
- The Temple: Originally the home of Thomas Read Kemp (mybrightonandhove.org.uk)
- The Temple Grammar School, Brighton (sbpc.regencysociety.org)
- Temple Titbits (thetemplestreet.blogspot.com)
- Kemp's bright vision (theargus.co.uk)