North Road :: Shared Description

The origin of the road lies as a medieval field boundary between what was the First and Second Furlongs and thus developed as a 'leakway', an access track between the two. The expanding town of Brighton reached this point around 1810 and the old farm track was developed into a road that was given the name North Lane as the southern side remained the northern boundary of the town for the next two decades. Some development occurred to the north notably the Regent Iron Foundry in 1810 and Kensington Gardens in the 1820s but it was the arrival of the railway in the 1840s that sparked the building programme that was to result in the packed terraces of the North Laine.

The resulting expansion resulted in the road becoming the principal High Street for the area and was lined with shops from this period onwards. The road was renamed in 1865 and was widened in 1870 when the southern side was largely rebuilt as part of a slum clearance that took place just to the west of Gardener Street . By the beginning of the 20th century it had also become part of the local tram system carrying a line which linked Brighton Station down to the main network that ran round the Old Steine. During this period the road contained a theatre, a cinema, a large number of pubs and a swimming baths opened at the eastern end in 1895. However, the foundry, which had produced a great deal of the iron work for both piers and the railings along the seafront was closed in 1912 with the site eventually cleared in order to construct the town's main Royal Mail sort office in 1926 where it remains today.

When the tramline was removed in 1939 it began the decline of the street as a shopping entity. The North Laine area in particular suffered from the closure of the locomotive works in the 1950s and was threatened with wholesale demolition in the 1960s and 70s. The narrow road made parking difficult and it became a one way street in 1976. Parts of the area became increasingly run down with a section of buildings between North Place and Regent Street left to rot whilst a twenty year argument commenced on what to do with the neighbouring Jubilee Street site which was demolished in 1977.

Part of the road at least benefited from the footfall that was increasing as the new North Laine shopping area began to increase in popularity and cater for the mix of students and young professionals that moved into the area during that period. However, much of the western end lost its shops for good and was redeveloped, whilst that to the east remained off the beaten track and a home to specialist shops. During the 1930s there were ten pubs in the street this has now been reduced to four.

by Simon Carey
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10 images use this description:

TQ3104 : 22 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : 26-27 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : 76 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : 77-78 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : Brighton: North Road by Jonathan Hutchins
TQ3104 : 82 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : 23-25 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : 85-88 North Road by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : Tom Sayers Plaque by Simon Carey
TQ3104 : 81 North Road by Simon Carey


These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Mon, 7 Nov 2011, Updated: Tue, 8 Nov 2011

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2011 Simon Carey, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.