About North Road

Photo:North Road looking westward

North Road looking westward

Photo by Maureen Brand

Photo:The Dorset cafe bar, North Road

The Dorset cafe bar, North Road

Photo by Maureen Brand

Photo:North Road businesses

North Road businesses

Photo by Maureen Brand

North Road

A brief history

By Maureen Brand, North Laine resident

North Road runs from Queen's Road down to the corner of Marlborough Place and today is one of the major traffic arteries through North Laine. First developed circa 1810 and called North Lane, it was later renamed North Road. Originally narrow, the north side was built a decade later. It was doubled in width by the corporation in 1870.


Towards the top of the road the Hippodrome Circus opened in 1891, becoming the Eden Theatre in 1894 and the Grand Theatre in 1904. In 1931 the Grand became a cinema until 1940, and from 1941 to 1955 a theatre again. It closed in 1955, became a furniture factory and burnt down in 1961.

At the lower end of the street in 1911 the Coronation Cinema opened adjacent to Cheltenham Place, becoming New Coronation in 1928, the Troxy in 1934 and the Rex News Theatre in 1938, then closing a year later.

Beer, beer and beer

In Mathieson's Brighton and Suburban Directory of 1868, 'beer retailer' is listed at Nos 21, 51, 62, 68, 69, 78, 85 and 101.

19th century bird stuffer

At No 90 in 1868 Mr Warr carried on the business of 'haircutter and bird stuffer'.

More beer

In 1932 North Road continued to offer beer in its public houses: Dorset Arms, Moulders Arms, Norfolk Castle, Blue Post Tavern, Three Jolly Butchers, Dolphin Inn, Heart and Hand, Noah's Ark, Red Lion and North Road Inn.

Electricity generation in 1882

The Post Office sorting office, built in 1926, stands towards the top of the north side, where once stood the Regent Iron and Brass Foundry, later the Brighton Electricity Generating Station founded in 1882. That lit less than 20 lamps but was one of the earliest systems in the world. North Road was once one of the more important shopping roads of the area and in 1931 had ten public houses along its length.

This page was added on 25/02/2008.

I have a sampler, sewn by my great grandmother when a girl. She was born in 1851. The sampler has her name Emily Cooter and North Lane School embroidered on it. By the 1861 census, she was living with her family at 77 North Lane. I'd love to be able to place where the school was.

By Linda Phillips
On 28/11/2009

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