North Laine - then and now

Photo:Signpost to North Laine

Signpost to North Laine

Photo by Peter Crowhurst

Capital by the sea

By Maureen Brand, North Laine resident

In his book The Capital by the Sea, published in 1953, Harold P Clunn puts forward the reason for the title:

"Its great size and metropolitan character puts Brighton in the same relation to other seaside resorts as London bears to the great provincial cities of the Kingdom. Hence Brighton is much more than an ordinary resort and has assumed the character of a great metropolis."

The North Road district

In the same book he describes the North Road district "which is the Brighton equivalent of the East End of London - covers approximately the area enclosed by Church Street, the Valley Gardens, Trafalgar Street and Queen's Road, as well as the streets leading out of Trafalgar Street to New England Road" (ie much of what we know as our Conservation Area today). He describes the area: "Though the streets here are narrow and mean, and overcrowding is as bad as almost anywhere in the East End of London, there is no evidence of any great poverty. There is a cosy atmosphere in the principal shopping streets, such as Gardiner [sic] Street, Kensington Gardens and Sydney Street, which is suggestive of London's Lambeth Walk and Portobello Road..."

And now?

That was in 1953. Perhaps we would not describe the streets as "mean" now, and overcrowding has eased, but much seems the same?

This page was added on 24/02/2008.

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