Adam Trimingham remembers his 'tatty tour'

Photo:Adam Trimingham remembers this derelict house in Upper Gardner Street that had a buddleia growing out of it in 1976

Adam Trimingham remembers this derelict house in Upper Gardner Street that had a buddleia growing out of it in 1976

Article in The Argus, 12th March 2012

Adam Trimingham, writing in The Argus on 12th March 2012 under the headline 'Down memory Laine', said that few people recalled anyhing he had written with one notable exception - an article he wrote in 1976 headlined 'It's tatty tour time'.

Previously only grand squares and terraces were Conservation Areas

This was at the time when Brighton Council was making plans to turn North Laine into a Conservation Area. Prior to this Conservation Areas had mostly just covered the grand Regency squares and terraces.

At that time North Laine was run down

Adam had made fun of the conservation suggestion because North Laine in the mid 1970s was very run down. Most of the housing stock had been built in the mid 19th century to house railway and other manual workers and there had been considerable overcrowding, with many streets bordering on slums. There was a house in Upper Gardner Street with a buddleia tree growing out of it and a number of buildings in North Road had been derelict for more than 20 years.

The dual carriageway idea was rejected by the Council

Borough Planning Officer Ken Fines was the man behind the Conservation Area idea, following the Council’s rejection of a report suggesting that a lot of houses should be pulled down to make way for a dual carriageway on stilts leading to a huge car park in King Street. North Laine was duly made a conservation area and then followed an improvement in the shabby housing stock as people were able to buy properties cheaply and do them up without the threat of demolition. This of course then led to a sharp rise in property prices as the old run down terraced houses were gradually converted into desirable residences, conveniently situated near to the station and other amenities.

Trendy outlets replaced basic food shops

Also new shops opened up, with trendy outlets replacing the older long established basic food shops in roads such as Sydney and Gardner Streets and Kensington Gardens. The latter was of course home to the first ever Body Shop started by Anita Roddick.

The cord shop frontage was moved to the Museum

When the specialist cork shop finally closed in Gardner Street, its frontage was moved to Brighton Museum and you can still see it there today. Only a couple of businesses still remain in Gardner Street that were there in the 1970s.

North Laine now as popular as The Lanes

North Laine is now just as popular as a tourist destination as is The Lanes area south of North Street. Ken Fines has his name on a bus (No 50) to recognise his contribution to the preservation of our area and the NLCA planted a tree in Sydney Street in his memory some years back.

Adam admits he was wrong

Adam Trimingham is quite happy to admit that he got it badly wrong!


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 216, May/June 2012]

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