North Laine History

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Gloucester Rd today might be considered the spine of the North Laine Conservation Area. Many visitors coming  to the area dos o down Gloucester Rd and it is the gateway to the mid-Victorian townscape which is still very visible and is the reason why North Lane became a Conservation Area in 1977. Just 60 years ago you would have found 58 different trades in the street but even though most of these have gone, a walk down Gloucester Rd will reveal the North Laine that  developed  after the arrival of the ralwaoy in Brighton in 1841.

From the western end of Gloucester Rd, at Queens Rd is The Galeed Strict Baptist Chapel  on your left, a plain classical building opened on October 15 1868. The Pond, opposite dates from 1908 and replaced an earlier building. The Post Office building you see is an extension built in 1937 and it was on this site that the first electricity in Brighton was generated from 1882 in what was known as HammondsYard.

Kemp St dates from the late 1840s and  1850s when much of this part of North Laine was developed to meet the needs of the newly arrived railway and the locomotive and carriage works established from 1848. No 52 Kemp St was the site of the infamous Trunk Murder when Tony Mancini killed his girlfriend Violet Kaye in July, 1934.

Further down, Foundry St was a major centre of production in the c19th whilst Queens Gardens showed signs of Victorian gentrification with its attractive residential housing.

Upper Gardner St dates from the late 1820s and  few original houses remain although the Central National Infants School remains, dating from  1826.

Further down Gloucester Rd you will  pass on your right Kensington Gardens which was developed from 1808 and  features original frontages at No 5 and Nos 7-11. Anita Roddick opened her first shop here in 1976.

Robert St further down on your right is home to North Lane’s largest commercial building, the former  Argus newspaper building – built in the 1890s and home to the Argus from c1915 to 1992.

The castellated building on the north side of Gloucester Rd was once The Eagle  Foundry and from 1869 home to the Sussex Artillery Volunteers. Notice the flagpole still in situ.

At the bottom of Gloucester Rd are two pubs that date from the 1850s with their original names although The Basketmakers, first run by Mr Knight , a basketmaker opened up in 1854 as The Brokers Arms.

The former grain warehouse at No127 was formerly a ginger beer brewery run by Mr Dowling who owned the Gloucester  Brewery, which was next door to The Eagle. By 1876 Mr William  Wood of Hurstpierpoint,  took over the building and converted it  to a grain warehouse.

Gloucester Rd