Preston Circus

Retrospective imagining

By Jennifer Drury

Photo:Undated image of Preston Circus

Undated image of Preston Circus

From the personal collection of Jennifer Drury

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.

Having recently acquired this image I thought I would share it with you.

I cross here on my regular visits from our house close by to London Road, to shop or visit the Open Market, and it is interesting to have in my mind's eye how the area used to look.

In fact, I find it impossible not to engage in this type of retrospective imagining as I travel around Brighton. I am afraid that 18 years of working on My Brighton and Hove has turned me into a regular history geek.

Oh well, I suppose there are worse things to be!

This page was added on 09/01/2018.
Comments about this page

What a fantastic photograph! Preston Circus has changed almost beyond recognition. Much of this has been demolished and rebuilt. The only recognizable building is the pub on the right (now the Joker). Thanks for posting, Jennifer. Don't worry about being a history geek. There are a lot of us out here who are similarly afflicted! :)

By Janet Beal (10/01/2018)

Such an interesting photo and easily recognised, even from my perspective in the late '40s and '50s. This is how my dad would have seen Preston Circus in his days as a young man, so nostalgic.

By Mick Peirson (10/01/2018)

Yes great view Jennifer, and not too much wrong with those houses that a bit of TLC would not have resolved, shame the area was razed to the ground! Even the old railway workshops would have converted into nice residential accommodation any slick estate agent would love to get their slippery mitts on!  I'll have a pint of mild in the Standford on the corner, please!

By Peter Groves (11/01/2018)

What a beautiful photo. As you say, Jennifer, it is impossible not to spend some time on this picture and imagine what things were like at the time it was taken. What an incredible set of buildings at the back. Presumably they are part of the station. It would be wonderful to be able to step into this shot and walk around for an hour or two!

By Philip Burnard (11/01/2018)

A nice side-profile of the old locomotive sheds.  I expect quite a few of the very many chimney pots have disappeared since this photo was taken. - The card says "Aeroplane View No.8".  Firstly, it seems to have been a pretty low-flying aircraft !  Secondly, what a wonderful postcard series this must have been.

By Sam Flowers (11/01/2018)

Agreed, a great image. Curiously, although much of the landscape here has been changed with urban renewal of various periods, there is still a 'ghost landscape ' visible today. If you walk up New England Rd and climb the stairway onto the Greenway it will take you over the New England Lower Goods bridge, visible top middle right, and into the area of the LBSCR works, these are the huge brick buildings on the horizon. Some of the original brickwork survives and some new constructions echo the right hand set of arches. At the New England steps there is an information board about the area. Worth a visit and walk through; you will end up near the station by the taxi and pick-up point.

By Geoffrey Mead (11/01/2018)

Love the photo, but confused. Is that the London Road where the horse is standing then? Any help on directions please.

By Sandra Bohtlingk (13/01/2018)

Yes, a great photo Jennifer. Wouldn't it be great to be able to wander straight across that junction now, without fear of being mown down by fast-moving traffic. I guess that must be the spire of St Luke's, Prestonville on the skyline to the right?

I agree with Sam about the low-flying aircraft. I suspect the photo was taken from the top of the Duke of York's cinema.

By Alan Hobden (13/01/2018)

Sandra, yes that is London Road or more properly Preston Rd.

By Geoffrey Mead (13/01/2018)

Not taken from the Duke of Yorks, probably taken from the building where the fire station now is.

By Terry Hyde (15/01/2018)

Yes, I'm sure you're right there, Alan. Rather than from a very low-flying 'plane, it looks as if the photo was really taken from the top of the Duke of York's cinema. Everything seems correctly positioned for that. No-one is looking up towards any 'plane either, which certainly would have grabbed the attention of at least some of the passers-by in those early days of aviation (early views by Aero Pictorial and Aerofilms often show people looking up) - I also agree, we can indeed see the tower and spire of St. Luke's, Prestonville. - I now think the impressive building rear left alongside the station canopy was the Goods Shed, as touched on by Geoff, not Locomotive Shed, as I incorrectly stated earlier.  Can anyone confirm whether or not the building level with it to the right (below St. Luke's) is the Locomotive Shed? (it is way too close to the station to be the Pullman Works).

By Sam Flowers (16/01/2018)

Oops ... Terry, I think you might be right.

By Sam Flowers (16/01/2018)

The camera taking this picture is looking straight ahead, if you stood on the roof of the Duke of Yorks & pointed the camera straight ahead you would be filming over the top of the Stanford arms that is on the right in this picture, the building that was there before the fire station was very tall. That's why I think it was taken from there.

By Terry Hyde (18/01/2018)

What a lovely picture. Much better than how it is now.

By Brian Hatley (19/01/2018)

I agree with you Terry. Looking at the photo again, it must surely have been taken from the top of the old Longhurst Brewery building. This photo is in the James Gray Collection (JG10a_116). A cropped view appears in the book Brighton Tramways by Robert J Harley, and is credited to Ray H Abraham.

By Alan Hobden (20/01/2018)

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