Brighton and Hove Revisited

Lewes Road early 1900s

By Jennifer Drury

Unfortunately we do not have a definite date for this old photograph of the Lewes Road. It does look as if the walkers are in reasonably 'modern' dress, so definitely the early part of the 1900s?

Perhaps you know when the road was widened? If you can help with any clues as to a date, please leave a comment below.

Photo:Lewes Road: undated

Lewes Road: undated

From the private collection of Councillor Geoffrey Wells

Photo:Lewes Road photographed in 2010

Lewes Road photographed in 2010

Photo by Tony Mould

This page was added on 05/08/2010.
Comments about this page

This is a nice picture of the Brighton to Lewes line crossing Lewes road. In railway architecture this type of bridge is called a ‘Skew Bridge’ because the line passes diagonally to the road, but the arches are parallel to the road direction. Looking at the picture I’m surprised to see all the arches are open, I always thought the left arch had the bricks removed and (ugly) concrete reinforcement installed for the second carriageway. In the recent picture, you can just about see the bricked up right arch which I thought was originally installed when the bridge built in the 1840s. There is a picture of this bridge with the left and right arches bricked up in the Moulscoomb section of this website under the Hodshrove sub heading. The only thing I can think of for the arches to be bricked in is, as the railway company over the years built heavier and more powerful locomotives, the outer arches were strengthened to carry the extra weight.

By Michael Brittain (06/08/2010)

I was working for the Boro Surveyors Dept in 1963/65 when the largest project was the widening of the Lewes Road. Unfortunately I cannot confirm the actual date of completion. There must be a record kept in the Boro Suveyors archive.

By Ron Burtenshaw (06/08/2010)

Where in Lewes Road is this? If it is the turn for Moulesecoomb Way it wasn't like that in the 1940/50s. It was a two lane road.

By Joan Cumbers (11/08/2010)

Hi Mick, yes I see what you mean, how strange! I've looked at the photo on the Hodshrove page and it's difficult to comprehend the reason, but I think you are right, its to do with strengthening! Probably: 1) Old photo above, no additional strengthening required. 2) Old photo on Hodshrove page, strengthening required due to trains, so outer arches bricked up, but road not widened. 3) Requirement to add second carriageway, but maintain strength, so LH bricked up arch changed to concrete strengthening, with road passing through. 4) I suspect that the RH bricked up arch in the new photo still has the bricks, but hidden behind the tree!

By Peter Groves (19/08/2010)

I was born and raised in Ringmer Road and was still a young boy when this part of Lewes Road was widened and the tunnel re opened to accomodate the widening. I cannot recall the exact year but I was born 1958 and was older than 8 when it was done

By Martin Long (18/10/2010)

I concur with Martin Long's comment about the bridge. I can remember it being done, I think 1970 ish? but certainly between 1968 and 1976, I am sure.

By Geoff (22/04/2011)

We lived in railway cottages at the bottom of Moulescoomb Way for a while. Am I right in thinking they used to be a Sunday school for railway workers children? the only time the train woke us up was when they were not running.

By Roger Davis (20/10/2011)

Yes, Joan. Although the caption makes no reference to it, both photos are of the railway bridge over the Lewes Road, immediately north of Moulsecoomb Way. The car on the right in the later photo has travelled south down Lewes Road and is actually turning into Moulsecoomb Way.

By Alan Hobden (20/10/2011)

I have wonderful memories of these railway arches being a school girl in the early 50s at Moulsecoomb Senior Girls School. My chums and I loved to go at lunch breaks to the little Tuck Shop under the arches called Woolvens. Anyone else remember this little bit of heaven as we thought getting all our pennyworth of lemonade powder and licorice wood etc? A delightful little shop and always friendly.

By Sylvia Stickel (27/08/2013)

Yes, I remember 'Woolvens' but a bit later on. I have written a page about it only recently that you may find interesting. Here is the link... http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__10266.aspx

By Paul Clarkson (29/08/2013)

If my memory serves me right the road was put into dual carriageway from Bear Road to the University of Sussex in the early to mid-60s, however the road under the arch was a single carriageway road creating a bottleneck on the road until much later, say early to mid-70s.

The road also remained in this condition from the University of Sussex eastwards until a point somewhere around Housedean Farm until about 1977 about the same time that the Lewes bypass was opened.

By Chris Young (25/01/2014)

I agree with Chris. The duel carriageway was started in the 60s although I do not think it cut through Preston Barracks until the mid 70s. I joined the Army in 1970 and had my medical at Preston Barracks. The main part of the duel carriageway was built from Moulscoombe to Lewes in the 60s. I remember the flint cottages at the bottom of Coldean Lane and a friend of mine lived there. That was the mid 60s when they knocked the wall down. That was also when the cut through the centre of Falmer ruined it. A friend's mother did the last school crossing patrol and I remember seeing her photo in the Argus back then on her last day. I had left Brighton in the 70s when the bridge was complete in the mid 70s but I do remember the engineering equipment used to hold it up to keep the railway going. I believe that came from Scandinavia (or that was the rumour at the time).

By Ivor Williams (02/05/2014)

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