Richmond Street

The steepest hill in Brighton

By Jennifer Drury

1:5 gradient hill

With a gradient of 1:5, Richmond Street was once one of the steepest roads in Brighton and was lined with shops and public houses.  It had a wall across its width in Dinapore street which was designed to stop runaway carts. You can see the wall in the photograph below.

First tower blocks

Richmond Street is now restricted to its upper reaches only, the lowest part having been rebuilt as Richmond Parade. In the late 1950s the streets off the central part of Richmond Street were demolished and Brighton's first tower block flats were erected in 1961.

Then and now maps

The two maps below show the area around Richmond Street before and after the redevelopment scheme. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of Tim Carder, author of 'The Encyclopaedia of Brighton' 1990.

Click on the photograph below and it will enlarge in a new window.

Photo:Richmond Street

Richmond Street

From the private collection of Councillor Geoffrey Wells

Photo:Richmond Parade - Richmond Street continues after the tower blocks in the distance

Richmond Parade - Richmond Street continues after the tower blocks in the distance

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Richmond Street before redevelopment

Richmond Street before redevelopment

Reproduced with the kind permission of Tim Carder

Photo:Richmond Street after redevelopment

Richmond Street after redevelopment

Reproduced with the kind permission of Tim Carder

This page was added on 28/08/2010.
Comments about this page

Richmond Street is steep at the top, however probably the steepest street in Brighton, unless someone knows differently, is The Drove, between Dyke Road and its junction with Millers Road. I don't know the gradient, however if you walk up it, it feels like 1:1. In the 1960's The Drove was a 2-way road, I remember being in my mate's dad's old banger driving up with great difficulty, not able to make it, I think he had to reverse back down and go up Millers Road!

By Peter Groves (29/08/2010)

I always thought Albion Hill was the steepest when I was a kid. Used to think nothing of going up and down Sussex Street or Richmond Street. Was it Richmond or Albion that had the railing on the wall? Possibly to assist pedestrians in the icy weather.

By Iris (30/08/2010)

Try walking up Bear Road - if you can make it! Good luck!

By Julie (30/08/2010)

[1] Isn't The Drove in Preston and not Brighton? [2] Our family shop (Hays) is on the far right of the early picture

By Roy Grant (30/08/2010)

Roy, Preston is a parish within the city of Brighton! I believe it's actually been part of Brighton since it was incorporated into Brighton borough in 1873. So many other steep hills in Brighton, I can't be sure that The Drove is the steepest, it must be top or very near the top of the list! Others possibilities would include, Carlton Hill, Guildford Road, and many more!

By Peter Groves (05/09/2010)

I was born in Elmore Road, so growing up with hills at both ends of the road. The times I had to run down the hill to catch the bus for work- many times the bus conductor saw me running and waited for me, drivers wouldn't do that now, more likely to see you running and drive off, ha ha ha.happy days

By Joyce Blackman (07/09/2010)

In answer to Iris's question; the stone wall with green railings was on Richmond Street between Claremont Place and Dinapore Street. It was in place long before the motor car, and was put there supposedly to stop runaway horse and carts from careening down the hill out of control. In the centre of the railings was a large gas lamp with a ladder rest arm that pointed south, down Claremont Place towards the sea, I know because I used to shin up the lamp post as a kid and swing from the arm.

Editor's note: thanks so much for this clarification. Sounds like you have some great memories of the area. If you would like to share them further, please do contact me and I can publish them for you. You can contact me at jennifer@mybrightonandhove.org.uk

By C West (13/12/2010)

I lived in Ashton Street from 1946 till the slum clearance scheme. I went to Richmond St Infants School and remember when a road roller lost its brakes in Richmond Street and demolished railings which were installed across the street higher up.

By Bob Munro (13/02/2011)

I used to live in Tarner Road as a child and went to Sussex Street school so got quite used to going up & down this hill on a daily basis. We used to climb up the steps holding onto the railings of the Ebenezer Church and also shop at James'. I can also remember the chip shop - used to go and buy a bag of scraps!

By Jill Gold (Jenkins) (09/07/2011)

Between 1957-1961 I used to go in the little cafe run by a lady and her husband, she served and he did the cooking, on the south west corner of Richmond Street and Grand Parade, for lunch most days. Two courses for about 1/6d (7.5p), better than school dinners (went to Fawcett so very handy). Menu varied each day such as roast, meat pie, cottage pie, toad in the hole, with spuds and either cabbage, peas, butter beans (for a bit extra you could have three veg), and fish and chips on Fridays. Good old British grub like Mum's cooking. Any one got any pictures?

By Den Mackey (11/01/2014)

I have been researching my family history, according to the Post Office Directory and the 1871 Census, my Great Great Grandfather George Rose was a tailor and lived with his family at 1, Richmond Street.

By Helen Jewell (31/08/2014)

I would be very interested to know if the readers of this site consider Brighton to be the hilliest city in England. And if it's not Brighton, which other English city has the most steep gradients?

By Marisha Respinger (29/05/2017)

Park Hill, Southover Street and for a really long drag, Wilson Avenue although as a teenager walking up Sutherland Road and Queensway to the top was no fun after a night out in town. I remember riding a bike up Manor Hill being a bit of a battle. Regarding the most hilly town, the Norwood area must come close in Croydon/South London. South Norwood Hill (Up)  leads into Knights Hill (down) leads along to Horne Hill (up) Denmark Hill (down) - no fun on a bike.

By Barry (01/06/2017)

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