Introduction to Albion Hill

History, 1900s-1990

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

The steep slopes rising eastward from Grand Parade and Richmond Place reach 230 feet above sea-level near Windmill Terrace and make up the area known as Albion Hill. Developed with dense, poor quality housing as the town's population soared in the first thirty years of the nineteenth century, much of the district degenerated into appalling slums and the many back streets, such as Nelson Row and Carlton Row where herrings were smoked on 'dees' by the fishermen, were notorious for the deprivation of their inhabitants.

The worst slums persisted until the 1930s when the corporation embarked upon a large-scale redevelopment scheme in the Morley Street (formerly Sussex Street) area which resulted in the removal of many small houses and the opening of the Chest Clinic in 1936 (closed 1989), Municipal Market, and the School Clinic and Infant Welfare Centre in 1938. (During the war the latter received a direct hit in an air-raid, causing the death of three children.) Many residents were rehoused in the corporation's first block of flats, the four-storey Milner Flats which were erected on the site of Woburn Place in 1934 and named after Alderman Hugh Milner Black, a champion of corporation housing. The adjacent Kingswood Flats, named for Minister of Health Sir Kingsley Wood, were built in 1938 on the sites of Nelson Place and a Primitive Methodist chapel of 1856 in Sussex Street. The nearby Tarnerland council estate was developed on vacant land in 1931.

The war prevented any further redevelopment and the Albion Hill area suffered from a number of air-raids, especially in Dinapore Street, Sussex Terrace, the roads to the north of Edward Street, and at the School Clinic as noted above.

Clearances on the slopes to the north of Morley Street commenced in 1959, the narrow streets and courtyards being replaced by flats and grassed open spaces. The town's first 'tower-block' flats were erected on Albion Hill in 1961 and the area is now dominated by seven 11-storey blocks; Highleigh was the first, opened by the mayor, Alan Johnson, on 16 May 1961.

One of the principal thoroughfares of Albion Hill was Richmond Street, once the steepest road in the town (gradient 1:5) with a wall across its width at Dinapore Street to stop runaway carts. Formerly lined with shops and public houses, it is now restricted to its upper reaches only, the lowest part having been rebuilt as Richmond Parade. Chates Farm Court, opened on 26 February 1980 in an unusual and attractive tiered style, does indeed stand on the site of the Chate family's 1860s dairy farm on the northern side of Richmond Street; no.34a appears to have been connected with it. Lower down at the corner with Cambridge Street, where the bottom of the zig-zag path now lies, stood the Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, a Renaissance-style building opened on 13 April 1825. It was demolished in 1966 and the replacement, by C.J.Wood, now stands in Richmond Parade. Nearby, on the site of the Albion Brewery in Albion Street, is the Elim Church of the Four Square Tabernacle, opened in September 1988 when the congregation moved from Union Street.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

This page was added on 18/11/2006.
Comments about this page

My uncle Teddy Booth, his wife Margon and their four children, Jimmy born c1936, John born c1938, Anne born c1940 and David, lived in the second street on the left going up Richmond Street. I have for many years lost touch with them. Does anyone know of their whereabouts please?

By Glenys Roberts formerly Dyson (22/11/2006)

My Dad was born on Carlton Hill in 1935. (d.2004) Later, he lived on Albion Hill. When I was a little boy in the 60's, I remember visiting my Grandma at 111 Albion Hill, and going down the steep, back stairway with my Sister to pick Blackberries, on wasteland there.

By Kevin Bushby (22/03/2007)

My father, Raymond Aldridge, was brought up in 84 Albion Hill. He was born in 1927 and my grandparents had a dairy with a 'corner shop'. My grandfather worked seven days a week delivering milk; even Christmas Day. I can remember as a small child getting the trolley bus from the Steine to visit my grandparents. Does anyone remember my grandparents or my father? By the way, we are celebrating his 80th birthday next week!

By Jacqui Woollven (16/08/2007)

I remember Richmond St and Albion Hill well. My grandmother lived for many years at 27 Liverpool St until her death in 1953. I remember Chates Farm on the down side of Dinapore St and the barrier across Richmond St. The hill was so steep there was ridged pavements to stop you slipping and it semed as you were going up your nose could touch the ground. I notice the map includes the Spread Eagle pub where my father sometimes imbibed. On Richmond St between Liverpool and Dinapore Sts., was another pub called The Live and Let Live. I've never seen the name anywhere else.

By Joan Oram (07/07/2008)

This is for Jackui Woollven.  I lived very close to the dairy from 1950 onwards with my parents who had the grocers shop opposite the Montreal Arms and have very happy memories of the dairy and when you said Mrs Aldridge - what a memory blast! - it all came back to me.  We moved to 80 Albion Hill.  I am not sure who I remember.  I moved away in 1969.  And I can't remember when the dairy closed.  I remember the paper shop opposite our house with Mr Coleman.

By Alison Coates (07/06/2009)
I could write a book about Albion Hill and the fantastic characters who lived there at the time. My dad Jack Holmes was the licensee of the Spread Eagle for quite a few years. The blocks of flats were not built then, and Mr Harding had the grocer shop in Dinaport Street, as well as the sweet shop next to the pub. I note from other comments there was a pub called the Live and Let Live at the end of the stree by Milner Flats. I remember when you wanted to go down the cellar, a big wooden flap door in the middle of bar opened, no health and safety there. Ted used to go down these steepest of steps and carry the crates of beer up to the bar.
By Terie Hounsome (05/07/2009)

Please could anyone tell me about the Albion Hill Home during the 1920s. I understand it was a girls home run by nuns.

By Yvonne Pember (01/08/2009)

Alison, how lovely you remember my dear Grandmother. I cannot remember when my Grandfather gave up the dairy - I guess when he retired. My Father told me they rented the shop, dairy and premises until the 1960s when they got the chance to buy it. Many a Saturday we would get a trolley bus from Brighton to visit my Grandparents in the 60s. That was a treat as we had no trolley buses in Hove where we lived. My Father sold the shop etc., when my Grandmother died in 1977 and I believe in was turned into a house then.

By Jacqui (28/08/2009)

Hi all. Does anyone remember Bill & Gladys Jackson who lived in a converted corner shop in Albion Hill and Holland St. from 1954 to 1960? Also, can anyone remember the Smiths who lived in Holland St itself? I think the mother's name was Jean and she had kids; think one of them was Neville. Many thanks to anyone who may know either family, Sue

By Sue Jackson (24/10/2009)

Does anyone remember a pub in Albion Street now called The Lounge? I think it may well have been called The Stables or just The Albion.

By Stellar Andrews (18/08/2010)

Yes, when the pub was first built it was a Tamplins pub called the Stables.

By Terrie Hounsome (12/09/2010)

I lived at no 23 Albion Hill from 1950 when I was born until 1969 when my parents sold up and emigrated to Australia. No 23 was on the corner of Newark Place and Albion Hill, I remember the Newmans living at no 24 and the Johnsons at no 26. I went to St Lukes from 1954 until 1961 then Fawcett School from 1961 to 1965, the last year in Mr Kenwick's class. On the opposite corner of Newark Place was a sweet shop but I can't remember their names but they also had a greengrocers in Dinapore Street if anyone knows their name.

By Cliff Pittam (17/02/2012)

I have remembered the name of the people who owned the sweet shop on the corner of Newark Place and Albion hill and also the green grocers in Dinapoor street: they were Mr and Mrs Upton.

By Cliff Pittam (19/02/2012)

I am the great-great-grand-daughter of William Chate, the owner of Chates Farm. He was married to Jane Potter. They lived in the house that is still there at 34 Richmond Street, apparently. Their daughter, Annie Chate had a child called Mabel in 1884 by her first husband Osmond Morrish that William and Jane ended up taking care of. Anyone with any more info about the farm, I'd love to hear about it. Annie married again and had three more children, one being my grandfather. Thanks 

By Jamie Griffiths (06/06/2012)

I was interested to read the comments from Terrie regarding the Spread Eagle pub.  I spent happy times there with Terri when we worked at the bus company (with Barbara and Sonia, the 4 of us used to go to the Regent). Your dad Terrie wouldn't let us two go in the bar! Happy days. Would love to be in touch.

By Ann Lawrence (09/07/2014)

I was wondering if anyone remembers the Brown family who lived above the shop on the corner of Albion Hill and Jersey street. There were two girls and a boy. One girl was Christine and was in my class at Pelham School for girls.

Eunice Pike

By Eunice Pike (24/08/2014)

For Ann Lawrence, love to get in touch terriehounsome@gmail.com.

By Terrie Hounsome (05/10/2014)

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