History notes and photo gallery

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.

a) HOLLINGBURY HILL and CASTLE: The hill which lies to the north of the town between the London Road and Lewes Road valleys is known as Hollingbury . Reaching 584 feet above sea-level, it enjoys the widest panorama in the town, and the walker will be rewarded on a very clear day with views that extend to the New Forest, the Isle of Wight, Chanctonbury Ring, the North Downs, Hastings, and of course the spectacular Brighton townscape below. Visitors should be aware, however, that there are only two rights-of-way over the golf-course: one leads from Lynchet Close , Hollingdean , due north via the Iron Age camp to the ’39-acre field’ car-park in Ditchling Road ; the second leads from Ditchling Road , to the north of Woodbourne Avenue, to the camp. Most of the downland estate, then in the parish of Patcham , was purchased by the corporation in March 1901 for £25,000 {305}.
The summit of the hill is crowned by Hollingbury Castle Camp , an early Iron Age hill fort dating from the sixth century to about the middle of the second century B.C.; it has been the property of the corporation since June 1903. Although commonly referred to as such, it certainly never was a castle. It is, however, a scheduled ancient monument and covers approximately nine acres in a rough square about 600 feet across, with gateways to east and west through the still-evident ramparts. The camp was excavated by Herbert Toms in 1908, Cecil Curwen and the Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society in 1931, and by John Holmes in 1967; they have shown that the ramparts were defended by wooden barricades, and have also discovered the sites of wooden huts. {260}

b) HOLLINGBURYPARK: Hollingbury golf-course covers most of the area of HollingburyPark, about 240 acres. This municipal course was laid out with nine holes in 1907 for £460, and was formally opened by the mayor, John Roberts, on 11 September 1908. The first two holes were made where the football pitches now lie alongside Ditchling Road , with the present tennis pavilion as the clubhouse, but the course was extended to eighteen holes in 1910 and was completely remodelled in 1936 by Charles Hawtree; the length is now 6,502 yards. The second clubhouse, a wooden building at Lower Roedale, was originally presented to the town by Queen Mary as a workshop for the disabled during the First World War and stood in the Royal Pavilion grounds; it was later purchased by Arthur and Benjamin Saunders and presented to the golf club. A new clubhouse opened at Upper Roedale in April 1987. Much of the adjacent woodland, planted in the first half of the nineteenth century, was destroyed in the storm of October 1987. {76,123,126,218,221}

c) HOLLINGBURY HOUSING ESTATE: The southern slopes of Hollingbury were developed principally in the 1890s and 1900s, and several roads in the Fiveways and Hollingdean areas, a public house in Roedale Road, and the borough ward for the Hollingdean area are named ‘ Hollingbury ‘. The Hollingbury housing estate, however, was developed on the north-western slopes of the hill post-war, and the two areas are sometimes confused. It is the town’s largest post-war council estate, and was developed on land principally acquired in November 1909. The first houses were erected in 1946 at Midhurst Rise and Petworth Road, and building continued until 1964. {83,276,305}
Hollingbury Methodist Church , Lyminster Avenue, was opened in September 1952. The branch library opened on 27 April 1962 in a small, pre-fabricated building which originally opened in September 1950 as the CountyOak public house; the new CountyOak opened in March 1961 {123}. Carden Park occupies about twelve acres and was laid out in the 1950s, but tennis courts and swings were lost when the KTM (now FMT) factory was extended in 1968. The corporation then added part of the adjoining downland to compensate, but part was again taken for the construction of the £350,000 Carden Community Centre which was paid for by the Asda company; it was officially opened on 28 April 1988 {123,126}.

d ) HOLLINGBURY INDUSTRIAL ESTATE : The Hollingbury Industrial Estate was developed by the corporation on eighteen acres around Crowhurst Road from 1950; the first factories were occupied by Ogdens bakery and Underwood Elliott Fletcher typewriters. By 1956, several other engineerings firms were established including CVA tools (later Kearney and Trecker Marwin (KTM) and now Flexible Manufacturing Technology). Underwoods were subsequently taken over by Creeds, ITT and STC, but their factories closed in the mid 1980s, part of a recession that saw employment on the estate fall from 8,000 to under 1,000 by 1980. However, the Enterprise Estate, a collection of small factory units, opened in October 1985. The Asda superstore, with its attractive entrance hall reminiscent of the CrystalPalace, was designed by APP Brighton and opened on 9 November 1987 on the site of an STC factory; it won a council planning award in 1989. An MFI superstore, also designed by APP, opened nearby on 28 September 1989. The Brighton bypass, scheduled for completion in 1995, will have an interchange with Carden Avenue and Crowhurst Road. {83,123}

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.

Comments about this page

  • Aghast to see the Asda photo. After all the delightful past memorabilia this was a shock to the senses. Can’t imagine where they have built it and don’t wish to know.
    This picture of the Library is wonderful. I used to get off the 26 bus here to walk to my house.
    I still remember the old baker’s shop where we would buy our lardy cakes, Battenburgs and an iced bun for school break.
    Also the lovely fish and chip shop for Friday night suppers.
    The butchers and the greengrocers and the newsagents where I’d buy my weekly girly magazine and two pennyworth of sweets.
    I used to have six old pence for pocket money. Two for a magazine, two for sweets and two pence to save.
    I’m sure money had a better value then.

    By Sandra (03/12/2008)
  • I remember going to the youth group held here each week. We used to put on shows of dancing and singing for familes. Mr & Mrs Payne were in charge and a lot of photos were taken, does anyone have any photos taken of the children singing and dancing. Would have been in the late 60s early 70s.

    By Angela Horton (23/12/2008)
  • I was an enthusiastic user of this library in the 50’s and 60’s living at Hartfield Avenue. If only I had the first (?) hardback editions of the James Bond books I read with great enthusiasm then. This library was the original County Oak pub I believe.

    By Chris Spicer (12/12/2009)
  • My husband Chris Humphrey-Smart worked on the foundations for the Asda Supermarket as a sub contractor, with his son Micheal Humphrey.

    By Trish Humphrey-Smart (27/01/2011)
  • I recall the first factory put up was “Underwoods” who made typewriters. The 46 trolleybus stopped and turned round at the Carden Avenue end of the road. I used to catch the 46 to school (Brighton Junior Tech School for Building & Engineering) known as “the buildings” in Hanover Road from the bottom of Braybon Avenue, Patcham. I changed onto a 38 or 44 trolleybus at Preston Circus and got off at Elm Grove. Much of the early parts of Hollingbury Estate were built by German prisoners of war who had a round black identification patch on their backs. Some weren’t repatriated ’till 1947/8.

    By John Snelling (17/05/2011)
  • We lived in the house two above the chimney of the caretakers house, the right side of the house with a white stripe along the upper floor. Number 67 Crabtree Avenue.

    By Brian Baldock (18/05/2011)
  • I moved into the house second in from the left in 1947 at a time when German prisoners of war were still laying the roads. At one end of our road was a small pig farm, and the owner came round collecting vegetable peelings and other consumable waste in swill bins to feed them. Access to the nearest shops and the only bus service into town was over a style my father built across the back fence, around a ploughed field and down a steep hill to the bus number 5 that had its terminus in Patcham’s Mackie Avenue. For about a year, a barbed wire coil ran along the track that was a continuation of Ladies Mile to Stanmer Woods. I still recall the field being ploughed and harvested using a traditional horse rather than a tractor. A great gang hide-out we kids found was inside the old flint barn at the far end of Mackie which was then full of straw and interwoven sheep fencing. We gained access by rolling under the gap at the bottom of the huge barn doors. The barn was converted into a most desirable residence later on. Almost all of the children were roughly about the same age. I wonder whatever happened to the Petworth Road Walls, Dukes, Edmonds, Funnells, Newmans and Townsends?

    By Roy Grant (29/08/2012)
  • Hi Roy, I lived at 15 Petworth Road; after buying the house from my mother and father-in-law, they had it from 1983? till we moved in 2002, and we moved out 2006. Which end of the road was the pig farm? We at 15 lived in the cul de sac at the end, it had a massive garden. Also our house was meant to be a police house for the area. Can you confirm this in any way? Hollingbury is a lovely area to live and we still live here, now in Rotherfield Crescent. I love hearing all the stories of the area. Thanks

    By Natasha Humphrey (02/09/2012)
  • Hi Natasha. The pig farm was on a strip of land behind the two houses at right angles to the road at the cul-de-sac end. The Edmonds and Dukes were the first families to live in those houses. I recall the Edmonds left quite early by taking advantage of the £10 tickets to take the entire family to relocate to Australia. To my knowledge that was never intended to be a police house though, the Police house was just before Midhurst Rise in Carden Avenue. If you look at the James Gray collection of pictures of the area taken about 1948, (http://regencysociety-jamesgray.com/volume20/source/jg_20_166.htm) you will note the bus number 35 at its terminus at the bottom of Midhurst and what I contend to be a seven year old me pushing my bicycle up the hill from the shops.

    By Roy Grant (04/09/2012)
  • Yes Chris you are spot on in that the library did used to be the first County Oak pub and my in-laws John and Peggy Westacott were the tenants and they left a pub in London called The Golden Lion. My father-in-law was an ex Coldstream Guard RSM and when he called last orders you finished your drink and went home. Happy Days.

    By Gerry Millard (25/08/2013)
  • Roy you will not remember me but l remember you, on the occasion that you came back to Carden school and sang on the school stage as you had got into a West End show which l think was ‘The King and l’ with Valerie Hobson and Yule Bryner and you sang a song from the show. The Newmans of Petworth are still active in Brighton and l worked with Tony for 40 years- both sisters are in Brighton but the older brother Michael went to New Zealand and as far as l know he is still there. The Williams family are again scattered around Brighton but my mate was Alec and he emigrated to Canada in the late 60s but he visits now and again. Hope this was helpful.

    By Gerry Millard (26/08/2013)
  • I used to live in Mayfield Crescent, built about 1935 and I recall Hollingbury estate being built such as the POWs making shoes and slippers out of string and flogging them. An earth-mover pulled by a bulldozer toppling over climbing a mini-mountain it had created. Before the 46 trolleybus one would catch the 35 which went up Braybon Avenue. It use to stop at the end of Greenfield Crescent then shudder and shake as it climbed the steepest bit in 1st gear with a crash gearbox! My wife lived in Carden Avenue nearly opposite “The Snipe”; they were some of the 1st council houses built.

    By John Snelling (08/09/2013)
  • Hi,I just came across this site and heard about Petworth Road ,as I lived there at number 16 for 6 years ,it was nice to hear all the memories before that in lyminster ave.

    By Joan Downs (21/12/2017)
  • I also live in petworth road no1 moved in 6th July 46. We were a large family 3 girls 2 boys, I remembered the winter of 46 snow up to top of front door I went to Carden
    avenue school when it first opened and then to warmdean road school till I left in 56. I remember the shops at the bottom of midhurst rise especially nicolls their Lardy cakes were to die for. I fell in love with a beautiful girl from midhurst rise with wonderful red hair Mary but was too shy to tell her.

    By Richard Wickham (22/11/2020)
  • Hi everyone,
    Im looking for News and pictures of the park in Lyminster Avenue on the corner of Crabtree Avenue and Wilmington Way before the houses were built on it. Children used to play there and I was one of them,
    It was on the waste ground next to Hollingbury Methodist Church.
    Thank you.

    By Mr D Walton (05/11/2021)

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