Did you know? - Interesting Facts
First public park
Preston Park was Brighton’s first public park and remains its largest park. It has numerous football pitches, tennis courts, bowlings greens, a cycling track and a cricket pitch, and is the scene for festivals and popular events.
Leviathan of the turf
The money to buy Preston Park came from a bequest by local bookmaker Billy Davies. A legendary figure in racing circles, he was known as the Leviathan of the Turf, because he would not refuse even the heaviest of bets and always paid out winnings promptly.
Garden for the blind
In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation year, a scented garden was laid out in Preston Park to the south side of Preston Manor. It was a gift to the blind from the Corporation and included a shelter (from the butchers), a round table (from the Round Table) and a dove cot (from the mayor) with barbary doves to ‘coo at the people using the garden.’
Gardens of greeting
Since the 1950s the flower beds alongside Preston Road have been used as ‘Gardens of Greeting: the planting scheme for each bed is designed by another town’s Park’s Department, in a competition to welcome visitors to Brighton.
Used as allotments
During World War Two, much of Preston Park was dug up and used as allotments to produce much needed food.