Originally owned by V.P. Bennett-Stanford
In the 1870s Preston Park was opened to the public on Sundays by its owner V.P. Bennett-Stanford, who offered to sell it to the Corporation in 1876. At the time it was refused, but the 67 acres of meadowland were eventually bought in 1883 for £50,000 and the park was informally opened to the public.
Formally opened in 1884
Preston Park was then landscaped, enclosed by high fencing, and formally opened by the mayor on 8 November 1884. Preston Park was the Corporation’s first, and remains Brighton’s largest park. Throughout the early twentieth century, it became the setting for fetes, fire brigade drills, circuses and agricultural shows.
Remodelled in 1928
In 1928 the park was substantially remodelled and the railings removed. New entrances were provided, featuring dolphin lamp standards. On the death of Ellen Stanford in 1932, the gardens of Preston Manor (including Ellen’s Edwardian garden) were incorporated.
Trees lost in the Great Storm
Unfortunately many of the trees in the avenue known as the Gallops, along with other park trees, were blown down in the 1987 hurricane. Nowadays the Park has numerous football pitches, tennis courts, bowling greens, a cycling track and a cricket pitch, and is the scene for festivals and popular events.