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.

Comments about this page

  • I remember the ‘Dig for Victory’. I can still see the place whre there was a large area of Preston Park where vegetables were grown. It was close to the park clock tower. I often thought when I walked past them ‘What do the German pilots think they are?’. They must have looked like a gigantic quilt belonging to a local giant. Perhaps thats why they `B……d` off quick after seeing them. I wonder if you can still see the markings where they were – like in an aerial photo?

    By Albert V.C. Roberts (06/02/2006)
  • Why has the Preston Manor walled garden in the North West corner of the park not been included in this page? It is one of the hidden treasures of Brighton; but treasure it certainly is. The garden was re-opened a few years ago after re-vamping and replanting with a fantastic collection of Edwardian shrubs and perennials which make it a delight to visit at any time of year but especially in the summer when it is a riot of colour. The select cognoscenti who regularly go there for a quiet rest on one of the benches will testify to a “secret garden” feel to the place. A visit is guaranteed to lift the spirits.

    By Marguerite Wright (14/01/2007)
  • I guess that Preston Manor’s walled garden is not referred to here as this is about Preston Park, and the Manor has its own page, Marguerite. (You can just enter ‘Preston Manor’ in the search box at the top of the page). Alan

    By Alan Hobden (25/01/2010)
  • I remember the beautiful flower beds running along the roadway beside London Road. I think national town councils competed as they would have a plaque saying things like “Birmingham Corporation”. The trees near here were Dalek-shaped, and the path between the tennis courts was heavily planted so it was scented and a riot of colour.

    By Nickie Preston (29/03/2013)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *