History of Hollingbury
Until the 1930s the area was open Downland with farms, small-holdings and piggeries on the lower western slopes of the great swelling hill that is topped with a fine Iron Age hillfort. The hillfort is often called Hollingbury Camp, though Castle is used in the 19th century.
During the early 20th century, housing crept along Ditchling Road from the Fiveways in fine half-timbered, pebbledashed, suburban style, reaching the southern boundary of the fort area, opposite the beeches of Hollingbury Woods, by 1939. From 1912 onwards a golf-course had grown along the road and surrounded the fort, adding to the middle class appearance of the area.
All this tranquillity ended with WWII and threats to the area came in 1945 with plans for a huge post-war development. Brighton desperately needed new housing and jobs. Hollingbury was chosen for the borough’s largest factory estate with the housing for the workforce close by. By 1950 the western slope was a well planned, well-built, vast council estate, which is what it is today, apart from the fact that many of the houses are owner-occupied (mine for instance!).
History of Coldean
The quiet downland valley on the fringe of the Stanmer estate contained a few flint farm buildings and was, until at least 1954, known as Cold Dean.
By World War II there was a straggle of suburban semis (Parkside) opposite Stanmer Park at the bottom of the flinty track that led up to Old Boat Corner, but it was the local authority postwar housing boom that saw tremendous change, plus a name change to Coldean.
Largely built in the late 1940s and into the 50s, there has been some infilling with later property, but overall this is a sympathetic housing spread. The Hikers Rest pub reflects the almost rural location of the estate.
History of Stanmer
In a word – lots! The estate from 1713-1947 was in the sole hands of the Pelham family, who after 1801 were Earls of Chichester.The Pelhams had the present house built between 1724-1727. It is a stone clad Palladian structure that is sadly now unused. The entire estate was sold to Brighton Corporation in 1947, after the Earls were badly hit by inheritance tax (three earls had died in 13 months).
Stanmer House was at one time used as offices for the early Sussex University administrative staff, but in spite of various schemes, it has lain unoccupied for nearly 30 years.
Until the ‘right-to-buy’ scheme of the Thatcher years, the entire village was in effect a council estate, albeit possibly the most charming one in the kingdom!