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Public gardens between the Steine and the Level

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) HISTORY: These central gardens were originally a single large, flat, open space which joined the Steine and the Level , and which was usually known as the North Steine. The area was used for cricket matches, fairs and celebrations following the enclosure of the Steine in 1787, but by the 1810s it had become a ‘place of shame and reproach to the town’. An improvement fund was started, to which the Prince Regent contributed £500, and the area was duly enclosed and planted with trees and shrubs, the gift of the Earl of Chichester. Known as the North Steine Enclosures, the southern part was formally opened in July 1818 and the northern part the following year, but only to local residents and subscribers.
In August 1849 the North Steine Enclosures were vested by their landowners in a body of trustees who, under the terms of the 1873 Brighton Borough Extension Act, were later appointed by the borough council. In 1883 the northern enclosure was opened to the public and an encircling path made, but the southern gardens were still reserved exclusively for subscribers until 1896. On 21 October 1896 both gardens were vested in the corporation by the trustees and were formally dedicated for public use by the mayor, Sir John Blaker, on the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, 22 June 1897. Many of the trees which had been planted in the 1810s were uprooted in the storm of October 1987. {7,14,15,33,36,126,311}

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.

Walkers in Victoria Gardens, c. 1905
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

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