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.
The steep slopes rising eastward from Grand Parade and Richmond Place reach 230 feet above sea-level near Windmill Terrace and make up the area known as Albion Hill. Developed with dense, poor quality housing as the town’s population soared in the first thirty years of the nineteenth century, much of the district degenerated into appalling slums and the many back streets, such as Nelson Row and Carlton Row where herrings were smoked on ‘dees’ by the fishermen, were notorious for the deprivation of their inhabitants.
The worst slums persisted until the 1930s when the corporation embarked upon a large-scale redevelopment scheme in the Morley Street (formerly Sussex Street) area which resulted in the removal of many small houses and the opening of the Chest Clinic in 1936 (closed 1989), Municipal Market, and the School Clinic and Infant Welfare Centre in 1938. (During the war the latter received a direct hit in an air-raid, causing the death of three children.) Many residents were rehoused in the corporation’s first block of flats, the four-storey Milner Flats which were erected on the site of Woburn Place in 1934 and named after Alderman Hugh Milner Black, a champion of corporation housing. The adjacent Kingswood Flats, named for Minister of Health Sir Kingsley Wood, were built in 1938 on the sites of Nelson Place and a Primitive Methodist chapel of 1856 in Sussex Street. The nearby Tarnerland council estate was developed on vacant land in 1931.
The war prevented any further redevelopment and the Albion Hill area suffered from a number of air-raids, especially in Dinapore Street, Sussex Terrace, the roads to the north of Edward Street, and at the School Clinic as noted above.
Clearances on the slopes to the north of Morley Street commenced in 1959, the narrow streets and courtyards being replaced by flats and grassed open spaces. The town’s first ‘tower-block’ flats were erected on Albion Hill in 1961 and the area is now dominated by seven 11-storey blocks; Highleigh was the first, opened by the mayor, Alan Johnson, on 16 May 1961.
One of the principal thoroughfares of Albion Hill was Richmond Street, once the steepest road in the town (gradient 1:5) with a wall across its width at Dinapore Street to stop runaway carts. Formerly lined with shops and public houses, it is now restricted to its upper reaches only, the lowest part having been rebuilt as Richmond Parade. Chates Farm Court, opened on 26 February 1980 in an unusual and attractive tiered style, does indeed stand on the site of the Chate family’s 1860s dairy farm on the northern side of Richmond Street; no.34a appears to have been connected with it. Lower down at the corner with Cambridge Street, where the bottom of the zig-zag path now lies, stood the Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, a Renaissance-style building opened on 13 April 1825. It was demolished in 1966 and the replacement, by C.J.Wood, now stands in Richmond Parade. Nearby, on the site of the Albion Brewery in Albion Street, is the Elim Church of the Four Square Tabernacle, opened in September 1988 when the congregation moved from Union Street.
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.