Side streets and Open Market

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.

c) SIDE STREETS and the OPEN MARKET : The initial development of the London Road area came in the 1810s, generally to the south of the Open Market, but further development occurred in the 1840s and ’50s following the arrival of the railway; the busy shopping thoroughfare of Baker Street was developed at this later time {83}. Queen’s Place retains a row of listed, cobble-fronted houses of the 1810s, nos.4-9; several have figureheads above the doorways, and no.9 has a royal coat of arms in plaster at the side.
Oxford Street was the original site of the Open Market which began in 1919 as an unorganised collection of barrows mainly owned by ex-servicemen. They were soon moved to the central rose-walk of the Level, but following a campaign by their ‘leader’, Harry Cowley, a permanent site for the mobile barrows opened on the gardens of the cobble-fronted cottages of Marshall’s Row on 19 November 1926. The cottages were demolished in 1938, and the present permanent retail market with forty-two stalls was opened on 7 January 1960 by the Duke of Norfolk. No.26 Oxford Street, which forms an attractive row with the adjacent nos.27-29, was built in 1815 and is also cobble-fronted with a bow window. The small alleyway beside no.25 formerly led to the small houses of Brunswick Court, while the site of the twenty or so houses of Oxford Court, once known as the ‘black spot of Brighton’, is now a car-park; a slaughterhouse once stood on the western side. Oxford Street Chapel, built in 1890 by Parker Anscombe in Renaissance style, has been the Church of Christ since about 1918. The main post-office was relocated in 1967; since 1929 it had stood near the corner of London Road. {44,48a,62,83,291,311}
Development of the hillside to the west of London Road with dense terraced housing was also stimulated from the 1840s by the railway. Clearances commenced in 1962 in Blackman, Whitecross and Wood Streets , and further areas were swept away in 1968 when three blocks of flats opened in Wellington Road to accommodate many of the residents who had to be rehoused. Several of the cleared sites still await redevelopment after twenty years, and the only dwellings between Trafalgar Street and New England Road are now the flats of Theobald House and Mayflower Square. The 530-space London Road car-park opened in December 1976, and the nearby New England House, an eight-storey block of factory units which overlooks London Road, opened on 17 January 1963 with eighteen firms in residence. In 1989 plans were announced for the vacant sites together with the adjacent railway land, to include housing, offices, shops, a superstore, a public square (New England Square) in front of St Bartholomew’s Church , and a relief road for London Road and Preston Circus, running from Cheapside to Preston Road . {123}
Nearby, on the northern side of New England Road, stands Christ Church Evangelical Chapel, built in 1871 by J.G.Gibbins in Early English style. From 1920 it was a mission hall of St Saviour’s Church, and from 1963 an Elim Free Church and Evangelical centre before closing in August 1988. {62,83,275a}.
At the western corner of Ann Street and St Peter’s Street stood London Road Chapel, opened on 25 July 1830 for the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion. A small, classical building by William Simpson, it was enlarged in 1857 by Thomas Simpson, and in 1881 became a Congregational chapel, but it closed in about 1961 and became a warehouse. The building was demolished in March 1976. {62}

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.

Comments about this page

  • My ggg grandparent, James Richard Henley and Eliza Rushbrook lived at no. 9 Oxford Street in 1861. At that time, it was The Volunteer public house. Any information on the street or on my grandparents would be appreciated. Thank you.

    By Lisa Varty (08/10/2008)
  • Many times I remember going to the markets with my mother to buy vegeatables and fish. At London Road end of the markets we would watch horses being shoed.

    By Eunice Pike (14/06/2009)
  • I used to go to Oxford Street to collect mum’s family allowance when I was quite young.

    By Eunice Pike (14/06/2009)
  • I can remember as a child going to Pip’s ice cream parlour in Baker Street. We could also buy liquorice wood from the same shop.

    By Eunice Pike (14/06/2009)
  • I remember Miss Pips at Pip’s Ices. Lovely little old lady (Italian I think) with a wrinkly face and kind eyes. Sometimes we’d get a free ice cream if we hung around for long enough.

    By Steve Howat (02/06/2011)
  • I’m sure I remember a home brew shop 70s -80s in Oxford St and the Bat and Ball pub.

    By David Hunt (14/02/2012)
  • I think Pips was in Oxford St not Baker St, next door to Strudwick’s cycle shop.

    By David Hunt (14/02/2012)
  • My granddad’s father owned a butchers shop in Oxford St during the war up to Dec 1962. He was Charlie Smith and my mum Joan and uncle Wally worked for him. It had very steep steps at the back, which the previous owner fell down and died. The shop was on the same side as the old post office, nearly opposite Pip’s.

    By Christine Cozens (28/07/2013)
  • In the 5’s the Open Market was wonderful….we always stopped at the Blacksmith’s (never forget that smell!) and were sometimes lucky(!) to watch a horse being shod. Particularly remember Uncle(!) Joe on the Fresh Fish stand….happy memories.

    By Pamela-Ann Nothoff (was Bryant) (21/08/2013)
  • My great grandfather lived at 26 Oxford Street, the flint cottage, from 1891 ’til his death in 1938. He raised 11 children there.

    By Jennifer Price (08/09/2014)
  • Does anyone know why there is a royal coat of arms on the side wall of 9 Queens Place?

    By Suzanne Hinton (11/10/2015)

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