Welcome to Preston

Hello! My name is Jacqueline Pollard and I am your editor for Preston.  I have lived in Brighton for over 50 years and moved into the Preston area in the 1970s.

The development of Preston
Originally a small downland village consisting of four streets, Preston has been developed into a unique Victorian suburb on the eastern slopes of Preston Road. Fortunately the original village on the western side of Preston Road still maintains some of its original features.

How my interest began
My interest in old Preston started when I began researching the history of my house in Preston Drove. I discovered my house had been built on farmland once owned by the Stanford family of Preston Manor. Before the 1870s Preston had been a quiet village detached from its more vibrant neighbour, Brighton. With the development of the Stanford land Preston village was linked to Brighton for the first time, although it was only officially joined to Brighton in 1928. However, many residents still refer to the original area as ‘the village’.

Joining the Preston and Old Patcham Society
I joined the Preston and Old Patcham Society where members had a much wider knowledge of the area and a passion for preserving the wonderful environment of Preston. For seven years I represented the society as the Planning Applications Secretary for the Preston area. This involved looking at all the planning applications for the Preston conservation area and attending the Conservation Area Advisory Group (CAAG) meetings at the Town Hall every three weeks. This can be a thankless task and often applications were approved that many thought detrimental to the area. However, some alterations were prevented or modified which helped to preserve some of the special qualities of the area.

I have since been involved in the production of three books about the Preston area and have a collection of maps, postcards and pictures showing the development and changes that have occurred.

Can you help?
If you have any queries about this area, or can add any information, photos or memories, please send My Brighton and Hove a message by clicking on the ‘make a comment’ link at the bottom of this page.

Comments about this page

  • Jacqueline, is there any chance of having a recent photo of St. Peter’s Church, Preston included in this section? It’s quite special to me as my parents were married there and I was christened there. Although I do have an old photo (showing the gate), I would be interested in how it looks today.

    By Jean (New Zealand) (09/05/2005)
  • Hello Jean: I have many older pictures of St. Peters but I will take a picture of the church as it is now and put it on the site.

    By Jacqueline Pollard (28/05/2005)
  • Many thanks, Jacqueline – look forward to seeing it.

    By Jean (02/06/2005)
  • Hi Jacqueline: Just wondering if you’ll be able to get the photo of St. Peter’s, Preston on to the site soon? Many thanks.

    By Jean (New Zealand) (04/12/2005)
  • In 1943/4 my brother and I were placed in a home called Ravenscourt. It was on the Preston Road I think and was a social services type of place. Can anybody help me?

    By Bernard Hill (17/02/2006)
  • Does anybody know of a house in the Preston area which was known as ‘The Grange’? I am trying to find out who may have lived there during the early 1900s?

    By Yvonne Stevens (17/04/2006)
  • Was interested that you lived in Preston Drove. I lived at number 159 [the house was called Sitiwan] in 1941 and was there for the duration of the war and afterwards. The garden at the rear was long and narrow and had an entrance in Hythe Road. Blakers Park was only over the road and us children had a lovely park to play in. In the house was a larder built into the back garden where we used to take shelter during the air raids.

    By Jennifer Goddard (nee Norrell) (04/02/2007)
  • Has anyone any photo’s of Lovers Walk? My great grandmother lived at number 4 in 1928. I’ve been round to take a photo but it has been demolished and offices are in its place.

    By Josie Campbell (10/03/2007)
  • I was wondering what anyone can tell me about Hampstead Road, Preston between about 1908-1938. My grandfather was born at 45 Hampstead Road and lived there until his marriage. His father worked at the locomotive works.
    I need to find out what schools or church he was likely to have attended, and where those records would now be. I know he was in the local boy’s brigade as I have a photo of him winning a football trophy. Father and son were both called William Alexander. I would be grateful for any pointers that would help fill out the “Preston Connection”!

    By jill alexander (13/01/2008)
  • I lived at the top of Hampstead Road. My house was actually on the corner of Compton Road but our back garden looked straight down Hampstead to the station. Our family moved in in 1939 and my older brothers and I went to Stanford Road School as did the other children down Hampstead. My brothers were also in the Boys’ Brigade, the group attached to Clermont Church, where I was married. I believe there was another B.B. at the Church of the Good Shepherd just above us on Dyke Road. There were several families that I know were there long before we moved in to Compton Road. There was a couple, Mr and Mrs Wedge, they were halfway down Hampstead. Evelyn who did the baker’s round lived closer to the top. She lived with a Miss ? who served in the dairy at the very top corner. Miss Pernel who owned the haberdashery, next door to the dairy, which was established before 1939. Quite a few of the occupants of both Hampstead Road and Compton Road worked on southern railway as did my father. Hope this helps.

    By Diana Anstead (nee Bowyer), in Canada (19/02/2008)
  • My grandfather used to tell me a story about using some freezers or cold stores as shelter from bombs when he was a boy – this must have been in the First World War as he was born in 1908 and lived in Hampstead Road until the 1920s. Does anybody know anything about the truth of this? Was Preston bombed in the First World War anyway? If this cannot be substantiated I can only assume he was getting confused and that it was the Second World War and the cold stores were somewhere in Portslade or Hove where he worked.  Perhaps somebody knows something that would make sense of this?

    By Jill Alexander (23/05/2008)
  • Hi Jacqueline, I’m very interested in a Margaret Chandler who was living in 1 Clerment Road, Preston, Brighton when she died 23/3/1915. She was the widow of Samuel Chandler a solicitor.
    She was at the time living with a great nephew Guy E.H. Peskett. Margaret was born in 1822, Petersfield as Margaret Whicher, married firstly to a Joseph Charles Shebbeare then to Samuel Chandler of Basingstoke Hampshire. My interest in her is that the town of Margaret River in Western Australia where I live was named after her. I know it has been many years since she died but seeing you have been in the area for 50 years there is a possibility you may have heard of her or Mr Peskett.

    By Johan Alferink (04/12/2008)
  • I am also interested in Margaret Whicher and for the same reason – that the town of Margaret River in WA was said to have been named after her. Her father was James Whicher, a surgeon from Petersfield and I think it was his sister Alice who married Dr Peskett of the East India Company’s Bengal Establishment. I’ve just begun trying to find out what happened to her and I think Johan Alferink might be able to tell me quite a bit about her. My email address is willmott@iinet.net.au and I would be delighted to hear from Johan.

    By Jennifer Willmott (22/01/2009)
  • Hi Preston, my name is Colin Herriett originally from Tunbridge Wells and now living in West Cornwall. I have been trying to trace my family tree and have gone back as far as John Herriett, born Preston 1821 who then moved to Worth near Crawley where he married a Surrey girl which eventually led to me and my children. If there are any local historians in Preston who may have come accross the names of the Herrietts I would love some more info on them.
    Warm Regards to all who read this,

    By Colin Herriett (20/02/2009)
  • Hi Jacqueline, in regards to my query re Margaret Chandler 4/12/2008. I would like to add that Margaret was living at No 1 Clermont Rd, Preston with her nieces Blanche and Laura Peskett who were spinsters and owners of No1.
    Blanche died in 1924 at Preston, Brighton and Laura died in 1934 at 16 Knoyle Rd, Brighton.
    Laura’s death certificate was signed by her nephew W Valentine Peskett.
    I wonder if W Valentine Peskett is still alive or any of his descendants, because I would dearly love to contact them.
    My Email is gnarawary4@bigpond.com

    By Johan Alferink (01/04/2009)
  • I am tracing my family tree. My great grandparents came to Brighton from Hastings between 1903-1911. Charles William Chapman was a tailor (although his real name was Piza or Pizer and he was Russian). My dad thought he had clothes shops in the area. The last address i have for them is 18 Mafeking Road, Preston, Brighton. Any help or information would be apreciated.

    By Lisa Blakeley (26/04/2009)
  • Looking for the Jaqueline Pollard who ran a family research session at Hove Library acouple of years ago, and helped me locate a Barbara Regan (nee Simmons). I lost all e-mails due PC crash and need to thank her and ask for a further consultation.

    By Ray Scott (02/05/2010)
  • Hi there, my partner and I are currently living at 85 Preston Drove opposite Jenny’s fish and chip shop. We are wondering if anyone might know the history of this flat that used to be a house? we think the downstairs flat used to be maybe servants’ quarters, we have had some paranormal activity going on,nothing nasty and we would love to know more

    By Louise (08/11/2010)
  • Hi Louise. Think a friend of mine used to own one of those houses – I am seeing him tomorrow and will ask if he knows anything about the area. In all probability I should think most of the houses round there had some sort of link to the loco works. My grandad lived in Hampstead Road and certainly almost all of that area was loco workers.

    By Jill Alexander (11/03/2011)
  • Hello everyone – today we have posted 42 images of Preston on our flickr stream. These include digitised photos from our archives and prints and paintings too: http://bit.ly/frjK99

    By Brighton Museums (21/04/2011)
  • Hi can anyone tell me anything about the history of the Station Hotel pub on Hampstead Road next to the station please? i.e landlords/ladies, deaths etc., dating back as far as anyone knows. Am very interested in the history of this pub so any feedback would be good, thanks.

    By Cayla (19/07/2011)
  • My Nan lived at 46 Middle Road, Craven Cottage, from well before WWII and maybe WWI, my Mum and Uncles as well. My Grandfather was killed in France in WWI so all I have seen of him is a couple of photos. These was a large one of him in uniform holding a Lee Enfield rifle which used to hang in the dining room. After my Mum and brother (then 1 year old ) were bombed out of Rose Hill Terrace by the Luftwaffe they returned for a while to Middle Road. Nan died in the early 60s so from then until the little row of cottages were demolished another family lived there . I have a cutting from The Argus showing the cleared area with only the Palm tree left which was in a front garden further down from Nan’s house . The replacement row of houses were not in keeping with the area and no doubt would not be built today. My brother went to the little school with David Collings (the actor) who was great in Scrooge as Bob Cratchet. A man my Mum called Mozzy Collings had a lockup in Home Road which used to open for the sale of fruit and veg, maybe he was related to David?

    By Alan Spicer (19/07/2011)
  • Hello, Jacqueline Pollard, I think we might be related!

    By Genevieve Connatty (03/03/2012)
  • Does anyone know anything about Preston Glee Club? My GGrandfather Horace Light and his brother were members in about 1905. I think it was a male voice choir. Thanks, Geraldine

    By Geraldine Lewis (30/12/2012)
  • I’m not sure if this page is actively managed anymore but I was wondering if anyone who frequently uses this site knows of…….?

    Dear Mark
    Sorry but we have had to edit your post. We are no longer allowing the posting of requests to find third parties, as sharing information like this breaches their privacy. We recommend you try Friends Reunited website if you want to track old friends or neighbours.
    Comments Editor

    By Mark Pywowar (08/09/2013)
  • I remember a private school in Hythe Road around the 1950s. House no 90/98. I seem to recall that the pupils wore purple blazers. Does anyone else remember this?

    By maureen (05/11/2013)
  • Hi, I wonder when Rosehill Terrace was bombed (OMG!). Do you know if there was a No.50? It is where my great great great aunt Rachel Rebecca Dykes ran a boarding house for nearly 50 years until her death in 1899.  Do you know of any photos of No.50 in existence, please.

    By Carol Dunn (12/04/2014)
  • Does anyone remember the Dancing School run by Vera Garbutt during the 1940/50s in Preston? I went there for a few years and remember giving cabaret performances during the interval at The Regent Palace dance hall in Brighton.  

    By Jennifer Price (31/08/2014)
  • I’m working on a house history for Hampstead Road and would love to hear hear from anyone who may have lived in or near this road in the early or mid 20th Century.

    By Jules Davis (15/09/2014)
  • Hi Jennifer Price. Rose Hill Terrace was bombed on Monday 12th October 1942 when 4 bombs were dropped in a line between the Seven Dials and Rose Hill Terrace, the last of the 4 hitting Rose Hill Terrace.  Of course the station was the target!

    By Peter Groves (08/11/2017)
  • I would send a picture of an engraved pewter tankard from the Black Lion Pub (Preston) if I could figure out how. Sean in Toronto.

    Hello Sean, you might find the following link helpful: http://mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page/contribute?path=0p1364p1013p

    By Sean Quinn (01/03/2018)
  • Hi Jacqueline.
    If you look on facebook, in the group Growing up in Brighton, I have posted some old photo copies of a letter which may interest you.
    Ron Porter.

    By Ron Porter (13/11/2020)
  • Hi, I am very interested to come across your website as I am trying to find out more about my ancestors John Gilkes & Sons who made handmade wallpaper.
    In the 1911 Census, John and Elizabeth and 3 of their grown up children were living at Montpelier Dyke Road Avenue Patcham, Preston, Sussex. I saw and photographed the framed advertising poster of their business during a visit to Brighton in 2002. (It is also online now). It was on the wall of a cafe in the Laines/Lanes.
    I would like to know if their home still exists, sorry have no street number, or any photographs of their business premises. Would you have any suggestions of other organisations to contact please?
    I live in Sydney and another son Arthur emigrated here, made wallpaper and his two sons carried this on and printed wallpapers for a well-known designer and decorator here in Sydney in the 1930s and 1940s.
    All further information about this family (there were 11 children altogether!) and the business would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Suzanne Gilkes

    By Suzanne Gilkes (14/08/2022)
  • Suzanne, I have looked in my Kelly’s Directory for 1914 and this may clear up some of the problems you have had finding him, as there is some confusion with the details you provided. Kelly’s shows a John Gilkes at 3 Montpelier Crescent[a nice address at that time].This is in the Dyke Rd area to the south, but not Dyke Rd Ave. Kelly 1927 has John Harry Gilkes JP[Justice of the Peace] at Wychcote, Dyke Rd Ave. This is the west side of the Avenue near the junction of Tongdean Rd. In the 1920s this is a growing upmarket suburban housing area so he is going up in the world.
    Some years ago ‘The Boys on the Plaque’ project researched WWI servicemen associated with Holy Trinity, Ship St Brighton. The Gilkes had two family members serving, and surviving. Some background notes from that project that may help you; Charles Arthur Gilkes was born into a wealthy family prominent in the wallpaper industry. His grandfather John Gilkes established the business in 1872 with premises in North St from 1908-1982…in 1904 plans were submitted for a house at 43 Dyke Rd Ave and by 1906 the family had moved to the property named Wychcote. His grandparents owned the property next door.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (15/08/2022)
  • Thank you very much for this information. I’d like to have more information about John Gilkes & Sons who made hand-made wallpapers. Would there be any photographs of their premises? I am directly descended from Robert Gilkes a brother of John Gilkes who emigrated to New Zealand. Another brother Herbert came out to Sydney Australia and then was employed as Keeper of the Prints at the National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne. Another brother Arthur and his 2 sons printed wallpaper designs by Marion Hall Best in Sydney. I majored in Printmaking in a Visual Arts university course so these ancestors are very interesting to me.

    By Suzanne A Gilkes (17/08/2022)

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