Preston Village

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.

Preston Road runs the length of the former Preston parish, from Preston Circus to London Road (Patcham) near Clermont Road.

c) PRESTON VILLAGE: Preston Road then runs through Preston village itself, where no.199, the Old House, is an eighteenth-century listed farmhouse in knapped and squared flint . Formerly used as tea-rooms, it is one of the finest examples of flint work in the area and is illuminated at night, but the glazing bars of two windows have been unfortunately removed. The adjacent nos.201-203 have unusual large cockerel decorations in the gables. The Crown and Anchor dates back to at least 1711 when it was the first stop for coaches outside Brighton, but it was rebuilt in 1894. At the rear stood the small Preston parish workhouse until 1844, and later, from the early 1900s, a gymnasium and assembly hall used for training by famous boxers and wrestlers until about 1957. On the opposite side of the road are the Preston Vicarage Lawns, two bowling-greens laid out in 1934-5 on the site of the vicarage which stood opposite the car showroom. {15,44,123,126}

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 friend’s  dad, Mr Wilson, had the pub in the early fifties and I used to go to the gym round the back and watch the boxers train. Sugar Ray Robinson, Tommy Farr and I think Don Cockle to name but a few. I remember holding a dart board up and my friend Kenny was throwing darts into it. His brother turned the light off as he was throwing a dart and it stuck in my fore-arm and I had to go to hospital

    By Harry Atkins (27/10/2007)
  • 201a Preston Road and Preston Village was built in 1899 with 203 and 205 by Penfold the builder who had an office and workshop in South Road. The rear of 201 Preston Road was a coal yard and a builder’s merchants. These things all came by horse and cart. The Stanford Estate owned all the land in North Hove, and the Shirley Drive area, and building covenants still exist. Soon after 1900 Lauriston Road was built, so were the shops. They were ladies wear, Butcher, Greengrocer, dairy and a corner grocer.
    201 was a shoe repairer, 203 was Ambrose hairdresser and tobacconist, 205 Clarks bakery, 207 the chemist, 209 the post office. National papers did not yet come to Brighton there were only the Sussex Daily News, and the Brighton and Hove Herald.
    The flint house 199 Preston Road and a similar house in South Road must have been used by staff at the manor. South Road was built for use by farm carts to access farmland beyond.
    The railway came to Brighton in 1841and Preston Park Station provided an alternative access to Brighton as the existing horse-bus from Patcham was very slow.
    Preston Manor was bounded by by a flint wall which was knocked down in the 1960’s when the road was widened.
    So there were no cars, no buses only cycles. After 1903 there were trams in Beaconsfield Road and Ditchling Road and by 1914 there were trams in Patcham and Brighton.
    Compton Road and Inwood Crescent were built for railway workers in the 1900’s

    By Peter Dutton Briant (31/10/2007)
  • Fox and Sons, surely this is 205 Preston Road?

    By Clark (04/12/2008)
  • The Crown and Anchor was my favourite watering hole during my 20s. I would walk from Springfield Road to join the lads for a drink most evenings. Names that come to mind are Mick Cullen, Chris Dawson, Gary Brown, John Questier, Andy Hornsby. Who could forget Churchill lookalike and Landlord – Leigh Dilley and outrageously camp barman – Colin!

    By Martin Scrace (24/12/2008)
  • No. 205. I believe the gable configurations are on the side of the building in Middle Road.

    By Clark (06/01/2009)
  • Hello Martin – those were happy days indeed at the Crown, and the occasional ‘raid’ on the Brewery Tap. Does anyone know what happened to Colin (Vinesse?) the barman at the Crown?

    By John Questier (29/01/2009)
  • John, I beleive he died after an illness sometime ago. Not sure around the detail but it could have been almost anything. I do recall he was fond of a drink or seven. Still see Duncan wandering around Barnstaple. Email me on

    By Martin Scrace (04/02/2009)
  • Hi Harry, I was that dart thrower although I can’t remember that long ago. You must have a good memory. I’m 65 now and just retired, still living locally.  Would be good to hear from anyone who knew me or my brother Roy.

    By Ken Cooper (06/03/2009)
  • Despite family connections since early 1900s I am unable to recognise the location in the Preston area. Can anyone please assist?

    By Peter Clark (30/11/2009)
  • Hi Ken. As you can see, I haven’t been on the site for yonks. Great to hear from you. You’re only a spring chicken! I was 70 last month. I still live local Bevendean. How about a pint one day?

    By Harry Atkins (08/05/2010)
  • I am curious about the large cockerel motifs above numbes 201 and 203. Does anyone know how they came about?

    By Arthur Stack (26/03/2011)
  • Sorry – a bit late – but it’s North Road behind the Crown and Anchor car park looking west towards the railway line and Hove.

    By Tim Hodges (03/04/2011)
  • Does anyone have any info /photos about Brazier Scooters situated between the tea rooms and Ambroses in the 1960s. I would be very grateful.

    By Brian Muggridge (27/01/2013)
  • I am looking for an old picture of Lauriston Road with no.12 when it was first built as I think it was one of the first houses to go up. Can anyone help?

    By Jo-Ann Bowers (nee Schone) (11/04/2013)
  • Hi Ken. Just came upon the site and the picture of the Crown and Anchor. I lived in Clermont Terrace and used to spend time with Roy. In fact he and I went on a school trip to Geneva all those years ago. I too used to watch the boxing in the gym. 

    By Keith Pratt (03/09/2016)
  • Does anyone remember the sweet shop which is now the chemist in Preston Road? It was run by a little old lady back in 1958. I can remember there were some vending machines outside, a kp peanut machine one packet for 2d a wriggle gum machine 6d, and a beach nut chewing gum machine 1d. I can even remember buying a gob stopper for a farthing. They were the good old days.

    By John henry (11/10/2020)
  • I lived at the other end of the Preston Rd in Dyke Road Drive and can remember the little shop with its vending machines. I looked in Kelly’s 1951 and can find at 203 Preston Rd- Albert Charles H Ambrose tobacconist. There do not seem to be any other contenders for a sweet shop[lovely archaic, purely British, term!]

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (12/10/2020)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.