Formerly known as the Little Laine

The St James’s Street area, formerly known as the Little Laine, was the first area outside of the Old Town of Brighton to be developed. Housing appeared there from the 1770s and good examples can still be seen from this period in Manchester Street and Charles Street.

Because of its location near to the sea and to the fashionable Steine, St James’s Street as it developed in the 1790s rapidly acquired a population of Brighton’s wealthier visitors and residents. This was reflected in the range of shops and services in the street, which was described as “the Bond Street of Brighton”.

As Kemp Town was developed during the nineteenth century, St James’s Street became a fashionable highway to the new quarter. It has never been widened and so contains many original buildings. One-way traffic was introduced in 1968 to ease congestion.

Comments about this page

  • I remember St James street and all the different shops. I lived in George Street but was often sent to St James Street to get thing for my mother. On the left side coming up from the Steine (1948-1954) I remember you had the post office, Lipton’s grocer store, Chapmans the butchers, Dewhurts butchers and Woolworths. They were the main ones. On the side you had Clarks bakers a chemist then a flower shop, two wet fish shops. It was always a busy street, the buses used to go both ways. Whitehawk one way, Hove station and Portslade the other. I remember we used to take the number 3 to Hove station on a Sunday to go and see our grandparents. The fare was three old pennies.

    By Kathleen Catt (30/03/2011)
  • You will I think find that the grocery store just down from Woolies was in fact Siansbury’s and just below them was a large Boots store. The one thing that has always puzzled me is why and how High Street came to be so named. I lived in this street from 1940 to 1964. Anyone out there remembers the house that was numbered 27 before all the changes. Next door 26 was the garage to 27 with a large living room above, in the garage was a pit for working on cars and in the garage roof were two trap doors, one very large in the middle of the room and a smaller one in one of the rear corners. It was thought that the smaller one had had a staircase and that 26 was at one time a seperate home.

    By Ken Ross (30/03/2011)
  • My Great Grandfather, Grandfather and Father owned 118/119. It was called H.R.H. Harris Drapers. My Grandparents lived in one of the flats above the shop and as a child I loved to watch the trolley buses nos 41 and 42 going up and down the street until it was made into a one way. Next door was Chapman’s and the other side was Clarks, I can remember Ashton’s, the undertaker’s. I think that was their garage across the road where they worked on the cars. I remember the post office with it’s sliding telephone box doors, and Lyon’s Corner house, and the pipe shop on the corner opposite, Maynard’s sweet shop and of course Woolies. It’s nice to have happy memories.

    By June nee Harris (24/04/2011)
  • My Great Great Grand parents John and Ellen Moon
    in 1871 lived in 72 Spar street and 1881 lived 30 Little St James Street Brighton has any one any idea when these streets Disappeared please? any help would be gratefully received .I can’t seem to find these streets after then

    By Janice Gibson (06/02/2022)
  • Janis, SPA street [not Spar] was demolished in 1898 and was replaced by Tilstone St.
    Little St. James St. was similarly demolished c1889 and replaced by St. James Avenue. This info is from the ‘Streets Of Brighton’ website.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (07/02/2022)

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