Well-rutted and cratered in the 1950s

Station Road, Preston
Station Road, Preston Park, Brighton

I always remember this road, which ran from Preston Park Station to the bridge over the railway beside Withdean Road, as being well-rutted and cratered, bordered by trees and bushes for most of its length – which was about three-quarters of a mile. We moved to Cedars Gardens in 1954, and there were steps up to Station Road at the top of our road (there were similar connecting passages at the ends of cul-de-sacs like Withdean Court Avenue and Elms Lea Avenue). Dad used to walk along “the lane” as we called it, each morning and evening to commute to his job in London.

Building dens in the undergrowth

The big houses along London Road (like Tivoli and Leahurst) all had back walls and gates on Station Road, and as boys we daringly used to trespass! We built dens or “hide-outs” in the undergrowth near the top of Cedars Gardens. On one side there was wire netting affording a view over the main London-Brighton railway line, and through the bushes on the other we could observe (we imagined secretly) people passing along Station Road on their way to and from the Station. Towards Preston Park Station there was a wooded hillock which was an excellent vantage point for trainspotting.

Coming home in the winter

Coming home by train from school in Hove, I was not supposed to walk along Station Road in the winter evenings, as it was unlit. Of course, I did, scarcely able to see my hand in front of my face. Not something that a ten-year old would do these days!

Chester’s taxi firm

Chester’s was a family taxi firm, which used to operate from a garage right beside Preston Park Station. In the mid-1950’s, all Chester’s taxis were Morris Oxfords in a dusky jade green with cream painted bonnets, contrasting with the black taxis with cream bonnets operated by Streamline.”

Comments about this page

  • Never realised this was called Station Road until now. When I first moved to Brighton in 1966 and lived in Regency Court, I would regularly play along here via the Withdean Court Avenue entrance. It was known to us children as Snakey Lane.

    By Joseanne Campbell (13/11/2004)
  • I also only knew Station Road as Snakey Lane. As children we loved to wait on the bridge and watch steam engines approach so that we would be engulfed in steam and smoke. Strangely the smell was quite attractive to us. Not to our mothers of course.

    By Jim Thomsett (03/05/2005)
  • As a young lad in the 1940s I used Snakey Lane hundreds of times to get to Cherry Woods with my pals. Just across the bridge.

    By Dave Blackford (16/11/2008)
  • I too sometimes heard it called Snakey Lane, though more usually just “The Lane”. There were certainly snakes there, as I saw an adder once on the precarious path behind the bushes up against the railway fence.

    By Martin Nimmo (24/02/2010)
  • During the 1960s I lived (as a child) at 4 Claremont Terrace so Station Road (snakey lane) was where I played, rode my bike and walked our dog. I remember Chesters Taxis, they were still running those 1950s Morris Oxfords when we moved in 1968, they must have done a very high milage by then. There was the clock repairer shop with a lovely clock in the window (I think its still there) a shoe repair shop and a newsagent/sweets/tobacconist shop ran by a lady who had shakey hands and I had to try and keep up with her shaking hand when she was giving me my change! Opposite, on the corner of station Rd/Claremont Rd was a grocers shop.

    By kevin theobald (23/03/2013)

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