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Named after the land-owning Western family

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.

a) HISTORY: Now the town’s principal shopping street, Western Road was originally a narrow trackway running through the West Laine from North Street to Hove Church. In the early nineteenth century a number of large houses were built with their gardens backing onto the road, terraces known as Regent’s Place, Clarence Place and Western Place, but by 1830 Western Road itself (which was named after the land-owning Western family {47}) was developed as far as Montpelier Road and was the principal access to Brunswick Town. There were also some shops by the 1830s, and the development of high-class residential areas on either side ensured the prosperity of Western Road as a service road and shopping street for the area. Many more shops were then built in the gardens of the large houses, and by the 1860s virtually the entire length was lined with shops. {14,15,83,108}
The roadway became very narrow as the building line was brought forward. The corporation started to acquire properties on the northern side of Western Road in 1906, and between 1926 and 1936 a major widening scheme between Hampton Place and North Street was carried out with many of the present large stores erected (the leases of which generate considerable income for the corporation). Further redevelopment came in the late 1960s when Churchill Square (q.v.) was constructed, and the Western Road area is now one of the largest provincial shopping centres in the country. Private car access has been restricted since 28 January 1974. {26,116,123}

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.

Edwardian view of Western Road shops c. 1900 (southern side) looking east from No. 46. The shops have plate glass windows and exterior gas lighting to illuminate them at night.
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

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