Tenantry Down

Flower beds and sheds, Tenantry Down
Photo by Simon Tobitt
Sunflower at sunset, with tower blocks at Hollingdean behind
Photo by Simon Tobitt

The Tenantry Down site is located on either side of Tenantry Down Road, which links the top ends of Bear Road and Elm Grove, close to Brighton racecourse. It is a hillside site. The site looks out over central Brighton and the seafront to the south. Westwards, are the Lewes Road cemeteries, and views of Round Hill and Hollingdean. The City Council lists 169 plots at this site.

Pam Bean on Tenantry Down’s climate and conditions
“I think it’s quite good really. We get a certain amount of rain, and it’s not too cold. Our dahlias for instance we don’t dig up in the winter, they normally survive. Occasionally we get a very cold snap. On the whole we don’t get extremes of temperature usually. We can plant fairly early in the year, earlier than in some parts of the country. I usually start putting potatoes in at the end of February. It’s very chalky here, but it varies all over Brighton. My son gardens in Horsdean and that’s more clay. The Brighton Hove Organic Gardening group, we’re starting an allotment and that’s very heavy clay [at Weald Avenue]. On chalk, some things don’t like chalk, like rhododendrons and azaleas, but the vegetables don’t seem too fussy. A lot of people have had blight on the outdoor tomatoes, so we tend to grow those in the greenhouses if we’ve got one.

Pam on building up the allotment community
“Since they burnt our shed down, we don’t have a focal point at weekends we don’t have much of a community. I’m forever struggling to encourage people. People are all very nice, they are all encouraging. Some of the Allotment Associations still have their huts and their sheds and they sell things at weekends, but we’ve sort of failed on that possibly since the Garden Centre came, and we didn’t do so much business. We used to have a garden show, but we haven’t been able to keep that up. Bill and I try to keep the shop open on Saturdays, but I would really like other people to come in.

Phew, what a view
“When I take anybody round Tenantry Down the first thing they say is: “the view!”. We’ve got a wonderful view, right out to Worthing, and they say, the Isle of Wight. But also the air, we’ve got a wonderful air and I think it’s very good for us.”

Comments about this page

  • It was interesting to know that ‘the allotments’ are still going strong. My grandfather ran one around 1910 growing mainly vegetables for a large family, but also flowers for cutting. My mother often helped him to bunch them, the reward being a bunch to take to school. A favourite was the Everlasting Flower, which was hung up to dry through the winter. It seems amazing that after all this time the soil is still productive – does it take a lot of feeding and do Simon or Pam know when this area was first provided by the local authorities?

    By Rita Denman (17/02/2006)
  • Thank you for a good page. My Mum is 87yrs old, she told me my Great Grandfather, James Thompsett, had an allotment near Brighton Race Course in 1909 [maybe he had it earlier than this] but that year he was struck by lightning while digging there – so never dig in a storm! He had 6 small children so I guess he needed the veg. This did not put my family off growing our own, his son my Grandfather went on to grow all his own veg at his allotment he acquired when he was old enough, it remained a tradition in our family, as my 92 yr old Dad is still doing this very well. If anyone has heard about James in 1909 in allotment stories,  please can you tell me about it – love to know the full story. Thank you for reading this.

    By Janny Gibson (24/01/2011)

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