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Howard Place to Dyke Road Drive

The huge railway retaining wall, Dyke Road Drive
Photo by Peter Groves
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Importance of the railway

Although initially the Prince Regent, later George IV, put Brighthelmstone on the map, it was the railway that made Brighton what it is today. While David Morcatta’s Brighton Station terminus and the beautiful Victorian cast iron work inside are recognized and endorsed, other constructions on the railway are also worthy of consideration!

Huge excavation task

The huge London Road viaduct is a proverbial engineering project, well documented.  Unacknowledged or even considered, is the huge project undertaken to level the area northwards from the station to provide even ground for the incoming lines.   For me, fascinating examples of this are between Howard Place and New England Street and Stanford Road and Dyke Road Drive, where two huge hills were excavated to provide the level ground required.

Bold decisions

I wonder and admire the bold decision made, and effort undertaken to remove huge sections of both these hills.  The Victorians certainly didn’t shun this huge civil engineering project, the removal of millions of tons of chalk, and in Dyke Road Drive the construction of a huge retaining wall.  Probably at this time many similar projects were undertaken around the country and this one was no different!

What about the workers?

But what of the hundreds of workers and labourers, did they realise how their toil would change the face of Brighton?  Probably not, undoubtedly for most, life was a hard struggle, and were just thinking of knocking-off time, and payday at the end of the week.

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