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Sewer Tour

Sewer Tour

The architectural heritage of Brighton is not only visible above ground in its regency squares, the Royal Pavilion palace, its piers, etc., it is also to be found underground in its magnificent Victorian sewers. In the summer months you can even go on a guided tour of the sewers.

Sewer tourists enter the sewer system through an arch under Brighton Pier, and exit through a manhole at the edge of the gardens in the Old Steine. There is a stench, and its best not to suffer from claustrophobia!

The major improvement in the city's Victorian sewerage system occurred in 1871 with the construction of the main intercepting sewer from Hove Street (in Hove) to the Portobello outfall at Telscombe Cliffs in the east, a distance of seven miles. The tunnel is a brick-lined cylindrical construction, 7 feet in diameter for most of its length.

At the end of the last century Southern Water, who now run the system, built "Europe's largest stormwater storage tunnel, 4.8km (3 miles) long, 6m (20ft) in diameter and 30m (100ft) under the seafront at Brighton and Hove, to stop pollution during storm conditions."

Fancy a Sewer Tour? - click here


Brighton's VillagesCottages at Stanmer Village

The city of Brighton & Hove is actually an amalagamation of three towns. In the early 70s Hove absorbed its western neighbour , the smaller town of Portslade, into its town boundary, and in 1997 Brighton and Hove joined together to form one local government authority. And in 2000 the city of Brighton & Hove was created. But, of course, the original three towns themselves grew in the past by absorbing adjacent villages.

Four villages retain some form of identity within the new city boundary.

Portslade Old Village still retains a distinct idenity in Portslade. The oldest habitable house in the village was built in 1540 and is known as Kemps.

The best preserved, but also the smallest, is Stanmer Village on the north-eastern boundary of the city (see photo above). It is an estate village, and has escaped the fate of having a modern suburb tacked on to its edge. The Stanmer estate is owned by the city council, and preserved as a country park.

Ovingdean Village in the east of the city is largely unspoilt and surrounded by farmland. It quietly boasts the oldest building in the city, St Wulfran's Church.

Rottingdean is an ancient village to the east of Ovingdean and on the coast. It is very attractive and well worth a visit, as are the other three villages. It is distinctive in that although it was absorbed by Brighton in 1928, it managed to retain its parish council - limited though its powers may be.

The Lanes & North Laine

The LanesIt's easy for visitors to confuse two of Brighton's shopping districts. One is called The Lanes and the other is North Laine.

The Lanes is the area of narrow streets and twittens. ('twitten' is a Sussex dialect word meaning narrow path or alleyway.) roughly bordered by North Street, Ship Street, Prince Albert Street, and East Street. It is a part of the old medieval town which has survived into the modern period. At its centre, though, is Brighton Square, a development of the 1960s. It is a place of pubs, cafes and small shops. For more on The Lanes, click here.

North Laine is the area of streets immediately to the north of North Street. The medieval town of Brighton was bounded by the sea to the south, and by North Street, East Street and West Street. The arable land (not including the steepest downland which was used for grazing sheep) around the town and within the parish of Brighton was divided into five laines, which were further subdivided. The fives laines were: West Laine, North Laine, Hilly Laine, Little Laine, and East Laine.

The word 'laine' is of Anglo-Saxon origin meaning 'lease'.

The streets of North Laine were built during the first decades of the nineteenth century. Today North Laine is a city centre neighbourhood of shopping streets and residential streets. For more on North laine, click here.

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