Jul 31

A book about North Laine

The book about North Laine is to be published by Brighton Town Press in the spring of 2012

THE BOOK ABOUT NORTH LAINE IS BASED ON EXCERPTS FROM THE NORTH LAINE RUNNER (the bi-monthly newsletter of the North Laine Community Association).

When I read the memories of people who lived, worked, shopped, went to school, church or chapel in North Laine, published in the North Laine Runner I wondered whether it would be a good idea to collect some of the most interesting accounts together in a book.
I suggested a joint effort between North Laine Community Association, the North Laine Runner and Brighton Town Press.

I envisaged a book the size of our recent publication The Story of Queen’s Park Brighton in order to try to keep the price down to £9.99. This would mean mostly b & w photos and a coloured cover, using John Coleman’s print of St Peter’s church and the North Laine area. It was reproduced in the Landscape Book of Brighton prints (published by Brighton Books Publishing), and the  North Laine walk leaflet.

The North Laine book will be well illustrated with old photographs, maps, prints, old advertisements and diagrams. The James Gray Collection of photographs will be essential.

The manuscript (submitted by a group of members of the North Laine Community Association) includes the following chapters, but some will have to be combined and maybe some dropped as this is too many for a comparitively small book.

  1. Introduction
  2. Education
  3. Entertainment
  4. Home Life
  5. Public Houses and Inns
  6. Religion
  7. The Military
  8. Trade and Industry
  9. Threats
  10. Rejuvination

All participants understand that the final text and structure will be edited by the BTP editor. Some people in other groups we have worked with are offended by the idea, but even the best and most famous writers usually value the support of a good editor.

Our editor is reading the text now, but cannot start the editing process, which entails 2 months of uninterupted work until October. December is not a good month for uninterupted work, so January and February  will be devoted to putting the book together, the printer will take a month – March, so we cannot expect to publish until April 2012.

We have been counting the number of words in the manuscript and there are three times as many as we can fit into the book, so there will have to be some serious cutting.


Mar 23

Architects condemned North Laine

The North Laine Conservation Area Study, published in 1994, included a quotation from the Sussex branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects which stated:

“We agree that there are individual buildings within the area which are attractive and should be retained and there are also isolated groups of cottages and one street (Kensington Gardens) which have an attractive character which it would be a pity to lose.

Despite the above comment we feel most strongly that the majority of the area has reached the end of its useful life and is in fact the priority area in the town for renewal. We cannot agree that this is a suitable area for designation as a Conservation Area. We wish to put forward the case for a major renewal of the area  . . . and redeveloping with the same mix of residential dwellings (at a higher density), shops, workshops etc

Even a cursory glance at the area reveals the extent of decay and dereliction, the many sub-standard houses, narrow roads jammed with parked cars, lack of gardens and privacy, Multiple occupation etc. In our opinion the general effect does no credit to the town.”


Mar 21

London Street

Looking south towards St. Bartholomews Church, 29 April 1962. Built in the 1850s. This, and other neighbouring streets, were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century.


Jan 14

Carlton Hill Book

Capturing Carlton Hill

American Express are building a large office block which will change the character of Carlton Hill. We want to look at, not only at the small scale houses, but also at the grand buildings in the area:

St John’s church, the Catholic Apostolic church, Tilbury Place, the Tarner family, the schools, the Girls’ Club (now the Umemployed Centre), the Art school (now part of the Unversity of Brighton) . . .

Capturing Carlton Hill will not be published until 2012.

We will need contributions by the end of 2011. Plenty of time for you to contribute!