What is a Street History?
Our Street Histories allow us to see the connections between different families, themes and time periods. They include references to assist other researchers of Brighton history.
Each document focuses on one street and discusses its origins, development, changing architecture, materials and uses of the street itself.
We also consider the social and economic lives of its inhabitants over the years, including issues such as health, education, trades and living conditions. These themes are consistent across each street history, allowing one street to be compared with another.
Our research is centred on the North Laine district of Brighton. This allows us to follow the development of each street, from when it was first laid out on previously open fields (mostly 1820-1840), right through to around 1970. We stop there for two reasons: first, it is more difficult to be objective in placing a recent event in its appropriate historical perspective; and, second, to respect the privacy of those who live in the locations in question.
How they are made?
Street Histories are derived from our study of census returns and street directories. These highlight the occupations, living conditions and length of tenure of the street's residents. We flesh these out with detailed primary history research at our local Record Office, Museum and online collections. Much of the source material is now housed at Brighton's fine archive centre, The Keep.
Who produced them?
Research and writing for each street history is the primary responsibility of one lead researcher. All are volunteers based at The Regency Town House and co-ordinated by Chris Nichols. The team supports one another in finding information, providing specialist input and editing. We gather for meetings once every 2 or 3 months, to keep each other updated on progress and to make plans for the future.
The production of street histories also owes thanks to numerous other Town House volunteers, particularly in graphic design, web management, and technical development. We also thank the North Laine residents whose effort, enthusiasm and generosity enabled us to stage MyHouseMyStreet exhibitions in the early days of this project.
Our gratitude goes also to the Trustees of the Heritage Lottery Fund for grant aiding the initiative and to the staff at the Keep, East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) and the Royal Pavilion, Libraries and Museums for their ongoing support of the project and permission to reproduce images held in their collections.