North Laine

A brief history and celebration of Brighton's North Laine.

What are ‘The Lanes’?


The colloquial ‘tourist term’ The Lanes is in fact misleading. Brighton & Hove was historically made up of several smaller areas, that eventually joined together to become the city we know and love today. One of these areas was North Laine, which gets its name from the dirt track that once ran East-West roughly speaking along what is now North Road. In the same way that you wouldn’t say you were going to ‘The Hoves’ or popping for a pint in ‘The Kemptowns’ it is incorrect to say you are going to ‘The North Laines’ or ‘The Laines’.

Where is ‘North Laine’?

As North Lainers – if we had one bit of advice for you when you arrive in Brighton & Hove by rail, it’d be ‘for culture – turn left’. North Laine sits on the Eastern bank of the hill that Brighton Railway Station sits atop.

The Dorset stands proud on the corner of Gardner Street and North Road right in the heart of North Laine. If you’re arriving by rail and want a pictures que wander through what has become Brighton’s boutique district, come out of the front of the station, turn immediately right, and loop back round underneath the front concourse via Trafalgar Street. When the road begins to level out, take a right along Sydney Street, weave up to your right through Gardner Street and when you meet North Road, The Dorset will be on your right just up the hill. If you’re hungry or thirsty and are willing to sacrifice some of the culture in favour of a speedy journey, head straight down Queens Road out of the station. When you get to the crossroads with the big LED marketing sign, take a left. You’ll see us on your right.

‘North Laine’: A History

Despite being bordered by the grandeur of the Royal Pavillion to the East, during the reigns of George IV and William IV the first chunk of Queen Victoria’s time on the throne the North Laine area was known mostly for terrible living. As the nineteenth century drew to a close the city began to clean up the area, knocking down old tenement houses to open the area up with more modern streets. In the twentieth century North Laine escaped most of the wrath of the Nazi bombing attacks on the city (caught in unusual early technicolour here). The borough planning officer pressured the then town council to protect it and by 1977 the North Laine Conservation Area was designated.

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