Fiveways History


As the seaside resort nearest London, Brighton had been greatly boosted by the opening of the main railway line in 1841. Despite expansion along the east coast and westwards into Hove, the town was bursting at the seams, with inadequate sanitation. More spacious homes for the town's employers and their more affluent employees were at a premium. However, the strict terms of the will of William Stanford Junior, who had died in 1853, was blocking building development on the Stanford Estate: only leasehold sales were permitted but these had always been unpopular in Brighton.

In 1867, Vere Fane-Bennet married William Stanford Junior's only child and heir, Ellen. He needed funds to meet debts on his own family estate in Wiltshire, and so a private Act of Parliament was sought to mitigate the restrictions on the Stanford Estate's land sales. Passed in 1871, the year that Ellen came of age, it permitted freehold sales once land had been developed in accordance with the terms of a building lease. The process ensured strict control over building development on the Estate and so a high standard of design and materials. Control then continued to be maintained through rigorously monitored restrictive covenants - limitations on the use of each property. No glue making or trading of intoxicating liquor, for example.

Profits from land sales funded an opulent lifestyle for Ellen Stanford - and both her first and second husbands!

Brighton annexed much of Preston parish in 1873 and, between 1875 and 1879, a network of residential roads was built on the Stanford Estate around the London Road railway station (1877) to the north of Viaduct Road. Land had been purchased from the Stanfords and Harringtons for the building of a railway in the late 1830s and the East Coast line to Lewes had opened in 1846. It was the developing suburb that provided the incentive for this station to be built thirty-one years later.

Part of Bacon’s Plan of Brighton, from the early 1880s

Part of Bacon's Plan of Brighton, from the early 1880s

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