Fiveways History


The generously proportioned Stanford Avenue - the fourth way to the Fiveways junction - was developed with large detached and semi-detached villas during the 1880s. Smaller roads linking with Ditchling Road to the east and Preston Drove to the west had been laid out at the same time, land having been bought by different speculative
builders in lots.

Part of Wagner & Debes Plan of Brighton from the mid 1890s

Part of Wagner & Debes' Plan of Brighton, from the mid 1890s

Beyond providing relatively spacious housing for a middle class population largely dependent on the nearest town for work, the unique selling point of Victorian and Edwardian suburbia was then, as now, superior amenities, a sense of space and leafy greenness. Vere Fane Benett Stanford had first offered meadowland around Preston Manor to Brighton in 1876, but the Council had rejected the offer, deeming it an unnecessary expense. Preston Park was then left "to the undisputed possession of the cows" until 1883, when it finally opened fully to the public.

Stanford Avenue was the home of John George Blaker from 1890 to his death in 1926. He bought land from both the Stanfords and the Harringtons, selling this on for building development. In 1893, as Mayor of Brighton, he made a gift of a portion of this land "for the free use and enjoyment of the inhabitants and visitors of Brighton for the purposes of recreation. "Blaker's Park was thus claimed as the second green space for the area.

Residential development on the steeper hills attracted further investment in public transport. By 1893, six horse buses per hour were running from Castle Square, via Beaconsfield Road, up Stanford Avenue to the junction with Florence Road. Horse buses, however, could not cope with steeper gradients: their wheel rims tended to fill with manure, compromising road holding. Fares were also high and only a few passengers could be carried.

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