03 November 2021

Valley Road, Portslade.

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2022)

copyright © J.Middleton
Valley Road looking north

Valley Road is such a busy thoroughfare today, that it is difficult to realise that no such road existed until the 1930s. Old photographs reveal that where Valley Road leads off High Street today, there was a solid flint wall extending north from near the
George Inn. A stream, probably a winter-bourne, ran down the floor of the valley, and old timers such as Bert Pierce could remember a small footbridge crossing it. The main routes to the Downs in those days was either Mile Oak Road or Foredown Road.

copyright © G. Osborne
This Edwardian photograph of the High Street, shows the flint wall on the left that was demolished in the 1930s to make way for Valley Road.

The land on which Valley Road was laid out was once a rich market-gardening area, under the jurisdiction of North House Farm. The flight of steps leading down from Stonery Road to Valley Road mark an ancient right-of-way, down which Mr Hugget used to walk to get to the market garden in days past.

copyright © J.Middleton
This Edwardian photograph taken from where Peter Gladwin School is now sited in Drove Road, in the valley are rows of small trees, which was to become the route for Valley Road. On the hill is the Mile Oak Approved School and the school's market garden.

It was in July 1935 that Portslade Urban District Council gave planning permission for the new road. At first the road was called Drove Gardens but in 1955 it was re-named Valley Road when it was also extended. The Second World War meant there was no housing development along the road, and it was not until 1954 that planning permission was given to build ten shops. The first developers were PB Properties Ltd responsible for no less than 43 pairs of semi-detached bungalows, plus six detached bungalows. Today, these modest residences are much sought after, because the high cost of land in the area means that such bungalows are unlikely ever to be built in the future. It was also a golden age as regards council house building with Portslade UDC creating 42 dwellings in 1956 and sixteen flats in 1959.

copyright © G. Osborne
This 1950s photograph shows some of the first bungalows to be built in Valley Road

In November 1963 it was reported that a seven-month battle between Portslade residents and East Sussex County Council over a 20-ft high school playing field situated at the back of some bungalows had flared up again. When there was a dramatic downpour, the water cascaded down the sloping side and into the gardens of several bungalows. In one case the garden was under 18-in of water, and it was only 1-in beneath the french windows. The angry occupant said she would refuse to pay her rates until something was done.

copyright © D. Sharp
The north end of Valley Road

New Houses

In 1985 three new terraced houses were constructed on land immediately south of number 18, and were numbered 12 to 14.

In the 1980s there were plans to build six two-storey houses on the corner of Valley Road and High Street. The company responsible for the initial development went bankrupt, and so there was a considerable delay in completing the scheme. Unfortunately, in the rush for new housing, some greenery and history were lost because the strip of land was an oasis of trees and bushes with one huge tree on the west side of the pub’s car park, while the old flint wall that ran alongside was demolished together with the flint barn. A new red-brick wall was erected instead. The houses were numbered 2, 2a, 4, 6, 8, and 10.

copyright © J.Middleton
Bungalows on the east side of Valley Road


In 1966 George Ernest Abbott, aged 63, of Valley Road, was said to be one of the most popular drivers working for the Brighton, Hove & District Omnibus Company. He had joined the company in 1918, and in 1966 he was awarded the B. E. M.

In May 1999 it was stated that Sarah Bolton, aged 38, who had lived in Valley Road as a child, was set to become the youngest Mayor of Derby.

In July 1999 Angel Wolfenden was described as being a well-known sea angler who has fished for England. In 2010 she won the Best Front Gardens Award, which was featured in City News (October 2010). The award was sponsored by Callaways Estate & Lettings Agency.


copyright © J.Middleton
Parade of shop looking north

Number 86 – It was for many years a newsagent but by 2020 it was the Jolly Eaters Cafe. In 2022 the establishment has a new name Original Choices, and it is a take-away offering its services in the afternoon and evening seven days a week with pizzas, kebabs, burgers and pasta on the menu.

Number 86 – Forget-me-not, florist

Number 90 – There was once a butcher’s shop here. On 25 March 1999 after a tip-off, the shop was raided at lunchtime by customs officials from Southampton and police from Hove licensing unit. A substantial quantity of alcohol and cigarettes was discovered, and the shop closed down. However, it was not the end of police involvement with the premises. The last day Robert Kavanagh, a regular at the Grenadier, was seen alive was on 25 June 1999, and it was not until 14 July 1999 that some body parts were found in a copse near Bexhill by a dog walker. Police came to the conclusion that he had been killed three weeks earlier, and his body preserved and dis-membered. The police needed to find out where it had been stored, and the tools used. Suspicion fell on the butcher’s shop, and it was sealed off. It transpired that the shop had been broken into that June, and it was thought cutting tools might have been stolen. But it seems there was no connection, and the search was just one part of the investigation.

In March 2000 plans were announced to convert the premises into a veterinary practice, and Grove Lodge Vets are still there in 2021.

Number 92 – This used to be a convenience store called Mulberry’s but by 2020 the premises had been extended next door to include number 94, a former off-licence, and became Budgen’s.

Number 96 – In 2020 this shop was empty. Co-operative Funeral Care were the former occupants, and before that it was a chemist’s for many years. Phil Barton, who was born in 1953, remembers that his first job when he was around eleven years old, was delivering prescriptions twice a week for Mr Brower, the chemist. The prescriptions were placed in the basket of a black bike, and off he went. Unfortunately, one snowy winter’s day he skidded on his bike, and fell over, accompanied by the smashing of medicine bottles. Mr Brower was not amused and young Phil left to become a paper-boy at the village shop. In 1959 there were plans for a doctor’s surgery here, but perhaps it never materialised. By May 2021 there was a new business in the premises – an independent family undertakers known as H. J. Newington, and it was advertising a traditional funeral option for the bargain price of £2,725.

Number 98 – There used to be a shop here called Claire’s that sold haberdashery, knitting wool and children’s clothes. It closed in 1999. Then a takeaway business took its place. It was called Choices, and sold pizzas and burgers. In 2020 this shop was empty.

Number 100 – A new shop A. Coombs Pet Centre was recently established here but by 2021 it had closed.

Number 102 – H. D. Hair and Beauty and it was back in business after the pandemic.

Number 104 – There was a long established business here known as the Valley Fisheries. Later on, it also provided Chinese takeaways and in 2020 is known as the Valley Wok, Oriental Cuisine.

copyright © J.Middleton
Parade of shops looking south

Portslade Planning Approvals

1954 – Ten shops

1955 – PB Properties Ltd, six bungalows and 22 semi-detached houses

1955 – PB Properties Ltd, 21 pairs of bungalows

1955Portslade Urban District Council, 12 flats, 24 houses

1955 – Extension of Valley Road

1956 – One detached bungalow, one pair of bungalows

1956 – Portslade Urban District Council, 42 dwellings

1958 – Block of 5 shops, and living accommodation, numbers 96 to 104

1958 – Thirteen terraced houses

1959 – Sixteen flats

1959 – Doctor’s surgery, number 96

copyright © G. Osborne
An early 1960s photograph showing the Number 15 Bus making a right turn from the High Street into Valley Road. The bus route  shown on the front display reads :- 15,  PATCHAM, OLD STEINE, WESTERN ROAD, PORTSLADE STATION, UPPER PORTSLADE (VALLEY ROAD). The number 15 bus route terminated at the far end of Valley Road.



City News (October 2010)

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Mr. G. Osborne

North Portslade Community News (June/July 2018)

Portslade UDC Minute Books

Copyright © J.Middleton 2021
page layout by D.Sharp