09 September 2022

Southdown Road, Portslade.

Judy Middleton 2003 (revised 2021)

copyright © D. Sharp
Southdown Road

The name of Southdown Road did not make an appearance in Street Directories until the 1930s although there were some houses at the south end. These eight houses were already in place by 1899 and were known as Southdown Cottages, and that name remained until further development in the 1930s. The description of ‘cottages’ is a misnomer because they were good-quality houses inhabited by senior members who earned their living at the Brewery, while some Brewery labourers lived in the next road – North Road.

copyright © G. Osborne
An Edwardian view of North Road and the brewery worker's homes
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph from his private collection.

These houses could all be considered as part of an industrial enclave in contrast with the rural aspect of north Portslade and Mile Oak. Today, numbers 1-7 and 2-8 Southdown Road are part of the Portslade Old Village Conservation Area.

The land on which the later houses were built was once farmland or market gardens. A vestige of agricultural days lies in the lane at the back of the houses on the south side, which once led to North House Farm. Further charming evidence of a different use comes from some of the gardens on the south side where the occupants often came across fragments of clay pipes while digging the soil.

copyright © D. Sharp
Some of the many fragments of clay pipes found in a garden
in Southdown Road

This leads to the supposition that the old pastime of quoits was once played in the vicinity with the local yokels gathered for a quiet game and the latest gossip while pressing some loose tobacco into their clay pipes. Unhappily, these clay pipes were fragile and easily broken, then a new one had to be purchased. Quoits was popular until the First World War, and both the
Stag’s Head and the George Inn had their own quoits team.

Former Owners

From the deeds belonging to a house in Southdown Road, it is possible to have a glimpse of the land’s former owners.

23 January 1866 – This is the date of the will written by John Borrer Esq of Portslade, and he appointed the following as his executors and trustees – Eardley Nicholas Hall, Revd Cary Hampton Borrer, and William Hall. John Borrer left a cottage, bakehouse and premises in Portslade Street (High Street) to his son Henry Hall Borrer and his heirs. John Borrer had purchased the premises from the representatives of Mr Penticost, and it was then in the occupation of Messrs Peters.

17 April 1866 - Codicil. The portion of the Four Acres in Portslade let to John Hinde Hale, as well as the remainder of the Four Acres, and the Pound Field, part of the Manor House property, should, after the expiration of the period specified, be held in trust for John Borrer’s daughters, Kate and Sarah Anne, and they should have the use rent free after Borrer’s decease.

copyright © D. Sharp
A view of the south end of Southdown Road.
The far left - the former Manor House, almost centre - the tower of St Nicolas Church above the trees, and to the right - the former Portslade Brewery.

The Four Acres being the western part of the piece known as Nine Acres in Portslade and currently let to Mr Cherryman, should be marked off the residue of the said nine acres, and removed from the devise of the said Manor House, and thenceforth go to John Borrer’s son, H. H. Borrer in fee simple.

John Borrer died at Portslade 12 August 1866; probate granted 25 September 1866.

30 August 1905 – This is the date that H. H. Borrer of Oakdene, Wilbury Gardens, Hove, wrote his will appointing Revd William Buchanan Dunlop of Sayers Common, Sussex, and Reginald Blaker of Lewes, solicitor, as executors and trustees. They should pay for his funeral and testamentary expenses, debts and legacies.

H. H. Borrer died at Oakdene, on 18 March 1909; probate was granted 20 April 1909.

(Henry Hall Borrer was born on 16 October 1822. He was still Lord of the Manor at Portslade in 1887, although he lived at Hurstpierpoint for 27 years, then moved to Oakdene, 33 Wilbury Gardens, Hove. He was in his 89th year when he died, and he was buried in Hove Cemetery).

copyright © D. Sharp
Southdown Road viewed north of the tower of St Nicolas Church

29 September 1922
- Vendors Revd W. B. Dunlop, Vicarage, Sayers Common, and R. Blaker, Lewes, sold to John Broomfield, Portslade, gardener, and Sidney Herbert West of North House Farm, Portslade, for £600 a piece of land situated on the north side of High Street, believed to be described as The Cottage, Bakehouse, and premises, but later known as 21 & 25 High Street, plus Four Acres.

copyright © D. Sharp
This former North House Farm's flint wall is now a garden wall of a bungalow in Southdown Road.

th July 1933 – John Broomfield of North House Farm, Portslade, made the following declaration. ‘At Michaelmas 1888 I became Tenant of the late Henry Hall Borrer (Four Acres) and continued as tenant until sold to me and West in fee simple. In 1932 I and West constructed at our own expense a roadway through a portion of the said land (now known as Southdown Road).’

When a house in Southdown Road was sold in 1934 for £655, the vendors were Broomfield and West. It is amusing to note the restrictive covenants on the property:

No steam engine might be set up

No caravan house on wheels allowed

No booth, swing or roundabout

No bricks or tiles to be burnt

No lime to be burnt

In short, it was to be a residential area only.


John Broomfield and his business partner Sidney West hit upon the idea of developing the Four Acres for housing, and planning permission was granted in 1932. Then the duo became more ambitious, and in October 1933 sent in an application to extend Southdown Road in a northerly direction with a branch road going east from the centre of the proposed extension to Short Lane. But obviously Portslade Council was not happy about this.

In a letter dated 16 November 1933 Portslade Council received a letter from the Ministry of Health enclosing a letter from Messrs Cockburn, Gosling & Co, on behalf of Broomfield and West complaining about the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission to develop houses on the east side of Southdown Road, on the west side of Short Lane. The rumpus resulted in a Public Inquiry, which was held on 14 December 1933 – they certainly did not waste time in those days. On 15 January 1934 the Ministry of Health dismissed Broomfield’s appeal. Thus it was back to the drawing board, and within a very short space of time, H. E. Oliver, on behalf of Broomfield, submitted amended plans, and these were duly accepted by Portslade Council.

House Notes

copyright © D. Sharp
Numbers 1 - 7, Southdown Road, these houses were once a part of the Brewery complex and reserved for senior staff, Brewery workers lived in smaller houses in North Road

Numbers 1-7
– These houses on the north side are part of Portslade Old Village Conservation Area.

copyright © D. Sharp
Numbers 2 - 8, Southdown Road, these houses were once a part of the Brewery complex and reserved for senior staff, Brewery workers lived in smaller houses in North Road

Numbers 2-8
– These houses on the south side are part of Portslade Old Village Conservation Area.

Number 2 - John Greenfield lived in this house for many years, and was often to be seen pottering about in his long sloping back garden. In his youth he liked to ride a powerful motorbike. He used to enjoy a visit to the Cricketers, next to the Sussex County Cricket Ground in the 1950s, which in those days was so retro that there was still sawdust on the floor. Mr Greenfield was ahead of the curve in his passionate interest in local history, then considered a somewhat niche pursuit. Over the years he built up a fine collection of old photographs relating to Portslade, which he left to Hove Library.

Number 53 - In 1969 Revd K. A. Bradshaw lived in this house. He was a curate at nearby St Nicolas in the days when the large congregation merited both a resident vicar and a curate.

copyright © D. Sharp
December 2010 view of Southdown Road

Street Parties

Street parties have been held in Southdown Road to celebrate national events for many years, resulting in the road being closed for the day and tables and chairs set up in the middle of the road. These road closure events enabled the social gathering of neighbours, organised games between children, fancy dress and the sale of cakes for various charities.

List of Road Closures

June 1977 Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

copyright © D. Sharp
Children's fancy dress at Southdown Road's 1981 Royal Wedding street party

July 1981 The Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
copyright © D. Sharp
V E Day 8 May 2020

8 May 2020 VE Day (75 year anniversary of Victory in Europe), due to the coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s lockdown restrictions, street parties were forbidden. Southdown Road residents decorated their houses in red, white and blue and held picnics in their front gardens with their own household and social gatherings were restricted to ‘over the garden fence’ with one’s immediate neighbours.

The weekend of 4
th and 5th June, 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee, on the Saturday the south end of Southdown Road was closed, on the Sunday the north section of Southdown Road was closed for their Jubilee celebrations. The bells of St Nicolas Church were rung on Sunday at 8pm at the close of the weekend celebrations which could be heard in the southern section of Southdown Road.

Portslade Planning Approvals

1932 – in March, Broomfield & West submit plans for layout of new road

1932 – F. J. Edmonds, 20 houses, numbers 10 to 48

1932 – H. Jones, eighteen houses

1933 – H. Dearing, two houses, numbers 49/51

copyright © D. Sharp

1933 – Mrs Williams, 20 houses, numbers 53 to 91

copyright © D. Sharp

– H. C. Williams, 24 houses

1933 – White & Sons, two blocks of flats

1933 – J. Broomfield, two houses, numbers 45/47

1933 – F. J. Edmonds, eighteen houses, numbers 9 to 43

1934 – H. E. Oliver, ten houses, numbers 97 to 115

1953 – Ten bungalows

copyright © D. Sharp
The bungalows in the Southdown Road extension

– 54 semi-detached bungalows (fourteen in Southdown Road extension)

1958 – Two detached houses at junction with Downsway

copyright © D. Sharp
Evening view from the west side gardens of Southdown Road in June 2019 with the former Brewery dominating the sky line.


Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

House Deeds

Mr G. Osborne

Portslade Council Minute Books (at The Keep)

Street Directories

Copyright © J.Middleton 2022

page layout and additional reserach by D.Sharp