Brighton Railway Station, "BTN" was built in 1841 by the London and Brighton Railway (L&BR) as the southern terminus of their new London-to-Brighton railway line, expensively engineered to give as direct a route as possible between the new station and the other custom-built terminus, London's Victoria Station (which was shared with another company). The building, a white rectangular Italianate building designed by David Mocatta, was one of a chain of similar station buildings created by Mocatta along the railway line, with the Brighton Terminus doubling as the company's headquarters. Mocatta's building is still on-site, embedded in the front of the larger modern station, which flanks the original building with additional office space, connected to the Mocatta building on the first floor.
Technically there was a "Brighton Station" on the site in 1940, but this was a smaller building that only served the Brighton-to-Shoreham line while the main line to Brighton (and its main station building) were still being completed.
Carved into the side of a steep hill, the site seemed to be a crazy position for a railway station, but the location (plus a viaduct crossing London Road) allowed a single station to service both the London line and coastal lines to the East and West.
The main access route to the station was originally Trafalgar Street, which connected the station to Grand Parade. The station had a Cab Road on the East side taking vehicles up the extra level to the platform level, folded back on itself with a 180-degree hairpin bend in an attempt to make the road twice as long, and half as steep. However, this was still pretty tough on the horses, and Queens Road was built to connect the station to North Street, by the Clock Tower. Queens Road was carefully designed to have a much gentler slope, and the top led into the station via a new bridge over Trafalgar Street.
The forecourt to the station (including the space now occupied by Brighton Toy and Model Museum) was probably added some time in the next year or two after 1841, and the west side of the site became built up with additional offices. A need for additional office and platform space was then met by extending the station Eastwards and encroaching on the goods yard, bridging over the old Cab Road and turning it into an access tunnel (which still exists, behind the wooden doors alongside the museum). A set of glass roofing was also built over the forecourt to provide shelter for visitors, although this obscured the view of the original Mocatta building – while it seems anomalous that the site could be so heavily redeveloped without replacing the original (now heavily obscured) building, one theory is that the Company's Directors liked the Mocatta boardroom and didn't want it changed.
In 1846, around five years after the new line was opened, the L&BR merged with others to become the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), which retained the building as their headquarters. With the creation of the "Big Four" railway companies in 1923, the LB&SCR then became a major part of the Southern Railway (SR). With nationalisation in 1947, SR then became British Railways Southern Region.
Goods yard and Brighton Works
To the East of the station was a goods yard, which, due to the site's slope, was a level lower than the passenger lines, and was originally linked to the West by a steep tunnel angled diagonally beneath them - this was later made obsolete by a dedicated ironwork bridge over New England Road (now part of the Brighton Greenway), with a longer arcing route that had a more sensible gradient.
Brighton Locomotive Works also occupied land to the North and East, producing over 1200 steam locomotives (including the Billinton E2 Second Series 0-6-0 tank locomotive that was used as the famous outline of Thomas the Tank Engine), and with the Pullman Works at Preston Park servicing Pullman carriages. At one time the site included an Isetta bubble-car factory, with raw materials and finished cars entering and leaving by rail.
This area has since been extensively redeveloped and built on to produce Brighton's New England Quarter.
|Brighton Station – London Road Viaduct – London Road Station – Ouse Valley Viaduct– Clayton Tunnel|
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- Brighton Belle Mural,...
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- Brighton Belle plaque.jpg
- Brighton From the Term...
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- Brighton Toy and Model...
- Southern Electric trai...
- Steam locomotive 44932...