Category:The Lanes

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The Lanes is a warren of lanes, some covered, that form a hidden nest of shops near to Brighton's seafront, in a region approximately demarcated by Ship Street, North Street and East Street.


The Lanes is "the original Brighton", and its layout is the original Brighton medieval streetplan (which is why it's so labyrinthine, and isn't designed for road traffic). Although the layout is medieval, the buildings themselves aren't, quite (the original town having been burned down by the French at some point).

The Lanes' status as ""the original Brighton" is borne out by the names of the bounding streets: North Street runs along its North side, West Street is its western boundary, Middle Street runs though its middle, East Street runs down the eastern boundary, and if you search really hard, stumpy little South Street runs parallel to the seafront for a block, one block inland.


The Lanes has an eclectic variety of small specialist shops, including jewellers and art dealers.

Since shops in The Lanes typically have no roadways passing their shopfronts, they are not usually represented on Google Streetview, and the number of covered passageways also makes it difficult to map The Lanes using aerial or satellite imagery, without having someone physically walk the network of lanes and passageways and take notes.

Because of this, many early online listings for the shops in The Lanes were often inaccurate or out of date.

Jewelery and antique shops

The Lanes' quiet traffic-free environment and "olde worlde" feel seems to be a natural location for jewellers, and the listings site lists over thirty jewellers establishments: Artique Galleries, Baxter & Hanks, Brighton Diamond, Camelot Jewellers, Classic Jewellery, Derek Le-Warde, Divine Diamond, Doyles, Fidra Jewellers, Finch Jewellers, Gold Arts Sussex, Goodman & Morris, Grains of Gold, Infinity Jewellers, Inscriptions, Jewellery & Diamonds, Kellerwood Jewellers, Lambtons, Little Gem, Marc in the Lanes, Midas Touch, Newman’s Jewellers, Number Ten, Ocean Jewellers, Paul Goble Antiques, Pavilion Diamond, Purdy’s of Brighton, Regents Jewellers, RING Jewellers, Royal Jewellery, The Witch Ball, Turning Heads, Venus Diamond, and Vogue Diamond. There's also The Armory which deals in suits or armour and antique weaponry, and The Witch Ball, which deals with antiquarian maps and prints.

... etc.

There are also art dealers and galleries, and the famous Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse.


On the subject of food, The Lanes is the location of Choccywoccydoodah, and Duke Street hosts an improbable number of chocolate shops, including Hotel Chocolat, Montezuma, and Julien Plumart.

1933 description:

The visitor who likes "poking about" in old book and curio shops should take a stroll through the narrow lanes between the Post Office in Ship Street and the vicinity of the Town Hall. However sceptical he may be as to the claims of the "Oldest Curio Shop on Earth," he will admit the pleasantly "antique" flavour of these by-ways.

— , -, , A Pictorial and Descriptive Guide to Brighton and Hove, 10th Edition, , Ward, Locke & Co Ltd., , 1933

1966: Brighton Square

Brighton Square is a small redevelopment within a small part of the The Lanes that happened in 1966 and tried to be sympathetic to the overall feel of the area. It retains pedestrian-centric emphasis and avoids straight lines, although the architects seem to have indulged themselves a little and achieved this by using curved paths rather than properly-amateurish medieval staggered lines, so the result is perhaps a little more Disney-esque than it ought to be. The existence of Brighton Square is usually politely and firmly ignored in discussions of The Lanes ... but the fact that it is usually possible to ignore Brighton Square perhaps counts at least as some sort of grudging partial success for the project. In future renovations, the region might be brought more into line with the rest of the lanes by replacing the smoothly curved paths and handrails with "wonky" broken lines, and maybe by "stealthing" some of the too-clean brickwork by staining it a darker colour (such as a mucky dark brown) to make it disappear.

See also:

External links:


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