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1800s: Bound for Cuckfield from Pool Valley

It's perhaps surprising to learn that Brighton northbound bus stops have virtually remained unchanged from the ones used by stage coaches over 200 years ago. And Pool Valley - today used by buses - was used by stage coaches. But how did it get its name?

Brighthelmstone June 1779

When stage coaches were making their way to London via Cuckfield from Brighton they had a number of starting points. These included:

Castle Square in the Old Steine at the bottom of North Street and today within a few feet, in the Old Steine, we can board buses to head up the A23.

  1. North Street - the road leading up to Churchill Square from the Old Steine where The New Inn was located which for a time had the same owners as The Talbot Hotel in Cuckfield (more of this in a future article).

  2. East Street which runs down to the sea from what used to be Hannington's department store (closed 2001). The White Horse hotel, whose landlord had a connection with The Talbot 'team' had its stableyard at the rear of the building in what we know today as Pool Valley. Today's Pool Valley Bus Station.

But why 'Pool Valley'? The answers can be found below in an article in Brighton Ambulator written in 1818 and describes some very early drainage funded by Prince Regent.

Fifty years ago it was called Stein Field, and nothing more than common waste land, indiscriminately used by the inhabitants for the repository of heavy goods, sale of coals, boatbuilding, net making, &c.

From the gradual slope of the hills to the Steyne, a large pool of water, collected on the spot near where the Castle Tavern is situated, and running down the east side of East-street, emptied itself into the ocean in Pool-lane, adjoining the White Horse Inn, in which state it remained until the year 1793, when an immense sewer was erected under the north level, to carry off the waters accumulating from the springs to the north-east, and in the town and neighbourhood, at the sole expence of the Prince Regent and Duke of Marlborough.

The Steyne was levelled and enclosed, and, as the company invariably promenaded in this field, the nuisances gradually disappeared. The Steyne is 660 yards in circumference, divided into north and south, as the thoroughfare for passengers from Castle-square to St James’s-street intersects the lawn east to west.


Brighton Ambulator by C Wright, 1818, P47/8

Pool Valley picture from Regency Society

castle Square from Brighton and its coaches by WCA Blew, 1894

Map from the Regency Society and the Society of Brighton Print Collectors

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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