Braybrooke bridged the gap to town expansion

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This week, in his continuing series, Ion Castro takes another look at Braybrooke Road and a new bridge which opened up the town.

He writes: Braybrooke Road was built on the Cornwallis Estate whose family members included the names Cornwallis, Braybrooke, Waldegrave and Mann names which are still evident today as street names on the estate.

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Development started in 1873 when local builder, John Howell started major development in the area on the former Cornwallis Estate.

He laid out what was to become Cambridge Gardens, on the site of the old Priory Farm and was also working on upper Cambridge Road and on laying out Cornwallis Gardens and Holmesdale Gardens, as 99-year leases, on peppercorn rents, were already being granted.

The railway had arrived in Hastings in 1851 and the road bridge that was to go over it, becoming Linton Road, was built in 1881 and helped to open up the area for development. That same year, 1881, the Council authorised new roads on the Cornwallis Park Estate and there were plans for roads right across the estate to the new Park Road (now Upper Park Road and Lower Park Road) and up to the Eversfield Estate, near Silverhill. The streets included Amherst Road and Priory Avenue. To the east, the railway runs parallel to Braybrooke Road and restricted access to the expanding Hastings so, in 1885, The Cornwallis Estate built and paid for a new bridge over the railway and passed it on, at no cost, to Hastings Council.

This bridge connected South Terrace to the new Priory Avenue and improved the development potential for that side of the estate, vastly improving its profitability.

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The bridge was of iron lattice girder construction with two spans, one 120 feet long, the other 50 feet with a steep gradient of one in seven-and-a-half at the south end to lift it over the railway sidings. The bridge was eventually replaced, 111 years later opening in 1996 Dec 27 at a cost of £1.2 million.

The first houses were built in Braybrooke Road and had been completed by 1882. At that time Braybrooke Road ran from below the Linton Road Bridge where it met Linton Crescent, but in 1888 it was shortened when the section running parallel to the railway was renamed ‘Braybrooke Terrace’, with the properties retaining their original numbers.

Houses in the ‘new’ Braybrooke Road were named not numbered so were not affected and those beyond the South Terrace Bridge were part of Wykeham Terrace and numbered accordingly. The higher ground on the opposite side of the road is recorded at that time as ‘building land’ and the artist, W H Borrow is noted as living at 2 Braybrooke Terrace.

By the turn of the 20th Century the houses in Braybrooke Road were numbered, evens on the right from the Cornwallis Terrace end with an off-licence at No 2 and a post office.

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On the hill up from the railway bridge, bounded by an enormous retaining wall, is the access to Braybrooke Close, the access had existed since the end of the 19th century but building didn’t take place until the end of the 1950’s.

All illustrations throughout this series are from Ion Castro’s own collection including the ‘modern’ pictures which he took himself and he can make available copies of many of the images used in this series. There’s more local history on Ion’s website, www.historichastings.co.uk.

Captions:

1882 Indenture.

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The conveyance of 4 Braybrooke Road (later Braybrooke Terrace) dated 1st December 1882 between The Right Honorable Charles Cornwallis, Baron Braybrooke and the Honorable George Herbert Windsor Windsor Clive. Further on the deed recites “The Right Honorable William Archer Baron Amherst commonly called Viscount Holmesdale and the Right Honorable Julia Mann Viscountess Holmesdale” gives an indication of the names involved in the Cornwallis Estate.

1948 Auction

Auction details for the building on the corner of Braybrooke Road and Priory Avenue in November 1948, the property didn’t sell but we are told that the rateable value of No 89 was £44 with the Borough rate of 18/4 in the £ including Water Rate and that the property was let to a Mr Pendergrass, as a ‘Statutory Tenant’ at an annual rent of £70.

Adams 1901.

An advert from 1901 for Adams Bros, Dairymen and Greengrocers who traded from No. 4 Braybrooke Road. The house is now flats and the post office next door is long gone.

Braybrooke Terrace.

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A certificate from 1890, signed by Hastings’ Town Clerk, George Meadows (father of the better-known later Town Clerk Ben Meadows) confirming that “…3rd day of February 1888 the piece of road between the Railway Arch and the Viaduct on the Cornwallis Estate was ordered to be formally named ‘Braybrooke Terrace’ and the numbers of the houses were ordered to remain as at present”.

Bridge – Mann.

The commemorative granite tablet from the original lattice girder bridge of 1885 has been incorporated in the modern bridge.

Bridge – Norcross.

The new bridge was opened on Dec 27th 1996 by Councillor Derek Norcross who was the chair of the East Sussex County Council having entered local politics after his retirement as head teacher of St Paul’s school.

Gas Works.

A 1960’s aerial view with Braybrooke Road snaking across the top of the image and the aeroplane wing bottom right and the south terrace bridge top left. The Maidstone & District Bus garage is in the foreground below the gas holders with Hollingsworths Garage on the other side of the railway lines.

Goodsyard.

This photograph taken just after the war from an upper window in Braybrooke Road shows a well-filled railway goods yard and a couple of parked single-deck buses and the goods shed. The site is now the Station Plaza with part still undeveloped.

Map 1897.

An extract from the 1897 Ordnance survey show the access to Braybrooke Close although development would have to wait another 60 years, note the quarry. Hastings Station would be re-shaped in the 1930’s.

Old South Terrace Bridge.

This image from the 1980’s clearly shows the steep gradient of the bridge which lasted 111 years only being replaced in 1996. Notice the former timber sheds, later ESK on the right of the image.

Saw Mills.

This advert from 1901 tells us that Jas. Walder & Son’s ‘timber wharf’ was rail side Braybrooke Road in what would become the ESK warehouse prior to demolition.

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