Many lives were lost in Brighton and Hove during World War Two, and the famous beach became a no-go area covered in mines, but even significant bombing did not destroy the character of the seaside resort. Most of its Regency architecture was left intact, though new buildings in conservation areas often indicate where bombs hit.
Our trail, Brighton in the Line of Fire features detailed information about the bombs that fell on the town during World War Two. The maps here, covering 1942 to 1944, provide an immediate picture of just how seriously some areas of Brighton and Hove were damaged.
Above: North Central Brighton, around the station. © National Archives
In the map above, you can see that the Luftwaffe aimed their sights on the railway - a lifeline for a town whose economy thrived on tourism. May 1942 saw bombs hit very close to the station itself and the line to Lewes. Two months later, another bomb missed the station by yards, falling on the depot to the rear. On October 10, bombs hit Howard Place, the churchyard of St Nicholas on Dyke Road and just to the west of Preston Circus.
More dropped in March and May 1943 on Gloucester Place, Howard Place, north of the station and on Park Crescent. The area between London Road and Ditchling Road took a hit in February 1944.
Above: Kemp Town and Black Rock. © National Archives
Black Rock took a concentrated bombardment compared to the centre of town, which apart from the area around the station remained fairly unscathed. The gasworks were hit in August 1942 and Black Rock and Kemp Town took a battering in May 1943. February 1944 saw about 10 bombs strike a small area behind the Whitehawk Broadway and Sussex Square.
For a contemporary account of the damage done around Kemp Town, see Tony Simmonds’ diary extract on My Brighton & Hove.
Nizells Avenue and Colbourne Road, Hove, were struck in March 1943; York Avenue in May 1944. © National Archives
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