The first of three talks about Brighton life in the 20th century, Brighton 1914 – 1930, took place last week and a capacity audience joined in the lively conversation about Brighton’s past. In addition to the talk given by Paul Jordan, Senior History Centre Officer, members of the audience described memories and stories of events and places in Brighton which included descriptions of Brighton’s reaction to the 1926 General Strike and the Battle of Lewes Road.
The Battle of Lewes Road saw mounted police, including leading Brighton personality, Harry Preston, charge a crowd outside the Lewes Road tram depot.
Early in the day rumours had circulated that the authorities were going to bring out the trams from the depot and a large crowd gathered curious to know what was happening. According to one eye witness the mounted police charged the crowd, and foot police hit out with their truncheons. Children were leaving school at the time and were caught up in the skirmish. Many of the women and children took refuge in the Saunders Recreation Ground opposite.
Twenty two arrests were made and several people injured two seriously. As a result of his perceived support for the authorities, Harry Preston never regained the level of popularity he had once enjoyed with the people of Brighton.
Preparations for the talks have made extensive use of the resources held at the Brighton History Centre. The research was carried out by looking at historic local newspapers; including the Brighton Herald and Brighton Gazette, programmes for local cinemas and dancehalls, periodicals and maps and scrapbooks. All this material is available for public viewing in Brighton History Centre in Brighton Museum. http://ow.ly/3Xwpi