North Laine History

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Kensington  Gardens

Kensington Gardens was developed from 1808 when it was at the very edge of the town. It was the first street northwards from North Road. Originally the houses did have gardens as can be seen by looking at the houses on the eastern side which were built after the western side. No 5 was the Kensington Gardens Institute for Working Men from 1865 until 1920 and it still retains its early c19th bow windows. Nos 7-11 also retain original facades. The street has always been a shopping street and at the beginning of the c20 much of the street was owned by Peters who had several furniture shops from where many local residents bought their home furnishings. The White Rabbit, formerly The Kensington was Brighton's first beer house, called The Abode of Love. No 22 (now Specs,) was where Anita Roddick opened her first shop in 1976 much to the annoyance of the funeral parlour opposite. She raised £4,000 from the bank and found a herbalist in the Yellow Pages.