Downs Vat

Downs Hotel, Downs Estate, Brighton.

Blaster A. Goode.

Downs Vat

The Downs Hotel in Warren Road was built in 1927 as a public house. It is located only 2.5 miles from the heart of Brighton, surrounded by beautiful South Downs countryside.

Woodingdean in its present form began to grow up after World War I on Percy Harvey’s Downs Estate in the northern part of the parish of Rottingdean. It consisted of plots of land on the South Downs which had formerly been used for sheep-farming. These plots of land were sold by developers often but not exclusively to returning soldiers, some of whom may have been froth blowers. The area was once locally notorious for the shacks that were put up on these plots, whose architectural styles ranged from Wooden Hut to Railway Carriage Body. Life in these plotlands was satirised in a stage play by H. F. Maltby called What Might Happen (1927). In 1928 Woodingdean became part of Brighton County Borough.

There were no shops nearby in the 1920’s. People had to walk into Brighton to get  clothes and basic items. In those days  you had to walk 50 feet to go to the  toilet. At night a big cart would come around  the houses and collected the sewage,  emptying it into a nearby field.To get milk  you had to take a can to nearby West Farm.

Woodingdean itself takes its name from a former farm at the southern end of the modern suburb, whose main claims to fame are to have been owned by the comedian Max Miller and used as a wartime retreat by the former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.