The Battle of Lewes Road part 4
David Low
The Star, 01 Jun 1926
The Subsidised Mineowner-Poor Beggar!
Trade Union Unity Magazine 1925

Paul Edwards

Eyewitness Accounts

Mary C. bannister

Hearing a great noise, I came to the front of my house, which is situated at the bottom next to a stone masons. i saw policemen driving the people, women and children, close to the railings and putting up their arms to protect themselves were threatened with arrest. I, an old woman was threatened if I did not go indoors. I opened my door and let several into my house. Gladstone Place being a cul-de-sac the people were driven from the main road. When standing at the window the horse policeman rode up on the pavement and deliberately struck an old man across the back with his stick. Others were kicked and a regular attempt was made by the police to trample the people down. I am willing to take my oath on this.

Mary C. Bannister, 1, Gladstone Place

Alice Jacobs

I the undersigned, as an eyewitness of the arrest of bob Thompson, 28, Stanley Road, state that he did not strike or attempt to strike a policeman. I was within a few yards of the occurence and saw the policeman grab him by his hair hurry him to a car whilst the crowd around were calling out shame

Alice Jacobs, 98, Osborne Road

A. Packham

On Tuesday morning May 11th, I was outside of the Tram Depot when Mr. Marsh came out and stated that 200 mounted and foot police were coming and appeal to the crowd to go away and said for god’s sake men don’t let their be any trouble, go home. I went into the recreation ground and stood opposite the main enterance of the Tram Depot. I helped to get children over the wall into the ground for safety, and advised women with prams to clear away. Along came the poice on foot, then a motor covered over with a brown tarpaulin, after this volunteersto take out the cars. The foot police moved the crowd towards Falmer. Then something happened, the specails, mounted, and foot police seemed to go mad. They rushed the crowd and arrested a man against the depot wall and pushed him into gate, jobbing him in the back. Then the mounted special and regular police rushed the recreation ground pushing men, women and children against the wall. I saw a little girl about 10 years of age screaming and tearing her hair out. I said “don’t be affraid and you will be alright with me.” I turned to those on horse back and sai ” I appeal to you as Englishman, as a man, as an Ambulance man, to let these women and children go.” One reared his horse up and I pushed the little girl into safety and told her to run off. The mounted special then said “Get Out” and a regular policeman mounted cut me a blow across the right shoulder. He then rushed out of the gate in Hollingdean Road right across the road on to the pavement where his horse slipped and there were women, and children in prams, also a lot of children they had driven out of the recreation ground standing on the pavement. He then drove us down Hollingdean Road into Lewes Road and then up Gladstone Place where I pushed into a gateway and fell down an area stepsin mendeavour to get out of the way and into safety. The way I got home was, when the dinner bell of Bennets went, the stonemasons men went home I mingled with them and so got home.

A. Packham, 16 Roundhill Street, Brighton

S.A. Scutt

On Tuesday morning May 11th, I was in Lewes Road with my wife looking for my little boy Albert who would be coming home from school. Seeing the police coming along the road my wife and I began walking up gladstone Place to get out of the way; when; around the corner came a special constable on a horse with 2 0r 3 policemen and several specials. The one on the horse rode up on the pavement, he was shouting something and I kept walking. I was about the third house up when he reached me. He said ” where are you going.” I said “Home.” He then raised his stick which had a big knob on the end and struck me a blow across my back. I said nothing because I thought if I did he would arrest me. Up came a policeman in uniform and said “Where do you live” I said No. 37. He said “Why don’t you get away home.” I said “Thats where I am going.” My wife had to run into the road as she was nearly knocked down by the horse. I had a bruise on my back about 6 inches long.

S.A. Scutt, 37, Gladstone Place

Y.J. Harrison

In regards to this affair in Lewes Road, the whole affair was treacherous as being an eye witness and coming through it. women and children knocked about by those heros on horseback, just as the children were coming home from school and I myself being on crutches just got half way through the crowd outside the Depot when they made a charge, they came through as if they were made, one special on horseback jumped over the wall into the recreation park where women and children were for safety and other went into the park and frightened the little children to death. also some of the foot police were very insolent to the women who were looking for their children. my two children 5 & 7 have been under the doctor owing to fright and delirous caused through the men on horseback.

Y.J. Harrison, 29 Coombe Terrace


Many thanks to Paul Edwards

Welcome to

“The Brighton Motive Power Depots” website

Over many years much has been written about the various forms of traction that operated in and around the Brighton area.

But very little has been documented about the footplate-men who actually worked on them.

This web site tries to remedy this as it seeks to explain the history of

Brighton’s Motive Power depots and the creation of the Brighton branch of the train driver’s union,

ASLEF – the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers & Firemen.


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