The history of the Lewes Road area is rich with education, entrepreneurialism, employment, and community. It was a place which evolved organically over time, a result of opportune investment by major businesses , fuelled by the spirit of an extraordinary community of hard working people.
Preston Barracks, originally built in 1793, formed part of the Lewes Road story by housing artillery and cavalry in the wake of the Napoleonic war. Initially, the barracks were fairly rudimentary, just a cluster of temporary timber huts. Over time the barracks would evolve to include married quarters and become a place not only for troops and cavalry but to include family life.
Following the construction of the Preston Barracks, the surrounding area developed as an important educational and manufacturing hub, which supported a growing and often thriving residential community.
One of the most notable buildings in the Lewes Road area was the Old Diamond Works, built in 1917, a factory which assisted injured soldiers to be re-trained and contribute to the diamond industry.
In 1939 the Allen West building would see further contribution to Lewes Road’s production and manufacturing legacy, which in its hey day contributed to the provision of 3000 jobs in the field of electrical engineering.