Looking towards Saltdean from the cliff top
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Saltdean is a coastal village in the city of Brighton and Hove, with part (known as East Saltdean) outside the city boundary in Lewes district. Saltdean is approximately 5 miles east of central Brighton, 5 miles west of Newhaven, and 6 miles south of Lewes. It is bordered by farmland and the South Downs National Park.
Saltdean was open farmland, originally a part of the village of Rottingdean, and almost uninhabited until 1924 when land was sold off for speculative housing and property development. Some of this was promoted by entrepreneur Charles W. Neville, who had set up a company to develop the site (he also eventually built nearby towns Peacehaven and parts of Rottingdean).
Saltdean has a mainly shingle beach, fronted by a promenade, the Undercliff Walk, which can be reached directly from the cliff top, by steps from the coast road, or by a subway tunnel from the nearby Lido. The buildings nearest the beach are the most architecturally varied, and include some influenced by international trends of the inter-war years, e.g. Bauhaus and Cubism, and there are some which are Spanish influenced.
The most famous building is the Saltdean Lido community centre, which includes a public library and iconic open air swimming-pool, designed by architect R.W.H. Jones. He also designed other buildings in the area, including the former Grand Ocean Hotel, built using Art Deco 'ocean liner' architecture.
Saltdean is now a prosperous village suburb of the city of Brighton and Hove, whilst its eastern side is administratively part of the neighbouring Lewes District Council.
Saltdean is situated by the sea in a 'Dean' (Saxon/Old English for 'dry valley'), with the surrounding hills of the South Downs National Park forming a large central dip and valley where the oval shaped Saltdean Park and Lido are located, looking out over the adjacent sea.
Tree lined roads and avenues radiate out in wide oval curves from the park in order to follow the contours of the local topography. The plan of the village was designed from inception to vary considerably from neighbouring Peacehaven's more grid-like system.
Saltdean Primary School is the only school in Saltdean, it is well subscribed and very highly regarded. There is also a library located in the Lido Community building.
Sport and leisure
Saltdean has a non-League football club Saltdean United F.C. who play at Hill Park. Saltdean also has 4 hard tennis courts, an outdoor Bowls green and a skateboard park all located within Saltdean Park. A sea swimming group meets weekly on the beach and holds traditional Boxing Day and New Year's Day swims.
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Saltdean is referenced in the chapter "The Sensational Sage of the Saltdean Stallion" of the fantasy novel The Brightonomicon. The book "Poems from a Cave in Saltdean" (2010) makes reference to local geography.
The changing landscape of Saltdean in the 20th century is referenced in the song "'Ouses, 'Ouses, 'Ouses" on the album "The Imagined Village" on Real World Records. The song was co-written by John Copper, the sixth generation of his family to sing songs about Sussex, and reminisces about his grandfather's experience as a shepherd in the area.
- Glenn Fabry, comics artist.
- John Avon, illustrator.
- George Robey, music hall comedian
- Dennis Burnett, Footballer
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