Uncovering the secrets of the abandoned barracks in the heart of Brighton
Recently some of our Urban Exploration team visited the abandoned Preston Barracks, an old cavalry base and later a Territorial Army training centre in the centre of Brighton. When the barracks became disused and the majority of the base was demolished in the early 1990s to make way for a supermarket, it was occupied by a number of anti-fascist, anti-establishment and probably anti-bathing squatters. There are two remaining buildings in the complex, the first and smaller of which seems not to have been lived in and only shows signs of other intrepid explorers such as ourselves. We found a number of changing rooms and showers, social spaces complete with bars and kitchens as well a large sports hall. This building looks like it could perhaps have been part of the living quarters for the cavalry who were stationed here when the base was used by the army, and then converted into a recreational building for the TA. The majority of the damage that the building has sustained (aside from the odd broken window) seems to have been done by time. The paint from the walls and ceiling refuses to adhere and footing is made difficult by the sheer amount of broken glass as well as the dead pigeons who had made this building their home.
Some of the most interesting things we came across we came across were the Claim Forms for Possession of Property from when the squatters had evidently tried to claim the building as their own, (which state the date of their court hearing as 13/06/03). The forms come complete with the statement from the estate manager through Brighton & Hove Council about the occupiers themselves.
The site has been incredibly preserved since the squatters were evicted over a decade ago considering the central location of the barracks within Brighton, but sadly plans for the redevelopment of the site are already in motion. There is surprisingly little written history about the site, and none about its most recent occupants and it would be a shame if their story went undocumented. So here’s to Joe Dog, Badgercore, Kolectio Barra Lliure and the ‘Psycotick Punk’ that was behind the door. We hope you guys are doing alright!