'Preston, once a village with an independent life, is now Brighton', wrote Edward Verrall Lucas of the main subject of this volume in 1904. The same thing might also be said of Patcham and its hamlet of Withdean, which are the other protagonists within these covers. Preston and Withdean were noted for their trees in the 'barren waste' of Brighton. Their modern development followed the 1854 removal of the Preston turnpike. This volume is arranged geographically as a series of five textual peregrinations through Preston, Withdean, Surrenden and Patcham. One starts from the Preston viaduct while others commence from Preston Park Avenue, Preston Circus, Preston Drove and Preston Park's Rose Garden. The many previously unpublished illustrations come from the author's collection.
Anthony Beeson was born in 1948 into a well-established Brighton family. Having worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art Library, he moved to Bristol in 1972 to become Fine Art Librarian, and over the following thirty-seven years developed the Bristol Art Library into one of the finest British public collections of art books. He is an established author and lecturer having had ten volumes published on the history of Bristol, Brighton and Dorset as well as many articles on antiquities and art in academic journals. He is an acknowledged Classical iconographer and an expert on Roman and Greek art and architecture. He is the Hon Archivist of the Association for Roman Archaeology and a member of the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics and has appeared on the television programme Time Team. In 2000 he reassembled the many hundreds of pieces of the `lost' Newton St Loe Orpheus mosaic in the entrance hall of Bristol museum and in 2017 interpreted and produced the official report on the exceptional and internationally famous Roman mosaic of Pegasus and Bellerophon found at Boxford in Berkshire.