The History of the Cooper Adams Office in East Preston (originally the village School)
(Taken from Back in Time by Dorothy P. Lee) The building started as a Sunday School in 1840, with the money being provided by George Olliver. This money was part of the reward he received for reporting one of his farm labourers for setting fire to a haydrick. The labourer, Edmund Bushby, burned the rick in protest against farm machinery replacing manual labour. Bushby was subsequently hanged. Gradually over the years the building was extended and remained a church school until it was handed over to the County Council in 1940. When I attended there were four classrooms, one very large room, having a curtain divided it into two. There were two separate playgrounds, one to the north by the road and the other at the rear, to the east, for the girls. This building remained as the village school until 1951 when the new school in Lashmar Road was opened.
Old School, 35 Sea Road East Preston
Schoolmasters 1840 - 1951
Excluding Acting Head Masters J. Beckett ? to Aug. 1849
.. Lock 1855
C. Cooper June 1855 to April 1858
Henry Baker May 1858 to January 1876
John Gladstone 1876
William Green March 1876 to December 1877
Henry Rowe 1878
HA Donald 1878
Oliver Counsell January 1879 to October 1889
John Reeve December 1889 to September 1901
Herbert Taylor September 1901 to June 1933
May Griffin 1933 to March 1934
Helen Harkness May 1934 to December 1944
Rachel Bentley March 1945 to December 1951
(Some excerpts taken from Back in Time by Dorothy P. Lee)
Some of the history of East Preston Village
Scribble From ANGMERING-ON-SEA, EAST PRESTON, RUSTINGTON, KINGSTON, ANGMERING and round about. In fact Angmering-on-Sea is an estate in the parish of East Preston, and it was in 1916 that Mr Hollis changed the name from South Strand. Scribble No 1 - Vol 1 August 1916, begins with a long article by Mr Hollis about his coming to East Preston, and building the estate, of which the following is the essence.
"Wishing to escape from the world of bricks and mortar, in which I had been living, I was heading to the south coast - Bognor or thereabouts - and eased down for an hour or so at Arundel. [on leaving Arundel] I had taken the wrong turning which proved to be the right one.
"My eyes had been opened by the apparition of two houses. That was all. Two houses in an area of thirty acres overlooking the salt-sea Channel, with a beautiful background of downs and a foreground of ocean blue! What could have been finer or more enticing? After all environment is everything. The two houses referred to were called "Tamarisks" [Ramblers]. This seemed to be the very place I had come out to look for.
"So I took a "Tamarisk" on trial for six weeks [in 1910]. At the end of the first week I came to the determination to stay, not in a "Tamarisk" but in a little chateau of my own fashioning. Here at last I could stroll about in pyjamas and a Panama hat - undiscoverable by anyone - with no visitors to interrupt my rest, no blatant trippers, nothing but coastguards to converse with.
"Robinson Crusoe could not have been happier than I was beginning to feel when a cloud made its appearance on the horizon - the clutching hand of Mr Lloyd George, who proposed to erect a fever hospital in the hinterland of my seaside solitude. What I did was to make an effort to combine the local landowners - men and women deeply steeped in feudal tradition - to preserve by purchase the spirit of neighbourhood thus threatened. But I had to fall back on my own resources. I bought the land myself and the fever project was abandoned.
"I had intended originally to put up an ordinary seaside bungalow at the cost of three or four hundred pounds, and had ended in spending much more. Then, when I found myself compelled to buy the twenty five acres across opposite, I could not afford to sit on them. I did not want to grow corn and play at agriculture in an amateur way, nor did I want to make bricks. What was more natural than I should revert to my work-a-day business and develop it? We had seen bungalow-towns and various half-baked productions of this kind, but never an ideal garden city by the sea.
"A cousin of mine, home on a visit from California, bought the first plot of my new purchase, leaving me to act as his architect. The next was an original resident of the "Tamarisks" and with these purchases came the prime necessity of modern estate development [under planning law] the provision of roads, the best modern sanitation, and a proper supply of pure water.
"First there was the making of roads, forty feet wide, with grass borders and beds of shrubs. The roads surfaced with flints. Next I put in the most approved system of modern drainage, with septic tanks and deep mains, allowing for any future development. Then came the question of water. I sank a large artesian boring to a depth of nearly a hundred feet, and built a water tower on the lines of an old Dutch mill, with water pumped by a petrol engine. The most recent development is the pending installation of an electric lighting plant in the building. In the meantime gas was laid on.
"Next, it became necessary to protect from the insistent erosion of the sea. This necessitated the building of a sea wall of reinforced concrete 275ft long, and additional groynes, so as to throw up a bank of shingle.
"Then came the ornamental - the making of tennis courts, a croquet lawn and bowling green. Then followed the planting of trees, one gale alone killed thirty pounds worth of young trees. After that there was the making of paths and walks with posts and chains and hedges; and the result was that, when war broke out, I had a staff of over a hundred men working on the development.
"In a single night, one might almost say, that development came to a full stop. I expected it [war] to be over within a few months, and felt that the most patriotic thing I could do was to keep my staff at work, except those of military age. The result was the building of the club house, which always figured prominently in my scheme. However, it did not take me long to find out my mistake. The price of materials went up to impossible figures. Angmering-on-Sea had to rest on its oars, for the duration of the war. The club building, could not well stand empty, so it had to be furnished. Here the ill wind blew luck my way, and I had the good fortune to secure the contents of a very smart little West End club "broke in the wars". So now Angmering-on-Sea, looks forward to a golden future when peace shall once more bring good times back."
SOUTH STRAND A Garden Village
[Main sources: Scribble (RWS), SP (RWS), Rate Books at WSRO, Worthing Gazette, West Sussex Gazette, Littlehampton Gazette, Tithe Apportionments PRO, Hollis Account Book (RWS), East Preston RDC RD/EP..., Angmering-on- Sea schedule of deeds]
HOMESTEAD FARM SALE 1895
In 1895 the potential in the area for residential development had become apparent, with the attraction of the sea, countryside and downs, so close to the metropolis. It would take another generation before sympathy turned to abuse.
East Preston Sussex on the South Coast most attractive Building Sites and Exceedingly Rich ARABLE LAND Farm-House and Buildings
In September the sale by auction of the Homestead farm took place. Fanny Olliver of West Kingston had died in 1893 and her son Gervase, almost certainly in debt due to various mortgages, proposed to sell both the Kingston and East Preston estates. In the event West Kingston was evidently taken over by Colonel Gordon, married to Francis the sister of Gervase. The Colonel's brother was lord of Abergeldie.
The Homestead, in Sea Road, where the flats of that name are today, had 118 acres attached to it stretching from North Lane to the sea. RA Warren of Preston Place had the tenancy of this farm, and the farm house was currently used as cottages, following the decease of Mr Haines the previous tenant farmer.
The Street (Sea Road) and the extreme west end of the North Lane frontage was divided into lots for building, but with restrictions on the number of houses. The hinterland of the farm formed the principal lot, as a working farm.
George Harding acquired the farmhouse and its land and was living there by 1899 when he retired as Master of the Workhouse. But in 1897 he sold on a substantial portion in the north, at the Norris Field, to Mr Warren, and in the south some forty acres to Mr Goodall the brickmaker. Thomas Jarrett of Angmering had several of the building plots south of the Homestead, and immediately after 1895 began building the villas there, the last pair of which, at the north end, were constructed in the early years of this century. However, the eastern sections of the building plots were separated off, and not incorporated into the gardens, perhaps because he had some unrealised intention of avoiding the covenant which restricted the number of houses.
Relating the areas to modern roads: George Goodall, the brickmaker, had acquired over 42 acres from south of the Nookery to the sea. Seven acres of this from the Nookery to Manor Road, became the a brickworks under the tenancy of James Roberts, and directly east of that the Upper Drive area was under the tenancy of Harry Reed, also a brickmaker. The first houses in what became Manor Road were built soon afterwards, beginning with the Wooden House where James Roberts first lived. South from Manor Road to the sea, the remaining 29 acres provided William Farmaner of Baytree Cottage with pasture for his cow herd.
Between Manor Road and the Coastguard Cottages, including what is now Willowhayne Crescent, belonged to George Gotelee the nurseryman, and in 1900 he built his residence there by that name. His nursery, later Frampton's, was situated at the east end of Vermont Drive (at the time a footpath which was made-up and became for a time Coke Lane). Mr Harding retained ownership of the Homestead, with 28 acres of land surrounding it, extending from Manor Road north to the old school, apart from the two acres of building plots south of the Homestead where Thomas Jarrett was erecting the villas.
Mr Warren acquired much of the Norris field, and another field south of the footpath, some 14 acres. But the eastern part of the Norris, about five acres, is where Henry Havers built his house and the Norris nursery. While east of that the four acres adjoining Gotelee's nursery comprised the garden belonging to The Haven, owned by George Vickery.
MANOR ROAD OLD HOUSES
The Wooden House, later Apple Trees, must have been built about 1898 before bylaw plans were deposited. It is here that the brickmakers lived on first setting up in East Preston on the Goodall fields. Soon afterwards came the pair of brick houses to the west, owned by Mr Farmaner, and where James Roberts lived for a time.
The first terrace was that owned by Mr Gotelee on the south side of the road, built in three lots, a pair in 1899 and later the same year four slightly larger houses, and only in 1910 the seventh house at the east end.
The Coronation Cottages had a similar piecemeal history, beginning with the three true Coronation Cottages built by Mr Reed in 1902. The remaining three not arriving for another four years, when Mr Reed retired to live at the west end cottage.
The terrace of nine on the north side of the road, built for George Bennett, was built in four pairs from the west end during 1906, and then a final three in 1908. Again the plans were modified for later phases.
The last of the old houses was the pair on the north side of the road, to the west of the terraces, built by Messrs Chatfield in 1904, at that time a Rustington business.
This was something of a transitional time in building construction, and whereas some of the houses were still traditional solid wall construction, 9in brick, others were already 11in cavity. Nor was there any consistency with the provision of bathrooms, some of the earliest had them, while others of later date did not.
SOUTH STRAND DEVELOPMENT
Apart from the Coastguards, and Seaview, dating from the first half of the 19th Century, and the Graperies cottages across the other side of Sea Road, no development took place by the sea until 1907. Even then there was probably no intention to do anything different than with Far End, in Sea Lane, in building a house in the countryside and by the sea, away from the bustle of the city and urban life.
The first houses were The Tamarisks pair (Ramblers) for Miss Buttery in 1907, although she did not enjoy them for long as she died in 1910 only 55years of age. Only a year later and Miss Courtney perhaps had more ambitious plans for the area, and eventually both Kingmere and Salona were built. Now the road in front of the Coastguards was shaping up as Seaside Road, very soon to be known as South Strand.
Mr Hollis came to East Preston on holiday in 1910, staying at the Tamarisks, and in September that year helped organise a concert in aid of school funds at the Bay Tree barn. According to his own account, recorded several years later, he happened on East Preston by chance, having taken a wrong turning, and was enchanted by the prospect at South Strand. As an established estate builder at Finchley, it is a matter of speculation whether he was most attracted to the rural charm of the area, or the charm of real estate.
Both James Roberts and Harry Reed had been brickmakers on their respective parts of the Goodall land, although Mr Farmaner used most of the area for grazing his cattle. But in 1905 Mr Reed sold his stock and retired, the houses he had built providing an income. Then in 1908 Goodall and Son sold up the business and brickmaking diminished, if it did not entirely cease. By the time Mr Hollis appeared on the scene the field south of present day South Strand was already a developing estate, and all the Goodall land was on offer.
In November 1911 Mr Hollis purchased a section of South Strand from Messrs Butt and here he built his first house, The Bungalow, as his country retreat. Public tennis courts - for the estate - were later laid out just east of his house when two years later he acquired two seaside plots, extending right through to the border of Kingston and the eventual site of Blue Peter. These large sections of West Field were separated from each other only by the site already owned by Summers and his house Sumnor.
Whether the prospect of a smallpox hospital in the area had come to his attention before 1914, when the subject was being discussed by the RDC, is uncertain - the 1911 Act did allow for the setting up of such hospitals. He claimed his purchases were precipitated by these rumours.
In September 1913 Mr Hollis really got going when he acquired a much larger 'green field site' north of South Strand road, reaching as far as the houses south of Manor Road. Perhaps nineteen acres to add to the four and half acres he already owned. Therefore he had land but no intention of farming, only temporary letting for that purpose, as to Mr Stoner the current tenant. When Mr Hollis spoke about "buying the twenty five acres opposite ," he perhaps meant both acquisitions of 1913.
In April 1913 Mr Hollis made known his proposals for a Garden Village, and discussed them with the RDC. Clearly he expected to complete purchase of the land on the basis of an agreed scheme. His first proposal may surprise present day residents, for it envisaged 286 concrete houses, together with a golf course and pier, but unfortunately there are no extant plans for us to consult. Presumably his vision for a golf course would have involved lands east of his estate in Kingston, and the houses intended required a relaxation of bylaws, as to wall thickness, for he proposed using concrete slabs lined with asbestos. In view of present day knowledge no comment is needed about those materials, and fortunately wiser counsels prevailed.
An undated plan of the roads and plots in this first estate, indicates a Crescent north from South Strand extending through what is now Westfield Avenue and back through The Drive, with Seaview Avenue in the centre. In addition to that the plan showed The Circle, where a water tower would be built, and a continuation of Seaview into Manor Road. Manor Road was not part of the estate, and nor was the previously existing part of South Strand west of The Bungalow. Most interestingly, sites for shops were reserved at the north side of the crossroads formed by Seaview Avenue and the Crescent. [AonS Mss]
As matter were resolved the plots were put up for sale, with the purchasers free to build according to their own architects designs, although many naturally made use of Mr Hollis' services, and the concrete city did not transpire. Amongst the earliest houses, in 1913, were Sheencot for Mrs Goode, Seacot for Mrs Dewilde, Arden for Miss Shakespeare, and Melita for Wynstanley previously of the Tamarisks. In fact the north side of South Strand was the extent of development before the war.
With roads, landscaping, drainage, water tower and sea-wall to build, the club house and other social facilities did not get under way until 1914. Building materials included extensive use of clamp bricks, in addition to bricks of better quality, and it can be assumed they were not transported from very far away. Several bills from Barnham Nursery included hardy palm trees, planted by the road verges to enhance the Riviera image being promoted by Mr Hollis.
The estate account book makes interesting reading, although the book only continues to the year 1916. The roads laid between November 1913 and January 1915 took 104 cart loads of brick rubble at 4s a load, with clinker for the surface, and bills totalling £612. Road drains cost another £715; then there was the Water Tower and a two inch main; a sea wall which by June 1915 had cost £784, including 1755 bags of cement at 3s 8d, with another £200 for timber groynes; and numerous other expenses that cannot be computed. The club house had, by 1915 cost well over £1100, including local clamp bricks at 21s a thousand, although they had been as much as 26s on other work. In 1915 to 1916 four building workers were paid from 81/2d to 111/2d an hour, with insurance extra. Earlier workers on the Bungalow got typically 8d for bricklayers, 5 1/2d for labourers, 8d for carpenters and plasterers, and 7d for painters.
Of particular interest is the account for Mr Edwin Goode's garage. Not a domestic building, but eventually a large commercial establishment where hehad his well known little bus serving the village, and a taxi service. A licence for his motor char-a-banc was issued in June 1917, and by 1921 the business was known as The Downs Motor Transport Co. Ltd. His house was Sheencot, backing onto the Circle with his garage.
Not everything went as smoothly as Mr Hollis made it appear, and in 1914 a question was asked in the House of Commons about his drainage system, which discharged into a sump hole in the beach. Indeed, various complaints about the estate were made early in 1914, partly because of non-compliance with by-laws. But the proposal to discharge sewage into the sea, did not appeal to Dr Williams who lived just outside the estate in one of the old South Strand houses; and garden cesspits were undoubtedly better than inadequately treated sewage discharged from short outfall pipes within tidal limits. Dr Williams' complaint was clearly justified, and the Inspector reported that treatment before discharge was needed. It was later noted that the sewer would be extended, and another filtration tank installed. Trouble was far from over, for in 1923 the Inspector condemned the effluent and the sewer was again extended, with more treatment provided.
In September Mr Hollis had already begun building his Club House without approval, and not complying with bylaws. Satisfactory plans were belatedly sent in a month later. When the Southstrand Sports Club finally opened at the end of 1914, the rules made anyone within two and a half miles of the parish church ineligible for admission, as a visitor or temporary member. However "everyone in East Preston" could become a member, on paying the fee of 3 gns. a year - if elected!
It already becomes clear that South Strand was not built according to the principle most commonly met with, in the purchase of a block of land by a speculative company, with every house constructed according to an estate plan by a single architect and builder, and only completed houses being sold. A process that often leads to dull conformity, or at best inspired conformity. South Strand was built by its residents, and in a piecemeal way, for the eventual limits of the estate were only reached in 1927. Mr Hollis and his Company retained ownership of the roads and various public facilities, but there was no control over the quality of future development, and eventually when even the club house and other amenities had fallen into the hands of individuals nothing stood in the way of entirely random infilling, only restricted by inadequate LA planning.
At this point a summary of the stages of estate development is needed in order to minimise the confusion there might otherwise be.
The attached Map [not included] indicates the dates at which the various additions to the estate were purchased by Mr Hollis, beginning with his own personal plot of land where he built The Bungalow in 1911. The dates are derived from a variety of sources, including Sale Particulars, Tithe and OS Maps, and Rate Books, and with the aid of a limited number of deeds in private hands and at the WSRO. It is notable that a Schedule of Deeds owned by the present Residents' Association omits certain key dates of purchase, although these may perhaps be found within various Abstracts of Deeds, such as that dated 1928.
AREA A This is that part of South Strand already developed before 1913, beginning in c1907 with the Tamarisks, and including Sumnor in isolation further to the east. This area is within present Angmering-on-Sea merely by virtue of its having a frontage to the estate roads. This comment would also apply to the Coastguard Cottages in Area G, but that Mr Hollis did purchase several of these houses.
AREA B 20.11.11 Mr Hollis built both the Bungalow and Gardener's Cottage at the garden entrance, in 1911, simply as a seaside residence, and if his own account is to be believed, for the benefit of country living in sight of the Downs and sea. Recent infilling has hidden the bungalow from view, other than from the beach.
AREA C 17.2.13 Comprising the whole of the remaining parts of the field owned by Butt, which he had purchased from the brickmaker Goodall in 1909. B and C together was reckoned at 4a 1r 35p.
AREA D 29.9.13 The estate really got going with this purchase from George Goodall. This area comprised the whole of Blockade Field, Ten Acres and Five Acres north of that, excluding a strip along Manor Road 113ft deep comprising the gardens to Coronation Cottages, and other prospective house sites in Manor Road. An area that would have been 21 acres inclusive of the Manor Road frontage. A brick kiln stood directly to the west side of Ashfield, and would have been in its garden if it had not been demolished.
AREA E 20.6.19 It is virtually certain that most of this area was purchased in 1919, including the Gotelee house Willowhayne, for the tennis courts in what is now the Village Green were laid out and the first tournaments played in 1920, and at the same time the house was adapted as an hotel. Mr Gotelee and his wife had both died in 1918, and subsequently his nursery was sold to Messrs Frampton, leaving the extensive field and grounds surrounding his house to fall to Mr Hollis. If the Gotelee terrace of cottages in Manor Road is included - they were later acquired by Hollis - the total area was 7a 2r 3p.
Estate plans were again drawn up in 1919, and no doubt amended for later extensions, but it would seem they have not survived, either privately or in local archives.
Possibly a small portion of the land was not included in the 1919 deal, for there is a deed of 19.9.21 which is held to relate to land north of Willowhayne Avenue. Quite likely it included the terrace, which was still owned by Gotelee junior earlier in 1921. Roper Spyers and the Willowhayne Hotel Company became the owners of the Gotelee house soon after 1921.
AREA F 2.9.20 The Goodall family continued to hold much of the northern part of their original property, and it is possible that some brickmaking continued, if anecdotal accounts relate to this date. In 1920 the field which had been occupied by Mr Reed, until he retired in 1905, and which contained the solitary Wooden House the brickmakers had made for themselves when they first came to East Preston, was sold to Mr Hollis. It can be distinguished today simply enough, by reference to that oval of roads by the name Upper Drive. But what a pity the central village green, containing tennis courts, was built over in the later Thirties.
AREA G 31.3.24 The Coastguard Cottages had been leased to the Admiralty, but belonged to Mrs Gordon of Kingston Manor, as a vestige of the Homestead farm remaining in her hands. The land attached to them included plots to the south and east, and all of this, excluding the cottage at the west end which had already been sold, was purchased by William Hollis in 1924 for £3250.
AREA H 30.1.25 Whatever the intentions of Mr Goodall it does not seem that any more building took place along Manor Road, and so the building plots on both sides were at last bought by Mr Hollis in 1925. Some of the gardens on the north side of the road were later shortened when other plots were laid out in the old brickyard.
AREA J 23.2.27 The final addition to the estate took place in 1927 and extended it to the south side of Coke Lane, later renamed Vermont Drive from the house of that title. Directly after Mr Goodall sold his brickmaking business he also sold the brickworks site, an area which has consequently a rather low ground level due to clay extraction. Mr Harding of The Homestead therefore acquired this site in 1909, and added it to his farm, which extended from Frampton's nursery through to Sea Road at the old school. It was only just prior to his decease in 1927 that Mr Harding decided to give up farming, upon which he sold a substantial portion of it to Mr RN Fairbanks. Evidently the same set of contracts involved Mr Hollis, when a small area of the farm surrounding the brick-field was sold on to him by Mr Fairbanks.
Upper Seaview Avenue and The Nookery occupies this land today, together with the tennis club situated on the brick-field itself. It may be assumed the land was acquired with the intention of establishing larger tennis facilities than were possible on the Sea Road site, together with a club house, and certainly alterations to this purpose took place immediately.
AREA K 27.8.26 Just prior to the brick-field acquisition a 'Golden Acre' was acquired in Kingston, immediately over the East Preston boundary. Mrs Gordon of Kingston Manor owned the farmland in the west of that parish, and had watched as acres of it were washed away by the sea during a few years after 1912. It may be imagined that she decided to cut her losses by selling the few acres involved in the transaction. Within a few more years she had made,and drawn-up, her own ambitious plans for an estate development that was intended to incorporate almost all her land.
AREA L 1927 There is an interesting story, not totally confirmed, attached to this acre of land at the top of Golden Acre. In December 1928 the Conservative Association opened their new hall in Sea Road, the building that is there today, the site being on the Harding farm acquired by Fairbanks. The foundation stone plainly states that Mrs Gordon gave the site, but contemporary accounts provide a more accurate picture. She did indeed provide land but this was sold in order to obtain a more suitable situation in the village. The understanding is that Mrs Gordon did not purchased any land, but allocated a small portion of her own considerable estate, and this was the very acre obtained by Mr Hollis in 1927/8 to add tothe Golden Acre.
Mr RN FAIRBANKS of VERMONT
The name Vermont is a little of the USA in East Preston, for it undoubtedly derives from the state of Vermont, the homeplace of Mr Fairbanks.
The last few acres of the South Strand estate were obtained from Mr Harding through Robert Fairbanks (not to be confused with the film star, a brief visitor to the village) who kept for his own use that portion to the north of Coke Lane, building a house there called Vermont. He was a businessman from Vermont, who lived in this country for a large part of his life, formerly in London. During the Great War he joined the Royal Automobile Hospital Motor Squadron, providing outings for convalescent soldiers. He also kept his car in readiness to carry army guides to their rendezvous, in the event of German invasion. Directly after the war he settled with his family at South Strand, in the house he built in Seaview Avenue named The Porches. The date of its foundation, in 1919, could not have been mistaken as the south front originally had enormous lettering to this effect. He and his wife soon became village personalities, not simply on the estate but also in the village proper, involved in management of the Club and in village events, such as the flower show.
When they moved to Vermont House, soon after 1927, the large field to the east was used as a smallholding with Jersey cows, pigs, and chicken. The house itself had a large garden which is today occupied by the Vermont Way estate. Mr Fairbanks stayed in the village until the outbreak the second great war in his lifetime, when he returned to the USA, and died at St Johnsbury, Vermont, towards the end of 1945. His son-in-law was for some years landlord at the new Three Crowns. [B Parnell MP (RWS)]
Although no research has been conducted, it would appear that Mr Hollis did not confine his activities to South Strand, being involved in the 'garden city' development of Offington Park in Worthing. Whether he did actually take part in more far flung schemes, at Frinton and Walton-on-the-Naze, is entirely unknown. [Magazine extract n.d. name unknown (RWS)]
In 1927, when the estate had virtually reached its final limits, a competition run in conjunction with The Lady magazine was in reality a sales medium. Substantial money prizes were offered for three classes of houses, not merely planned but completed. The winner in Class A houses and bungalows, costing upwards of £1200, was to receive £250. Class B £800 to £1200, a prize of £150. Class C £500 to £800, a prize of £100. What has not been discovered is who won in any of the categories.
The description of the estate in The Lady was not so pretentious as some others. "The cluster of houses at present composing the little retreat of Angmering-on-Sea is too small to describe as a hamlet or village. The word that we have chosen "retreat" seems just exactly to fit. There are water, gas, and electric light services, and a main sewerage system, it is true; but beyond these there is really nothing at Angmering of ordinary urban life. Angmering-on-Sea is indeed a model of up-to-date town-planning in miniature; and, having its own original identity and local administration, it is free from the vexatious restrictions often imposed by seaside corporations. There is no pier or esplanade to be promenaded by crowds of trippers, but Angmering-on-Sea is fortunate in having its own walk by the sea front and its own stretch of beach from which the residents can bathe.
"There is also a Club which is open to both men and women members. The Club building has a frontage to the sea, and on two sides overlooks the English Channel. There are extensive grounds, with bowling and putting greens, tennis courts, and provision for other sports; while indoors there is a fine hall with a capital dancing floor, and a stage for theatrical purposes. There are also excellent dining-rooms overlooking the sea, and bedrooms for the accommodation of members.
"There are churches of all denominations within easy distance; and the townlet has its own post-office and high class shops. There is also a good residential hotel which already is extending its accommodation for visitors to this delightful and secluded spot." [The Lady, Practical Homes Competition, 10 Feb. 1927]
The Sports Club at South Strand was one of the first of the amenities provided by Mr Hollis, and the bylaw application with approval is dated October 1914. It may be suspected that it was already being built, since it came into use by the end of the year, and indeed a building account book has materials being obtained for the 'Club House' in August, with various internal works carrying through to May 1915. Clinching the matter is a Building Surveyor report to the RDC that the club house was in course of construction at the beginning of September, not complying with bylaws and lacking approval. By April 1915 the building costs and wages totalled £1103, with more expenditure on scenery and other works during May. A newspaper report in February gives the cost of the club, including land, as £4550 and so perhaps the account book is incomplete.
It is quite evident that the original building was extended during the war, although the only evidence is undated photographs in Scribble. At the latest this improvement took place by July 1917, when a 'new photo' was published.
The first building was single storey, the entrance portico facing east, with three Tuscan style columns, under a parapet roof. The front elevation was in six bays, divided by brick piers, three bays of casement windows north of the entrance, and two to the south. The piers carried through to a balustraded parapet, with a flat roof behind described as a "roof garden with shelters ". A steeply pitched roof behind that was presumably over the "recreation hall".
"The club, which has its large recreation hall with stage and gallery, gentlemen's lounge, ladies' room, card room, etc., has also a fine roof garden with shelters, from which it commands magnificent views of the sea,as well as wooded country and the Downs. There are all sorts of indoor and outdoor amusements for members and friends."
By 1917 the club had been extended south by at least one bay. The entrance now consisting of five columns, with its flat roof well planted as a garden. There is still two window bays south of the wider entrance and three to the north, and above that there is the same parapet and roof garden as previously.
"The social club...offers in the shape of recreations tennis, croquet, badminton, and clock golf. The Club accommodation includes a roof garden with shelters, from which there is a splendid view of the Channel and country. There is a large entertaining hall, with separate dining tables, capable of accommodating at least 100. There are ladies' and gentlemen's lounges, card room, and a properly fitted stage for private theatricals and other entertainments. The whole of the promenade, lawns, and flower gardens have been leased to the Club. The Club has its own bathing huts and private bathing tents.
There is no evidence for another alteration, until 1928, when the Sports Club Syndicate virtually rebuilt it as a double pile, two storey, Tudor style country house building, with none of the classicism remaining, rather similar to the Pergolas to which Mr Hollis had moved soon after the war. It reopened as the Angmering Court Country Club in July of that year. The club "has been enlarged out of all recognition. In addition to its other amenities it now has sleeping accommodation for about 45 members." An exotic air was provided by the palm trees in the grounds, illuminated by the external lighting.
"There are also a large recreation room for balls and other entertainments, a sun-lounge, billiard room, grill-room with loggia, dining-room, bar, cloak-rooms for ladies and gentlemen members, a members telephone box etc." At this time the entrance fee for new members was a guinea, and subscriptions three guineas and two guineas for ladies.
In 1932 when Mr Hollis sold the properties he owned, the Club was included, and the sale particulars provide the only detailed description of the rooms. "Sports and Residential Club Premises known as Angmering Court, modern brick and stucco, tiled roof, recently modernised. Spacious entrance hall; General lounge 35 x 25ft; Promenade terrace; Card Room 20 x 15ft; Sun Lounge 35 x 20ft; Library 20 x 12ft; Dining Hall seating 200 beamed ceiling; Ball Room 40 x 25ft; 15 single and double rooms on 1st floor, 9 do on 2nd floor."
The club was later renamed the Angmering Court Marine Club, under its new management.
In 1940 the club met a sorry end, and according to recent anecdote the cause was largely the demolition of part of the large groynes protecting the beach, by the Army then occupying the coastal region. In April it was reported that "The promenade which used to adjoin the Angmering Court Marine Club was completely washed away by the tide last week, and now it is feared that unless further steps are taken the foundations of the club itself will suffer. On Tuesday the sea was splashing through the open windows onto furniture and carpets."
In July, as a result of the recent closure of the beach and promenade to the public, both the nearby Blue Peter Club and Marine Court were forced to close. The whole southern half of the Club was subsequently demolished, and the small part that remains is now a private house.
"What's in a Name?"
In February 1916 there blew up a quite unnecessary storm when Mr Hollis requested the RDC to change signs, from South Strand to Angmering on Sea. Admiral Warren and the Council would have none of this, and Angmering Parish Council were extremely upset. Mr Hollis asked East Preston RDC to alter the signposts at Preston Place to include the name of the estate, but it backed Admiral Warren's resolution to decline. In 1917 Angmering Parish Council agreed to send a courteous letter to Mr Hollis, asking him to withdraw the name, due to the inconvenience that was caused. Unfortunately the Postmaster General considered the name presented no difficulties to them as an address. Later that year the Council still refused to alter the sign at Preston Place, but said Mr Hollis could do it himself.
Mr Hollis wrote a lengthy article in Scribble dated December 1916, justifying his actions. "One reason it was named Southstrand was because the name East Preston was chiefly identified with the workhouse, but the particular reason was on account of letters and parcels going astray. We know of cases, when parcels have been addressed to East Preston , but have first gone to Preston in Lancashire...The postal address was "East Preston near Worthing" although the local sorting office is at Angmering Station....These delays were duly brought before the postal authorities when the postmaster gave his consent to the alteration of the name to "Angmering-on-Sea," as distinct from Angmering...It is quite evident that no more is to be gained than a convenience to the public, because on looking up any [train] time-table, no one could find East Preston, or Southstrand....Inasmuch as a private owner can call his estate anything he wishes without the interference of anybody...the only possible solution to any change in name could be with a conference with the owner.."
No conference ensued, and Southstrand was relegated to a road name only, in the newly baptised estate. As a result people are today still going in two directions to "Angmering," and the ancient village of that name, is commonly specified as Angmering Green, or Angmering Village, where today no problem would exist if the estate returned to its original title of South Strand. In May 1935 Southdown informed Worthing RDC that due to confusion caused by the estate name, they proposed using Angmering Village as a destination name for Angmering proper.
As will be seen under the Post Office history, the new estate name became so popular with estate agents, in the Twenties, that in 1926 the removal of the post office to The Parade nearly resulted in East Preston ceasing to be the postal address. The idiosyncrasies of estate agents are a source of humour, but the extent they went to in East Preston can be illustrated by the blurb that advertised the new Willowhayne Estate in 1930. The name Angmering-on-Sea was even used for the agent's office, opposite St Mary's Church, so that even West Preston was being taken over, and East Preston is nowhere mentioned. Another development, at Clarence Drive in the north of the village by Lynes Seaway Estates Ltd., used both East Preston and Angmering-on-Sea in its address to add to the confusion.
In view of the situation today in the Church generally, it shows how times have changed that less than sixty years ago there was considerable pressure for a second church to be built in the village, and but for the intervention of war some provision was likely. As will be seen on the accompanying map of the estate, a site was available in the estate south of Willowhayne Avenue, near to Coastguard Cottages. Schemes were discussed by the RDC in 1939, and these included a parsonage house and church hall next to a church which the Diocesan authorities considered would be adequate if seating 300 people.
An inquiry at the new Three Crowns Hotel in 1940 was told by the Vicar that a daughter church was needed, since the parish church was full on Sunday mornings, all the year, and chairs had to be used. Objections were however raised by some of the adjoining residents, who naturally questioned everything from the position and size of the site, to the fact that a tall building would dominate the surrounding properties, and there would be a detrimental effect on their value especially if bells were used.
It was later reported that plans had been abandoned, for the time being. The Vicar hoped that in time the parish would benefit from the 'new blood' of an expanding parish population, and he still voiced the ultimately vain hope that when the village had a new school the old premises would remain in parish ownership to be used as parish rooms.
The earliest tennis tournaments took place at South Strand, in the courts laid out for the estate east of the Bungalow. The Sports Club had opened at the end of 1914, and grass courts were laid out during 1913 and 1914, and so it is unlikely that they would have been ready for intensive use in 1915, therefore the tournaments reported in Scribble during 1916 were perhaps the first held. The site held three public courts, besides two more grass courts and an asphalt court next to the Bungalow, but these were perhaps private. At that time the croquet lawn was on the east side of the club house, and was only moved to the tennis court site when the Sea Road courts were established after the war.
The 1916 tournaments, held in August and September, were purely for estate club members and visitors. "The First August Tournament for 1916 was held in fine weather on the Club Courts on Monday, August 7th, and attracted a good number of entries and visitors. There was a deficiency of men owing to the war; but the Tournament was nevertheless interesting and the handicapping worked out quite satisfactory, and there were many keenly contested sets which were evenly matched. Three ladies had to play as men. Play commenced at 2.45 and each couple had to play the best of three sets. It was getting late in the afternoon when the final was commenced and it proved no 'walk over' for either pair. Each point was keenly fought out; and although the play could not be termed brilliant, the whole four were very safe and proved stone-wallers. The light was failing when the game finished, Mrs Draper's side winning 7-5 and 6-3. The 1st prizes therefore went to Mrs Draper and Miss Freeson, and the second prizes to Mr GW Booker and Miss Mellor."
In September "the Sports Club held the Annual Tennis Tournament for Ladies, to compete for a Silver Challenge Cup, kindly presented to the Club by Mr and Mrs V Luxenburg, who were visitors this summer. The conditions were left open to the Club, and the Committee therefore decided the best way for fair competition would be by means of a handicap, open to members and friends. Miss Vera Christian and Miss Hilda Lowry were left in the final. This game attracted a large number of on-lookers, but Miss Christian proved the stronger of the two, although Miss Lowry obtained rounds of applause for some of her unexpected returns, which were really good. Miss V Christian won in the end, beating her opponent 6-1 3-6 and 6-2.
In August 1917 it was planned to hold the second Ladies Challenge Cup Tournament, and on the same day inaugurate a Gentlemen's Championship, the cups becoming the property of those winning three years in succession. Unfortunately the weather caused their abandonment. A fixture held earlier in the month, however attracted numerous club players.
Among those disappointed were "members of the All England, Queen's, and other prominent clubs. Mrs Colegate would have easily won the ladies' championship if she had entered and the competition had taken place."
There is then a gap in the Scribble record, with no publications until March 1919, and although doubles tournaments were then arranged, news of them appears to have been overshadowed by the recent outbreak of Peace. After years of war and delay the Tournament really got under way in 1920, on new courts south of the Willowhayne House where today is the Village Green and car park. The land had been obtained by Mr Hollis after the decease of Mr Gotelee, with the house itself being converted to an hotel by Mr Spyers. The Sports Club Syndicate managed these courts, as they had the old grounds. It is said that the Duke of Norfolk was made President at the opening. [Mrs Richardson anec. (RWS)]
Six grass courts in two rows of three, aligned north to south, virtually filled the whole green, leaving minimal space for a stand and other premises on the east side, and standing room around the courts. It can still be seen how the area was levelled, leaving a bank on the main road side, but such a low lying site could not have been ideal, subject as it has been to winter flooding.
The Tournament, run as it was by a fashionable estate and club, attracted well known players. in August 1923, "One of the features of the Tournament was the wonderful display given by Mr MJG Ritchie. In the fourth round of the open singles Mr Ritchie, who is 52 years of age, had as his opponent the All India International Mr AA Fyzee, who he defeated after a match lasting two hours by 4-6 6-3 7-5, but lost the final to Mr JM Hillyard 6-2 6-3."
In 1925 Mr Ritchie was still playing, "One of the most notable features of the play on the concluding day was the defeat of the veteran Mr M Ritchie by Mr RD Poland, Mr Ritchie lost the first set but made a wonderful recovery in the second which he won 6-0, in the final set his opponents stamina began to tell and he was again beaten 6-3. The Gentlemen's Double provided Mr Ritchie and Mr G Crole-Rees with a comfortable victory over the Frenchman Mr MR George and Mr W Wheatcroft."
The final move began in 1929 with the layout of a new tennis club in Homelands Avenue in the area of the brick works, obtained by Hollis in 1927 as the final extension to his estate. The last tournament in Sea Road probably took place in 1930.
The Homelands club foundation stone was laid by the local MP in August 1930, with the Duke of Norfolk as President of the Club. But the two show courts, with twelve grass courts in all, only came into play during 1931. The club house was situated east of the present house Lismore, and contained offices and changing rooms, a reading room, bar lounge, and other rooms. Plans of the estate in 1934 show this ground with two rows of six courts, the courts aligned end on to the Nookery, and covering an area of almost two acres.
At the Twelfth Annual Open Lawn Tennis Tournament in July, R Miki the Japanese Davis Cup player, won in the singles, and in the men's doubles with HL Soni, and mixed doubles with Miss H Hardwick. During the year various smaller 'American Tournaments' also took place.
In 1932 Mr Miki was not so fortunate, losing the singles to RJ Ritchie, a son of the veteran of previous tournaments. For some reason this was the last tournament in the first series, almost certainly as a result of thesale of Angmering-on-Sea by Mr Hollis in 1932 and 1934, with consequent dissolution of the Sports Club Syndicate.
In 1935 the newly created Ratepayers Association, set up a committee to revive the club. The result was the establishment of the South West Sussex Lawn Tennis Club, under a Company having directors which included Mr Charles Joseph of the White House, Mr Frank B. Price of Preston Place, and Mr Mackenzie Ross of Villa Villina as secretary.
The twelve courts and pavilion were taken over, but a new club house was erected on extra land obtained to the south. Plans for the building were prepared by Mr Joseph, the architect. The new club was formally opened in May of that year, but the foundation stone for the new building [Lismore] is dated 9th March 1935.
In August 1936 the new Tournament opened with ten events, five open and five handicap. The great draw was when, "Mr H (Bunny) Austin, British Davis Cup player and hero of thousands of lawn tennis enthusiasts, came with his wife Miss P. Konstam the film actress, to play an exhibition game. it is estimated that about 600 saw him play, actually there were more than that, for others climbed onto vantage points of every description and watched from outside. The match was a singles game between Austin and DR Prenn the German Davis Cup player, and Austin won 6-2 5-7 6-2."
The new club had barely got under way when war came again, and the grounds were abandoned. By the end of the war the club house was beginning to become a vandalised ruin. In 1947 the reservation of open spaces in the parish was being finalised, for the new Town Plan, and the parish council asked for the courts to be included. At the same time a developer was purchasing the property, with obvious designs on it. The new owner later offered two acres to the council while retaining the club house and the remaining land for development.
A year later, on 15th June 1948, the land was conveyed by deed of gift from Mr HL Smith to East Preston Parish Council, and soon afterwards the club was converted to a house with its present name, Lismore. Almost immediately Mr Smith asked if he could buy back the land, and the Council agreed to this for the sum of £975, at which they had it valued. The funds were to be used for the commendable purpose of converting the cricket field barn into a Village Hall. Fortunately, perhaps, the developer refused to pay and the Council immediately decided to keep the property.
Soon afterwards, in May 1949, Mr Mackenzie Ross asked if a Tennis Club could lease the grounds with a view to purchase. This was agreed, with a rent rising from £10 to £50 and a five year option to buy at £500. This was backed by a resolution of the Parish Meeting, again with a view to improving the barn. By 1950 it was clear that the East Preston Lawn Tennis Club could not raise the purchase price.
The Council still has ownership of the property, the two acres covered by the old lawn courts of 1931, and it is leased to the tennis club.
On 20th Sept. 1932 and 28th May 1934 Mr Hollis put the estate up for auction at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton.; that is to say those parts which he still owned, most of the house sites having already been sold freehold to the incoming residents. Some of the plots in the second sale were those withdrawn two years before, due to inadequate bids, but many additional plots were also included presumably releasing everything that his Company had owned.
The most interesting properties involved were the site of the old tennis courts north of the Parade Shops; the shops themselves; the Court Stables to the east of the shops; all but three of the Coastguard Cottages; Vine Cottages; the new tennis courts at Homelands Avenue, and the club house there; part of Palm Court terrace and the green in front; the lawns east of Pergolas, scheduled as open space; the Angmering Court Club and the Lido. The large number of house plots for sale, were concentrated in the more recently acquired areas in the north of the estate. The Coastguard Cottages were advertised as suitable for conversion into shops, but fortunately The Parade adjoining had catered for this demand and the cottages were never converted, so they still retain a fair degree of their original character, despite wholesale extensions at the west end.
The loss of 'village greens' was particularly unfortunate. The triangular site in front of Palm Court was originally scheduled as an open space under Town Planning, and it did remain a garden for some years afterwards, but a combination of ownership in severalty and public authority vacillation has been ultimately fatal. Part of the greens east of the Pergolas, has been taken over as gardens to the houses at The Lawns. The central green at Upper Drive lasted only few more years before it was occupied by housing. Finally the excellent lawns and gardens, between the Lido and Club House, have been extinguished in a way that may be contemplated.
A newspaper report in September 1932 announced the Lido and promenade had been sold for £4000 to Mr F Adams of High Wycombe, so separating this excellent amenity from the club house adjacent. The Lido was considered unique in its kind, with a tea room, terrace overlooking the sea, an upper tea deck, and dance lounge, together with a range of bathing cabins on the beach below. Blue Peter club was set up there shortly afterwards. The old tennis court site in Sea Road was also sold, and declined to wilderness.
By 1933 the South Strand Development Company had got itself embroiled in litigation with the Council over its drainage system, which was inadequate, when they wanted to be connected to the new public system being installed in the village. They were particularly annoyed at being required to pay rates and estate dues without getting a good service, nevertheless the Company asked for a much larger sum to be paid by the Council for taking over the system, than was offered. The Company had a pyrrhic victory. In 1939 the compulsory winding-up of Angmering on Sea Ltd took place by order of Chancery, on the petition of Worthing Rural District Council. It was stated that the company had been very troublesome, having started all sorts of actions which were abortive, and was currently in debt to the sum of £129.
On November 29th 1948, Mr William Hollis died aged 74, with an estate worth over £14,000 gross but net value nil. His son Richard, himself an estate agent, carried out his father's wishes next year, by preparing a garden, and scattering his father's ashes over the triangle behind the statue of William Shakespeare, "in the hope that any who have benefited by me on the estate will keep that portion as a garden of remembrance." The bust of Shakespeare was a notable feature at the junction of Seaview Avenue and South Strand, since its installation over twenty years previously, following a Shakespeare Festival involving plays presented at the club house and other local venues.
It was not until 1968 that the current Angmering-on-Sea Residents' Association was formed, when the estate roads were purchased from the remaining Hollis family.
SOUTH STRAND HOUSES
Generally little interest attends knowing the first houses on an estate, with building usually accomplished in one fell swoop by profit hungry builders. South Strand was unusual in being occupier built, but with its infrastructure and social facilities managed as a Garden Village community, and it was the first estate of any kind in the neighbourhood.
In that great extent that eventually comprised Angmering-on-Sea, the first house had nothing to do with Mr Hollis or his estate, for it was the Wooden House, or Apple Trees, north of Manor Road erected for the brick works. There then followed a rapid succession of brick built terraced houses in Manor Road, such as Coronation Cottages in 1902. While the more ostentatious residence of Mr Gotelee, of similar date, was eventually transformed into the Willowhayne Hotel after the Great War.
It was the houses in South Strand itself, which formed the nucleus of the estate before Hollis appeared on the scene, that have primacy. At this time the access lane had the obvious name Seaside Road, but whether Mr Hollis was influential in changing it to South Strand is not known, the name making an appearance by 1915.
There is one unambiguous source that identifies the first few houses at South Strand, the OS Map for 1911, and it can be calculated that only those houses which were built from plans submitted before 1910, can be seen on this map. At "Seaside Road" there were only four houses, in addition to the Coastguards and Seaview, and they comprised the Tamarisk pair [Ramblers], Arolla [Shaen], Kingmere, and Salona [Craig House].
[From 20th Century History file at EP library]