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09 October 2018

Albany Villas, Hove

Judy Middleton  2001 (revised 2018)

 copyright © J.Middleton
Albany Villas has a variety of styles in its architecture. This house – now numbered number 5 is an example of a plainer type of house

Development

Albany Villas had the second most valuable plots of land in the development known as the Cliftonville Estate. For example, Albany plots could be purchased for £500, compared to £1,000 for land in Medina Villas and £350 for plots in Ventnor Villas. Of course the total value depended on the size of the plot, and (when built) the type of house. (For more details, see The Cliftonville Estate)

However, as is so often the case in building developments, there were fluctuations in price due to difficult circumstances. In the case of Cliftonville, the bankruptcy of George Hall, one of the four original developers, meant that too many plots came onto the market at the same time, causing the value to drop.

By the mid 1850s building work in Medina Villas and Osborne Villas was virtually complete, while in Albany Villas plots of land were still changing hands and houses being erected.

There was no overall plan for house-building style in Albany Villas, as for example, there was in Brunswick Square and Brunswick Terrace. Plots were sold individually and it was up to the builder or his patron as to how the new residence would look.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Number 35 provides one example of the houses with an extraordinary ‘tower' feature at the side to be found in this road. Major Teevan, Chief Constable of Hove, once lived in lodgings at this house.

An Interesting Case

James Andrew Durham of Lombard Street, and William Cory owned plots of land in Albany Villas. Durham died in 1860 and Cory died in 1862 – four years later an heir surfaced from Adelaide, South Australia to claim his inheritance. Henry Cory asserted his right to several plots in Albany Villas, the plot numbers being 143, 144, 145 and 146 on the east side, and 156, 157, 158, 159 and 169 on the west side; there were another four plots in Medina Villas.

According to a different deed, plot 145 already had a house on it in 1857, and its street number was 27.

On 7 February 1867 Henry Cory transferred all his inherited property to John William Burmester, Philip Patton Blyth, and William Champion Jones, all of Lombard Street, London.

Census

According to the Street Directory for 1854 there were only five houses in Albany Villas but there must have been a flurry of building activity within a few years because the 1861 census records many inhabitants. It is interesting to note that the occupations of heads of households were recorded as follows:

6 fund-holders
3 landed proprietors
3 small schools
2 landholders
2 barristers
2 lodging-house keepers
Captain, 4th Light Dragoons
Lieutenant-Colonel, Bengal Army, retired
Lieutenant, East India Company
Army officer, retired
Architect
Brewer
Clergyman’s widow
Clergyman, without cure of souls
Clerk
Commercial auditor
Consul, retired
Farmer, retired
Magistrate
Parliamentary agent
Railway stockholder
Proprietor of houses
Upholsterer

Among the adult children present on census night in 1861 were two merchant seamen and one midshipman.

Royal Excursion

copyright © J.Middleton
This old postcard of Queen Alexandra (1844-1928)
 – the former Princess of Wales – has been 
embossed to make the portrait stand out more
On 21 July 1881 the Prince and Princess of Wales were in the area to open the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and the young princesses Louise, Victoria and Maud accompanied them. Apparently, the horses and carriages were sent down from Marlborough House by train the previous day. After the opening ceremony, the royal party enjoyed a circuitous route seeing a little of Brighton and Hove by driving along Western Road and Church Road, turning south down Albany Villas and following the coast road back to Brighton where they dined with Sir Edward Sassoon.

Princess Louise (1867-1931) married in 1889 and became the Duchess of Fife. It was an unusual marriage because he was regarded in royal circles as a ‘commoner’ and moreover was eighteen years older than his bride. But it was a love-match and Queen Victoria was happy to grant her consent because he was 'immensely rich'.

Princess Maud (1869-1938) married Prince Charles in 1896 – he was the younger brother of the Crown Prince of Denmark and not considered a great catch, being an officer in the Danish Navy and not wealthy. Indeed, initially it was the Crown Prince who had caught Princess Maud’s fancy, but he showed no interest in her. It must have been a dramatic moment in 1905 when she found herself Queen of Norway because her husband, who took the name of King Haakon VII, was elected as king when Norway separated from Sweden.

Re-numbering

In around 1882 Albany Villas was re-numbered.

Conservation Area

In 1969 Hove Council designated Albany Villas as part of the Cliftonville Estate Conservation Area.

Chimney-stacks

Two semi-detached houses had been made into a single property, and later converted into no less than eighteen flats that had all been sold by 1986. However, in the process, the developers had removed four chimney-stacks. This was illegal because the demolition had been carried out in a conservation area without prior planning permission. Naturally enough, Hove Council wanted the chimney-stacks re-instated. But the freeholder and developer of the company had left the country. This meant the leaseholders could be saddled with a bill of £19,000. One disgruntled leaseholder remarked that the building had as much architectural merit as a bottle bank.
House Notes

Numbers 1 to 5 – On 10 September 1971 these houses were made Grade II listed buildings.

Number 1 – It is called White Knights and is one of the most handsome buildings in the road.

Number 2 (old numbering) – In 1861 a small school was located here with only three teachers and on census night there were just two boarders, one being 14-year old Georgiana, daughter of Lord Methwin.

Number 4 (old numbering) – In 1861 Revd John Peat, rector of St Helen's Hangleton, lived in this house - he was aged fifty and unmarried.

Number 5 (old numbering) Lady Neil, who was born in India, lived in this house in 1861.

copyright © National Library of Australia
The Daily Telegraph
 (Sydney NSW, 1883-1930) 
Friday 11 Nov 1910
Vice-Admiral Sir G. F. King-Hall
Number 6 (old numbering) In 1861 Elizabeth Nockholds and her sister Mary ran a small school in this house; on census night there were three boarders.

Number 7

Admiral Sir George Fowler King-Hall C.V.O., C.B., D.S.O. (1850-1939) and Lady King-Hall lived here before and after the First World War. The King-Halls were a family of admirals because Sir George’s father was Admiral Sir William King-Hall while his younger brother was Admiral Sir Herbert King-Hall. In 1864 George King-Hall joined the Royal Navy as a youngster and 23 years later he was captain of HMS Pegagus. This ship had an interesting assignment in the waters off east Africa from 1887 to 1889 when she was pursuing illegal slave traders.

From 1900 to 1902 King-Hall was to be found serving Sir John Fisher as chief of staff. King-Hall also had the distinction of being the last man to hold the post of Commander in Chief of the Australian Station, to which he was appointed in 1911. It was something of a diplomatic posting involving public relations with Australians to familiarize them with the concept of handing over British defence duties in the area to the Royal Australian Navy. In 1913 the transfer took place, and the post was abolished.

It is a strange co-incidence that two British Admirals with connections to Australia should have lived in Albany Villas – although at different times - the other being Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh at number 30.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Admiral Sir G. F. King-Hall lived at number 7, while Wadham House, a school for boys, once occupied number 9

Number 9 – From around 1907 to 1911 Mr H. Douglas Williams ran a boys' school here called Wadham House. The school had been established some 30 years previously in Streatham. An advertisement stated ‘Sea Bathing, Gymnastics and Sports in general are under strict supervision’. A part of the Sussex County Cricket Ground was also available to Wadham students for sports.

Number 9a – Leslie Rands (1900-1972) a famous opera singer and baritone, and his wife (stage name Marjorie Eyre) lived here from around 1951 until 1962. They had both sung with the D’Oyley Carte Opera Company for many years, and had toured the USA and Canada. Rands started off his musical career by singing in the choir at Chichester Cathedral, and he was born and died at Chichester. Rands and Eyre performed together at Chichester in 1952.

Number 11 – In 1907 the house was called Kendal where Colonel E. Kensington ran Brighton Military Training College. The colonel obviously did not attract a rush of candidates because the college does not appear in the Directory for the next year. However, Frederick Hora, army tutor, lasted a little longer at this address.

Numbers 12 & 13 (old numbering) – Madame Collinet started her school a number 12 in 1870. From 1871, when she had twelve pupils, she occupied the next house too. By 1879 the school reverted to being in just number 12 where it continued until around 1884. Madame Collinet was a former governess in the family of Tom Trollope, brother of the famous writer Anthony Trollope.

Number 17 – (Old numbering) In 1861 Ellen Wyett, aged 58, ran a school on the premises with the assistance of her daughter, 33-year old Maria. There were two female teachers resident on census night – one noted as a professor of music and the other a professor of German. There were fourteen female pupils.

Number 19 – Surgeon Charles John Smith and his wife Sarah Ann lived here from 1870 to 1886 – the house being originally numbered 36. Their famous son, Sir Charles Aubrey Smith (1863-1948) was actually born in London but this house was his childhood home – his sister was called Beryl (see also under Plaques). In May 1987 a blue plaque was unveiled at the house. Today, the lettering is somewhat faded – it reads ‘Charles Aubrey Smith, Captain of Sussex and England, actor and film star lived here’. Later on the Smiths moved to 27 Selborne Road, and by 1894 their address was 2 Medina Villas.

  copyright © J.Middleton
Number 19 was the childhood home of Sir Charles Aubrey Smith

In 1891 London-born Albert Adolph, aged 35 lived in this house with his wife and their four sons and four daughters – Albert 13, Arthur 12, Joseph 8, Willie 5, and Emmie 10, May 7, Grace 3 and 7-month old Maud. The two servants must have been kept very busy.

Number 21 (old numbering) – Mrs Podmore ran a gentleman’s preparatory school in this house from around 1862 until 1877.

Number 30 
   copyright © J.Middleton
Admiral Hindmarsh’s gravestone at
 St Andrew’s Old Church


Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh (1784-1860) lived in this house for a short while but in his day it was number 12. In December 1986 a plaque was unveiled at the house. It reads ‘Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh founder Governor of South Australia 1836 lived here’. Mr Ken Pedder, official secretary of the South Australian Government in Britain, unveiled the plaque. The Mayor of Hove, Councillor Ed Cruickshank-Robb, plus other councillors and interested parties attended the event, and the occupants of the house, Mrs Gloria Bayley and her husband Robert kindly acted as hosts. Afterwards Mr Pedder laid a wreath on the admiral’s grave in the churchyard of St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove (see under St Andrew’s Churchyard for details of Hindmarsh’s life).

  copyright © J.Middleton
Number 30 is another ‘blue plaque’ house where Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh once lived

Number 35 – In 1891 George J. Teevan, major (retired) Chief of Hove Police, lived here in lodgings.

copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums,
 Brighton & Hove
Colonel John Fawcett, 
First Mayor of Brighton 1854-1855
 by Ebenezer Newman Downard.

Number 37 (old numbering) In 1864 Lieutenant-Colonel John Fawcett (1803-1878) lived here. He was born in Bombay (now Mumbai). When he moved to England, he was elected as a Brighton Town Commissioner, and upon incorporation Fawcett became the first Mayor of Brighton. He also took an interest in Hove and on 25 January 1858 he chaired a meeting held at the Albion Inn, Church Road with the object of promoting and improving west Hove.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Holy Trinity Church, Blatchington Road, Hove

Number 39 – James Woodman, architect of Holy Trinity Church, Hove, lived in this house from the 1860s to the 1890s. When he first occupied the house it was numbered 26.

Number 40 – Ellen Wyatt and her daughter Maria ran a school for young ladies in this house from around 1856 to 1886. The 1861 census recorded that there were two teachers and fourteen pupils. The house was previously numbered 17.

Number 42 – General William Lodwick lived in this house from 1867 until his death in 1871; the house was previously numbered 18. The family attended Holy Trinity Church, Hove, and there used to be three stained-glass windows inside the church to the memory of Lodwick family members. His widow Georgina continued to live in the house and by 1891 she was aged 68 and shared the house with two nieces and three servants. 

 copyright © J.Middleton
Number 42 was the home of the Lodwick family

Number 46 – Barry Sullivan (1824-1891) the famous Victorian actor purchased this house in 1869 and lived there for the rest of his life - it was previously numbered 20. Sullivan married Mary, daughter of Captain John Amory in Edinburgh and the couple had two sons and three daughters. In the 1891 census four unmarried children were still living with their parents in Albany Villas. They were Eliza 48, Mary 46, Sarah 37, and John 32.

copyright © National Library of Australia
Australia Town & Country Journal 
 (Sydney NSW, 1870-1907)  Sat 16 May 1891
Barry Sullivan (1824-1891)
Barry Sullivan was of Irish extraction and his first appearance on stage took place in Cork in 1840. When he arrived at the Vic as a young man he was described as follows:

‘Sullivan, the new addition to the stock-people, has a thin figure, a sallow complexion, a weak and thin voice and enunciation, and he wears his hair in corkscrew ringlets… Silvani, a confrère of the famous danseuse Taglioni, is his brother.'

It was hardly a flattering description, and yet he went on to become ‘the most renowned tragedian of the old time school of actors.’ The Athenaeum (14 February 1852) commented ‘Mr Sullivan is slender of figure and graceful in his attitudes but his vocal organ is very limited.'

However, everyone agreed he knew how to act. In 1857 he toured Canada and the USA, while in 1860s he toured Australia and India. In 1875 he played the part of Hamlet for one hundred nights in New York. The first night was a great Irish occasion and after the first performance, his admirers unhitched the horses from his carriage, which they then hauled to the Fifth Avenue Hotel where he was staying. Outside this establishment men of the Irish Rifles formed an honorary guard.

Sullivan had the misfortune to experience a number of accidents on stage. When Sullivan was performing his 60th performance as Richard III at Drury Lane, the actor portraying Richmond got carried away and lunged with his sword, catching Sullivan’s left eye. There was a rush of blood and Sullivan was temporarily blinded. Afterwards it was discovered an eyelash was embedded in the eyeball, which was extracted without the benefit of ether or chloroform.

On another occasion at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, Sullivan was shot in the side of the face, and was carried back to his lodgings presumed dead. But he survived although he was out of action for three months.

When Macbeth (also known as the Scottish play – it is notoriously unlucky for its performers) was on at the Theatre Royal, Bath, a stagehand was so absorbed in the action one night that he failed to notice the handle of Macbeth’s foil was resting on a gas burner. When he gave it to Sullivan the result was a burnt hand.

Sullivan gave his last performance on 4 June 1887 playing the Duke of Gloucester in Richard III. The sword he had used for the previous seasons marked the occasion by shattering into several pieces – one piece grazing the forehead of a gentleman seated in the stalls.

copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

On 12 August 1888 Sullivan suffered a stroke at home in Albany Villas – this event confined him to his bed for over two years, to the great grief of his family. Sullivan died on 9 May 1891 and his funeral was held at the church of the Sacred Heart in Norton Road. Five priests presided at the service and the choir from Brompton Oratory provided the singing. His coffin was taken back to Ireland and he was buried at the Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin, Dublin. Later on a handsome marble statue of Sullivan as Hamlet was erected on the site - Sullivan had played Hamlet over 3,000 times at an average of twice a week for a period of 35 years.

Sullivan’s widow was still resident at Albany Villas in 1908.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Barry Sullivan, the famous Victorian actor, owned this house

Miscellaneous

Fay Compton – actress and sister of Sir Compton Mackenzie, is supposed to have lived or stayed at Albany Villas.

Sandra Landy (1938-2017) – She was born Sandra Ogilvie at Croydon, daughter of a banker, and the family later moved to the Sussex coast. Her parents were both county bridge players, and when her mother died while Sandra was still a schoolgirl, she took up bridge to partner her father. She was educated at Wistons School, Brighton, Hove Grammar School for Girls, St Anne's College, Oxford, and New Hall, Cambridge. In 1951 she became a lecturer at Brighton College of Technology, and in 1992 she was appointed principal lecturer at the University of Brighton. She married Peter Landy in 1967 and they had two children born in 1968 and 1970/

While she was at Oxford University she joined the Bridge Club, which until then had been exclusively a male preserve. In 1966 she embarked on her international bridge-playing career and the next year began playing for the British Ladies Team. She played bridge in cities all over the world from Oslo to Beijing, and from Athens to Miami. In 1975 she had the satisfaction of winning the European Championship on home ground at the Brighton Centre. She played for Britain in 11 World Championships, becoming World Champion five times, and competed in 16 European Championships. By 1996 she was a British Grand Master, World Grand Master, and was ranked number one on the Women’s World Grand Master All Time list.

Her bridge partners have included Fritzi Gordon, Dorothy Shanaham, Nicola Gardiner (later Smith), Sally Sowter (later Horton), Michelle Brunner, Michelle Handley, and Abby Walker.

Landy took a great interest in her local bridge club, namely the Avenue Bridge Club located at 15 Third Avenue.

She lived in Albany Villas and died at the age 78.

Sources

Australia Town & Country Journal  (Sydney NSW, 1870-1907)  Sat 16 May 1891 (obituary)
Census returns
Middleton J, Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Dictionary of National Biography
Evening Argus
Internet searches
Street Directories
Hove Council Minute Books
Kidd, C, & Montague-Smith Debrett’s Book of Royal Children (1982)
Lowerson, J. editor Cliftonville, A Victorian suburb (1977)
National Library of Australia
The Telegraph 6 January 2017 (obituary)
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney NSW, 1883-1930) Friday 11 Nov 1910
The Keep

HOW 66/2 – Re. Property in Albany Villas, Medina Villas and Ventnor Terrace

Copyright © J.Middleton 2018
page layout by D. Sharp