12 January 2016

Hove Plaques Index F - H

Listed below:- Alderman Alexander Fraser, William Friese-Green,  Patrick Hamilton, Sir Hamilton Harty, Admiral John Hindmarsh, Sir Jack Hobbs, William Hollamby.
 **********************************************************************************
Alderman Alexander Bruce Siddons Fraser (1847-1933) 
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque - St Ann’s Well Gardens & The Mayor of Hove - Capt. ABS Fraser
When Captain A.B.S. Fraser retired from the Army (his regiment being the 3rd Queen’s) he settled initially at Worthing. He became a member of Worthing Town Council and he was elected Mayor of Worthing in 1896.

Later on he moved to Hove and by 1906 he was living at 106 Portland Road. He continued with his interest in civic affairs by becoming a member of Hove Council. He served as Mayor of Hove from 1907 to 1910. He was also a Justice of the Peace.

On 23 May 1908 in his capacity as Mayor of Hove, Captain Fraser had the honour of formally opening St Ann’s Well Gardens. It had not been an easy task for Hove Council to acquire the land, which had been a private pleasure ground but was sometimes open to the public. Not all councillors were in favour of laying out money to buy the land while there were always speculators hovering in the wings ready to cover the site with housing.

copyright © J.Middleton
King Edward VII
Captain Fraser and his brother Major Campbell Fraser promoted a horse show that was held at Aldrington Recreation Ground on 29 June 1908.

The brothers also shared a hobby for gardening but not in a relaxed way because the method they favoured followed the French way of intense planning. Probably it suited their temperament having spent their youth in the Army. But their way of gardening was unusual enough to excite interest and many notable people came to inspect their garden at Withdean. The ultimate accolade was when King Edward VII spent an hour visiting the garden.

In 1909 Captain Fraser presented a handsome trophy for the use of the Sussex Police Cricket League Cup. In 1929 Hove Police won it for the third year in succession.

Alderman Fraser died in August 1933 at the age of 86.

********
The father of Captain Fraser and Major Fraser was General Alexander Fraser of the Bengal Engineers who enjoyed a lengthy and successful career as an engineer on various projects in the sub-continent. It would be fascinating to know what the two sons thought of their mother’s literary ambitions because Mrs Alexander Fraser was a prolific author of romantic fiction in Victorian times with at least 26 novels to her credit. Perhaps her writing served as a welcome distraction from her matrimonial difficulties because her marriage fell apart. Twice she tried unsuccessfully to secure a legal separation. This failure left her in limbo but meanwhile the esteemed General enjoyed life with a second family. It may be significant that one of her works was entitled Faithless. Although Mrs Alexander Fraser was born and brought up in India, she died at Steyning, Sussex in 1908.

Sources
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Local newspapers
Internet Sources
Copyright © J.Middleton 2014

 ************************************************************************
William Friese-Green (1855-1921)
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Blue Plaque, 9 Worcester Villas

Early Years

William Friese-Greene was born in Bristol on 7th September 1885, being the youngest of seven children; there were five girls and two boys. He left school at the age of fourteen and he was apprenticed to a local photographer. It seems a very long apprenticeship at seven years. Perhaps Freise-Greene thought so too because they went their separate ways after five years. Friese-Greene was obviously keen to get on with life and at the early age of nineteen he married a 22-year old Swiss girl Helena Friese. He always considered his given name (William Edward Green) lacking in distinction and so he added his wife’s maiden name and put ‘e’ on the end of Green for visual balance. The couple had one child, a daughter called Ethel.

London

Friese-Greene knew the celebrated Fox-Talbot of Laycock Abbey who advised him to go to London if he wanted to further his career in photography. Although Fox-Talbot died in 1877 Friese-Greene did not follow his advice until 1885.

Meanwhile, Helena and her sisters ran the family business in Bath and managers were installed at his businesses in Bristol and Plymouth.

In 1887 Friese-Greene attempted to interest the public in a moving picture for the first time at his premises at 92 Piccadilly. It featured a little moving skeleton; it proved such a success that police warned him he was causing an obstruction on the pavement because of the number of people jostling to look in his window.

Messrs Chipperfield, instrument makers of Clerkenwell, built his first two cameras but Lege & Co, of Hatton Gardens, built his third camera in 1889. In that same year Friese-Greene produced his first film on celluloid.

A Problematic Patent

On 21 June 1889 he applied for a patent for an Improved Apparatus for Taking Photographs in Rapid Series. It is difficult to imagine such a basic fact causing controversy but it has been the subject of endless debate; it was the basis of Friese-Greene being credited as the inventor of cinematography. Early editions of Encyclopaedia Britannica cited Thomas Edison of the United States with the invention. But he did not patent his Kinetoscope until 1891. In later years it became apparent the genuine discoverer was in fact Louis Le Prince who in 1888 shot the first moving picture at Leeds.

A Problematic Biography

Most of this article is based heavily on Ray Allister’s Friese-Greene: Close-up of an Inventor (1948). But severe critics have labelled it as romantic and inaccurate. However, it contains details of his life at Hove not to be found elsewhere, which makes it an important source. There was a film based on the book called The Magic Box, which was produced for the Festival of Britain in 1951. This too has been slated and poor Friese-Greene’s reputation took a nosedive. But in recent years a re-appraisal of his life has taken place and he is seen in a kinder light. After all, despite his failings, nobody can deny he was one of the pioneers of the moving picture.    

copyright © J.Middleton
The plaque at 20 Middle Street, Brighton. 
Note the heraldic Brighton dolphins at the top.

Friese-Greene opened more studios, including one in Brighton. When he came to London, his first partner was Esme Collings who also had a studio at Brighton. But there was a heated quarrel and the partnership was dissolved, Friese-Greene taking the Piccadilly and Brook Street studios while Collings took the Bond Street and Brighton ones.

Bankrupt

Friese-Greene filled the classic notion of an inventor; he was brilliant and innovative but absolutely hopeless in the management of his finances. He achieved the unenviable record of being declared bankrupt three times.

The first bankruptcy occurred in 1892 and it is possible he spent some time in Brixton Prison for debt. A sad result of his plight was that he sold the rights to his moving picture camera for just £500. To add to his misery his wife Helena died in 1895 and a battle-axe of a sister-in-law moved in to keep house for him.

But he managed to send his sister-in-law on her way and married Edith Harrison in 1897. This was a genuine love match but it is odd to record the marriage took place in the very month in which his daughter Edith got married.

In 1903 Friese-Greene was bankrupt again while in 1904 he went to prison for debt. But nothing daunted he used the time to read a pile of books he never had time to read before.

In 1905 Friese-Greene moved to the Brighton area. In the same year he took out a patent for cinematography in natural colours and because some people saw the possibility of such an invention, money was lent to form a new company based at 203 Western Road, Brighton. Two years later Friese-Greene established a new laboratory at Middle Street, Brighton, and a plaque records the fact. But it was a brief occupation and he did not live on the premises.

A Move to Hove

copyright © J.Middleton
The Plaque at 9 Worcester Villas is rather high
 to view comfortably from street level. 
In around 1910 Friese-Greene moved his family to a rented house at 9 Worcester Villas, Hove, and there they remained until 1913. It was at this house that their fourth son Raymond was born shortly after the move. When Raymond was around two years old, he wandered out into the road unobserved and was kicked by horse. He died three days later.

Their other sons were Claude, Kenneth, Graham, Maurice and Vincent. By the time of the last arrival Friese-Green was bankrupt for the third time. The brokers invaded all his properties including the house in Worcester Villas where at least the men had the delicacy to adjourn to the garden while Edith was inside, screaming in pain from childbirth.

In fact, the brokers were regular visitors to Worcester Villas but the youngsters made sure not all their visits were uneventful. Porridge was secretly put into the pockets of one man while another sat on a chair that promptly collapsed under him. The boys attended the East Hove Higher Grade School in Davigdor Road and they had season tickets for the train, which they caught from Portslade Station. By 1912 Friese-Greene had a new studio at Hove called the Claude Studio after his eldest son. By that time Claude was fourteen years old and worked as a cine-technician.

Biocolour and Court Cases

In 1911 the manager of a Brighton cinema formed a company called Biocolour to exploit Friese-Greene’s 1905 (prism) colour process and regular shows were given at Montpelier Electric Theatre. However, in 1912 Charles Urban and George Albert Smith obtained an injunction that forced it to close down.

The story behind the action was that George Albert Smith patented a colour process in 1906 and Charles Urban formed a company called Natural Colour Kinematography Ltd to make and show films using Smith’s invention. Although Friese-Greene’s patent was taken out a year earlier, he did not have the money to fight the case. When S.F. Edge, a famous racing motorist, learned about the situation, he was outraged because it went against his notions of fair play. Edge provided the money to fight the case and formed a company called Bioschemes. The case duly went to court.

But amazingly, Mr Justice Warrington came down on the side of George Albert Smith and upheld the Kinemacolor patent. Edge was not at all satisfied with the verdict and he lodged an appeal on the grounds that Smith made too wide a claim for his patent. For example, Smith claimed he could make all natural colours whereas he was unable to create blue with his two-colour process. The Court of Appeal decided in favour of Friese-Greene and Bioschemes. But the case had cost thousands of pounds. Indeed Urban lost so much money he decided on one last throw of the dice and appealed to the House of Lords; he lost. Kinemacolor was finished but then it was also too late for Bioschemes too. The only redeeming factor about this sad story is that Claude Friese-Greene did not give up on his father’s invention and worked on improvements for years; he became a successful cinematographer in his own right.

A Christmas Eve Visit

By 1915 three of Friese-Greene’s sons were serving in the Army and Will Day decided to pay the family a surprise visit on Christmas Eve. Day was an old friend and a great champion of Friese-Greene’s inventions; he also collected old cinema apparatus. He found the house freezing cold with the boys huddled in overcoats. There were no curtains at the windows and no food either. Day was appalled and emptied out his pockets before he had to return to London. But Day was also very angry because he could think of at least twelve men who had made fat profits out of Friese-Greene’s inventions. Day opened a subscription list but the fund only reached a measly £136.

Hard Times

Friese-Greene found himself a job in a London laboratory. He travelled up to town on the 8.15 a.m. train and returned on the 7.25 p.m. train. Meanwhile, the constant poverty had ground Edith down until in 1917 she left the family home in order to earn some money of her own, taking her two boys with her. The couple were to share a roof together only once more and that was for a short spell.

Friese-Greene’s demise was dramatic. There was an important meeting of the cinema trade at the Connaught Rooms on 5th May 1921. He made a speech pleading for unity in the trade because after all the film trade was a British industry. By the close of his speech he was incoherent and sobbing and had to be helped from the platform. He sat down, put his face in his hands and died.

It was indeed ironic that he was given a splendid funeral when he had been so desperately short of money in his lifetime. On the day he died he had precisely one shilling and ten pennies in his pockets. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery and the eminent Sir Edwin Lutyens designed his monument. The inscription reads

William Friese-Greene
The inventor of Kinematography
His genius bestowed upon Humanity
The boon of Commercial Cinematography
Of which he was the first inventor and patentee

Friese-Greene’s other patents were for explosives, inkless printing and airships. Edith died on 20 July 1921 after an operation for cancer.

Today there is a blue plaque on 9 Worcester Villas but as it has been placed at the first storey, it is a little difficult to make out the lettering from the pavement.

Sources
Allister, Ray Friese-Greene, Close-up of an Inventor
Early Film-makers of the South Coast booklet(ND)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Gray, Frank & Cushan, Ewart Hove to Hollywood (ND)
Gray, Frank, editor The Hove Pioneers and the Arrival of Cinema (1996)       
Internet searches
Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
 ************************************************************ 
Patrick Hamilton (1904-1962)
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque – 12 First Avenue
Patrick Hamilton was a Sussex-born writer whose parents were both writers too; his father Bernard was a friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. When Patrick was born on 17 March 1904 at Dale House, Hassocks, Bernard was aged 40 and his mother Ellen was 43 years old. Patrick was the youngest sibling with Lalla and Bruce being older.

In around 1908 the Hamilton moved to 12 First Avenue, Hove, where the family and their three or four servants occupied the entire house. Like his fellow writer from Hove, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Hamilton was not exactly complimentary in his feelings about Hove. You would expect two sensitive writers to have some nostalgia for their childhood environment but this was not so.

copyright © J.Middleton
St John’s Church.
Hamilton remembered the houses as being tall, grey and drab with no social or historical message for him; moreover they were not even ostentatious, funny or bizarre. In reality the houses are not ‘grey’ but constructed of bricks of a yellowish tone, often called white bricks in the trade. Today, such symmetrical Victorian streets are admired and protected by conservation orders. As regards the immediate environment, there was the ever-changing sea at the south end and the church of St John the Baptist, with its elegant spire at the north east corner. It is ironic that the blue plaque on Hamilton’s childhood home brings a noted literary association to his despised First Avenue.

Hamilton said the inhabitants of First Avenue rather looked down upon the residents of Brunswick Square and Adelaide Crescent, that area being in decline at the time after having been the most fashionable place to live. This decline lasted until well after the Second World War and in the swings and roundabouts of fashion, residences in that area today now command high prices.

But Hamilton had to concede that 12 First Avenue contained a vast amount of space and there was the added interest of an extra tap in the bathtub for sea-water, as well as the usual hot and cold taps. Bathing in sea-water was considered beneficial to health and was a perk provided for several houses in the immediate vicinity. There was a large tank situated under Hove Lawns that drew off sea-water at high tide. Although sea-water has long since ceased to be available in private houses, the machinery involved is still underground, gently rusting away.

Hamilton was a nervous child and had a compulsion about doors being shut properly, which necessitated him having to visit the door several times to make sure all was in order. He also disliked having to go to sleep in the dark on his own. His nurse was far away in the basement and she would have to traipse up and down stairs several times before he could settle for the night. His parents tried putting a night-light in his bedroom. This was like a tea-light placed in a saucer but the youngster found the flickering shadows it produced even more terrifying than total darkness. Eventually, the nurse’s bed was moved into his bedroom but still she could not get a decent night’s sleep. She slept so soundly that Hamilton would often ask if she was still alive. She managed to keep her temper under control until one occasion when she shouted at him not to be so stupid.

In 1912 when he was aged eight, Hamilton began to attend Holland House School, which was five minutes walk away in Cromwell Road. He disguised the school as Rodney House when he wrote about it in The West Pier. He said there were around 40 or 50 boys; an aristocracy of five or six from the squares and the avenues, the bourgeoisie (sons of merchants, doctors, dentists and retired officers) from the roads (Wilbury, Holland, Tisbury and Norton) and the rest from the villas (Hova, Ventnor, Denmark etc) or from obscure streets verging on Portslade. His brother Bruce was also at Holland House and at least the pair of them looked back fondly at their schooldays there as a sort of Elysium where many golden day had been spent.
copyright © J.Middleton
Holland House, Cromwell Road, Hove.
Soon after the Great War started, the Hamiltons moved to Chiswick where Hamilton attended Colet Court prep school. But he was unhappy there and soon returned to the safety of Holland House as a boarder. In 1918 he was sent to Westminster School but that did not last long.

It was because his sister Lalla was an actress, that Hamilton became involved in the theatre world. He joined the theatrical company run by the colourful impresario Andrew Melville, who later lived at Whychcote, Portslade. During his time with Melville, Hamilton learned a great deal about stage-craft, which stood him in good stead when he came to write his most successful plays Rope (1929) and Gaslight (1938). The royalties from these plays provided him with a steady income for the rest of his life and are still performed today.
copyright © J.Middleton
Whychcote.
Those two plays also made wonderful films. Gaslight was the first to hit the silver screen in 1940. This was a British production but there was a more famous American version in 1944 directed by George Cukor. It starred Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman and an 18-year old girl making her screen debut called Angela Lansbury. Then in 1948 Alfred Hitchcock directed a memorable Rope and there were many innovations in the filming of it; James Stewart played a convincing lead part. 

But Patrick Hamilton was also a novelist and a mention of Hove crops up in some of them. In his first novel Monday Morning (1929) the young hero leaves a hotel in King’s Gardens, Hove, and travels to a boarding house in Earl’s Court.

In his third novel Tuppence Coloured another young man leaves Hove for London. But the most famous novel with local connections was The West Pier, which Graham Greene considered the best novel ever written about Brighton. It is sad to record that the three people who mattered most to him did not think much of the book; they were J.B. Priestley, his published Michael Sadleir and his brother Bruce. The conman Gorse in The West Pier (1951) was modelled on the notorious killed Heath.

John Betjeman particularly admired the second book in the trilogy Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse (1953);it later became the successful TV series The Charmer. The last book of the trilogy was Unknown Assailant (1955), which was also his last book.

An earlier well-regarded trilogy was Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky (1935) while others regard Hangover Square (1941) as his masterpiece.

Patrick’s father died in 1930 and his mother moved back to Hove temporarily to live with his sister. Patrick and Bruce visited Hove from time to time but the visits in 1949 were somewhat bizarre. Patrick stayed in a rented house in Hove Street with Lady Ursula Chetwynd-Talbot who also wrote books. But at the time he was still married to his first wife Lois. He used to spend the week with Ursula (nicknamed La) and return to Lois for the weekend. He was still emotionally involved with Lois and for a time he could not make up his mind about what to do. Eventually, La became his second wife.

Patrick Hamilton died on 23 September 1962, his illness being caused by liver failure due to alcoholism; it must have been in his genes because his father and his sister drank heavily too. La died in a plane crash in 1966, Bruce died in 1974 and Lois died in 1975.

Penguin Books sponsored the blue plaque at 12 First Avenue, which Jim Buttimer, Mayor of Hove, unveiled in June 1988.

Sources
Argus
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
French, Sean Patrick Hamilton (1993)
Hamilton, B. The Light Went Out (1972)
Internet searches

For more details about Holland House, see under Hove’s Old Schools in this blog

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
*********************************************************

Sir Hamilton Harty
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque – 33 Brunswick Square
Hamilton was an Irish-born musician who started out in Hillsborough, County Down. He came from a large family because he had nine siblings, five brothers and four sisters, and he was the fourth son. Harty’s father was passionate about music and an inspiring teacher who taught pupils how to play the organ, piano, violin and cello as well as giving singing lessons. He also built up a fine library of music scores that ranged from oratorios to symphonies and from opera to piano classics. It was to this library that Harty attributed his musical education and his father encouraged him to play through as much as possible. By the age of twelve, Harty was organist at Magheragall Church in County Dublin.

In 1900 Harty left Ireland for London and two years later he met Agnes Nicholls; the couple married in 1904. She had made her operatic debut in 1895 and she had some influential friends who helped Harty in his aspirations to become a conductor. In 1907 at the Cardiff Festival she sang as a soprano soloist Harty’s fine setting of Keats’s poem Ode to a Nightingale. But the marriage was not a success.

As for Harty’s musical life, his arrangement of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music were well known but in recent times have fallen out of favour. He was much influenced by the Celtic Revival and in 1887 he composed an Irish Symphony while his last composition was The Children of Lir. His tone poem With the Wild Geese was popular.

Harty was always a talented pianist but he also excelled in the delicate art of accompanying a singer and seemed to anticipate a singer’s needs. He had played the accompaniment when his future wife Agnes Nicholls gave a recital too.

Perhaps today Harty is best remembered as conductor of the Hallé Orchestra from 1920 to 1933 and under his direction it became the finest orchestra in England. He liked to introduce new works and composers to his audience, which can always be something of a risk. He conducted the first performances in England of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Shostakovich’s First Symphony. He was also something of an expert at interpreting the works of Berlioz.

Although conducting an orchestra of sensitive musicians was a serious business, Harty was not without a sense of humour. On one occasion a brass player refused to play in a softer tone when asked to do so. The brass player said his score had the passage marked as forte and Harty told him to make it ‘twenty’ instead.

But after the passage of so much time in charge of the Hallé, frictions and disagreements arose and Harty decided it was time to call it a day and resigned. Instead he became guest conductor with other orchestras who perhaps valued his experience.
In 1934 Harty sailed for Australia where he had a successful tour. On the voyage out there was a romantic interlude that has only come to light in recent years. He became besotted with a young lady by the name of Lorie Bolland and composed two piano pieces for her, one of them composed especially for her birthday. These pieces were discovered by her son amongst his mother’s papers and performed in public for the first time in 2012.

In 1936 Harty was given the devastating diagnosis of a brain tumour. He underwent an operation to remove it but had to endure the loss of his right eye. He took his time convalescing from his ordeal in Ireland and abroad. But he did manage to return to conducting.

Meanwhile, Harty became close to Olive Baguley who was secretary to the Hallé Concert Society for many years; she became Harty’s personal secretary. She also nursed him devotedly during his last illness when the cancer returned.

During the 1930s Harty lived at 1 Norfolk Road in St John’s Wood. But in 1940 the building was badly damaged by bombing and Harty decided to move out of London. After a long search he took a flat at 33 Brunswick Square, Hove.

Harty and Olive enjoyed going for walks together and once, at Rottingdean, they paused outside Rudyard Kipling’s old home to read the plaque. He remarked to Olive ‘I shall never be important enough for that.’

Hamilton Harty died at Brunswick Square in February 1941. After the war ended, his ashes were brought home to Hillsborough, Ireland, his childhood home.

Olive continued to occupy the flat at 33 Brunswick Square after his death and she presented his music library to Queen’s University, Belfast.

On 16 October 1976 a blue plaque to Sir Hamilton Harty was unveiled at 33 Brunswick Square. Professor David Greer performed the unveiling and it was fitting that he held the post of Hamilton Harty Professor of Music at Queen’s University, Belfast. The Regency Society sponsored the plaque and their vice president Eric Gillett had known Harty in his later years.

As regards Harty’s reputation today, there are many people who consider he has been sadly neglected. Those who wish to understand his talented conducting can listen to the recordings made of Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Cello Concert.

***

It seems that it was not unknown in the music world for conductors to have extra-marital relationships. Sir Thomas Beecham was cited in a divorce case; then there was Sir Henry Wood who spent his last years with Jessie Linton while Lady Wood travelled extensively abroad.

Sources
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Greer, David, editor Hamilton Harty, His Life and Music (c. 1979)
Internet searches

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
*****************************************

Sir John Hindmarsh (1784-1860)
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque – 12 Albany Villas, Hove.
John Hindmarsh entered the Royal Navy at the tender age of five years to act as a gunner’s servant. In 1794 when he was still only nine he received his first promotion as the result of gallantry displayed at the Battle of the Glorious First of June. This was obviously a sign of things to come because four years later he saved HMS Bellarophon at the Battle of the Nile when all the senior officers had been killed or injured and the ship was in danger of sinking. At the age of thirteen he took command of the vessel and saved the day.

In 1806 on the eve of the Battle of Trafalgar and on the deck of HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson personally commissioned Hindmarsh as a Lieutenant. But Hindmarsh did not stay on the Victory but saw the battle out on board HMS Reliant.

On 3rd August 1836 Hindmarsh was in command of HMS Buffalo when it set sail for the Southern Hemisphere to visit South Australia and New Zealand. The ship contained 176 hopeful emigrants and out of that number there were 37 adults and 5 children of a ‘superior class’. A lady belonging to the latter class was a thorn in his side for the whole voyage because of her never-ending grumbles. Moreover, because of her status, he had to endure her presence at his right hand at the Captain’s table.

HMS Buffalo anchored in Holdfast Bay, South Australia. It was on 28 December 1836 that Hindmarsh set foot on dry land in what is now known as Glenelg and issued a Proclamation establishing the Government of the Province of South Australia. Hindmarsh was the first Governor and every year since then South Australians celebrate Proclamation Day with a ceremony conducted by the State Governor at the Old Gum Tree, Glenelg. A town, island, river, and lake were all named after Hindmarsh and he was responsible for naming the capital of South Australia, Adelaide, after the William IV’s Queen.

Hindmarsh gave up command of HMS Buffalo in May 1837. In a later voyage she was wrecked off the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, on 28 July 1840.

Hindmarsh served as Governor of Heligoland in the North Sea for sixteen years and on his retirement in 1856 he was made a Rear Admiral, having already been knighted in 1851.

After retiring, Hindmarsh lived in Hove at 12 Albany Villas where a blue plaque commemorates him. He died in 1860 and was buried in the churchyard of St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove. It is sad to record that he joined his wife and sister who died the previous year. In fact the three of them died within 15 months of each other.

The inscription reads Sacred to the Memory of Rear Admiral Sir John Hindmarsh, Knight, KH who died on 29thof July 1860 aged 76 years. Also in memory of Susanna Wilson, Lady Hindmarsh, the beloved wife of the above, who died on the 2nd April 1859 aged 73 years. Also in memory of Ann Hindmarsh, sister of the above, who died on the 13th February 1859 aged 70 years.
copyright © J.Middleton
Admiral Hindmarsh’s tombstone is the churchyard
of St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove.
The Hindmarsh grave was ‘re-discovered’ by Mrs Susan Glennie of New Zealand, Hindmarsh’s great-great-grand-daughter, who found the tombstone in a sorry state of disrepair. Mrs Glennie appealed to Hindmarsh Building Society in South Australia and with financial help from them plus the backing of the State Government, repair work was put in hand. The funeral directors Hanningtons oversaw the work. All the letters were re-cut and the memorial was placed on a solid foundation. On 3rd June 1979 Australian representatives arrived to inspect the tombstone. Amongst the party were Test Match cricketers Rodney Hogg and Warwick 'Rick' Darling who were in England for the Prudential World Cup Series.
copyright © J.MiddletonSt Andrew’s Old Church, Hove.
Admiral Hindmarsh was fortunate to choose a plot on the south side of St Andrew’s Old Church, which apart from a strip of land on the south, has remained intact. If he had been buried on the north side, the chances are his grave would have been lost for good, as happened to the grave of Charles Augustin Busby, the architect of Brunswick Town.

Sources

Argus
Dictionary of National Biography
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
**********************************************************************

Sir Jack Hobbs (John Berry) 1882-1963
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Plaque – 13 Palmeira Avenue
Jack Hobbs was born on 16 December 1882 in Cambridge and he was the eldest in a family of twelve children. He inherited his middle name from his mother’s maiden surname and a love of cricket from his father. His father’s occupation was originally in the building trade placing slates on roofs. In 1889 he moved into the cricketing world and found a post at Jesus College, Cambridge, as groundsman and umpire. 

Jack Hobbs grew up to become one of England’s greatest batsmen. In 1904 he played for Cambridgeshire but in 1905 he joined Surrey and stayed with them for 30 years. Between the years 1907 to 1930 Hobbs played in no less than 61 Test matches. Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe (of Yorkshire) were a famous pair of opening batsmen. Hobbs captained the English team in 1926 and during his long career in first-class cricket, he scored an enviable 197 centuries. It is interesting to note that out of this impressive record, 98 centuries were scored after he had passed his 40thbirthday.

In 1906 he married Ada Ellen Gates and the couple had four children, three sons and a daughter. He was devoted to his wife and it is pleasant to record that in later years she sometimes accompanied him when he went on tour because he did not like to be parted from her. When Ada grew old and frail in health, her husband looked after her.

The Great War caused some tension in Hobbs’s wider family because Jack did not rush to volunteer for the armed services as so many men did. He was always conscious of the poverty of his early years and he wanted to continue to support his wife and children. But he did join the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 as a mechanic and later saw action in France but he would never talk about it. He was demobbed in February 1919. In the Second World War he was a member of the Home Guard at New Malden.

In 1946 he and Ada settled at Hove and lived in a succession of flats. They started off in Third Avenue, then moved to Wilbury Road and afterwards lived at Furze Croft, adjacent to St Ann’s Well Gardens. Finally, they moved to 13 Palmeira Avenue.

Jack Hobbs was knighted in 1953, thus becoming the first professional cricketer to be awarded such an honour. But Hobbs was diffident about accepting it. Friends and colleagues assured him that it also an honour for cricket. The knighthood was a cause of celebration to cricket aficionados as well as ordinary members of the public because he was a very popular sporting figure.   

On 17 May 1958 he and Arthur Gilligan unveiled the memorial panels in the Maurice Tate gates at Sussex County Cricket Ground, which the Duke of Norfolk has just pronounced open.

Lady Ada Hobbs died on 13 March 1963 aged 79 and Sir Jack Hobbs died on 21 December 1963 aged 81. They were buried in Hove Cemetery on the north side of the path leading to the chapels. Also remembered on the headstone was their daughter Vera Joyce King who was born 23 March 1913 and died on 24 October 1993.

On 14 March 1982, the centenary of Hobbs’s birth, Neil Macfarlane, Sports Minister, unveiled a plaque at 13 Palmeira Avenue. The plaque was in the chocolate and cream livery of Surrey County Cricket Club. The Sussex County Cricket Club and Brian Rowe paid for the plaque. Mr Rowe was a lifelong cricket fan and was the proud owner of a bat with which Jack Hobbs scored 172 not out in 1921.

Sources
Argus 
Chambers Biographical Dictionary (9th edition 2011) 
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade 
Internet searches
Middleton, J. A History of Hove (1979)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
******************************************************************************

William Hollamby (1829-1918)
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Hollamby and the Goldstone

William Hollamby was something of a Hove celebrity in his time but today his chief claim to fame is that he was the instigator of the re-discovery of the Goldstone. In the 1830s farmer William Marsh Rigden had ordered the Goldstone to be buried because he was angry by the number of sightseers traipsing over his fields to view the ancient relic. People liked to spin all sorts of yarns concerning the venerable boulder, including the idea it had been an altar of the Druids and perhaps young maidens had been sacrificed on it. This imagined aura of blood naturally aroused people’s curiosity.

Today people view the stone with indifference. If it did have any importance, it has been lost because it was moved from its original position. It is thought it might have been an ‘outlier’ in connection with a stone circle situated in what is now the north part of Hove Park. An ‘outlier’ was a single upright stone used as a foresight to a stone circle, in a similar way to the heel stone at Stonehenge.

But it is impossible to chart the original alignment of the circle or the Goldstone. If the Goldstone tells us anything today, it is that Hove was once a place of important religious observance because as well as the circle, there was the Bronze Age barrow (Palmeira Avenue covers the site) from where the unique and priceless amber cup was retrieved, plus three more barrows in the vicinity of Holland Road. One certain fact is that ancient people did not erect barrows and circles at random and the place must have had a certain resonance.
copyright © J.Middleton
This view was posted in 1921. Note that the term ‘Druid’s Altar’ was still being used. The postcard shows how the Goldstone was originally displayed surrounded by smaller stones. Perhaps the latter were not thought to be authentic relics of the stone circle. At any rate they were later removed.
copyright © J.Middleton
The Goldstone was photographed on 20 April 2009, somewhat overshadowed by a tree.
William Hollamby believed it was important to the history of Hove that the Goldstone should be found and set up again. He enlisted the help of Mr Cornford, Parish Beadle, who had heard where it was buried and by May 1897 they knew the probable site. But first they needed the permission of Mr J.J. Clark who was farming the land and Mr R. Brown, junior. Naturally, they hoped the Goldstone would soon see the light of day. In fact it was not unearthed until 29 September 1900 and it was finally set up in Hove Park, which opened in 1906.

Public Life

Hollamby was a man of some energy and much involved in public life. He was a Hove Commissioner and afterwards sat on Hove Council for 22 consecutive years. He was a director of the Sussex Mutual Permanent Investment Building Society and a member of the local cricket, football and athletic clubs. Before there were swimming baths at Hove, he encouraged youngsters to swim in the sea by donating a cup and medals for swimming prowess. He helped Captain MacWhinnie and Mr W. Cockburn to start Hove Regatta.

Hollamby was a champion of the ordinary, working man. Newspapers paid tribute to ‘his earnest and strenuous advocacy of the rights and privileges of the working classes, whose claims he always championed despite the fierce opposition.’ He was a pioneer in fighting for the provision of allotments for the working class at a time when there was little public sympathy for it. But he persevered and eventually had the satisfaction of obtaining number 1 plot on the Marquess of Abergavenny’s Estate. Hollamby also took a leading part in the building of a Workmen’s Club and Mission Room in Livingstone Road. He was the first secretary of the Workpeople’s Industrial Exhibition and Flower Show.

Hollamby’s wife Sarah died on 15 March 1890. In October 1915 Hollamby was becoming rather frail and he moved to Lingfield, Surrey to live with one of his sons. It was there he died in his 90th year on 18 October 1918 but it was only fitting that he was brought back to be buried in Hove Cemetery. Mr Cornford, undertaker, of George Street, Hove, son of the Parish Beadle previously mentioned, made all the funeral arrangements.

Hollamby’s Memories of Old Hove

In May 1897 a long article was printed in the Hove Echo recounting the reminiscences of William Hollamby, senior. He could recall old flint cottages in Hove Street that had steps on the outside; this meant you had to go outside when you left the downstairs room and climb the stairs in all weathers to get to the bedroom. Some of these cottages had been pulled down but a few remained. Hove Manor still had its barns, cowshed, buttery and stables where fine horses used for hunting had their stalls. There was a macabre tradition of nailing the feet of foxes to the stable door.

There used to be a little sweet shop in Hove Street, much patronised in Hollamby’s youth, where you could buy home-made sweets.

Hollamby and his boisterous friends often used to shout and tease the workers at the Malt-house in Hove Street. But the men had their revenge. They rigged up a bucket of water with a string leading to the loft, and then just when the boys were being their noisiest, the string was pulled and a bucket of cold water drenched the boys. Not surprisingly, they left the Malt-house well alone afterwards.  

Hollamby’s Family

William Hollamby and his wife Sarah had four sons and three daughters. The eldest was named William after his father and it seems he was by no means a model scholar. The information comes from the Log Book of Farman Street Schools. On 24 August 1866 Mr Hamilton, the master, noted that William was idle and stubborn.

‘Kept him till 2.45 to learn Collect and Gospel and then he knew hardly one verse of Gospel. Punished him slightly. His mother came up in the afternoon and was very violent and abusive in her language towards me. Told her that the boy would not be allowed to return. She threatened to see Mr Kelly.’ (Revd Walter Kelly was vicar of Hove).

On 3 September 1866 Mrs Hollamby sent her son to school, hoping the master would relent and admit him. Thus William Hollamby resumed his school career on condition that he was attentive and obedient and learnt the Collect and Gospel every Friday. On 9 October 1867 Mrs Hollamby wrote they were moving to Cliftonville and as young William was rather delicate, they thought he had better go to West Hove School. She thanked Mr Hamilton for the ‘pains taken with him.’ It is amusing to note that the reluctant scholar went on to become headmaster of training ship HMS Exmouth. It would be interesting to know how he dealt with recalcitrant boys. By the time his father died in 1918, young William had held the post for 31 years.  

As for the other sons, Horace went to Australia while Fred and Harry were employed in the Civil Service. In his youth Harry was a keen cyclist and rode hundreds of miles on the old solid-tyre machines. He played for Hove Cricket Club and was a member of the Royal Navy Artillery Volunteers where he won many prizes for his skill at shooting. He used to enjoy swimming in the sea all the year round and was only obliged to stop when restrictions during the Second World War forbade civilians to go on the beach. At the age of 60 he retired as Overseer of Telegraphs, having spent 40 years in the service. He died in January 1945 and the age of 74.

William Hollamby’s three daughters, Alice, Elizabeth and Anna, all became local schoolteachers. Alice Hollamby was a second-year pupil teacher at Ellen Street Girls’ School when it opened in 1879. The school was in beautiful new buildings but this did not prevent outbreaks of disease. For instance, in September 1881 the school was closed for four weeks owing to an outbreak of smallpox and there was a second outbreak in November of the same year. In January 1887 Alice began teaching at Connaught Road Girls’ School; by this time she was a certificated teacher (2nd class).

Meanwhile Anna Hollamby was first assistant at Ellen Street Girls’ School in 1883 and on 11 July 1884 she left to take charge of Connaught Road Infants’ School.

 When Hove Recreation Ground was formally opened on 2nd May 1891, a procession composed of all the schoolchildren at Hove, marched up The Drive to see the ceremony at the new Recreation Ground. It was recorded that three Misses Hollamby were amongst the teachers shepherding the children up The Drive. Alice left the teaching profession when she married and became Mrs Nash. She died in May 1960.
copyright © J.Middleton
It is possible there were three Misses Hollamby in this photograph somewhere because it was a similar occasion to 1891 when Hove Recreation Ground was opened. In this photograph the children are going to celebrate the opening of Hove Park in 1906. 

For more information of the history of the 'Goldstone' see  Ancient Hove 

Sources
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Hove Echo (May 1897)

Archives
ESC 104/3 Connaught Road Schools, Log Book
ESC 102/1/1 Ellem Road Girls’ School Log Book 1879-1907
ESC 101/1/2/ Ellen Road Girls’ School Log Book 1907-1929

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
page layout by D.Sharp