12 January 2016

Lansdowne Place, Hove

Judy Middleton (2001 revised 2017)

copyright © J.Middleton
C A Busby
Lansdowne Place was built on the site of one of the original old roads of Hove. It was called Wick Road because it led from Wick Farm to the sea but it was re-named Lansdowne Place in 1834. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid chose the name in honour of the 3rd Marquis Lansdowne (1780-1863) who helped to pass the Reform Bill of 1832. He was also sympathetic to the cause of Jewish emancipation in which the Goldsmid family played a leading part.

Charles Augustin Busby began working on a series of houses there from late 1827. The four houses he designed on the west side at the sea end have impressive facades with dramatic doorways watched by a pair of bearded Hermes. A small flight of steps ascends to the entrance ornamented by black and white diamond-shaped tiles, flanked by handsome iron railings. On the east side, a little to the north of these houses Busby designed some bow-fronted houses and they were his last work in the area. These houses were originally called Stanhope Place (Stanhope being the name of his son) and Busby and his family lived at number 2.

copyright © D.Sharp
Busby's 'Hermes' in Lansdowne Place 
In 1853 Isaac Lyon Goldsmid leased to Thomas Mills, a Brighton builder, two plots of land on the east side with the condition he should built upon them within one year, agreeably to the plan and elevation of the messuage known as 54 Lansdowne Place. Goldsmid also advanced £700 on each plot to pay for the construction. Thomas Mills then built numbers 106 and 108 and the former was soon sold to William Harvey, gentleman, for £883. Goldsmid’s land was known as the Wick Estate (later the Goldsmid Estate) and as late as 1907 the estate still owned eight properties in Lansdowne Place. They were numbers 78, 80, 86, 88, 90, 92, 119 and 121 while numbers 110 and 112 were subject to a perpetual rent charge.

Like other parts of Hove, Lansdowne Place was a popular location for private schools. The 1848 Directory noted three; Miss Phipps at number 10 and Mrs Ellis at number 40 both ran prep schools for gentlemen while at number 19 Monsieur Janson was head of a military school for gentlemen. Apparently, Monsieur Janson was a former tutor to Prince George of Cumberland and one of his rules was that French must be spoken at all times. The 1851 census records private schools at numbers 6, 10, 40 and 25 and at Bentinck House, Rockingham House and Dudley House. By 1861 there were no less than eleven schools; at numbers 25, 52, 57, 59-61, 92, 98, 102, 106, 112, 114 and 118. The Revd Henry Yates ran the school at number 98 and among his pupils was the heir to the Earl of Leicester. Another clergyman, the Revd John Holloway ran the school at number 110, which was later called Freemantle School and extended to number 112 as well. In 1885 Mr Wilson and HG Cruttwell BA were in charge of Freemantle School, having acquired it the same year. There were 25 boarders and the school had a playground in Furze Hill.

copyright © J.Middleton
The east side of Lansdowne Place 

The school at numbers 59-61 contained 32 scholars and several were born in India while two were born in China. In 1854 Mrs Ellis ran an establishment at number 40 specifically for Indian children (that is children born in India of British parentage). The Revd E Walker ran a successful small school at number 108. He was described as a hearty sort of man who hailed from Lincolnshire and was a Cambridge graduate. He was the Sunday curate at Holy Trinity Church, Hove, from 1864 to 1888 and he always dined with the vicar on Christmas Day. He was still in charge of the school in 1890 but by then the heyday of the small private school was over and there were only three others left in Lansdowne Place; two gentlemen’s schools, one run by WHG Cruttwell at number 10, another run by Mrs Botoff plus Mrs Howlett’s establishment at number 121 called St Mildred’s School for Ladies.

In 1851 Navy personnel were to be found at numbers 34 (Lieutenant John Green) 24 (Commander Gustave Evans) and 17 (Commander William Critchell). The lone Army representative was Colonel William Macadam at number 47. There was a Sussex JP at number 19 (Montague Scott) and a Queen’s Counsel at number 61 (William Lee) while at number 22 was Mrs Ocravia Johnstone, a 32-year old widow who was the daughter of a peer. It is interesting to note there were not nearly so many widows in Lansdowne Place as there were in Brunswick Square and Brunswick Terrace. Joseph Watson, 40-year old farmer and dairyman, ran Lansdowne Dairy at number 2 and lived on the premises with his wife, daughter, three sons, two servants, three farm labourers and three milkmen.

copyright © J.Middleton
The west side of Lansdowne Place 

In 1861 amongst the head of households were ten fund-holders, eight lodging-house keepers, four landowners, four gentlemen, three house proprietors, two magistrates, two clergymen, two solicitors, two magistrates, two Major Generals, a Colonel of the Nottinghamshire Militia, a Major of the 3rd Royal Middlesex Militia, a Colonel’s wife, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, a retired Captain RN, a ship-broker, a physician, a lady, a gentlewoman, an upholsterer’s wife, a lawyer’s wife and an Australian merchant. Lansdowne Place continued to hold its own as a suitable place to live and under the heading Fashionable News in the Hove Gazette (10th September 1898) it was reported that General, Mrs and Miss Lewis had arrived at number 20, Colonel and Mrs Spring were at number 95, Colonel Connolly was resident at number 82, the Revd A and Mrs Locock were at number 58 while Dr and Mrs Lloyd could be found at number 62.

There were some lodging-houses in Lansdowne Place. In 1885 the Inland Revenue conducted a campaign against lodging-house keepers and hotel owners who sold wine or spirits without the appropriate licence. Alphonse Lamette of the Dudley Hotel was fined for selling a pint of beer, a pint of sherry, a gill of sherry and one ounce of tobacco. Mary Teresa Ward, owner of a large Lodging House called Manteville was fined for selling a pint of beer on Christmas Day and Ann Savage of number 5 was fined because her servant supplied claret, brandy and soda.

Also in 1885 Mary Ann Harding kept a lodging-house at number 47 and employed one servant, Sarah Parsons aged 24. Miss Harding had only been employing her for eight weeks when she noticed Sarah was growing rather fat but Sarah told her she had a problem with her stays. Sarah gave birth to an illegitimate baby boy weighing 4lbs and put him under a petticoat in a black box. But she was discovered and Dr Griffiths at number 3 was sent for. The jury at the inquest at Hove Town Hall had to decide whether or not the baby was born alive. But as there was some medical doubt on the point, an open verdict was returned. 

Annie Eliza Baker kept a lodging-house at number 61 and was declared bankrupt on 27th September 1898.
copyright © J.Middleton
The west side of Lansdowne Place 
When number 94 was leased in 1876 for 21 years at a rent of £120 per annum, an inventory was drawn up. The document recorded that in the drawing room there was a 38-inch steel-fronted register stove, a second similar stove (but only 36 inches) with two sets of extra bars, two steel ash-pans, and two marble mantelpieces. There were four china lever bell pulls, four Venetian blinds and fittings, and a cut-glass gasolier with branches for five lights together with numerous pendants and five engraved globes. There was another gasolier in the back room but it only had three lights. The dining room on the ground floor had two stoves with the same dimensions just mentioned, the same marble mantelpieces but only three Venetian blinds. There were brass rods and curtain hooks and five wooden flower boxes fixed to the balcony. The bronze gasolier had five lights and star-cut globes. In the basement kitchen there was a 56-inch kitchen range with oven and brass roasting crane.

In 1877 number 106 was leased for 21 years at a rent of £170 per annum. The rooms were of a similar layout to number 94 but the register stove in the drawing room had ormolu ornaments while the mantelpiece in the dining room was made of Cordilla marble. As for house prices, in 1878 number 89 sold for £1,650, and in 1879 number 67 sold for £1,830. In 1995 Britannia Life sold number 49 for £185,000. Since 1916 the single residences have been converted into flats or maisonettes.

During the 1930s numbers 5 and 7 were in use as the Moreland Private Hotel. But on 9th February 1942 military authorities requisitioned the houses (comprising some 33 rooms) and remained there until 13th July 1944. The buildings were then allocated for the use of UDF South Africa, which occupied them from 12th March 1945 to 30th July 1945, after which the procedure of de-requisition was put in hand.

In December 1982 the Mayor of Hove, Baron Sanders, opened the new Sotheby’s Brighton and Hove offices in Lansdowne Place. It had cost more than £50,000 to restore the building and as far as possible original features were restored and original fireplaces exposed. The final touch was the curving cast-iron balconies for the first floor, which were hand-cast at a cost of £500 a time. Sotheby’s consultant, Henry Smith, presented the mayor with a historic print.

Dudley Hotel

Dudley Hotel advert from the
1911-1912 Brighton Season Magazine
The 1851 census records that Prideaux Richards occupied Dudley House. Richards was a 50-year old schoolmaster and he lived in the house with his wife, five sons, five daughters, two teachers, thirteen pupils and six servants. By 1854 the school had gone and in 1866 the property was being run as a boarding house. In 1878 it was known as Dudley Mansion Boarding House. By 1880 Alphonse Fortune Lamette was in charge and he remained the proprietor for eighteen years. The original number of the boarding house was 57 but in 1881 the business expanded to include numbers 55 and 52; the later house was home for around 20 years to Miss Dunn’s School for Ladies.

In 1885 the Inland Revenue fined Lamette for selling a pint of beer, a pint of sherry, one gill of brandy and one ounce of tobacco on 26th December without having the appropriate licence. No doubt he was obliging his customers over the festive period but he was fined £5 for selling spirits, £5 for selling tobacco, £2 for the wine, £2 for the beer plus costs. Lamette said it was the custom of the house for each boarder to order in his own wine, spirits, or beer from his own wine merchant. The charge of employing a male servant without a licence was dismissed.
In March 1889 an advertisement stated the Dudley had ‘Electric Lights in all Public Rooms’. There was a drawing room and a full-sized billiard table in the billiard room. In around 1891 Lansdowne Place was re-numbered and instead of being in the ‘fifties’ the Dudley found itself numbered 1 and 2 and eventually the hotel occupied all six houses of Lansdowne Mansions. Lamette died in around 1897 and Mrs Lamette managed the hotel herself until Brighton Hotels Ltd bought her out. This arrangement did not last long and by 1905 a Miss Mackenzie was running the Dudley Private Hotel. FJ Penny succeeded her in around 1910 followed by Benjamin Herniman in 1911. Herniman lost no time in asking FC Axtell to prepare plans for a grand new entrance porch and Hove Council approved them in June 1911. Herniman remained until the 1930s when Mr F Kung, a Swiss-born hotel owner, purchased the Dudley.

A tariff card from the 1930s makes for fascinating reading; the price of luncheon in the dining room was 4/6d  (this was for the set menu, a la carte was more expensive) afternoon tea cost 1/6d and dinner was 6/-. A single room (with running water) was from 10/6d to 12/6d a day (and included both breakfast and bath) but for 16/6d or 18/- you could enjoy pension terms, which included all meals. You could also bring your own servant on holiday with you, although it would cost 12/- a day but there was ‘Running Water, Central Heating and Telephone in every Visitor’s and Servant’s Room’. The hotel was extensively re-furbished during the 1930s and the ballroom was created.

copyright © E. Walker.
Dinner to celebrate the passing-out of Nelson Division from HMS King Alfred at the Dudley Hotel 28 March 1941.

Unlike many hotels in the area, the Dudley continued to function throughout World War II. It was the venue of choice for celebrations among the officers training at HMS King Alfred. For instance, a dinner was held on 28th March 1931 to celebrate the passing-out of Nelson Division while in February 1945 Captain Chow Hsian-Chang gave a dinner for Chinese officers and other officers (including Captain Pelly) from HMS King Alfred. On 19th December 1945 Councillor HC Andrews, Mayor of Hove, gave a farewell dinner for the officers of HMS King Alfred as the establishment was moving from Hove. Other events were staged at the hotel too, such as the fashion show put on in November 1945 by Messrs Cobley’s of Church Road, to advertise the new women’s and girl’s section at their shop.

According to Adam Trimingham (Evening Argus 8th April 2000) Lady Churchill stayed at the hotel in 1961 and later Sir Winston joined her for a day by the sea. It was his last visit to the area. After lunch in the hotel, they played Bezique, before going for a drive over the Downs. Other famous people who have stayed in the hotel include Noel Coward and Sir Dingle Foot. Despite these illustrious visitors, local people have applied their own nickname to the establishment, ranging from ‘Fuddy Dudley’ to ‘Deadly Dudley’.

Peter Catesby was manager from 1964 to 1968 and Craig A Drummond followed him. In 1968 the Dudley was described as a 110-bed hotel. By 1973 the hotel was part of the Trust House Forte Group and the new restaurant was open, the chef being Swiss-born Aime Jean Zbinden. By 1979 B Sammut-Alessi was managing the hotel and the restaurant had again been re-furbished. In November 1986 a five-storey extension was approved by Hove planning committee, the vote being 9-1 with only Bob Bailey voting against it. Michael Ray, planning director, recommended a refusal because Brunswick Terrace was more important architecturally and it would be possible to see part of the extension from there. By September 1988 it was stated the new wing was going ahead although the house at 1 Brunswick Street West would have to be demolished to make way for it.

By 1988 Rob and Lin Sullivan managed the hotel, Guy Wallis was the food manager, Charlotte Slater was the restaurant manager and Richard Marelli was the executive head chef. The restaurant had enough velvet-covered chairs to seat 100 people and the ballroom and Regency room were used for large functions. By May 1989 Paul Delavault was the general manager and he was still there in 1994.
In April 1991 the hotel was on the market and it was expected to fetch in excess of £3 million. Trust House Forte was selling the Dudley plus three other Sussex hotels. The group had built or purchased 175 UK hotels during the last five years and in 1990 they acquired the Crest chain but now they felt it was time to rationalise their portfolio. In January 1993 the 80-bedroom hotel was still on the market and the £3 million price tag was no longer considered feasible. Eventually the Royal Hotel chain purchased it and in 1995 it was given a £1 million upgrade.

By 1997 the restaurant was called Marty’s after Hove artist AE Marty whose Art Deco-style paintings were to be found on the walls. In December 1998 planning approval was sought to convert the hotel garages and living accommodation into a flat and maisonette. In December 1999 the hotel was sold to Tindle Newspapers (owned by Sir Ray Tindle). His company sponsored the London to Brighton veteran car rally every November and Sir Ray himself enjoyed taking part in one of his collection of antique vehicles. He also owned six radio stations and more than 100 newspapers.

copyright © J.Middleton
Lansdowne Place Hotel

In July 2004 it was announced that property developer David Glover had bought the Dudley and was investing £3million in the property because ‘it’s my baby’. He thought the hotel was somewhat run down but he intended to keep as many original features as possible. He remembered as a young boy and keen autograph collector, waiting outside the hotel when the Australian cricket team visited Hove. Mr Glover was a director of Max Properties that owned several hotels around the country including Bristol and Cardiff and Queen’s Hotel in Brighton. As for the Dudley, it was renamed the Lansdowne Place Hotel while the 90-seat restaurant was to be called The Grill at the Lansdowne with top chef Michael Savva in charge. The hotel had 84 en-suite bedrooms equipped with Egyptian cotton bed linen, baths and power showers. However, in 2005 there came news that the hotel was to be launched after a complete renovation as a 5-star hotel under Trust House Forte in September 2005. It now boasted a spa as well as the latest equipment for conference facilities such as wi-fi and broadband while in the seminar room that could seat 200 people there was a LCD projection screen. By 2012 the hotel’s publicity was blithely proclaiming ‘It has provided magnificent hotel rooms and suites since 1854’.

On 13th January 2006 a play entitled From Father with Love was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Mark Burgess was the author and the play told the story of how the famous musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming in a room at the Dudley.

On New Year's Day 2013 David Glover, director of Max Hotels (Dudley) Ltd. walked into the hotel and told staff that the establishment was closing down with immediate effect. He said the 84 bedrooms would be transformed into 60 suites and most of them would be two-bedroom suites with some living space too. When it re-opens later in the year there will be no restaurant on the premises and neither would food or beverages be on offer to occupants of the suites.

On 21st March 2013 the Argus revealed that in fact the hotel had gone bankrupt with debts of £9 million. Out of this amount a sum of £10,000 was owed to customers who had booked wedding receptions or other functions at the hotel and were now told it was unlikely they would be reimbursed. 

On 6 August 2014 Brighton and Hove councillors gave planning permission for the premises to be converted into one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats. Although some councillors regretted the loss of such a historic hotel, it was generally felt to be beneficial to bring the building back into use.  

Famous Residents

2 Lansdowne Place
copyright © J.Middleton
Copley Fielding's daughters tomb in St Andrew Churchyard, Hove
Anthony Vandyke Fielding (1787-1855) He was born near Halifax, second son of Theodore Nathan Fielding who was an artist and portrait painter. There were four sons in the family and they all became artists, having been given drawing lessons by their father. But Copley Fielding was the most noted of them. Copley Fielding was a pupil of John Varley whose sister-in-law he married when he was only nineteen. When he arrived in London he was introduced to Dr Thomas Munro who had an aptitude for encouraging young artists and in 1811 Copley Fielding’s first pictures were hung in the Royal Academy. He began a long association with the Watercolour Society, becoming treasurer in 1817, secretary in 1818 and president from 1831 until his death in 1855. In fact so deeply were they indebted to him that when he died they postponed electing a new president for eight months out of respect for his memory. His output was astonishing and during the course of his career he exhibited no less than 1,671 works with the Watercolour Society. As soon as he became popular, Copley Fielding began to take pupils, one of whom was John Ruskin, the celebrated art critic. Ruskin later wrote of Copley Fieldin’s work as a water-colourist ‘In his cloud scenes and moorland showers he produced some of the most perfect and faultless passages of mist and rain cloud which art has ever seen’. His popularity was such that in 1875 a scene of the Mull of Galloway fetched £1,732-10s in a sale. 

Hove Museum has two of his works; one a seascape watercolour painted in 1853, the other an oil painting of Skelwith Bridge, near Ambleside. There are rugged mountains in the background, large trees and a cluster of cottages on the right with smoke rising from chimneys. Cattle walk over the bridge and in the foreground five of them stand with their hooves in the water.

The British Museum has 30 of his watercolours; there is a view of Crowborough Hill in the Wallace Collection and another Sussex view in the Tate. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a large collection of his work including three Sussex views.

Copley Fielding never went abroad and although in the earlier part of his career he painted scenes in the north and in Wales, in his later years he was content to paint Sussex views and seascapes. He is said to have stayed at 2 Lansdowne Place but he also stayed at Worthing and it was at Worthing that he died. But he was buried in the churchyard of St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove. He died on 3rd March 1855 and he was buried on the 10th. There is a memorial tablet inside the church on the south wall where it states he was resident in the parish for many years. The Revd C Townsend penned the following lines. ‘Fielding! By common fate tho’ doomed to die / Thou leav’st to us a deathless legacy; / Thro’ thee did Nature open and dispense / Her hidden charms of simplest elegance. / The living Waters that o’er the Ocean flow, / Scatt’ring their sparkling freshness as they go / The space aerial and the tender line, / And swelling beauty of the Downs were thine. / Their breathing Souls in charge to thee were given, / Thou gav’st them us – thyself withdrawn to Heaven’.
North-east of the church and still extant today are the tombstones of his two daughters; Susanna Henrietta born in London 30th July 1814 and died at Hastings on 28th June 1817, and Emma Fielding (only surviving daughter) born 18th November 1814 and died on 3rd January 1867.

Copley Fielding’s eldest brother Theodore Henry Adolphus Fielding (1781-1851) was a drawing master at Addiscombe College, Hove. Newton Fielding was popular in France as an animal painter and an engraver while the younger brother Thames Fielding was a watercolour landscape painter, drawing master and friend of the artist Delacroix.

His career has been covered in the section on Brunswick Square and his drawing office is covered in Brunswick Street West under Brunswick Cottage

7 Lansdowne Place
Robert Upperton (1787-1876) He was a partner in Upperton, Verall and Upperton, solicitors, and no doubt his training led him to be meticulous in the conduct of business. He was a Brunswick Square Commissioner from 1865 to 1873 and he lived in this house from the 1840s onwards. (When he first resided in the house it was number 25). He was connected with local affairs for many years and he never destroyed any papers relating to church matters with the result that a remarkably intact archive relating to St Andrew’s Old Church survives to this day. He opposed the scheme to rebuild the church in 1834 but in March 1837 the vicar nominated him to be his churchwarden and he served in that capacity until 1875. He was also connected with the Shoreham Harbour Commissioners for a period of 50 years. He resigned in 1873, and careful to the last, he refused to hand over the harbour books and papers unless he was given a separate receipt for each item. This caused the harbour authorities some annoyance. There was no doubt he was a stickler for accuracy. A typical letter from him dated 27th December 1862 related to the fund-raising for the construction of Holy Trinity Church, Hove. He was not amused to find his name included among the subscribers. Thus, ‘I observe this morning for the first time my name in the printed list of subscribers to the New Church – I beg to say that I never put my name down as a subscriber nor authorised any other person to do so’.

As one of the churchwardens of Hove, Upperton was busy dealing with correspondence relating to the building of St John’s Church. In 1848 when Isaac Lyon Goldsmid put in writing that he was willing to donate the site, the letter was sent to Upperton. But Goldsmid addressed Upperton as ‘secretary’ and Upperton must have written to correct him because Goldsmid wrote back to apologise saying he did not know what office Upperton held. In fact Hove people generally seemed singularly ungrateful that Goldsmid (a Jewish gentleman) should give a valuable site to the town for a Christian church and it took the Bishop to remind people it was an act of great generosity.
copyright © Brighton & Hove City Libraries
1954 photograph of Portslade Gas Works

Upperton was involved in an extraordinary case relating to the site on which Portslade Gasworks was later built. When the Gas Company announced their intention in the 1860s, a dispute arose over the ownership of the land. Upperton acted as attorney for Colonel Carr Lloyd, Lord of Lancing Manor, who claimed the land was his because it was formed by accretion out of the action of the River Adur, which flowed through his land. However, some 40 years earlier, Upperton had acted as Hugh Fuller’s attorney when he purchased two farms in the area and had frequently affirmed under oath that the land in question belonged to Hugh Fuller and then to his successors the Ingrams. Upperton’s involvement in both cases excited comment from the learned judge in 1871 and the Colonel lost his case.
In May 1826 Upperton married his dearest Elizabeth. His uncle the Revd John Thompson conducted the service in the presence of Nathaniel Hall, Miss Charlotte Norton and Miss Mary Borrer. It would be interesting to know if they were personal friends or business acquaintances since they belonged to landowning families in Portslade and Shoreham. Upperton kept a honeymoon journal of their tour to the Isle of Wight, which started in a barouche going to Sompting. At Portsmouth they toured HMS Victory and saw the place where Nelson fell. Upperton kept a record of expenditure too including the amount he tipped servants, or the sailor aboard Victory or when someone showed him the way. The couple enjoyed so much rambling Elizabeth’s boots gave way and her bridal shoes were the only other footwear she had with her. Her boots were left at the cobbler’s to be mended but when they returned next day, they had not been touched. Upperton noted that he was angry for the first time in front of his wife. They ate lobster at least three times and Upperton noted the waiter in Freshwater was ugly; the boots were eventually repaired in Southampton. Upperton died on 6th February 1876 and was buried in the churchyard of St Andrew’s Old Church. He left £1,500. 

19 Lansdowne Place
Captain O’Shea. He was the husband of Katherine, known to history as the notorious Kitty O’Shea. In 1883 Mrs O’Shea took a furnished house at 8 Medina Terrace, Hove. Mrs O’Shea had already started negotiations to rent a house in Second Avenue but her husband insisted on the Medina Terrace house instead because it was so close to the sea. In that same year Mrs O’Shea had given birth to Clare, and it was later claimed the child’s father was her lover and not her husband. Her lover was the celebrated Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891) and the affair had already been in progress for around three years. There was an infamous incident at Medina Terrace, which may or may not have been true, when the Captain arrived home unexpectedly and Parnell made a hurried exit by climbing down a rope ladder affixed to the balcony. In 1889 the O’Sheas rented a house in Walsingham Terrace, Hove.

 copyright © D.Sharp
This plaque is on the former Steyning Registry Office on 
the corner of Church Street and High Street in Steyning.
The Registry Office served 25 parishes including
Hove, Aldrington and Portslade from 1837-1935.
In 1889 Parnell was at the height of his powers as undisputed leader of the Irish party and it seemed as though Home Rule for Ireland was within his grasp. Then Captain O’Shea brought his action for divorce in November 1890 and quite simply it ruined Parnell. The divorce became absolute in May 1891 and the lovers married in Steyning on 25th June but their happiness was short-lived because Parnell died at the house in Walsingham Terrace on 6th October 1891. He was only 45 years old
It might be thought that in the circumstances Captain O’Shea would want to avoid Hove like the plague. Instead he ended up in this house, which was a nursing home, and he died there on 22nd April 1905 aged 65.

Joseph Nye. He was the proprietor of St James’s Mews, Brighton and had been in the horse business for nearly 40 years. When he died at 19 Lansdowne Place (still a nursing home with the addition of number 17) in October 1927 it was said that one of the few remaining links with the old coaching days was broken. He provided the horses for the coaches Perseverance, Venture and Vivid, which used to run between London and Brighton. He was a familiar figure about town, skilfully handling a pair of beautiful horses drawing a phaeton. His funeral was held at All Saints Church and he was buried in Hove Cemetery. Many of the horse-loving fraternity were present at the service, including Mr E Vaughan Roderick of the Royal Riding Stables, and Dick Hunt who wrote a book of local equestrian interest called Bygones.

16 Lansdowne Place
copyright © D.Sharp
John Leech 
John Leech (1817-1864) He was the artist son of a London coffee house proprietor and at the age of eighteen he published Etchings and Sketchings. By 1836 he was contributing to Bell’s Magazine while in 1841 he sent his first cartoon to Punch. Leech was a friend of Charles Dickens and in 1849 Mr and Mrs Leech, Charles Dickens, his wife, two daughters and his sister-in-law were all staying together in a lodging house at 16 Lansdowne Place. But it was not a tranquil holiday because the party had only been there a week when the landlord and his daughter went mad. As Dickens wrote to John Forster ‘If you could have heard the cursing and crying of the two; could have seen the physician and nurse quoited out into the passage by the madman at the hazard of their lives; could have seen Leech and me flying to the doctor’s rescue; could have seen our wives pulling us back, etc’. The Dickens family and the Leeches decamped rapidly and went to stay at the Bedford Hotel. Later in the same year the Dickens and the Leeches were together at Bonchurch. While bathing in the sea, John Leech was knocked over by a huge wave and received a blow to the head that made him very ill. He became restless despite treatments involving ice packs and the old remedy of being bled. Then Dickens stepped in and with Mrs Leech’s permission, he hypnotized her husband and he slept for over an hour and a half, during which time his condition took a turn for the better. Leech illustrated some of Dickens’s works including A Christmas Carol. Leech together with other artists illustrated The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Haunted Man, The Ghost’s Bargain and The Battle of Life. In the latter work, Leech made a dreadful mistake. For the scene of Marion’s elopement, he included the figure of Michael Warden who was never there in the text and the mistake was not discovered until it was too late. Dickens was horrified, ‘I was going to implore the printing of this sheet to be stopped, and the figure taken out of the block. But then I thought of the pain this might give to our kind-hearted Leech. I became more composed’. Indeed Dickens thought highly of Leech’s artistic skills. His small woodcuts were said to be delightful. When Leech died he was buried in Kensal Green, close to Thackeray’s tomb. On 29th August 1989 Margaret Adams, Mayor of Hove, unveiled a plaque at 16 Lansdowne Place commemorating the visit of John Leech and Charles Dickens. The day was chosen especially because it was the date of Leech’s birthday.

65 Lansdowne Place
 copyright © J.Middleton
St Andrew’s Chapel, Waterloo Street
Revd John Gibson (1815-1892) He lived in this house from 1886 until his death. But this was actually a family-owned residence and he had often visited his mother there. She had moved from Stratford to Hove sometime before 1851 most probably to be near her daughter Eliza Ann who was married to the Revd Thomas Baker; their first child was born in 1852. Revd Baker assisted Revd Owen Marden in his ministry at St Andrew’s Chapel, Waterloo Street, Hove. He certainly needed an extra pair of hands because St Andrew’s Chapel was a fashionable place of worship. The Religious Census 1851 recorded that there were 420 seats with 350 people attending in the morning and around 300 in the afternoon. There was a fair sprinkling of titles too, dating back to 1828 when three dukes and three duchesses were among the worshippers while the elderly Duchess of Gloucester (sister of George IV and William IV) the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their daughter Princess Mary attended in the 1840s.

Eliza Jane’s marriage was not of long duration because her husband died in 1866 and her mother died in 1868. But the house at 65 Lansdowne Place was not sold off and tenants occupied the premises until John Gibson and his wife retired to Hove.

copyright © Philip J Wells
 The Revd John Gibson, Gothic Revivalist (2017)
Author & Publisher: Philip J Wells  
ISBN: 978-0-9933650-1-0
(Sale proceeds from this book support
St George's Church, King's Stanley,
see Author's contact details below)
The name of Revd John Gibson is not well known today but he was esteemed in his day and was a prominent Gothic revivalist. He was one of that remarkable species of scholarly English clergymen with wide interests. He was a talented artist and musician with a broad knowledge of ecclesiastical decoration and furniture, both in this country and abroad. He was associated with such luminaries as Pugin and Bodley and his advice was often sought. He specialised in designing organ cases, which had languished previously as boring box-like affairs. He thought they deserved as much attention to detail and beautiful decoration as any other piece of church furniture. Indeed, he re-introduced into this country the concept of embossed organ pipes. He had a close association with the restoration of the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge, and he was a Fellow, Tutor, and Dean of that college. Not surprisingly there is a splendid tablet with Latin inscription to his memory inside the chapel.

Gibson did not neglect his congregation either and still managed to preach sermons that lasted from forty minutes to one hour. Perhaps it was his retiring nature that meant he was not better known, although those fortunate enough to know him considered his conversation sparkling. He did not marry until he was 49 years old and his bride Caroline was 39. He thought he was fortunate to find such a lady who was in education and upbringing all that could be desired. There were no children.

Revd John Gibson died at 65 Lansdowne Place on 10 November 1892 aged 77 and Caroline Gibson died on 24 July 1908 aged 83; they joined John’s mother in the Gibson family vault in the graveyard of St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove.
Fr Charles Beanlands of St Michael & All Angels, Brighton, officiated at the Revd John Gibson's funeral.

Unhappily, today that vault lies below Tesco’s Tarmac. It is sad but they are not the only ones and there are some 735 graves underneath the land now owned by Tesco.

[The information in this section comes from research carried out by Philip J. Wells and published in his book The Revd John Gibson, Gothic Revivalist (2017) together with some input from  Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade by J.Middleton.
The Author and Publisher:- Mr Philip J Wells can be contacted at 80 Lantern Close, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9DE

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