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14 July 2018

Second Avenue, Hove

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2018)

 copyright © J.Middleton
The east side of Second Avenue was photographed on 26 June 2018


A deed dated 1856 mentions a new road running from the turnpike road (now Kingsway) leading to Long Barn Farmhouse (now Wilbury Road) and so presumably it followed the line of what was later to become Second Avenue. This land belonged to the Stanford Estate (for more details, please see under First Avenue).

Second Avenue was part of an ambitious Victorian development of substantial new houses known as the West Brighton Estate. Since it was privately developed, the Hove Commissioners were not involved and the first mention in the Minute Books did not occur until June 1881 when Second Avenue was declared a public highway. Thereafter, the local authority was involved and in October 1881 residents made a request that three elm trees might be planted in their road. In August 1896 it was decided that more trees should be planted to fill up vacant spaces, and at the south end. The cost of 21 trees came to £16. The number of residents was small, and in the 1887 Directory only ten houses were listed but more were in the process of being built.

 copyright © J.Middleton
An early photograph of Second Avenue reveals an extremely wide roadway – today this view is impossible to see because parked cars clog up both sides as well as the middle


Victoria Grove
In a large Victorian development, the residents of Second Avenue needed somewhere to stable their horses, and keep their carriages. The mews were built of the same bricks, and had slate roofs and a cobbled yard. The mews on the north-west side of Second Avenue was originally called Victoria Mews but it is now known as Victoria Grove. In March 1876 Victoria Mews was conveyed to Mr Ockenden for the sum of £1,133. 

 copyright © J.Middleton
The old sign for Fossey’s Garage is still to be seen in Victoria Grove

In 1914 J. Parsons submitted plane to Hove Council to alter number 7 from a stable into a garage. By 1996 Fossey’s Garage was in the mews facing the entrance, and there used to be a petrol pump exclusively for the use of Hove Police. The police had their own key to unlock the device and crank the handle to fill their vehicle with petrol. 

Victoria Grove received listed building status on 2 November 1992.
In August 1999 it was stated that Victoria Grove was still an un-adopted cul-de-sac. Residents of Grand Avenue were furious at the amount of rubbish deposited there – sometimes blocking entrances to flats above shops in Church Road. 

 copyright © J.Middleton
What would the stable lads have made of the prestigious show rooms for Cameron Contemporary Art now occupying part of their old mews buildings?
Queen’s Place
This mews is situated at the north east side between Second Avenue and First Avenue, and its original name was Queen’s Mews. It is interesting to note that the mews was marked on a map of 1877, and thus they were in existence before the houses at the top of First Avenue and Second Avenue were built (See also First Avenue).

  copyright © J.Middleton
On the north east side of Second Avenue La Forchette now thrives in part of the former mews

House Notes

Number 2 – William Willett (1856-1915), the noted local builder, was listed as the occupant of this house. Willett was responsible for many fine houses constructed in Cromwell Road, Eaton Gardens, Eaton Road, Wilbury Road and The Drive, plus the layout of the latter road – he later moved there to live too.

Number 3 – Hove Council granted planning permission for this house to be converted into flats in 1927.

Number 8 – Hove Council granted planning permission for this house to be converted into flats in 1927.
In the 1940s the management of Langford’s Hotel in Third Avenue, Hove, ran furnished flats and suites in this house.

Number 13 

copyright © J.Middleton
Claremont was one of the many private schools located at Hove. Today, known as The Claremont it is a hotel.

In the 1930s Claremont Prep School occupied the premises, and Mr W.O’Byrne and Mr A.A. Ross ran the establishment.

Number 14 

 copyright © J.Middleton
This was the family home where the youthful 2nd Lieutenant Sandeman of the Gordon Highlanders
copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums,
 Brighton & Hove
Captain William Wellington Sandeman
The Sandeman family lived in this house at the time of the First World War. Captain William Wellington Sandeman retired in 1888 after serving with the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders for twenty years and earning the Afghan Medal.

Despite his age he also played his part in the First World War, serving as commander of the 4th Royal Sussex Volunteers from 1915 to 1919 and he later received an MBE. His wife, Isabella Emma Sandeman, was also awarded a decoration for her war work at Hove – in her case it was an OBE. She was deputy president of the local branch of the Red Cross and spent time at the Hove War Supply Depot making papier mâché splints for the wounded; in addition she undertook painstaking searches for wounded and missing personnel. 

Their son, 2nd Lieutenant William Alastair Fraser Sandeman, was born at Hove on 29 March 1889, educated at Harrow, and enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders in August 1909. On 13 October 1914 near Bethune he was badly wounded, but his regiment were obliged to leave him behind when ordered to retreat. Thus he became a prisoner of war and died in hospital at Laventie on 19 October 1914.

It is interesting to note that in St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove, there is a memorial to Lieutenant Henry Sandeman, resident engineer and private secretary to the governor of the island of St Lucia; Lieutenant Sandeman died of yellow fever in 1852.

Number 15 – The 1940 Directory lists a private hotel at this address and Mrs K.M. Phelp ran it.

Number 19 

copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
 Brighton Herald  sale notice for Number 19 on the 10 July 1915

 copyright © J.Middleton
Lewis Woolf lent Number 19 in 1916 to further the war effort. For a while it became the headquarters of the Invalids’ Comfort Fund
In 1916 Lewis Woolf lent this house on behalf of the war effort. It became the headquarters of the Invalid Comforts Fund and parcels of basic medical essentials, and clothing were despatched to British Personnel in PoW camps abroad, including Germany, Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria. In February 1919 Sergeant C. Lowman of the Hampshire Regiment wrote, ‘I have recently returned from Turkey where I have been a prisoner for the past three years. I was captured at Kut with General Townshend. Owing to the hardships we endured in the siege and the terrible way we were treated after falling into the hands of the Turks, my constitution was completely wrecked. I now feel it is my duty to write and thank you for your kindness in sending us parcels of medical comforts, which I am sure saved the lives of many prisoners in Turkey.
In 1918 this became the first house in Second Avenue to receive planning permission to be converted into flats.

Number 21

  copyright © J.Middleton
This house was built by the well respected John Thomas Chappell, and had its own billiard room.

In July 1891 John Thomas Chappell’s plans, submitted on behalf of D.C. Thomas for a new scullery and billiard room, were approved. In 1896 the house was sold for £6,500.
In August 1998 Karis Developments finished refurbishing the house, and flats were on sale at prices ranging from £80,000 to £185,000. The flats had magnificent fireplaces, and there is a spiral staircase. There was a first-floor conservatory, and a bridge leading to the garden. All the flats had stripped, polished floors, and kitchens with stainless steel finishes.

Number 22 – Hove Council granted planning permission for this house to be converted into flats in 1920

Number 23 – This house was sold for £6,000 in 1896.

Number 24 

   copyright © J.Middleton
George Baldwin Woodruff, the first Mayor of Hove, once occupied this suitably grand house.
George Baldwin Woodruff (1826-1907) the first Mayor of Hove, lived in this house from 1879. He was born on 8 February 1826 and was of Scottish parentage. He made a round-the-world trip as a young man, and then lived in London before moving to Hove. In his professional career he was associated with the Singer Manufacturing Co. In 1883 he became a Hove Commissioner – he later became chairman and continued in that role when Hove received the status of Urban District Council in 1894. In 1896 a Press report stated ‘the ability, urbanity and tact with which he has discharged the onerous duties of his position has won the highest encomiums’. Woodruff remained prominent in local government for twenty years and in 1898 he became the first Mayor of Hove when Hove received its Charter of Incorporation.
 copyright ©  Brighton & Hove Libraries
Hove Couucil's Coat of Arms

Woodruff worked continuously to maintain Hove’s
independence, and when Brighton endeavoured to absorb Hove within its boundaries, he compiled and issued a pamphlet on the subject. He gave evidence before the Commission of Enquiry into Hove’s application for a Charter of Incorporation in 1896, and was cross-examined by the eminent barrister Edward Marshall Hall.

On the other hand, Woodruuf worked hard to bring about the amalgamation of Aldrington and Hove. According to the Brighton Gazette (26 May 1906) he ‘was almost entirely instrumental in securing the whole of West Brighton lawns (60 acres in extent) for conversion to gardens.’
He also put his ‘oratorical efforts’ to good use in defending the council’s efforts in Preston Rural to create a new park. One of Woodruff’s pet schemes was the planning of Hove Cemetery, which was claimed to be one of the most beautiful in the south of England.

He also donated £600 towards the building of All Saints Church in The Drive. The vicar commented that it was his wise offer of £500 on condition that the building of the second part of the church should not be started until £10,000 was in hand that enabled the work to go forward without interruption.

Woodruff retired through ill health in 1902 and died in Cimies, near Nice, on 13 February 1907 aged 81. He and his wife Martha had been married for 53 years. She died in her 85th year at 24 Second Avenue on 9 January 1918 and her funeral was held at St John’s Church. Their son Edward Clark Woodruff died on 12 March 1908. The Woodruff burial vault is in Hove Cemetery and the memorial stone is a rose marble obelisk in the shape of Cleopatra’s Needle.

During the First World War the property was called Kirby House. Mrs Woodruff, owned the property and lent it to Hove Council for the war effort. The house thus became the headquarters of the Local Food Control Committee – food rationing started at Hove in August 1917. Mr J.B. Fleuret was the executive officer; he was faced with a difficult task and had no precedents to guide him. But he was determined to preside over a fair distribution of available food to rich and poor alike. Indeed, when some cheese arrived, he ensured that it was sent to the poorest districts first.
Hove Council granted planning permission for this house to be converted into flats in 1920.


  copyright © J.Middleton
A nostalgic Edwardian coloured photograph shows Second Avenue viewed from Kingsway

Peter Cagney – In the 1970s he lived in Second Avenue. He made a career out of cataloguing thousands of jokes and published the collection in The Treasury of Wit and Humour (1967). He also wrote The Big Book of Wit and Laughter and From Gas to Riches, It is amusing to note that he was quite unable to tell a good joke himself although he wrote material for Max Miller, Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper and Harry Worth. Cagney’s wife Deirdre was associated with the family business too because she ran a postal comedy training school from her home.

Reg Close – He lived in Second Avenue and was an author and founder member of the British Council.

Maurice Kinn – In 1992 he lived in a flat in Second Avenue, having celebrated 50 years in the entertainment business two years previously. It was quite a journey for the Poplar-born son of an immigrant furrier. He had a varied career ranging from running a booking agency, managing bands, and being a concert promoter; he organised concerts for Van Morrison, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones But perhaps he will be best remembered for his astonishing success with a publication about popular music. It began when he borrowed £1,000 from his father-in-law in 1952 in order to purchase a small concern called the Musical and Accordion Express, which had a modest print run. Kinn soon re-launched it as the New Musical Express or NME as it became universally known. It was Kinn who first introduced charts, naming the top twelve titles according to record sales. By the 1960s NME’s circulation figures had rocketed to 350,000. Anybody who wanted to know what was happening in the musical world would purchase a copy. Kinn’s time covered stars from Cliff Richards to the Beatles, and Sex Pistols. Kinn also won the respect of such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, junior, and Elvis Presley. Indeed, when Sinatra was suffering a dip in his fortunes, it was Kinn who promoted his talent and rescued his career. Although Kinn sold NME to the International Publishing Corporation, he continued to be associated with the publication. Kinn’s bedroom walls at his flat were covered in photographs of him with various celebrities. Kinn died in August 2000. In March 2018 it was announced that NME would no longer be published in print form but would be available on-line.

Studio – The Argus (2nd October 2000) carried an article about a company called Studio in Second Avenue where Derek Easton and Gary Curtis made wigs for the theatrical profession. It was stated that Easton had been engaged in the wig business for some 40 years. Theatres used to order wigs but now it was the individual artists who commissioned them. At this Hove studio there were over 100 toupees of every shade on display – all of them being handmade. The Christmas Season was a busy time because pantomime dames required outrageous wigs.


Middleton J. Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Hove Council Minute Books
Middleton, J. Hove and Portslade in the Great War (2014)

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