06 September 2021

York Road, Hove.

 Judy Middleton 2003 (revised 2021)

copyright © J.Middleton
The west side of York Road looking north


The land on which York Road was built was once part of the Wick Estate, also later known as the Goldsmid Estate when there was a change in ownership. York Road was a comparatively early development at Hove, and according to Henry Porter, writing in 1897, workers started to build the first house on 4 August 1850 at the south-east corner. The 1851 census revealed that there were no less than nineteen houses ‘building’. It is amusing to note that the original name chosen for this development was Grove Road.

copyright © J.Middleton
This postcard was sent in 1922, and it looks as though the stucco was not painted at that date


The 1861 census identifies three small schools in York Road as follows:

Number 32 – Maria Hornbuckle, aged 39, was the Principal of this small Ladies’ School, and on census night there were ten scholars, one teacher, and two servants resident in the property.

copyright © D. Sharp
The Edwardian 'HCS' (Hackney Carriage Stand)
sign looks in better condition than modern
day York Road sign

Number 53 – This school was even smaller, and run by Elizabeth Blaber, aged 66. The establishment included one governess, one pupil teacher, and four scholars. This school was still listed in the 1868 Directory.

Number 59 – Revd Henry J. Johnson, a 33-year old clergyman without the care of souls, was the head of this school. He lived with his wife Mary aged 30, three daughters, two sons, an assistant master, six scholars, and five servants.

These schools were of short duration, and none were mentioned in the 1887 Directory. Instead, another girls’ school had popped up at 42 York Road run by Miss Rogers. But this did not last long either. In 1868 at 31 York Road lived Thomas Comyns Woodman, a private tutor, while in 1910 at number 51 Miss Unwins ran a prep school called Apsley House.

The Arts were well represented with the Misses Grace long residing at number 54 being described in the 1899 Directory being ‘artists and teachers of drawing’. In the same year next door at number 52 was W. M. Quirke, a professor of the violin. In 1935 Miss M. Cutler lived at number 32 and she was a teacher of dancing.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 1 July 1911.
(Marzials was the sister of the Hove artist Charles H. H. Burleigh)

A Transient Population

Is astonishing to note that in 1868 out of sixty houses, no less than seventeen of them were recorded as being lodging houses, and in addition at number 54 Mlle Masson ran a Ladies’ Boarding House. The lodging houses were to be found at numbers 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 21, 22, 34, 42, 45, 48, 49, 56, 58.

In the 1889 Directory some had gone, but new ones had arrived. They were numbers 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36.

By 1935 there was a distinction between Apartments and Boarding Houses – there were nineteen of the former, and only five of the latter. Apartments were to be found at numbers 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16, 20, 23, 25, 27, 33, 37, 39, 43, 44, 46, 49, 60. Boarding houses were at numbers 13, 21, 22, 30, 45.

There were also hotels in York Road. In 1910 Langham House was to be found occupying numbers 2, 4, 6, and run by Mrs Eva Price. Although now long gone, the name lives on because it is painted high up on a wall, and is visible from Western Road. In 1935 there were two other hotels – Devon House Hotel at number 1, run by Mrs G. J. Wratting, and Victoria House, a private hotel at numbers 12/14 run by Mr and Mrs E. L. Moore.

copyright © J.Middleton
Details of railings and a foot-scraper in the pillar

Professional Residents

In 1889 there were two clergymen in residence – Revd J. G. Gregory at number 59, and Revd R. M. Hawkins at number 60.

Also in 1889 at number 6 lived Mrs Eberall, a surgical belt and corset maker.

Founded in 1855 there was a Home for Invalid Children at number 59. It was still there in 1937 when the lady superintendent was recorded as Mrs Digby White.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Home for Invalid Children, 59, York Road, Hove, 3 July, 1937.

In 1935 the address of the Sussex Sword Club was given as 47 York Road, and Miss L. M. Weybridge was the honorary secretary.


On 23 September 1865 there was an agreement between the following:

Nathaniel Montefiore of Hyde Park Mansions

Aaron Goldsmid, the younger, of Bryanston Square, London

Sir Henry Francis Goldsmid

Edward Whately, Brighton surgeon

Whately purchased numbers 17, 19, and 21 York Road for £1,172,10s.

On 4 November 1880 Sir Julian Goldsmid and Nathaniel Montefiore, one of the trustees of the Goldsmid Estate, leased the following properties to Thomas Dunhill as follows:

Numbers 20 and 22 for £9 (residue of 99 years) lease first granted 25 March 1851

Number 48 for £13-10s (lease commenced in 1853)

Number 51 for £15-2s (lease commenced in 1853)

Number 52 for £12 (lease commenced in 1852)

Number 53 for £15-2s (lease commenced in 1853)

Number 55 for £15-2-9d (lease commenced in 1852)

Numbers 56 & 58 for £12 (lease commenced in 1856)

Number 59 for £28 (lease commenced in 1853)

Number 60 for £18 (lease commences in 1856)

In 1880 other properties were leased to various people

Numbers 16 & 18 for £8-10s (lease commenced 1851)

Numbers 33 & 35 for £9-16-6d (lease commenced 1853)

Numbers 44 & 46 for £13-10s (lease commenced 1853)

In April 1895 there was an agreement between Hove Commissioners and Mrs Emma Montefiore so that a ventilating shaft might be erected at 59 York Road.

By 1907 many houses in York Road were still the property of the Wick Estate; they were numbers 16, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 44, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 55, 58, 59, 60.

Margaret Mary Damer Dawson OBE (1873-1920)

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums,
Brighton & Hove

She was born at 1 York Road – a house that no longer exists. Her parents were Richard and Agnes, and he was a surgeon. The family moved around a bit, having two other addresses before opting to live at 15 Brunswick Square in 1899. Nobody would have expected young Margaret’s life to take the turn it did because her first love was music, and she studied at the London Academy of Music, being awarded a Gold Medal. But she also enjoyed physical exercise such as scrambling in the Alps. Her father died when she was still a child, and her mother married for a second time. Her husband was Thomas de Grey, 2nd Baron Walsingham. Fortunately, he had a healthy income to go with the title, and Dawson was able to mix with influential people, which proved valuable later on.

Dawson was passionate about animal welfare and in 1906 she became organising secretary of the International Animal Protection Society, and she also became involved in the Anti-Vivisection Society. It is interesting to note that she did not confine her efforts to Britain, but was also interested in what was happening on the continent. Indeed, her work was so valued, that Denmark and Finland saw fit to award her silver medals in recognition. During the First World War she concerned herself with the plight of refugees from Belgium, and endeavoured to find them safe lodgings in Britain.

In 1914 Dawson and Nina Boyle founded the Women’s Police Volunteers, of which Dawson became commandant. This represented quite a U-turn in government thinking because previously there had been opposition to such a venture. Of course it was a bonus for the government that the women received no pay, and many of the volunteers were battle-hardened suffragettes. The initial recruits numbered fifty but by the end of the war there 357. After such valuable work, Dawson had hopes that her volunteers would be taken on permanently. But she hit a wall of male prejudice with spurious accusations such as women being over-educated and annoying to men. The Chief Commissioners therefore decided that he would recruit and train women of his own choosing. No doubt such women would not enjoy riding motorcycles as did Dawson and her friend Mary Allen – they were amongst the first women in the country to try such a mode of transport.

The Grace Family

copyright © J.Middleton
The Grace family lived at number 54

The Grace sisters lived at 54 York Road and all were born there. Their parents were William Baker Grace who married Frances Goble at Brighton on 14 August 1852. Mr Grace was the manager of the drapery department at Hannington’s where his uncle had also been employed. Unfortunately, Mr Grace suffered from depression and on 14 September 1870 aged 46 he committed suicide by jumping off the Chain Pier, having carefully left behind his hat with a suicide note pinned to the lining. His grieving widow was thus left to bring up her six children on her own, and as an extra burden the youngest child was only a few days old. But she soldiered on for 21 years, and died at the age of 65 on 16 April 1891. Both parents were buried in the churchyard of St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove, but their resting place cannot be viewed because it is is in the part that has been destroyed. But their five daughters were buried in Hove Cemetery. The Grace children were as follows:

Ellen Maude Grace – She was born on 22 October 1854. Twenty years later she married Michael Quirke in 1874. It is interesting to note that the 1889 Directory records a W. M. Quirke, a professor of the violin, living at 52 York Road, which means she was right next door to her family. You could say it was a very fertile marriage because it produced twelve children. Mrs Quirke was musically gifted as well as her husband, and the talent passed down to their children. It may be that the frequent pregnancies might have acted as a deterrent to her sisters because it is a fact that none of them married.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Two notices from the 1899 Brighton Herald, Michael Quirke's private tution at York Road and listed as a member of staff at the Brighton School of Music.

Frances Elizabeth Grace
– She was born on the 14 September 1857. She and her next two sisters became famous in the local area and were nick-named The Three Graces, known for their charm, beauty and talent. (The Three Graces were a popular subject for both artists and sculptors, and they were always depicted together. In Greek Mythology they were the daughters of Zeus and named Aglaea (beauty / brightness) Euphrosyne (joy / mirth) and Thalia (youth / beauty.) Not surprisingly, they had many admirers, but the sisters were talented artists, painting portraits and landscape, still life and miniatures. Indeed, they made such a good living from their artistic endeavours that before the First World War they had travelled to Italy, France, Spain, Turkey and Greece, working on commissions, or as tutors, or as companions to wealthy patrons. Frances Elizabeth won a gold medal for her oil painting in a national competition judged by such luminaries as Alma Tadema and Poynter. She was the first pupil from Brighton College of Art to be accepted by the Royal Academy Schools. She died on 23 September 1939.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
A "Still Life" and a 1899 portrait of Lady Abinger by Frances Grace

Harriette Edith Grace
– She was born on 8 January 1860. Like her sister Frances, she too attended Brighton Colege of Art, and the Royal Academy Schools. She won the following awards:

Gold Medal in a national drawing competition

Royal Academy (architectural) Silver Medal for perspective drawing

Hill Silver Medal at Brighton

Bronze Medal of Brighton Horticultural Society

During her lifetime she painted around 80 portrait commissions; her work also included three views of the South Downs that were printed as picture postcards by the firm of J. Salmon. In 1906 she produced a design for Lipton’s tea. Hove Museum has two of her works. She died on 22 January 1932.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums,
Brighton Herald 2 May 1908
Harriette Grace's 'York Road Sketching Club'

Anna Maria Grace – She was born on 27 December 1861. She excelled in painting miniatures, and exhibited her work at the Royal Academy. She sometimes signed her work with different initials, being known in the family as Lily. She gave art lessons to Princess Ka’iulani of Hawaii when she was being educated at Cambridge Road, Hove. In 1931 the three sisters exhibited their work in the Lady Wolseley Room at Hove Library. Lily died on 1 June 1939.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 5 May 1917

William Francis Grace – He was born on 16 December 1864. He became a mining engineer and worked in Australia and New Zealand. He married twice. When he knew he was gravely ill, he returned to Hove where he died 13 January 1917.

Olive Blanche Grace – She was born on 10 September 1870. Unlike her gifted sisters, Olive turned her attention to a life of teaching, and eventually she became the headmistress of a girls’ school at Hove. She died on 30 January 1940.

(These details are just a small part of the extensive research carried out by Terence T. Quirke of Colorado, USA.)

William Thomas Horton (1864-1919)

Ann Clifton and her artist husband Thomas lived at 25 York Road. In October 1918 Ann’s brother, W. T. Horton, came to live with her to be nursed through his illness.

William Thomas Horton (1864-1919) was a mystic, illustrator and author. Horton’s minimalistic drawings were very similar to his friend Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898). Beardsley was editor of the Savoy and used his own as well as Horton’s illustrations in the magazine. Coincidently Horton and Beardsley were both former students of Brighton & Hove Grammar School. W. T. Horton was born in Brussels in 1864 to English parents. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War the family moved to Brighton. Horton’s first language was French and spoke little English when he enrolled at the Brighton & Hove Grammar School.

Horton was a close friend of the fellow mystic, W. B. Yeats. It was Yeats who sponsored Horton's initiation into the occult organization the ‘Hermetic Order of Golden Dawn’ (a secret society devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities).
Yeats wrote the introduction to Horton's Book of Images (1898), and Yeats included Horton’s illustrations in his 1928 poem about Golden Dawn called “All Souls’ Night”.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
An excerpt from the Brighton Herald's book review, 2 July 1898

In December 1918, Horton wrote - “My Dear Yates, My permanent address is 25, York Road, Hove, Sussex where I have taken rooms in my dear Sister’s house, her tenants have the basement & do all the cooking etc. My sister's husband is an artist & invalid. I shall be well looked after & no longer starving myself through ignorance or alone as in London. She is Roman Catholic & her son a Priest at Lewisham. This illness has given me much time to think & I intend joining the Roman Catholic church early in the New Year. It is the only way for me & the only logical & natural way, - ever yours W. T. Horton”.

On 23 February 1919, Revd Thomas Clifton wrote to W. B. Yates – “Dear Sir, It has devolved upon me to acquaint the friends of my dear Uncle, Mr. William T. Horton, that he died very peacefully after his distressing illness, last Wednesday, the 19th inst. at his sister's house, fortified by the rites of Holy Church, into which he was received on the feast of the Epiphany of this year.
I am saying the Requiem Mass for his soul on the 25th next Tuesday at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Brighton, whence we shall proceed to Ashford, Kent, where the body will be interred with his parents. I am Yours very truly, Thos. E. Clifton”.

copyright © J.Middleton
The east side of York Road looking south


Census Returns

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

George Mills Harper, W.B.Yeats and W.T.Horton: Record of an Occult Friendship (1980)

Middleton, J. A History of Women’s Lives in Hove and Portslade (2018)

Porter, H. The History of Hove (1897)

Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Wojtczak, H. Notable Sussex Women (2008)

The Keep

The Goldsmid Estate has a very detailed archive, previously lodged with solicitors Fitzhugh Gates. The reference number is ACC 4982/68/1-43

Copyright © J.Middleton 2021
page layout and additional research by D.Sharp