A number of books on Rottingdean have appeared over the years. To my knowledge there have previously been two pictorial volumes, both of which appeared in 1985 and both entitled Rottingdean in Old Picture Postcards. The authors were A. S. Payne/E. Scott and E. Ryman respectively. They were informative publications and some of the images in them inevitably reappear in this book, since postcards continue to be a rich source of local history images.
Rottingdean Through Time, however, is a first, differing in a number of important respects. It is based on ‘then’ and ‘now’ pictures and moves beyond postcards, thus affording the opportunity to introduce a number of unique images which are either in the author’s own possession or have kindly been made available to him by Rottingdeaners and others. Some have long been stored in family albums and records and have never before been published. The contemporary photographs have, for the most part, been taken by the author and will stand in the future as a colourful record of the village and environs in the early years of the twenty-first century.
The intention of this volume, however, is not simply to portray time- contrasted buildings and scenes but also, where possible, to show people and events. We thus have a picture of St Aubyns School decked out for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, a number of photographs of the millennium procession through the village and an image recording the centenary celebration of the presence in the community of the Sisters of St Martha.
Surprisingly, some of the very recent history of Rottingdean has required more research and effort than was at first envisaged. For example, no picture was readily available of the building known as Littledean on Marine Drive which stood where some of The Cape apartments are located now. Fortunately, Brighton History Centre and Roedean School (the Rottingdean building was formerly the Roedean Mission) were able to assist.
The author was very fortunate to have access to two key items when preparing this volume: the album of Rottingdean pictures compiled over the years by the late David Baker of Ovingdean and a pre-publication copy of the comprehensive work, rich in historical detail, entitled A Place- Name History of the Parishes of Rottingdean and Ovingdean in Sussex (including Woodingdean and Saltdean) by Professor Richard Coates, a former Rottingdean resident.
It is hoped that this book will be found educational and entertaining and also afford some insight into the lives – at work and at play – not just of members of the prominent families for which Rottingdean is widely known but also of those simple, hardworking families who have been the backbone of the village down the centuries.
Rottingdean Through Time depicts not only people, buildings and scenes in photographs but also contains a chapter ‘Rottingdean in Art’. The pages devoted to transport in the village, for their part, contain a number of surprising entries – some never before published in a book.
The author is grateful to Amberley Publishing for providing this opportunity to portray the village in so many contrasting, revealing and – in the modern images –colourful ways.
Saltdean, September 2009
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Copyright © Douglas d’Enno, 2009
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