Rottingdean Through Time – Chapter 3

Kites Around the Old Mill

The hoarding advertising the Tudor Close Hotel places the date of the upper picture on the previous page in the early 1930s (Field Cottage, the white detached house down the hill on the
right, was demolished in 1933). In the modern view, a van waits to emerge from Park Road.

Not strictly on the coast road but a few hundred yards to the north of it stands the old smock mill, seen here in a sorry state in around 1900. It had been erected a century earlier, specifically in
1802. It closed in 1881, the last miller in the village being one George Nicholls. Today, the structure is safeguarded and maintained by Rottingdean Preservation Society, which holds open days in the summer months. These are sometimes combined with kite-flying events at which all are welcome. On a fine Sunday at the end of April 2009, little Sophia Hines, the author’s granddaughter, takes a break from flying her kite to smile for the camera.

Many Homes from One

On Marine Drive, just west of the junction with Park Road, work is proceeding on the construction of the stylish Cape Apartments in April 2004. These stand on the site of the former Roedean
Mission house for children, seen here in 1930 when newly-built.

In 1951, the Mission was wound up and the property sold. In the following year it was leased to Brighton Corporation and its name was changed to Littledean. It was eventually sold to Brighton Corporation in 1966.

Only a Flint Wall in Common…

Two postcards clearly showing the changes in the approach to the crossroads from the west. The Royal Oak Hotel had its own horse-bus service in the Edwardian era, operating in competition with that of the White Horse Hotel.

The second view, by Wardell, dates from around 1960 and clearly illustrates the liberal parking on the Coast Road, the rebuilt White Horse and the housing on East Hill above St Aubyns playing field.

Approach from the East

This more distant view of the village shows the windmill in isolation on the horizon. On the left in today’s view, in front of the houses, is a clifftop car park owned by the Council (see p. 94), while on the right, part of the playing field of St Aubyns has been developed as St Aubyns Mead.

The school itself can be seen on the right in the older picture.

At the Crossroads

Here is a rare glimpse of the east façade of Cliff House (left), with the Royal Oak Hotel and a row of cottages on the right. The site is now a car park.

During the Millennium procession, Bob Copper (driving) and his family are at the crossroads about to head north up the High Street. The horses and trolley were loaned by the late David Briggs (he died the following year) from the Working Horse Trust in Eridge.

More Lost Cottages

The car park just mentioned can be seen behind the eastbound vehicles. A controversial bus-lane scheme introduced in 2008 has without doubt increased congestion for private vehicles entering and leaving the village.

Another loss from the ‘West Street Triangle’, in addition to those on the preceding page, was the row of coastguard cottages on the extreme right. Long gone also are the cliff-top properties behind the telephone pole.

From the Imposing to the Mundane

On the left of this splendid and very rare view of the Royal Oak Hotel can be seen the site of the now-demolished coastguard cottages. The days of the hotel itself were therefore numbered.

The undeniably useful car park may be clearly seen in the present-day view.

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Copyright © Douglas d’Enno, 2009

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