Welcome to St Ann's Well

Your editor for St Ann’s Well is Patrick Benham. If you’ve got any queries about this area, or can add any information, photos or memories, please send My Brighton and Hove a message via the Comments form at the bottom of this page.

The area today
St Ann’s Well Gardens is a popular public park in Hove of ancient trees and winding pathways about half a mile inland from Brunswick Square and the sea. Its amenities include a bowling green, tennis courts, a children’s play area and a well-stocked fish pond replenished by a trickle of water from a much depleted ancient spring.

The manor of Wick
In the middle ages St Ann’s Well formed part of the manor of Wick (Upwick or Aldwick), a narrow band of land running from the shore line of the present day Brunswick area to meet the boundary of the manor of Preston in the north. It later became known as the Wick Estate and passed through a succession of private hands until its ownership was eventually transferred to Hove Corporation.

Health spa
In the 18th century, the spring water emerged with greater force, allowing the place to proclaim itself a health spa at a time when the taking of mineral waters was becoming fashionable as a cure-all for the many incapacities suffered by rich and poor alike. Around 1800, an imposing pump room was built over the spring to house various facilities and accommodate the large numbers who came seeking therapeutic relief. Towards the end of the 19th century, the flow of the waters had considerably declined and the enterprise was closed down. The pump room itself was demolished in 1935. A mock well head marks the site today.

Changing hands
The Estate was in the hands the Stapley family from 1573 until 1701 when it was sold to the Scutts, a family of Brighton brewers. In 1825 the Rev. Thomas Scutt sold off part of the land to the south of Western Road. This became the Brunswick Estate. In 1830 the remainder of the Wick Estate was sold to the brilliant fanancier and philanthropist Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, who moved into the long-demolished property known as The Wick, located just outside the southern border of the modern park. It is believed that Sir Isaac was responsible for setting out the gardens during his ownership of the land. After his death in 1859, members of the Goldsmid family inherited the Estate and were responsible for a considerable amount of building development in the area surrounding the gardens from 1890 onwards.

Fun and films
In 1892, the film pioneer George Albert Smith became leaseholder of the gardens. Determined to put the place on the map and make it commercially viable, he organised hot air balloon demonstrations, parachute jumps and added such attractions as a monkey house and a gypsy fortune teller. He used part of the pump house as a film laboratory, producing about fifty short films a year. Here film editing was born and Smith invented the close-up. Building on this success, a glass house film studio was erected. However, he eventually moved to premises elsewhere in the town, and by 1913 Hove Corporation was in full ownership of all the gardens.

Once it had become a public amenity, a number of existing buildings were incorporated, including Grasshopper Cottage, near the bowling green, and Wick Farmhouse by the Furze Hill entrance. Both these were demolished after World War II. A rustic swiss chalet style cafe used to refresh the needs of visitors prior to its replacement by a more modern building in the 1970s. These changes did not pass without some local protest.

A well maintained park
The parks and gardens department of the local authority must be credited with its careful maintenance of the site to a high standard over the years, with excellent floral beds and borders and shrubbery. A one-time croquet lawn in the south west corner is now a scented garden for the blind. In recent years, improvements have been made to the fish pond and additional equipment has been placed in the children’s area. Interestingly, the special character of the site which caused it to be set aside and protected long before any buildings appeared, seems set to guarantee its enjoyment by future generations in perpetuity.

Comments about this page

  • The park was where I grew up in the 1950s, and it had a lovely spread of crocuses in the spring. You can still see these, and there is the old stream with a coppery colour, presumably from the minerals said to be from the spa well. There were some air raid shelters there that excited us small lads, and the hilly paths were a great cycling track, frightening the elderly and annoying the parkie. My memory was of the old cafe, with a wooden verandah around the Victorian building in the centre where my friends and I used to crawl underneath to look for coins. Sadly, it was demolished and an out-of-place modern structure was erected, and lots of bushes were removed as well.

    By David Shelton (09/05/2003)
  • An old myth told the story of the spring’s origins thus: ‘A beautiful Saxon princess, Annafrieda, was kidnapped by a nasty Norman baron, in an attempt to force her to marry him. She however, already in love with a Saxon youth and desperate to return to her village, refused to eat and wept constantly. As she pined away, he took pity on her and returned her to her family. Sadly, it was too late, but as a symbol of her goodness and constancy, a spring emerged at the spot where she died.’ I think the Victorians may have thought up this one, it has shades of the Greek story of Persephone in the Underworld, as well as a touch of sanctimony!

    By Kate Palmer (03/10/2003)
  • I once heard talk of the gardens having something to do with Alistair Crowley and ritual magic practice. If this is true, I suppose it wasn’t exactly publicised. Anyone know of a connection?

    By Jut Franklin (11/11/2006)
  • I remember St. Anne’s Well Park well. I used to watch people playing tennis – are the courts still there I wonder? There used to be a bowling green too. We used to play on the swings and I fell off once and came a crooper. There were lots of bushy areas where we could have great games of hide and seek. Happy days.

    By Edna k/a Sandie Waller (Taylor) (23/05/2007)
  • The hard tennis courts are still there. The grass courts are now just lawns in front of the cafe. The bowling green is the same as ever. I spent most of my youth in the gardens in the late 40s and 50s. Perhaps that was when you knew it, Edna.

    By Pat Benham (13/07/2007)
  • I am trying to find out when the tennis club, the Grasshoppers, moved from St. Anne’s Well Gardens to its present site in the Drive. I believe it was around 1907. Can you help? Many thanks.

    By John Edwards (09/08/2007)
  • I have a map here of St Ann’s Well Gardens from the records office at Lewes dated around 1890 which shows the Grasshoppers tennis club still there. It was private land in those days which the public paid to enter. Perhaps the club moved to its present site when the corporation took over some of the property. Could therefore have been 1907 or possibly not until 1913. Hard to be sure. Does the present club know?

    By Pat Benham (19/09/2007)
  • I would like to know if there was a children’s home years ago called St Ann’s in Brighton or Hove?  I was brought up as a child at this place with nuns and sisters who lived there.  I would really like to know more about this place.  If you know, please get back to me.  Thank you.

    By Adella (14/11/2008)
  • Around 1952 I had a friend called Sean O’Grady who was at that children’s home, St Anne’s Home for Invalid and Crippled Children, on the north side of Lansdowne Road, a short way east of Furze Croft. I once visited it with him. I remember it as a busy, bustling sort of place with quite a number of nuns caring for the children, some of whom had disabilities. But I don’t think all the children, including Sean, were disabled. This must be where you were, Adella. Not to be confused with the nearby St Ann’s School at 7 Norfolk Terrace, the place from which the young Antony Worrall Thomson once escaped up the coal hole.

    By Pat Benham (19/11/2008)
  • St Anne’s Childrens Home/nunnery is now the Hove Buddhist Centre. It is open to the public so you can go and see, remember. …3 Lansdowne Road, Hove.

    By Gracie Fry (23/02/2009)
  • I was at a children’s home in Brighton in Feb 1952. A small place, a terraced house. Don’t know the road. We had a dog and went for a walk on the coast every day with a few children and the dog and a big pram. Anyone know where this was? I’d like to go back and see it or find anyone who was there at the time.

    By Jenny Meares (25/05/2009)
  • To Jenny Meares – I think I may have gone to the same small school, it was called St.Ann’s (not the convent). It was in a terraced house, and Norfolk Terrace sounds familiar. I would have been there about 1955 and at that time the headmistress was a Miss Townsend. I don’t recall the dog, but certainly remember small children and walks, I too would like to know more about it and what became of it.

    By Jan Hanlon (27/07/2009)
  • Would any response from enquiries about St Ann’s school come up on this site or would I receive an email? I would really like to try to trace any old pupils, or in fact any info at all about this small private boarding school. Some of the children were very young so would still only be early 50s now. My maiden name was Janice Pollard

    By Jan Hanlon (05/08/2009)
  • I am still trying to find people who were at St Ann’s home, Brighton and Hove. My name is Nina Alberici and I remember some names which are John Thomson, Anne Wall, Yvonne Whitfield - also staff called Monica West and the home’s cook was Agnes. Thank you, please comment back

    By Nina Alberici (07/08/2009)
  • I am 63 years old and was brought up in a Childen’s Home called St Ann’s, Brighton. I would like to talk to anyone who was at this place at the time I was there. MY NAME IS NINA ALBERICI

    By Nina Alberici (08/08/2009)
  • Hello Nina, I am exactly the same age as you and I went to St Ann’s for a brief time only when I was about 10 years old. The place as I recall it was not a children’s home but a private boarding school. The names you mention don’t really ring a bell to me, but when I was there the headmistress was Miss Townsend and some of the children’s names were Gail and Garth Elliott, Anne Price, Laura Clayton-Graham. There were some very young children there – a little boy called Buster - some almost babies, so perhaps it was a children’s home as well as a boarding school, I think there were some day pupils as well. It was only quite small in numbers.

    By Jan Hanlon (09/08/2009)
  • Jan: Thanks for the contact. Do you know if you are talking about the Convent Home St Anne’s or the school St. Anne’s?

    By Nina (13/08/2009)
  • I think there is some confusion here between two places having the name St Ann’s. There was the school at 7 Norfolk Terrace and the Catholic children’s home at 3 Lansdowne Road.

    By Pat Benham (15/08/2009)
  • Hello Pat. Thank you for reading this comment. I am talking about St Anne’s convent. I was brought up there. Do you know anything on this place?

    By Nina (16/08/2009)
  • I used to live at St Anne’s Convent when it was a children’s home. I recently went back to have a look at the place. It is now a buddist temple and seems very calm in comparison to how it was as a child.

    By Liz Wilkins (06/09/2009)
  • Hello Nina and Pat. Sorry that I have been so long in checking info on your MyBrighton and Hove web site. Nina you are talking about the convent. I am talking about the school and thank you Pat for the address of 7 Norfolk Terrace. A lady called Jenny Mears posted a request for info on a small school, I think she and I may have been talking about the same small school St Ann’s. I would dearly love to hear any info about St Ann’s school, when it closed or of course any contact with any one associated with the school. My maiden name was Janice Pollard and I was at St Ann’s school, Norfolk Terrace in the mid 1950s. Thank you so much.

    By Jan Hanlon (07/09/2009)
  • Nina asks if I know any more about the convent. I am sorry to say that the only information I have is already in these comments. There is a bit more on the message board and you could try the email section with a new message seeking former pupils.

    By Pat Benham (07/09/2009)
  • I was also at St Anne’s Convent in 1956 and 1957. I knew a girl called Nina, she had a younger brother if I remember well. There were other siblings such as Brendon and Theresa, Florrie and Violet, John and Whilhemena. Maybe you knew some of these people too. Our head mistress was Monica, and sister Margaret was very kind to the children. I was 10/11 ish at the time.

    By Raymond (06/10/2009)
  • Sorry Nina, I hadn’t seen your previous posts, yes I knew you in St. Anne’s Convent, my name is Raymond Walton, and am the same age as you, born in 1946. My best friends were John Smith, Florrie Carpenter and others, We used to go to school down the road, near the church, I was in Mrs Harvey’s class to begin with and then moved up a class. They didn’t really like us all that much at school. I was expelled from the home and my mother moved to Belgium, where I still live. You can find me on facebook, or you can use my e-mail, mrwalton@skynet.be. Look forward to talking to you longer.

    By Raymond Walton (06/10/2009)
  • Hello Raymond, thank you for replying. I’ve been searching for people from the convent for a while now. I was wondering if you remember anyone called John Thomson? I’ve moved to Southend-on-sea now, and I still live there with my family today. Look forward to hearing from you.

    By Nina Alberici (07/10/2009)
  • Yes, I remember St Ann’s Convent home for children on Lansdown Road – I was there from 1976 to 1977. We were made to go to Summerhill School.

    By Wendy (19/01/2010)
  • This is a message for Nina: I was at the Convent for years and remember all the people you mention, plus Dorothy Gilham, Monica’s friend, plus Sister Claude.  I have loads to tell you, you can email me on pamhagon@yahoo.co.uk if you wish. Hope to hear from you soon.

    By Pam Hagon (16/03/2010)
  • Hello, I am Nina Alberici who was brought up in the children’s home.  I would like to know more if we are talking about the same place. Do you remember the songs we had to sing? Do you remember a black boy called John? He was a nice boy, I would like to talk to him. Thank you for your time.

    By Nina Alberici (31/03/2010)
  • Hi Pam, thank you for contacting me. It’s nice to hear from you and I would like to talk to you again. If you can at any time, you can email me on my daughter’s address: adellaalberici@hotmail.co.uk

    By Nina Alberici (31/03/2010)
  • Hi Nina. I remember you in Portslade. How are you doing?

    By Olga Turner (06/04/2010)
  • Hello Olga.  Thank you – it’s made me think of the old memories.  Are you OK to write back to me as I would like to talk more? Well, I live in Southend on Sea in Essex – how about you? I’ve got 5 childen. I would love to hear back from you.

    By Nina Alberici (10/04/2010)
  • Hi. My boyfriend lived for a short time in 1969 in a catholic children’s home in Brighton, but doesn’t recall the name. He was about 10 years old at the time. We visited Brighton this past weekend and drove past the Buddhist Centre. He didn’t recognise it. Does anyone know if there was another catholic children’s home operating at the time?

    By Shirley (10/05/2010)
  •  My mum went to a convent in Brighton. Her name was Pauline McGonnell- she also had brothers Michael, Tommy and Gerry and a sister, Linda. Does anyone know them?

    By Nicola (17/05/2010)
  • I lived in the convent home in 1976. I remember Monica West, staff, she had red hair I think. I was there with my brothers and sisters in Brenloch - the bigger building. Anyone remember Sister Anne, Desmond Deveney, Maria? Some of the other children there were Tracey Ibraham and her sister Sue, Albert Doyle, Leon Alberts. We used to get up late at night and sneek down to the kitchens and make off with the vanilla ice cream and have a ice cream fest in the dorms – the nuns knew about our raiding party, they told me when I revisited in 1980. We all used to prepare our meals and wash up after. Bird’s Angel Delight always followed as a treat. There were two other houses in the grounds, one was called Marina, there was also the rose cottage or gate keeper’s cottage at the bottom of the drive. I’d love to hear from any of you, share stories. My brothers and sisters attended Summerhill School whilst I attended Knoll School for Boys. We used to visit Devil’s Dyke in the mini bus that we had, but spent most of 76 on the beach, where I had my photo taken with some page three girls down to do a photo shoot (two of them). They both appeared on page three, titled ‘Brighton Beach Belles’, wish I had the photos!

    By Patrick Doyle (01/07/2010)
  • Pauline Mcgonnell and brothers Gerry and Michael all at St Anne’s convent from 1960-1969. Nuns at school were Sisters Margeret Theresa, Monica and Hilda. My Mum spent far too much of her childhood in this place, then moved to a home in Barney in 1969.

    By Nicola (05/07/2010)
  • I remember Sister Hilda, she was head nun whilst I was there in 1976. I learned that Sister Anne went to St Anne’s in Liverpool - a convent, I think.

    By patrick doyle (08/07/2010)
  • Hi Nina - how you doing? You live in Southend. I am in Islington. Got a son called Francis. Remember you very well. I like Southend - nice part of Essex. You were good fun.

    By Olga Turner (08/07/2010)
  • Hello Olga Turner, it’s me Nina Alberici. Thanks for writing. Would you please write to me in letter as I aint very good on this, but my phone number is 07979774538. Please phone or write to me – love to see and hear again from you. Thank you.

    By Nina Alberici (24/07/2010)
  • Dear Nina. St Anne’s in the 1950s, the lady in charge was Monica who had a daughter Alice who used to upset me cos she always got to the doll’s pram before me. I also remember a pair of twins with very dark hair, and some lady called Phillis who tried to coax me to eat porridge, which I haven’t eaten for 55 years. I also remember Devil’s Dyke.

    By Doreen Hotton (16/08/2010)
  • Hello Doreen, its me, Nina. I was in the children’s place for a few years. Do you remember me or Anne Wall?

    By Nina (19/08/2010)
  • Only Jenny Meares seems to recall St Anns Private School (not the Convent) - I think it was in Norfolk Terrace. We had a uniform, blue striped dress and a blazer. I was a boarder - it was mixed, boys and girls and some very young children, so it must have had a nursery school as well. I am talking about the late 1950’s. I guess it was so small that likelihood of finding an ex pupil is minimal. But Jenny Meares seemed to be talking about the same place. Is there anyway my email could be passed on to her? She posted a message in May 2009. When I attened St Ann’s Private School my name was Janice Pollard.

    By Jan Hanlon (25/08/2010)
  • Hi Nicola, I am Pauline’s (senior) sister, Patricia. I think I’m your great aunt. I knew Tommy well, he lived with me and my mother in Cloughanboy, Athlone. I went to school there at St. Mary’s Convent. Tommy was the oldest of Pauline’s children, I knew Michael, Gerald, Pauline (junior) and Linda as small children from the time when I was living in London. I have never met any of their children. I’m now granny surfing from Birmingham. I’d be glad to here news from your family, you can contact me at patsy@pxserver.com   I just found this, it might be of interest: http://www.athlone.ie/community-noticeboard/community-noticeboard

    By Patricia (26/08/2010)
  • Dear Nina, something tells me I do but not really sure, there were a lot of children there, and I was there with my brother John who was five. I was eight. I was homesick at that point in time, but I do remember having to go into the chapel a lot. I also never got enough to eat in that place and became very thin; I can’t go on a long journey without taking some grub ever since. Bye for now.

    By Doreen Hotton (11/09/2010)
  • MESSAGE FOR PATRICK DOYLE: Hi Patrick, I note in your earlier comment that you remember Sister Hilda. Sister Hilda was not at the convent for very long and yes she was Head nun whilst she was there. Do you also remember sister Barnadi who used to open the door? Anyway, I don’t know what your experience of the convent was but if you’re interested, I have an address for Sister Hilda, she’s now in her 80s. You must have been at the home the same time as my mum if you was there when Sister Hilda was, the boys were separate to the girls weren’t they, so would you have been upstairs. My mum did have brothers there too Michael, Thomas (Tommy) and Gerald (Gerry). Was you in the film ‘Oh! what a lovely war’ too? They used children from the home as extras when they made the film on Brighton seafront. Mum hated the convent but I know some of others did not have such a bad time there, hopefully you are one of them. If you want Sister Hilda’s address – let me know.

    By christella (19/10/2010)
  • I used to live at St Ann’s convent in the early 50s. The head nun was called sister Claudia and I also remember sister Margaret. I had a friend there call Janet Mckomaski whose father worked for Hall & Co. If anyone remembers me, Evelyn Andrews, very tall with curly blonde hair, I’d love to hear from you.

    By Evelyn Andrews (27/10/2010)
  • I was at St Anne’s children’s home 1954 -56, as were my sisters June and Anne and brothers Johhny and Andrew. I remember Sister Margaret, she gave us pocket money. She was lovely, very kind. I remember helping with washing up and queing up to go to Mass

    By Linda Aikman (now Rowan) (16/11/2010)
  • I am one of the residents of the Bodhisattva Buddhist Centre, which is in the St Anne’s Convent building on Lansdowne Road. I thought your correspondents would like to know that the garden is open to the public and we have a cafe which is open 11am – 4 pm Tuesday – Saturday during termtime. Look at our website http://www.meditateinbrighton.com for more information. Any former residents are very welcome to visit.

    By Joanna Sancha (18/12/2010)
  • Dear Nina Alberici, My name is Michael Gormley and I was at St Anne’s convent 1946 – 52. From St Anne’s I was sent to St Marys’ School (boy’s orphanage) in Gravesend, Kent. I am a former child migrant, sent from England (St Mary’s) – I was 8 years old – to Australia in 1953 and spent 8 years in an orphanage – Clontarf Boys Town – in Western Australia.

    By Michael Gormley (19/12/2010)
  • Michael, do you remember me there at St Anne’s? Thank you, Nina

    By Nina (23/12/2010)
  • No, I don’t Nina, I was probably too young to remember anyone! Do you remember me?

    By Michael Gormley (04/01/2011)
  • Hi Christella, I was at the Convent in 76, you mentioned the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ … how strange - synchronisation or what?! The truth is, yes, I did that film but at the time I lived in London. I was brought down to be in it, I now remember my past aged 48. I remember being in the Convent garden with some girls, I was told this was a childrens’ home. Little did I know that one day I too would be one of the children. Perhaps one of those girls was your Mum. They seemed older than me at the time. I had to wear very old clothes on a pier. Does your Mum remember a little boy from London? My school teachers from Peckham Park primary shool in Peckham, London had me involved with lots of films: ‘To Sir with Love’, ‘The Robbery’, Heinz ads, ‘Kes’, Save the Children fund film, Odeon cinema ads for local businesses in London nobody knows, James Mason, the Grosvenor Square riot at the American Embassy, Vietnam war filming, at Diana Dors’ home Orchard Manor, ‘Cathy Come Home’ and many more. I am still researching it all. Did your mother do any of this other work that I did, can she help me with my research?  I also did some 60’s fashion work and photography. I will point out that I did a photo shoot with the Sun newspaper, page three with two models. The staff asked the photographer not to use any images with me on it, I hope those pics still exist somewhere.

    By Patrick Doyle (12/01/2011)
  • I lived in St Ann’s Convent in the early 60s with my brother John, sister Vera and sister Patricia, but don’t really remember very much as I would have been about 4 years old. I do remember my brother John was always in trouble with the nuns as he was very naughty. Does anyone remember us or have any pics? My email is joan_clark@hotmail.com

    By Joan Beresford (06/02/2011)
  • To all former inmates of St Ann’s convent in the 1950s, I would love to meet up and have a reunion with you all. Maybe we could meet up in April when the weather is a bit warmer. We could meet at the pier and share some stories about St Ann’s. Email me if would be interested.

    By evelyn andrews (27/02/2011)
  • Re my message about a reunion of inmates of St Ann’s, my email is j.marshall9160@ntlworld.com.

    By Evelyn Andrews (28/02/2011)
  • I was in the convent in the late 1950’s when I was around age 3 or 4. Like Christella’s mum, I do not have any happy memories of the place. I am planning to visit the Buddhist Centre that now occupies the former convent this spring to see if I can rid myself of some of the ghosts of the past.

    By Sandra, Canada (11/03/2011)
  • I was at Saint Ann’s Childrens’ Home in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I remember a nun called Sister Cathy? and a worker called Maria? I have happy memories there. I went back there today and was shown around. Got to go back into my old dormitory and look out of the window again where my bed was. Very surreal. I was on the 2nd floor. I remember another kid called Timothy. If anyone else was there or has memories to share of that time please email me at sydspence@live.co.uk Thanks.

    By Royston Wells (06/04/2011)
  • To add to the confusion between St. Ann’s Children’s Home / Convent / School: I have a photo of the inside of St. Anne’s Home for Invalid and Crippled Children, following WWII bombing. It states that it was in Buckingham Place, some distance from the other locations mentioned, but not too far away. Could it be the same home that moved following WWII, or just coincidence that it has the same name and is very close? The photo is unfortunately covered by copyright, so I can’t show it to the public, possibly I could email it to any individuals that wish to see it. It shows children and men clearing the bomb damage!

    By Peter Groves (06/04/2011)
  • Hi there my name is Dolores Vidal, I lived at St Annes in the late 70s, and left to be fostered in 1979/80s. I remember lots of things like having to polish my shoes (which I hated) and the cleaner (God bless her) was called Audrey, she was very kind to me and would leave me gifts such as colouring books and pens under my pillow. I remember staff names – Mary, Francis (Male), Maria and Margaret, who was Irish. If anyone remembers me it would be nice to hear from you. dollsoul33@hotmail.com.

    By Dolores Vidal (18/04/2011)
  • Hi all, didn’t think I was too clear in describing myself – Royston it’s possible you may remember me. I was at St Anne’s between the ages of 5 and 8, 1976-1979. I am mixed race Jamaican and was joined later by my sister Adessa who lived in Marina side as she was a few years younger. I went to St Mary Magdelan’s too.

    By Dolores Vidal (18/04/2011)
  • I remember St Ann’s children’s home and Monica,there was also a lady called dDt. Phillis used to take us to school, I was at St Ann’s home from 1966-1969.

    By Julie Lenane, nee Hughes (25/04/2011)
  • I went to St Ann’s children’s home from 1966-69 and was also in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’. Pauline, Cathy and Anna were in it. If anyone knows of me you can contact me at juliel549@googlemail.com

    By Julie Lenane, nee Hughes (25/04/2011)
  • There has been an excellent article on the history of the St Anne’s Children’s home written by Pat Benham the Local Editor of St Ann’s Well; it contains a photograph of the building as it is today. You can see the page listed in the Local Folk section.
    To find the page look in the navigation bar on the left. Go to ‘People’ and then to ‘Local Folk’.

    By Jennifer Drury:Website Editor (27/05/2011)
  • Message for Sandra posted 12/3/11. Hi Sandra, I am sorry to hear your experiences of the home were sad as were my mothers and her siblings. I hope you find some help re-visiting it, do you have a private email address? I could contact you on it so I can just ask you something. Thank you

    By Christella (23/06/2011)
  • Through a series of coincidences, in 1981 I discovered my birth name was Sheila Waller and that my birth parents lived in Hove in 1946. I know that I was in a children’s home in 1946-49 but have never been told where it was and now wonder if it wasn’t St Ann’s. I have a clear memory of sleeping in a room with many other small children in beds/cots. I was adopted in 1949 and moved to Bucks, which was when my name was changed completely. I’ve been in Australia since 1982 so have little opportunity to investigate further. I would love to hear from anyone who has any comments.

    By Penny Clay (adopted name Jenkins) (21/08/2011)
  • Penny – You could post your enquiry on the message board of this website. More people will read it there and you would definitely have a better chance of some help. Go right to the top of this page and click on Messages in the list in the left hand column. Good luck with your search.

    By Pat Benham (28/08/2011)
  • It seems quite ironic that St. Ann’s, the children’s home (a house of neglect and suffering) is now a Buddhist meditation centre.

    By Veronica (23/10/2011)
  • For Veronica: I can feel your pain. Presumably you were there in the early years ie 1951/2 or thereabouts. Nothing sweet or nice or “Sound of Music” about it, was there? My sympathies. Sylvia

    By Sylvia (12/12/2011)
  • I was in at Annes Convent from 1959 – 1966 and I have different memories than others who were there at the time. As far as I am concerned I had a great childhood and had many opportunities to follow my career in ballet which was totally supported by the nuns. Yes, they could be severe but with 60 children to look after I think they treated us pretty fair. I have many photographs of my days at the home and am still in touch with Monica although, sadly, we buried Dot today. I was known as Anne Wall for those of you who can remember me.

    By Veronica Tumber (16/02/2012)
  • Hi Veronica, I thought I recognised the name Anne Wall. I am Jean Temple (as I was then); used to know you from dancing and remember the happy times we had when I visited the Convent. Did you ever take your dancing further? Please remember me to Monica – all of the very best. Jean Phillips 

    By Jean Phillips (nee Temple) (20/02/2012)
  • Jean, how wonderful to hear from you after all these years. I have many fond memories of our duets together at the Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne and All England Dancing competitions. We made an awesome pair and Miss Ramsey said if she could put your body on my feet we would be the perfect dancer. I didn’t take my dancing up and I have always wished I had, but I did do a bit of teaching but found that pretty boring. Am now working at a firm of solicitors in Tunbridge Wells and live near Maidstone. Are you still living in Brighton. Look forward to hearing from you, Anne

    By Veronica Tumber (20/02/2012)
  • Fantastic to hear from you also. I cannot believe how many years have flown by. I was sorry to hear about Dot but hope that both you and Monica are in good health. I am a grandmother to two children with another on the way. My daughter followed in my dance steps but unfortunately did not continue after her teen years although I thought that she had a lot of potential and she is now a Senior Graphic Designer. I often pass the old Jean Ramsey School of Dancing building in Cambridge Road and think of the good times we had there. Lots of love and good wishes Jean

    By Jean Phillips (24/02/2012)
  • I was at St Anne’s Convent, I believe from about 66-69 during my parents’ divorce. I was there with my two brothers Sheldon and Sendor. It was a scary place with all the religious statues, mass on Sunday morning on a very hungry stomach – always remember the big box of hats. I have very fond memories of my time there; Christmases at the Metropole, lovely trips out to the Dyke. If I remember correctly, we were the first to receive a Variety Club sunshine coach.

    By Patricia Alexander nee Fraser (12/04/2012)
  • Veronica, can you please ask Monica if she remembers Pauline Mcgonnel – at the home from a very young age until she was a teenager. I know Monica was there when Pauline was, I have seen her name on the paperwork. 1960s. Thank you.

    By Christella (05/05/2012)
  • Christella – both Monica and myself remember Pauline. Is there any particular info you require?

    By Veronica Tumber (05/05/2012)
  • Message for Mr. Walton: Only just came upon this site and saw your comments that you went to St. Mary Mag’s School and were in Miss Harvey’s class. I too was born in 1946 and went to this school from 5 years and was in Miss Harvey’s class when I was 7. I lived in a private children’s home at 2 Landsdowne Road. I have a photo of the confirmation class taken in the grounds of St. Anne’s home where you lived. We must have been in the same class at the same age and I wonder if you are in the photo. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    By Patricia Lawrance (30/05/2012)
  • I was at St Anne’s, Landsowne Road from about 1946 to 1949. I was about 3 when I went there, my mother took me on the train to Brighton and I remember her handing me over to a nun before leaving. I can recall the statues in the hall and the staircase which looked huge to me as a 3/4 year old. I remember going to St Mary Magdalen’s school.

    By John Murray (31/05/2012)
  • Message for John Murray: Your name is very familiar. I wonder if we were in the same year at Mary Mags? I was born August ’46. Have you seen the photos of the classes at Mary Mags. under ‘Schools’ [click here]?

    By Patricia Lawrance (25/06/2012)
  • When I was about 15-16, around 1964-1967, I used to go on Sunday mornings with some friends from a local youth club to take out a group of children from St Anne’s Convent, and we either went down to the seafront via a little sweet shop where we bought them all sweets, or to St Anne’s Well Gardens for the playground facilities. I remember a Jimmy, who came back several times with me for a meal at home with my parents. We also took him out on outings. I remember John Thomson, who also stayed with Frank Evans who had an old London taxi with the Brylcreme bottle on the roof; he used to live round the corner from me. I have some colour photos of Christmases at the Convent, with children waiting to open presents, surrounded by nuns, and Frank was Father Christmas. There were also Irish dancing evenings with them. I believe there was a Sister Benignus, Sister Maria, but others I cannot remember. Would there have been a John McGonigal or such name?

    By David Shelton (25/06/2012)
  • To David Shelton – I was in St Anne’s Childen’s Home, my name is Nina Alberici – I don’t know if you will remember me or my friend John Thomson? I would love to know more about him and I do remember Frank Evans always taking photos – he was a nice man.  Please write back to me on here – can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you.

    By Nina (23/07/2012)
  • Note to editor: Please tell me why my entry has been removed! I placed an entry in early 2011 when I was searching St Anne’s convent. If you weren’t there at anytime, then shame on you. If no reply by end of October, then I shall not bother to log onto ‘My Brighton and Hove’ again. Regards…Vincent.

    Editor’s note: We have, in the recent past, had quite a number of complaints from individuals who have been ‘found’ through information gleaned from our website. To protect those individuals who do not want information about their whereabouts shared on a public site, we have now had to decline to print comments asking for, or providing, personal information regarding third parties which would allow others to locate them. Friends Reunited is the site you need to locate old friends/relatives.
    Jennifer Drury: Website Editor

    By Vincent Menham (03/10/2012)
  • Does any one remember my family Benyovits, the O’Connors, the Yarwoods, the Olivers? We lived in Woodside, then moved to Marina House. I never come back to visit but need to find it in my self to walk the steps of my childhood before it’s too late.  A happy life there but sad times also not knowing why we got put there. I can still hear the sound of us playing on the swings in our massive gardens and digging for pea bugs, trips out in a mini bus- a sweet memory I carry in my heart.

    By Josephine Benyovits (06/03/2013)
  • To Jan Hanlon. If only this forum had emailed me, I thought that it was automatic, it wasn’t! I thought that no one had replied. I have been waiting for four years for any reply as I forgot which site I had posted on, I wasn’t very good at the computer then! I hope you see this post. I think you may have been at the same home as I was. It was just a terraced house, no nuns. I’d really like to talk to you further if you get this message. If you don’t get this message then I will contact the website editor to see if they can help. Here is my email address: jenmear@googlemail.com  Hope to hear from you soon.

    By Jennifer Meares (21/06/2013)
  • Just found this site. Was there in 1960. Would have been called John as well

    By Thomas Mcgonnell (28/07/2013)
  • I am French and was sent to St Ann’s school when Miss Townsend ran the place. I used to stay during the summer holidays (1953/1954/ 1955). In 1953 I could not speak a word of English and said nothing at all for about three months. My sister Elizabeth came along but boys and girls were separated and I rarely was able to speak to her. I have Dickens-like memories of the place. My email is: 06rosebud@orange.fr

    By E Jacques Lefebve (23/11/2013)
  • To David Shelton: I remember a Mr Evans who often used to take me and a few others out on day trips. We went with him to see the Disney movie ‘The Sword and the Stone’. He once took us up to London to visit the Science Museum and the Tower of London. Really nice man, I have often wondered what became of him.

    By Jimmy Devlin (12/08/2014)
  • Hi Veronica Capaldi. I remember you – you were friends with Sue and Tracy, both sisters, and Lucy who would spend time with us. Lucy’s mum would visit also, I remember her being a nurse or something, you might remember. We sometimes went round to the park round the corner, the beach, Saltdean Lido – remember the ladybird invasion? ‘Jaws’ was showing at the flicks – remember the old flea pit as it was known? Myself and my brothers were upstairs in Brenlock, the big building. 76 was a hot summer and I never thought it would end. It ended for me on the day I left the convent with my brothers and sisters and made the long journey north. I really did not want to leave.  I remember the soup kitchen and a queue of hungry souls waiting for soup and bread, served from the hatch round the back of the building.  We used to prepare our own food in the kitchen, it was usually followed by Bird’s Angel Delight. Then we would wash up after, taking turns each mealtime. My sisters, Wendy and Carol, and my little brother Terry stayed in Marina and Woodside. Perhaps you remember us? Monica, Maria and Des were aunties and uncle. I can honestly say that we were all well looked after by the nuns and staff. I have very fond memories of those times and if I had a time machine I would seriously go back. Happy days.

    By Patrick Doyle (23/05/2015)
  • I noticed you mentioned the Jean Ramsey School of dance. I was taught ballet there from about 1947 until about1954. Often wonder what happened to some of the other pupils.

    By Gloria Barker (05/09/2017)
  • Hi, I have a few old photos from St. Anne’s Convent, children’s home.  I could scan them.  I can remember some names but not faces as I was very young whilst there.

    By Veronica (04/02/2018)

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