The school's bell tower preserved

Dragon from St Mark's school, Manor Road
Photo scanned from author's personal collection

Having started life in Sussex Square in 1845, St Mark’s School moved to Chesham Road in 1856 and then to Arundel Road in 1896. In 1972, St Mark’s School moved to Manor Road and the Arundel Road site was demolished in 1983.

Preservation of the school bell tower
The school’s bell tower was preserved as the distinctive feature of the Bell Tower Industrial Estate which was developed on the site.  When St Mark’s School was being demolished, George Horrobin was on site looking for memorabilia and the vicar gave him permission to take the dragon. It remained in his garden in Wilson Avenue for about ten years before being returned to the new school in Manor Road.

Comments about this page

  • I was at St Mark’s in Arundel Road 1940/41 to 1944(?) when it was damaged by bombing and we were transferred to Whitehawk Secondary. I was then briefly at Rottingdean School before moving to Kemp Town, a short time at St Joseph’s Catholic School then back to re-opened St Mark’s for final terms in Mr Dutton’s class, a great teacher. I’ve had no contact with St Mark’s people since then and wonder if Nigel Birch, Marion Stevens, Leslie Watts, Ron Radford or others are around and may view this site? Thanks for statue data.

    By John Sullivan (03/01/2004)
  • I started at St Mark’s School, Arundel Road, at the age of 5 back in 1936. Miss Redditch was the head mistress at that time and I stayed there until I went to the intermediate school aged 11. I lived in Maresfield Road until 1951.

    By Pam Patchen (nee Smith) (09/01/2005)
  • I lived at 12 Manor Way with my Mum and Dad and joined St. Mark’s in 1936 and left in 1939 to go to Varndean Secondary School. I remember Miss Redditch, Headmistress, as an extremely competent lady with a keen interest in all her children. I have a class photograph from 1936 and can put a name to some faces: Eric Kennett, Ray McFarlane, Connell McKinstry, Eileen Eaves—- but I’m afraid time is not kind to the memory cells.

    By Bert Nelson (14/06/2005)
  • I attended St. Mark’s on Arundel Road in 1977-78 (yes, it was still operating for older children; my younger sister went to the Manor Road School) when we lived in Rugby Place. We were an American family in the UK for a year, and I was 10. I had a wonderful year there. Teachers I remember are Mrs. Chuter, Mrs. Fishop and Mr. Green.

    By Kendall Kennison (08/12/2005)
  • My grandmother was Assistant Mistress in 1928, her name was Gertrude May Canton. I thought it was a girls’ school.

    By Jan Finnis (08/07/2006)
  • I have a Class Prize book of July 1874, given to H. A. Powell “honoris causa” at Field House, later owned by A. Carlton Ambler, and the book has “Rottingdean” imprinted in gold as part of the handsome leather binding.

    By David (in California) (26/01/2007)
  • Bert Nelson: my wife’s uncle is Eric Kennett and he remembers you and others. He has lots of memories and would be happy to share them.  Email me at

    By Terry Bennett (06/01/2008)
  • I was at St Mark’s School from 1950 until 1957 and remember just a few of the fellow pupils – Michael Penfold, who lived next door to me at 34 Manor Way, Geoffry Page, Michael Atkins, Sandra Cope. The headmaster was Mr Pinchin; I seem to remember we nicknamed him ‘Percy’. One of the teachers was Mrs Knight and I remember well Mr Green.

    By John Wellard (28/07/2008)
  • I attended St Marks from approx. 1946 to 1950 and well remember Mr Pinchin who read to us ‘Wind in the Willows’ and Rodney Stone, wonderful days.

    By Allan Avery (30/07/2008)
  • If anyone knows the whereabouts of, or how to contact Michael Penfold, then perhaps they could let him know so as he can contact me. My mother-in-law, Diana, nee Jeffery, is his cousin and is putting together a family tree on his mother’s side (Eckert).

    By Graham Spicer (09/01/2009)
  • I started there in 1947 having just come down from Glasgow. We lived at 37 Whitehawk Crescent with the Blackmores. I recall that our teacher’s wife left him and he used to bring in his little girl sometimes when he could not get someone to look after her. I believe his name was Mr Perrin. One day he never came in at all and we later learnt that he committed suicide with and took his daughter with him. I believe it was gas.

    By David (Chris) Christie (28/02/2010)
  • I was at St Marks from 1965-1972. Trying to organise a class reunio,n so please let me know if you were also in my class back then.

    By Jane Horrobin (29/05/2010)
  • As above, here are the people I am trying to trace:- Sally Ann Perry, Karen Simmons, Fiona Fisher, Susan Wisdom, Roy Middleton, Audrey Fowler, Julie Stevens, Linda Watson, Clive Wingrave, Sharon Jenkins, Jocelyn Eason, Karen Batchelor, Ann Southern, Tracy Barke, Karen Beecham, Howard Allen, Mark Hopkins, Paul Manley, John Parsons, Neil Collis, Wayne Harman, Steven Beadle, Steven Strutt.

    By Jane Gray (14/06/2010)
  • After reading earlier postings I thought some readers might be interested in an excerpt from my (incomplete) autobiography. I am now 85 years old and the story is written in the past tense. ‘At about 5.15 a.m., on a July morning in 1940, the family home suffered in the first bombing raid on Brighton. At the time of the raid, George Virgo, a long standing friend of Edward’s father was walking south along Whitehawk Road on the way to work. He heard a diving bomber, and the scream of falling bombs, and instinctively took scant shelter under a 24 inches wide tiled canopy above the front door of No.7. Though the nearest bomb landed six or seven houses away, the blast lifted him off his feet. Conveniently, the front door of the house had flew open and he was blown along a 14 feet passageway. Before George’s feet touched the floor he had been blown through the kitchen doorway, and the adjacent coal cupboard doorway. All three doors had, fortunately, blown opened in front of him. He recovered, while sitting on the coal heap, in an inpenetrable cloud of coal dust. Edward’s father precariously led the family downstairs as they clambered over, still falling, upstairs ceilings and the odd roof tile. They arrived in the kitchen just as a coal-black man emerged from the coal cellar. ‘Hello Percy,’ the figure said, ‘I could do with a cup of tea to wash this dust down.’ It was amusing that he was black – with with coal dust – and we were covered in white dust from the collapsed ceilings. Edward recalled how he, and his brother, were directed by the authorities to sleep in a room, in Sussex Square, for one night while a more appropriate(?) lodging was obtained. We spent half the night on a landing until the householder was promised, by the local policeman, that emergency ration cards and a rent agreement would be forthcoming.’

    By Edward Brooke (08/12/2012)
  • I would like to read Edward Brookes autobiography. I am in my 80th year and was bombed out in Bennett Rd, Kemp Town. I was at St Marks School and that also was bomb damaged.

    By John Starley (20/02/2013)
  • Everytime I read about the area where I was raised I get interested. I also would like to read Edward Brookes autobiography. I would like to say hello to John Starley who lived in our house at 35 Bennett Road before we did. We moved there when I was about a year old roughly in 1944. It was John that sent me photos of Bennett Road after it suffered bomb damage, one of the photos is on the website here in the Bennett Road section. John and I did correspond for a while but lost touch. I was so interested about Bennett Road before I lived there and still am. John if you would like to get in touch my e-mail address is I would still love to talk about the people you and I knew so long ago, and about different things at that time. Mike Peirson.

    By Mick Peirson (22/02/2013)

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