History of Peartrees Cottages, at Greenways Corner

Peartree Cottages (named so because of the pear tree adjacent to the southernmost house) were a terrace of five two storey houses. They were on the site of what is now known as ‘Greenways Corner’. We cannot be sure of exactly when they were built. By referring to maps and old photographs of the area, we can estimate that it was sometime in the early 1800s.

The cottages were built for agricultural workers employed on Grange Farm, Ovingdean. Miss Laurie Hollands, who still lives in Ovingdean, was born in one of the cottages in 1911 as her father William worked on the farm. She remembers the rooms as being very small but that the tenant farmer built an extra bit on the back of their house because her father’s first wife used to do his washing.

Curved corner
The cottages were demolished in c1934 to make way for a curved corner. Previously it was very difficult to turn a cart in the sharp angle of the corner. Two semi-detached council houses, again for the farm workers, were constructed on the site; these are Nos 7 and 8 Greenways Corner. Others were built on the opposite side of the road.

The village pond used to be just in front of Peartree Cottages. It probably existed from time immemorial but dried up in c1934. A mains water pipe was laid down Ovingdean Road and through the pond. These works broke the clay seal of the pond and in due course it dried up. In its time it was an important feature of the village.

Miss Laurie Hollands remembers that the young boys and girls used to congregate there and socialise – there was nowhere else for them to gather. She also remembers that the ‘posh boys’ from Brighton College used to walk through the village and used to throw their boaters into the pond – much to the annoyance of their masters.

Peartree Cottages, Ovingdean
From the private collection of Jennifer Drury

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