From retirement village to thriving community

In 1913 Brighton Corporation bought the ‘manor estate’ of Ovingdean, some 1041 acres and also 26 acres of the parish of Rottingdean for £34,100. The total of this area, was called ‘The East Brighton Estate’. Its previous owner, Steyning Beard had just died leaving a gross estate valued at £93,030. This had included most of Ovingdean, together with areas of Rottingdean and Telscombe. However, he had left debts of £63,000 which were mostly accrued by gambling and ‘other pursuits’. As this is a family site I will not go into what these other pursuits were but suffice to say they included activities a gentleman should not engage in!

First generation shacks and bungalows
From 1919 to 1939 – first generation shacks and bungalows were built on plots on ‘Long Hill’. We should note that virtually all this housing development is on land not owned by Brighton Corporation. On the 1st April 1928 Ovingdean civil parish was incorporated into the Brighton County Borough. From 1945 onwards second generation houses – replacing the first generation bungalows – were built in Ovingdean. This period of development accelerated in the 1970s and ‘upmarket’ housing and infilling became prevalent.

Comments about this page

  • So interested to discover your site. My grandfather, Samuel Chantry Adams, lived at Wanderdown pictured on top of the hill in the middle two photos. He built it in the 1920s out of S.E. and Chatham railway carriages transported from Newhaven (Rudyard Kipling complained about them being stuck in snow at Rottingdean cliffs en route). My grandfather (who I understood founded the Ovingdean Village Hall and was a keen card player) had a sharp mind, and lived at Wanderdown until his death in July 1963. My family built Shore Lark in Ovingdean Road in 1939 and we lived there until 1957 when we moved to run a pub in mid-Sussex. Laurie Hollands was our housekeeper and family friend and she lived at Sunset, Ovingdean Road, until her death in June 2006. We lived at Wanderdown after my grandfather’s death and sold the land in the 1970s when we moved to 106 Greenways on the corner of Ainsworth Avenue.

    By Jane Hall (nee Halliday) (20/08/2006)
  • As a youngester, we used to walk from Woodingdean to Ovingdean, and always stopped to look at the goldfish in the first house, by the farm, then up the hill past some futuristic houses, then down the hill, past the deaf school and another farm. Then another at the bottom near to the church, then we always stopped for tea in a tea room on the bend, with a garden. How times change. The Ovingdean is nothing like the Ovingdean in the late 1940s.That’s called progress I guess.

    By Wendy MacKenzie, nee Rose (21/02/2011)
  • I was born on 4th April 1936 in a place called “Upalong” on Longhill Avenue. It was described to me as being made of tin.

    By Christopher Newman (24/07/2013)

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