Listed buildings – from cottages to phone boxes

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Regularly in the paper we read that a building is listed, has a Blue Plaque, or is in a Conservation area, which made me think about these situations, and I thought that I would have a look at a number of these buildings around our area.

Listed buildings are those which are deemed to be of special architectural or historic interest.

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The Secretary of State for National Heritage lists them, on the advice of English Heritage. It should be noted here that it is possible for any member of the general public to have a building listed, providing it meets the national criteria.

It should also be noted that this national list includes buildings ranging from castles to flint walls. We tend to assume that in order for a building to be listed it must be very major or prominent in an area. However, that is not always the case.

Within the Felpham and Middleton area there are a number of Grade II listed buildings. The Felpham Road has a number of flint walls and cottages and also the K6 telephone box outside the post office. Felpham Way and Limmer Lane contain more cottages whilst St. Mary’s Church, is also listed because buried within the walls are William Hayley and Dr. Cyril Jackson, who was Dean of Christ Church and one time tutor to the Prince Recent.

Interestingly there is also a section of flint wall, which is listed, which is a boundary to the churchyard and is believed to have been built c1800. These are therefore not so prominent but of course are of special interest.

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If we travel across the area to Pagham some of the listed buildings are within the Church Lane area. These include the Parish Church of St. Thomas a Becket and Becket’s Barn, which is situated within today’s Church Farm Holiday complex.

The Pagham and Nyetimber area also contains a number of farmhouses and public premises such as “The Lion Public House” and “The Inglenook Restaurant.”

Travelling back into Bognor Regis, there is a group of premises situated around North Bersted area including Shripney Manor and numerous cottages on North Bersted Street. If we then travel to South Bersted not only is the church of St. Mary Magdalen included but also a number of walls and cottages around this area. As I mentioned previously the listing is decided on a variety of aspects of each property, for example, certain walls are included just because they are “flint and rubble wall, with brick piers having semi-circular copings.”

Thus they are of historical interest from a building material point of view.

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Other properties in Glamis Street on the east side are recorded as being “A semi-detached pair, each with matching bays nearly the whole width of each house.” It continues with its discription until it records, “Pierced parapet over moulded cornice, 2 sash windows in each bay with iron flower-box frames with floral decoration and convex metal canopies over the lower ones.”

Can you think of some of our modern constructions that could warrant such a detailed and descriptive report on their historical aspect? It would be interesting to see such reports in 50 years time!

Finally there are buildings in the town that you would expect to be listed such as the Railway Station; homes in the Steyne, Waterloo Square as well as Hotham Park House and these are of course included.

Also a number of the properties on the Upper Bognor Road that have been renovated in recent years are also Grade II listed buildings and these include “The Shrubbery, St. Michaels, The Dome, Redgate House”, Northcliffe and “Mordington.

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If we now move onto the Blue Plaques. The Bognor Regis Local History Museum has just produced a publication entitled ‘Words in Stone and Steel,’ which provides more information on plaques in this 40 page publication. Available at the free Museum in West Street. These plaques are used to honour famous people and events of the past. Therefore now we shall have a look at a number of premises that currently have their own plaque.

Again it is possible for members of the public to suggest names, which they believe should be commemorated in this way.

In Flansham, in Hoe Lane is a cottage with a plaque, and it was here that Gerard Young lived when he wrote his books, notably, “The Chronicle of a Country Cottage” first published in 1942 in addition to “Come into the Country” in 1943 and “Down Hoe Lane” in 1950, also and “The Cottage in the Fields.” Unexpectedly I visited this house with his brother Derek in 1988. That year I had reprinted “The Chronicle of a County Cottage,” and was able to see the idyllic surrounds in which he was able to write his books and Local History articles until his death in 1972. His articles and information have become so much a part of the local history scene in Bognor Regis and district.

His articles have supplied much information to both myself and others before me who have acknowledged his accurate and detailed records.

These articles eventually culminated in the “History of Bognor Regis” in 1983, begun by Gerard and completed by his brother Derek.

In Felpham The Fox is included because of its association with William Blake as this was where he was arrested. Turret House was also included as it was the home of the poet William Hayley from 1745 to 1820.

In Bognor Regis there are a number of blue plaques, notably in Belmont Street outside the premises of Belmont Lodge, which was once the home of Dante Gabriel Rosetti the poet and painter who spent time there. He worked for a time in the former coach-house and during this time painted in the region of 10 paintings before finally returning to London to continue with his work.

Other plaques are in West Street and record the birthplace of Joseph Witham the marine artist in 1832 and at the Sandmartin Care Home in Kings Parade which was built by R.C. Sherriff.

It was where he wrote “The Fortnight in September” which relates the story of a family coming to Bognor for their annual holiday – well worth a light hearted read. Another plaque is in Albert Road records the name of Henry Germonprez a West Sussex Naturalist. For the last 30 years of his life until 1924 he lived in Albert Road, where he was to devote his life to recording and studying the fauna and flora of West Sussex but principally the area of and around Bognor. He also worked for a time for the photographer “Cleeves” and could be seen in some of the postcards that were produced during this time. In Victoria Drive there is another home mentioned that of Victor Whitechurch also a writer, who spent much of his time here whilst writing a number of books.

Many of the premises included as Listed Buildings are today private residences, which is why I have not detailed specific addresses; however it is gratifying to see how properties are continuing to be maintained and also the increasing number that are being returned to their “former glory.” Whilst this will not necessarily bring buildings into a “Listed” status it does enhance the appearance of property within its vicinity for the benefit of us all.

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