Blue plaque unveiled for Bognor’s founder in his ‘back garden’
Two special commemorative events were held in Bognor Regis on Saturday (January 18).
First, a blue plaque was unveiled at Hotham Park, for Sir Richard Hotham — the founder of Bognor Regis. Local historian Sylvia Endacott said: “The current series of blue plaques are arranged by Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership Board with the Bognor Regis Town Council. [Sir Richard Hotham’s] arrival in the area marked the birth of our town as a seaside resort, which is recorded in the parish records. Sir Richard Hotham arrived in the town from London and embarked on a building programme to rival a town like Brighton, to which royalty could holiday. Sadly this did not materialise in his lifetime. However he did construct many buildings both in Bognor and in Felpham.” Sylvia said some of Sir Richard’s buildings still stand. She added: “Some of his buildings that remain are seen across the park in the form of buildings that were for many years Chichester University but are now privately owned. He lived here until his death in 1799. In the 1970s there were plans to demolish the house but it was saved and converted into flats to preserve his home for us today. Principally, Hotham Park is Sir Richard’s back garden.” The anniversary of the founding of the resort of Bognor was later marked by a wreath laying service at South Bersted Church. In a post on Facebook, the Bognor Regis Museum wrote: “The Local History Society was once again delighted to mark the anniversary of the founding of the resort of Bognor by Sir Richard Hotham. Officiating was the vicar of St Mary Magdalene, South Bersted, Tim Crook and history society chairman Greg Burt. “Sprays of foliage from Hotham Park, Sir Richard’s garden, were laid on his grave by the deputy town mayor of Bognor Regis Steve Goodheart, councillor Francis Oppler on behalf of Arun District Council, Jane Barnes from the Friends of Hotham Park and children from South Bersted CE Primary School. “ Greg Burt said around 25 people attended the service, which has been held annually since the 1970s by the Friends of Hotham Park House.