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23 January 2018

Carlton Terrace, Portslade

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2018)

copyright © G.Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph from his private collection.  
Carlton Terrace in the early 1900s

A Variety of Names

In 1884 the road was known as Aldrington Drove (formerly Aldrington Lane) or Red House Droveway after Red House Farm situated south of the railway line.

The first buildings to be erected were the pub on the corner and the adjacent building, which were both there by the 1860s. However, in those days the pub rejoiced in the name of the Builders’ Arms and only became the Victoria later on.

An Upmarket Address

copyright © G.Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph from his private collection.  
Carlton Terrace in the 1890s

It may come as a surprise to present-day Portslade residents but Carlton Terrace was once known as a posh place to live and it began to be developed in the 1890s. In 1898, when it was suggested that Carlton Terrace should be re-named Station Road it was not surprising that the residents were outraged and a petition against such an abomination was swiftly organised. Since the well-heeled residents had some clout, the name Carlton Terrace remained.

copyright © D.Sharp
Carlton House 28/29 Carlton Terrace in 2018

The individual houses merited their own names. Thus there was The Poplars (number 2) so-named because of the lovely poplar trees in the garden and these remained until the 1950s. Other names were Clive Villa (number 8, later number 11) Ingleside (number 10) Lyndale (number 18) and Sussex Villa (number 22).

At some stage Carlton Terrace was re-numbered. Whereas in 1899 Mr J.W. Wood was recorded as living at number 27, by 1904 it had changed to number 35.

In May 1903 the residents were busily drawing up another petition to present to Portslade Council. This time they complained of the ‘offensive smells arising from refuse and offal deposited in the course of husbandry on land situate on the north side of the Portslade Railway Station.’

copyright © D.Sharp
The Aldi supermarket now occupies the site on which house numbers 1 to 8 once stood

House Notes

Number 1 – There are some interesting details appertaining to this building because the house deeds have survived in the record office. The first document includes a little map showing the position of the house next door to the Builders’ Arms.
copyright © G.Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne 
for granting permission
 for the reproduction of 
the above photograph. 
Number 1 Carlton Terrace

14 May 1867 – Robert Gramshaw sold the property to George White, lodging house keeper, who on 3 March 1868 took out a mortgage for £237 with the Brighton and South Coast Permanent Benefit Building Society.

23 March 1872 – George White wrote his will on this date leaving the property to his nephew James White, the younger, of Portslade, market gardener.

5 July 1882 – James White wrote his will on this date leaving the property (after the decease of his aunt Mary) to his trustees, being his brother Thomas White, Foreman of Woolwich Arsenal, and Sarah Jane Harwood of Portslade, widow. The proceeds were to go to his father James White and afterwards to his mother Frances Sophia White but the trustees had the option of selling the property if they wished.

14 May 1890 – Thomas White and Sarah Jane White sold the property to A.J. Gill, gentleman, of 56 Westbourne Street, Hove, who the following day took out a mortgage of £300 with John Pullen Burry and William Challen. Also in 1890 Gill entered into an insurance policy on the property with Sun Life Insurance for £300, premium 4/6d. Gill paid off this mortgage by 1892 but then took out another with William Joshua Smith, bookseller, which was cleared in 1898.

15 May 1890 – A.J. Gill and Thomas White sold a piece of land to Samuel Isger whose property was next door at number 2. A.J. Gill also owned a property in Trafalgar Road, Portslade, where the Southern Cross Mission was built.

15 November 1898 – A.J. Gill sold the Carlton Terrace property to Walter and Herbert Mews of Portslade Brewery who already owned the pub next door.

Number 2 – Samuel Isger lived in this house in 1898. Isger was a Naval veteran, having joined the Royal Navy in 1852, when official records show that he was of small stature, being only 5-ft and 1in. tall, with a fair complexion and grey eyes. He served in a number of ships and every commander he served under described his conduct as being very good. The following is a list of ships he served in.
copyright © G.Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne 
for granting permission for
 the reproduction of the 
above photograph. 
Numbers 2 & 3 Carlton Terrace

HMS Victory
HMS London (1853-1856)
HMS Batterer (1856)
HMS Raleigh (1856)
HMS Alligator (1857)
HMS Nanking 1857-1859)
HMS Victory (1859)
HMS Hannibal (1859)

Perhaps his most notable experience was during the Crimean War (1854-1856) when he was aboard HMS London, a two-decker ship-of-the-line of 92 guns that took part in the bombardment of Fort Constantine at Sevastopol. Isger was awarded English and Turkish medals and collected another one after service in the First Chinese War. On 11 July 1859 Isger was invalided out of the Navy suffering from phthisis, after being treated in the Royal Hasler Hospital, Portsmouth.

Isger lived at Hove from around 1862 and became a Hove Commissioner in 1881. He was well known for his independent views on a variety of public topics. He played a leading part in acquiring the land for Hove Recreation Ground, having battled on for this amenity for six arduous years when nobody else seemed to be much interested in the project. He was keen for local children to have somewhere to play in safety and when Hove Recreation Ground was eventually opened, it was generally acknowledged as being something of a feather in his cap. He took an interest in Hove Working Men’s Club and served as chairman of the Old People’s Dinner Fund. Isger served on the committee of Hove Regatta and the building of the footbridge over the railway line at Hove Station was largely due to his initiative. He also served on the Police Committee, the Finance Committee and the Education Committee. He became one of the first ten aldermen voted in at the first meeting of Hove Borough Council on 9 November 1898.

Isger’s lasting memorial is Hove Library because it was he who set in motion the negotiations that resulted in Andrew Carnegie donating the magnificent sum of £10,000 towards the building costs.

Isger was Mayor of Hove 1902-1903. He was painted wearing his mayoral robes on an enormous canvas measuring 6-ft by 5-ft. It hung in pride of place in his house until he decided it was far too large and presented it to Hove Council in 1905. In 1914 his colleagues recognised his years of hard work on behalf of Hove by presenting him with an illuminated address.

Isger moved house fairly often. By 1905 he was no longer at 2 Carlton Terrace and had moved to 73 Langdale Road, Hove. But when he died on 26 August 1924 he was living at 188A Church Road, Hove. His wife outlived him, dying on 1 November 1933. They are both buried on the north side of the old part of Hove Cemetery where their memorial takes the form of a rose-coloured marble column.

Number 9 – Russ Parker owned the building in the 1980s. The Brighton & Hove Leader (26 October 1989) carried an interesting report about an underground building that had been discovered at the back of the premises. Builders laying foundations for an extension found it and steps leading down to it. There were double cavity walls that were lime-washed and it seems probable a domed roof once covered the structure. There was speculation about its use – most probably it was an ice-house. It seemed too elaborate to be an air-raid shelter, but the more romantic thought it might have something to do with the eccentric James William Wood, alias ‘King Solomon’ who lived at 35 Carlton Terrace.
By 2002 number 9 housed the Castle Furniture shop.

copyright © G.Osborne                                                                                   copyright © D.Sharp
Alfred de Kantzow's house at number 11 in 1900 and Alfred's former home in 2018 

Number 11 – This was known as Clive Villa and Alfred de Kantzow lived in this house from the 1870s until at least 1916; his wife Mary Maria died in 1901.

Alfred became great friends with the famous author John Cowper Powys (1871-1963). It was a friendship that nearly did not happen. John Cowper Powys had arrived at Hove as a young graduate from Corpus Christi, Cambridge in 1894 and earned a living by teaching in two girls’ schools. While at Hove his first book of poetry was published. Powys lodged with Southwick grocer Mr Pollard, paying £1 a week for a room that smelt of sardines. It was Mr Pollard who suggested Powys might like to meet de Kantzow. But at first Powys was reluctant because he considered Portslade an unlikely place to produce the sort of person that would interest him. When they did meet, they hit it off immediately.

Alfred de Kantzow was a poet and had a deep interest in Eastern philosophy. Powys helped him to publish two volumes of poetry entitled Ultima Verba (1902) and Noctis Susurri (Sighs of the Night 1906). When Powys wrote his autobiography he mentioned his friend but identified him simply as a gentleman. He probably did not name him out of respect for his family.

It seems de Kantzow was an eccentric personality who liked to live frugally, eating modest scraps of food and dressing in rags. When the American version of Powys’s autobiography came out, the gentleman was named as de Kantzow. Together, Powys and de Kantzow enjoyed visiting all the shabbier and obscure taverns they could discover from Shoreham to Brighton. Alfred de Kantzow died in London in 1919. See Portslade Poet - Alfred de Kantzow page.
copyright © J.Middleton
Arthur Gates outside Number 17

Number 17 – Arthur Gates once lived in this house. He was the second son of Henry Stephen Gates, a well-known musician of his day, who was organist at St John’s Church, Hove from 1854 to 1894. Arthur had an astonishing eight siblings. Perhaps that is why he was something of a restless soul, trying his hand at many occupations. For example, when he first left home, he earned a living by playing in a circus orchestra and travelling all over Europe; later on he became a stationmaster. 

Then he decided to become a schoolteacher and joined the staff at St Nicolas School, Portslade in 1908; by 1913 he had become a certificated teacher. 

In August 1914 he joined the Territorials and it was not long before he left for active service in France. Mr Still, a Portslade resident, recalled being startled near the front line when a dispatch rider skidded to a halt near him, and it turned out to be none other than Arthur Gates. Gates rose through the ranks to become a 2nd Lieutenant and was fortunate enough to return home safely after the war. It is said that he enquired of his mother about a certain Miss Gladys Austen, a fellow teacher at St Nicolas, as to whether or not she had become engaged during his absence. 

His mother replied that she was still single but Arthur had better get a move on! Gates re-joined the staff at St Nicolas but could not settle and left in 1919. He married Gladys in January 1921 and, restless as ever, decided to take a post at Cologne, Germany. But when Gladys became pregnant, they decided to return to England and Muriel was born in 1922. Arthur took up teaching once more, only this time it was at St Andrew’s School, Portslade
copyright © D.Sharp
Number 17 in January 2018

Former pupils remember being taught woodwork by him, which he also carried out in his leisure time, carving several hymn-boards for local churches, for instance. He continued to enjoy playing his violin and harp. The couple’s second child, Don, was born in 1924 but tragedy struck the following year when Arthur became ill with pneumonia and did not respond to treatment. 

He died on 30 November 1925. It is more than likely that his health had been undermined by his war service, but since the government had set the cut-off point at 1921, there could be no official recognition, no mention on the war memorial and no money for the widow. She gave birth to their third child, Graham, three months after his death, but she had no other option than to return to teaching full-time to support them all.

Number 22 – In 1895 this semi-detached house sold for £525. The property had been let for £30 a year and there was a large and well-stocked garden at the rear.

Number 35 – This house was formerly numbered at 27. It became celebrated in the annals of Portslade because it was home to James William Wood, known to his devotees as ‘King Solomon’.
see Portslade's 'King Solomon' page

copyright © D.Sharp
 House numbers 22 to 35.  The red brick flats now occupy the site of James Wood's (King Soloman) house.


Brighton and Hove Leader (26 October 1989)
Middleton, J Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Powys, John Cowper Autobiography (1993)

The Keep

DO/A35/1 Portslade UDC 1898-1900
SO/A35//2 Portslade UDC 1900-1903
DO/A35/3 Portslade UDC 1903-1906
HOW113/4 Re. 1 Carlton Terrace conveyance and mortgages 1867-1898

Thanks are due to Mr G. Osborne for allowing me to reproduce five of his wonderful photographs   

Copyright © J.Middleton 2018
page layout by D.Sharp