08 April 2022

Drove Road, Portslade

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2021)

copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
This circa 1848 painting of Drove Road shows on the left - Manor Cottages, the Old Stables and the white building in the centre of the painting is The Elms (see the foot of this page)

Ancient Origins

Curwen made the interesting suggestion that Drove Road was an ancient hollow-way, which the Romans utilised to form part of the route known as Port’s Road. Evidence for this theory lies in the fact that part of the road has steep banks on either side, which suggests that generation after generation of drovers with their cattle or sheep made their way along the track and gradually wore down the centre.

copyright © D. Sharp
Foredown Road continues from the ancient track now known as Drove Road in an east-north direction up onto the Downs, above is evidence of an ancient sunken road (or hollow-way) with steep banks on either side of the road.

 copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
This 1909 map shows the northern boundary of Portslade Urban District Council which ran along Drove Road.
North Road, Southdown Road, North House Farm, Easthill Windmill, Foredown Forge, Foredown Hospital & Mile Oak all came within the Steyning Rural District Council's administration area.
Portslade's Manor was in 'Portslade UDC' while its ornate gardens in Manor Road were in 'Steyning RDC'

Bestwood Works

The firm of Dennis & Robinson was founded in around 1948 by Mr Dennis and Mr Robertson who had been demobbed from the armed services. They used their gratuities and such savings as they had managed to scrape together to start their own business. Mr and Mrs Dennis were not local people but hailed from Devon. During the war while her husband was away on active service, Mrs Dennis ran an ambulance station at the Surrey Docks. After the war they searched around for suitable premises and decided upon Brighton. The firm began its life in Jew Street, sandwiched between a stage scenery store and a garage, and employed just one boy to help out. Timber was in very short supply and so they started off making clock cases.

copyright © D. Sharp
The Malt House in 2020
The firm’s first expansion was to take rooms above Mr Chatfield’s wholesale confectioner’s premises on the corner of Jew Street. In the 1950s the firm took over the old cooperage / malt house in Drove Road, Portslade, from Mr Alleybone, timber merchant, and his timber mill: his business was called the Progressive Joinery Company, and in 1948 he had extended the works. Dennis & Robinson also took over the dry-cleaner’s business at the back of Dr Dixon’s surgery in Mile Oak Road, north of Rowan Close.

In 1954 Dennis & Robinson sought planning permission to install a plywood store, a timber store, and an extension to the existing spray shop at their Drove Road site.

Eventually, the firm was responsible for 400 employees on eleven separate sites. These included three sites in Shoreham, and one at Southwick, next to the Town Hall, but this one was destroyed by fire. By the 1960s the Drove Road site was known as Bestwood Works producing up-market kitchen units, known as Manhattan Kitchens, and installed in luxury developments such as Caisters Close in Hove.

Mrs Dennis remembered what a task it was making up the pay packets for all the employees and visiting the various sites on pay day. To make the task a little easier, she asked the union if she could insert a £5 note in pay packets instead of separate £1 notes.

The firm was taken over by Smith’s, but after Mr and Mrs Dennis retired in around 1973, it was bought back by the chief salesman. The firm then moved to the Churchill Industrial Estate at Lancing. George Hollis-Dennis, late managing director, died aged 87 on 2 February 2000.

In May 2003 the malt house was re-roofed.

In September 2015 the old malt house was advertised for letting with two parking spaces, being described as an ‘Attractive Office Building’. (Argus 22/9/15)

Bestwood Works (Light Industrial Business Premises)

copyright © D. Sharp
The Bestwood Works (Industrial Business Premises) some of the designs of  Plunge Creation's can be seen rising above the high wall.

After ‘Dennis & Robinson’ had vacated the site, the premises' complex kept the name 'Bestwood Works' and was converted into five separate business units for light industrial use with the malt house converted into three floors of offices;-

Unit 1 – Spluge Inc.
Unit 2 – The Waney Edge Workshop
Unit 2a – BING Inventive

Plunge Creations

Plunge Creation was founded in 1997 up in Birmingham where it produced various items as required for theatres. The business moved to London in 1999 and was on hand to create objects for prestigious West End shows. The business thrived but the working space became too small and so larger premises were sought. It was also decided to widen horizons away from being primarily linked to theatre-land, and Plunge Designs found a new home in Portslade adjacent to the erstwhile Malt-house in Drove Road.

 copyright © D. Sharp
A giant ant and stag beetle on the roof of Plunge Inventive's studios

Their new environment provided 6,000 sq-ft of working space; there are separate workshops for the different stages of creation including fibre-glass sculpting, carpentry, metalwork, and sewing. There is also a sunny courtyard where, if the weather is fine, the workers like to meet up for a beer ar 5 p.m. on a Friday. Passers-by can also sometimes catch a glimpse of the latest creation in the courtyard – on one occasion there were giant teacups to be seen – perhaps destined for a children’s roundabout.

There is a core of seven skilled people, but sometimes a project might require many more artistic hands, and that is when experienced freelancers are called in – sometimes as many as 30 people. Apparently, there is no shortage of talented makers in Sussex.

Tim Simpson, managing director, has been with Plunge Creations right from the start, and in 2010 Sarah Mead, also managing director, joined him.

 copyright © D. Sharp
Seen here leaving Portslade for the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Show in London is the Plunge creation of a 8 metre long animatronic Yorkshire Terrier.

Of course, it is something of a ‘niche’ business, but that is also its strength because people come to Plunge Designs precisely because they are unable to source what they need anywhere else. The company can make virtually anything from a variety of materials: for instance, there was a dinosaur sculpture made from crumpets, and a model of Buckingham Palace created from lemon jelly and Pimm’s.

Many people will remember the giant snowdogs dotted around Brighton and Hove, followed in 2018 by large snails. These projects were a brilliant idea to help fund the Martlets Hospice in Hove, which receives no money from the government. Plunge Designs were heavily involved – in the latter case, they worked with the creative team of Wild in Art, Martlets’ snailspace partners.

 copyright © D. Sharp
The Shoreham Air Crash Memorial on the banks of the River Adur with Shoreham Airport in the background

On a more sombre note, some of the preliminary work for the Shoreham Air Crash Memorial was done here. The memorial, which was unveiled in May 2019, stands on the banks of the River Adur and commemorates the eleven men who died on 22 August 2015 when a Hawker-Hunter jet taking part in the Air Show crashed to the ground, and exploded in a ball of flames. Relatives of the deceased were able to pick their favourite design from those presented to them. The artists of the winning design are David Parfitt and Jane Fordham and the group of stainless steel arches standing four metres in height are individual and different. Although it is said the design resembles the hull of an upturned boat, people who know the work of artist Paul Nash can see a resonance with his dramatic woodcut of 1924 entitled Book of Genesis (Heaven).

On Sunday 24 November 2019 there was a special gathering of interested parties at the memorial to view the final stage of the installation. This takes the form of an innovative viewpoint placed on the opposite bank that can be appreciated through the arches and consists of eleven solar-powered lights. The graceful shape is somewhat reminiscent of a wind-blown, giant dandelion clock.

Jane Fordham said the project had taken three years  and been such an important part of their lives, that now there was a mixture of emotions, including relief and satisfaction, on seeing it finished.

Compulsory Purchase

copyright © G. Osborne
An Edwardian photograph of the agricultural land on the north side of Drove Road with the Mile Oak Approved School on the far hill. Today this land is covered by North Road, Southdown Road, Valley Road Estate and Drove Crescent Estate. The lane in the foreground passes by the present day Peter Gladwin School.

In April 1932 Portslade Council was looking at possible sites on which to build housing, and one area under consideration was land near the north side of Drove Road comprising of 55.789 acres with a frontage to Drove Road of around 210-ft. However, this was cultivated land and so was not considered suitable. Mr A. J. Broomfield, who was a Portslade councillor, did not vote on the issue when it came up for discussion at a council meeting, presumably because he was an interested party and probably farmed the land in question.

In 1945 Portslade Council obtained a Compulsory Purchase Order (under the Housing Act 1936) for land situated near the north side of Drove Road. The land belonged to the following people.

1.24 acres – Frank Mainstone (he was bailiff to the Duke of Portland, and lived with his wife in a cottage situated in a rural lane, which was later named Mainstone Road in his honour at the express wish of the Duke. The Mainstones had a family of twelve children)
1.21 acres – Harold Edward Marsh
0.81 acres – Robert Nelson Edwards
0.67 acres – the executors of Henry Edward Sebastopol Jupp (he worked at the Brewery for many years)
00.07 acres – Stanley Edgar Spyer

Drove Road Residential Home

 copyright © D. Sharp
The red brick building in the centre of this photograph is Brighton & Hove City Council’s ‘Drove Road Residential Home’ the residential home offers short breaks for young people who have severe learning disabilities.
This section of road was separated from the rest of Drove Road by the building of Valley Road in the 1930s

Manor Cottages

copyright © D. Sharp
Manor Cottages 18 and 20 Drove Road

Today these houses are numbers 18 and 20 Drove Road but they used to be numbered 69 and 71. Originally these tied cottages were intended for people working at Portslade Manor, and there was a convenient doorway in the garden leading directly into the manor grounds.

However, when St Marye’s Convent was established in Portslade Manor, a Roman Catholic priest occupied one of the cottages. In 1907 Revd J. C. Whelan, chaplain to the convent, lived there, and later on Revd Kerwin was the occupant. He was chaplain to the convent but also the priest responsible for the church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and St Denis in Church Road, Portslade. Revd Kerwin’s domestic establishment consisted of a housekeeper, and a live-in maid.

It may be the need for separate accommodation at number 18 that lead to the strange fact of there being two staircases. The front room of this cottage was devoted to St Joseph; there is a beautiful fireplace with original cast-iron fittings, and Edwardian tiles in Art Deco style in pale green with blue, stylised flowers. The cottages have rounded doorways in an enclosed porch, and near the garden gate of number 18 there is an old iron foot-scrapper.

The presbytery, or priest’s house, was built next door to the church. But is was not ready until 1913, and when it was finished, Revd Kerwin left Manor Cottages.

copyright © D. Sharp 
Number 16, Manor Cottages on the corner of Drove Road and Manor Road


There have been variations in the spelling of the name, thus:

1869 – Northerlee
1881 – Northey (census)
1895 – North Lea (Directory)

But all agree about the north, which is descriptive because it was built in Drove Road facing north. The land on which the house stood was the subject of a deed dated 5 November in the fourteenth year of the reign of Charles II (1662) when Edward Blaker sold it to Abraham Winnie. Edward was a traditional Christian name in the Blaker family and there were three generations of Edward Blakers, who all lived at Kemps in High Street, before this deed was signed. Probably, the Edward Blaker mentioned here was the son of the third Edward Blaker, being baptised in 1630. He lived at Buckingham House, Shoreham, and married Dorothy, daughter of Henry Goring, but there were no children from the marriage.

copyright © G. Osborne
In this 1900 photograph, the original Northerlea (North Lea) can be seen on the far right

By 1830 the property was in the hands of Thomas Peters, the prosperous miller at Easthill Windmill. In 1868 it passed from the Peters family to Ellen Dudney, the daughter of John Dudney, the founder of Portslade Brewery. In the 1870s she married William Fraser of Brighton. It appears that the property consisted of not just one residence, at that time divided into two dwellings, but also eight old cottages in a court reached from High Street by a twitten on the east side of the George Inn. Later on, these cottages were known as Fraser’s Court, no doubt because of Ellen’s married surname of Fraser.

By 1881 the main house was restored to a single residence. The 1881 census recorded the Gossett family living there, as follows:

Frederic R. N. Gossett, aged 54, retired officer of the Bengal Army
His wife Mary Anne, aged 54, and their children
Frederica Maud, 28
Parry Moncrieff, 23
Marion Mary, 21
Evelyn Mary, 19
Ethel Moira, 17
Zoe Lind, 15

There were also three servants in the establishment. Ten years later the family unit was much reduced – but there were still three servants. The only ‘child’ remaining was Frederica who never married. She disliked her first name, preferring to be know by her second name of Maud. She later grew rather deaf, but was still devoted to good works. She obviously liked living in Portslade and remained in the house after her parents had died, and the 1923 Directory shows that she was still in residence.

The Gossett family had previously lived at Portslade House before moving to Northerlea, Frederick’s father was the Revd Isaac Gosset (1782–1855), the Vicar of Windsor and Rector of Datchet. He was appointed as Chaplain to the Royal Household at Windsor Castle in 1818 by Queen Charlotte.
Revd Gosset served four sovereigns:- George III, George IV, William IV and Victoria. 

Some alterations were carried out on Northerlea in 1932 and by 1934 a Mrs Murdoch was the occupant. By 1954 Northerlea had been divided into two residences again.

copyright © D. Sharp
Portslade Urban District Council built the 'new' Northerlea in the 1960s

The house was eventually demolished – probably in the 1960s. Portslade Council built a block of council flats on the site, retaining the historic name fortunately. But the flats were built with a typical 1960s flat roof. Besides looking hideous, the flat roof also let in the rain. In August 1991 it was decided to replace the roof altogether, and at the same time to put in an extra flat, plus a pitched roof.

Old Riding Stables

copyright © D. Sharp
The Old Riding Stables with the Turner Associates designed houses in the centre

The stables once belonged within the curtilage belonging to Kemps. But eventually the properties were separated, with Kemps becoming two residences, and the stables being run as a separate enterprise.

During the 1950s Norma Cope was in charge of the riding school she ran from the old stables. But by the 1960s Micky Ayling had taken over the business, and he was fortunate in having a small forge where the horses could be shod when necessary. It was Bill Bowley who was the shoe-smith, and when the forge was in action, it must have presented a scene reminiscent of days gone by, besides being the continuation of a long tradition.

copyright © J. Beale
Judy Beale is the youngster astride Champ in this
charming image taken in 1957/1958;
her riding mistress, Norma Cope, is close at hand

There was a veteran pony in the stables during the 1960s who went by the name of Champ. This pony had a placid disposition, and was regarded as a safe seat when teaching anxious young children the art of horse-riding. Champ became well-known in the locality, being a regular sight plodding through the village towards Southwick Hill with a young client aboard. (Information kindly supplied by L. Luke)

copyright © L. Luke
This photograph was taken in June 1965 with young Julie Edwards on Champ. The small forge was situated behind the doors.

In the late 1960s and 1970s there was a string of horses at the stables. But a feature of their living arrangements was that they spent some time munching grass on National Trust land at Southwick Hill, and their route was up Drove Road and along Mile Oak Gardens. Meanwhile, boys from the local school when out on a bracing cross-country run had to be wary of the hazard of horses on the hill.

By the early 1980s there were five horses at the stables – the business owned three of them,
James (a large grey) Tango (a bay) and Brandy (who had a liver-coloured coat with a hint of chestnut); the two other horses were privately owned and were called Petunia and Sebastian. The stable yard was also home to some chickens who were at liberty to scratch around as they pleased. On one occasion, James, who had such enormous feet, accidentally trod on a chicken and squashed it flat.

The Old Riding Stables were to be included in a joint auction put on by Habens Banner & Dell, and Goldsack & Freeman. But in the event the property was sold privately beforehand. The property contained an old flint barn, loose boxes, a storeroom and a paddock. Most of the site was enclosed by high, flint walls. It was thought the barn could be converted into a house, while there was sufficient space to build two houses. But first, planning permission had to be sought.

In February 1987 Changewave Ltd of Eaton Gardens, Hove, produced plans to convert the barn into a house and to build five houses on the paddock – four mews cottages plus a maisonette. Flint would be used to blend in with the surroundings. However, Hove Council thought it was still an over-development, and apparently the first planning submission had been for no less than seven homes. It was not until April 1988 that the go-ahead was given to build three houses, but this was only after lengthy negotiations with developers Southern Homes of London. Hove planners might have been satisfied but the same could not be said of Portslade residents who were horrified at the height and appearance of such houses in a conservation area. It does seem as though the actual elevation of the roof-line was higher than it should have been, and dominate the road more than was desirable.

copyright © D. Sharp
The west side of the Turner Associates designed houses dwarfing the Old Riding Stables

 The houses were designed by Turner Associates and were two-storey structure, with rooms in the roof, and were finished in September 1989. The four-bedroom houses cost £99,950, while the three-bedroom converted barn cost £145,000. It seems a recession caused a fall in house prices because in April 1994 the barn-conversion came up for sale at a price of £107,950. The lounge measured 20-ft 5-in by 12-ft 3-in, and had an inglenook fireplace, and the dining room measured 12-ft 5-in by 10-ft 3-in.

Peter Gladwin School

copyright © D. Sharp
The main entrance of the Peter Gladwin School

Portslade-born Peter Gladwin took an active part in local government (in Portslade, Hove and East Sussex) for a period of 30 years. He had a particular interest in education, and so it was a fitting tribute to him that a new school in Portslade should bear his name.

copyright © D. Sharp
The former entrance to the field where once the Nuns of St Marye's Convent drove their milking cows through.

The school was built in 1974 in fields that once belonged to St Marye’s Convent. On 17 September 1975 Peter Gladwin School was officially opened by Mr J. Rendel-Jones, East Sussex Education Officer. The school was designed in an open-plan style with children working together in small groups. Peter Cunliffe was the headmaster, and there were 130 children aged between five and eleven. The school had up-to-date equipment such as a television, tape recorders and language aids. But Mr Cunliffe stated firmly that these did not replace the vital role of the teacher. On the knotty problem of teaching children to read, Mr Cunliffe stated somewhat evasively, ‘We just use any method that works.’ This was at the time when the Initial Teaching Alphabet system was causing controversy. At first it was hailed as a quicker method, but has since been discredited because of the confusion it caused children in having to contend with two ways of spelling words.

Also dating from 1975 is the little footpath running along the top of the bank on the north side of Drove Road. The footpath cost £1,000 to build, but owes its existence to the agitation of parents who considered Drove Road far too dangerous to walk without a proper pavement.
copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums,
 Brighton & Hove
Peter Edward Powis Gladwin DSC JP, 
Mayor of Hove 1981-1982.

In July 1981 Peter Gladwin himself arrived at the school to open a new outdoor swimming pool measuring 48-ft in length, 24-ft wide, and 3-ft in depth. The pool cost £3,000 to build and the work was undertaken by volunteers. For example, in 1981 it was stated that every Saturday during the year, a group of teachers and parents had spent some four or five hours working on the project. It was built not just for the children of Peter Gladwin School, but would also benefit the children of Hillside School and Downs Special School in Foredown Road. Regulars at the George Inn, High Street, raised £1,000 towards the pool. Swimming had always been important at Peter Gladwin School, and the children used to trek down to the KingAlfred, or use the pool at Mile Oak Approved School, while in the winter they went to the one at Holmbush.

The Peter Gladwin pool was surrounded by a new-style anti-vandal fence with the top covered in special non-drying black paint. Unfortunately, in June 1995 the fence proved to be no barrier to vandals intent on damage. They used a length of drain-pipe to rip the pool’s tough, plastic lining; Mr Cunliffe remarked sadly that the school simply did not have the funds to repair the pool. When Danny Thomas, boss of M & N Cable Installations, heard about the damage, he offered to help. Soon the pool had a new lining protected by a glass-fibre surround with the total cost being £3,500. The pool re-opened on 4 June 1996 with Danny Thomas being the guest of honour.

copyright © D. Sharp
Peter Gladwin School from the south-west in March 2020

copyright © D. Sharp
The same view as the above, one month later in April 2020 after two very large diseased trees were removed

In around 1988 the school was extended to hold three more classrooms, and the hall was also enlarged. By February 1998 there were 214 pupils in seven somewhat large classes, ranging in numbers from 28 to 33. There were seven full-time teachers and three part-time teachers, plus a visiting French teacher. A new literacy hour was due to start soon.

In May 1998 pupil Christopher Saville, aged 11, was chosen to represent Sussex in the under-11s cricket squad. He was also a member of the Sussex under-12 squash squad, and had recently taken part in inter-regional squash championships in Manchester. Jane Bentley said, ‘We are all delighted at Christopher’s progress.’

By 1998 there had only been two head teachers since the school opened – Peter Cunliffe and Jane Bentley. The longest serving teacher was Chris Longridge who retired in 1997 after around 22 years at the school. The next longest-serving teacher was Lucinda Blackadder who had been there for thirteen years. Secretary Pat James had also been on site for many years. June Richards and her husband Allan have been involved with the school since the early days. By the 1990s Allan Richards was a school governor, and had been chairman for four years. By April 1999 June Richards had been at the school for almost 20 years, playing the piano for the school choir and at concerts, working as a midday supervisor, and for the past nine years doing secretarial duties.

In February 1999 Peter Gladwin School came seventh in the top ten of 45 primary schools. The Ofsted Report of June 2000 stated the school had improved pupil development, IT facilities, and work with special needs children.

On 24 May 2002 Ivor Caplin MP opened a new development at the school that cost £125,000. It included a classroom, an IT suite, and an outdoor games area.

Pickle Factory
copyright © G. Osborne
The Pickle Factory is shown next to the pile of beer kegs 
in this 1900 photograph

Plans for a pickle factory were submitted by J. Dudney & Sons and approved in July 1890. The factory was situated on the north side of Drove Road and opposite the Brewery stores. North of the factory there was a garden, and west of it were allotments. In 1929 additions were made to the factory and a girls’ mess room and cloakroom were built. The factory was still there in the 1930s. According to the 1932 Directory the premises were run by the Sussex Sauce Company (Spur Brand) Pickle Manufactory. Old-timers will tell you that when the girls left work in the evening, they stank of pickled onions. In fact, should you meet one of the young ladies around town, you did not need to ask where she earned a living.

Portslade Brewery 

copyright © D. Sharp
New houses in Drove Road on the site of the Brewery's former associated buildings nearing completion in March 2020

On 9 August 2017 Brighton & Hove City’s planning committee passed new plans for the Portslade Brewery and its associated buildings. There was some opposition, particularly with regard to an industrial building being lost to housing whereas if it could continue in commercial use as many as 135 jobs might be forthcoming. Unfortunately, no tenant was found for such an enterprise.

Reed’s Cottages

copyright © Brighton & Hove City Libraries
This photograph dating back to around 1905 shows Reed’s Cottages in Drove Road opposite to the garden of 2 Southdown Road. The man in the doorway is Mr Ayres, father of ‘Ayres the coalman’ - the business later being known as Byford’s Coals. The houses were demolished in 1967

This was the name of five old flint-built cottages located on the east side of Drove Road. The Medical Officer of Health wrote a report published in Portslade Council Minutes (18 September 1933) that stated ‘we are of the opinion that these properties cannot be placed in proper condition at reasonable cost and therefore recommend the Council consider … eventual demolition’ under slum clearance provision. But before anything could be done there was the task of re-housing the six families occupying the premises numbering no less than fourteen adults and fifteen children – surely a shocking case of over-crowding.

In 1937 Portslade Council purchased Reed’s Cottages for £325, and used the site as a council depot where items such as old cast-iron lamp-posts were stored. It is interesting to note that when the purchase was going through, it was discovered that the property was was not freehold but an old copyhold tenure, which meant the council had to make an annual payment to the Lord of Portslade Manor consisting of eight shillings and eight pennies.

In the 1960s the council allowed Portslade Civil Defence to use an old cottage at the depot for training purposes. Some volunteers were dismayed to find movements of the grass on the bank indicated the passage of rats. Inside the cottage, there was much hilarity on one occasion when volunteers in two separate rooms, attempted to pass important messages between themselves by telephone – not forgetting to use the Nato alphabet to avoid ambiguity.

copyright © D. Sharp
Houses numbered 30, 32 and 34 now stand on the former Reed's Cottages site

By 1978 there was a terrace of three new houses on the site numbered 30, 32, 34 Drove Road.

The Elms

copyright © D. Sharp
The south side of The Elms undergoing renovations in February 2020

 The house was situated on the corner of Drove Road and what is now South Street. In 1851 the house was rented by John Dudney (1810-1895) who was born at Shermanbury, and lived in Henfield for many years before moving to Portslade in the 1850s.
copyright ©  Royal Pavilion & Museums
The Elms circa 1848

John Dudney was married, and he and his wife Sarah had two sons and three daughters, all born at Henfield; they were William, Ellen, John, Harriet and Elizabeth. In 1849 John Dudney founded Portslade Brewery, and by 1851 he was employing two assistants; in 1871 the number of employees had risen to thirteen men.

It seems likely that the Dudneys lived in the house at the same time that part of it was still in business as the Five Elms Inn. After all there was plenty of space and in 1871 his three daughters were still living under his roof. By 1874 the house was known as Elms Villa, and subsequently became The Elms. Probably, the last name change occurred when John Dudney purchased the freehold in 1876. It is interesting to note that there were several large elm trees in Drove Road, not far from the house, and in fact in Christmas week 1997 a large elm had to be felled owing to Dutch Elm Disease.

copyright © D. Sharp
The west side of The Elms undergoing renovations in February 2020

John Dudney’s son William lived in his own house in the village with his wife. In 1861 he was described as a brewer’s clerk. John Dudney’s son, another John, had a brief flirtation at running his own business – namely a butcher’s shop and grocer’s shop near the George Inn. Perhaps it was not to his taste. At any rate in the 1870s he went into partnership with William Fraser of Brighton, who had married his sister Ellen. Their firm was known as Fraser & Dudney, wine and beer merchants of 1 St Andrew’s Terrace, Hove (now 148 Church Road) which they owned. But it did not last long and the partnership was dissolved in 1879 – the assets being transferred to Dudney & Son – presumably John had decided to return to the fold and work with his father. The two John Dudneys continued to live at The Elms until the 1880s when they sold Portslade Brewery to the Mews brothers. Walter Mews then moved in to The Elms and stayed there until his new mansion called Loxdale in Locks Hill was ready for occupation.

copyright © D. Sharp
This view of The Elms from the west shows the extent the building juts out into Drove Road

It is fascinating that in recent times The Elms has emerged from the shadow of the Brewery and become a house again in its own right. For many years the gap between the residence and the Brewery was covered by the entrance to Le Carbone. However, The Elms is not quite there yet because the attention of the developers has been concentrated on the building of new homes in High Street, and Drove Road with the next stage being the renovation of the Brewery building into apartments. Hopefully, The Elms will be next on the agenda.

copyright © D. Sharp
This view of the western end of  Drove Road near the Mile Oak Road, shows how vegetation has reduced this section of the ancient road to a path 


Census returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Portslade Minute Books
Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

The Keep

HOW 105/6 – Smithers & Sons, Portslade title deeds
HOW 113/3 – Portslade Brewery and adjoining land 1802-1884
HOW 113/5-6 – Porperty in Portslade belonging to Portslade Brewery
DO/A35/23-33 – Portslade Urban District Council Minute Books

Thanks are due to Mr G. Osborne for allowing me to reproduce three of his Portslade photographs from his private collection 

Copyright © J.Middleton 2020
page layout and additional research by D.Sharp