Category Archives: Local history

A general heading to categorise posts dealing with such a topic

Pevsner’s West Sussex Guide has a Makeover

Editor Elizabeth Williamson on challenges facing her team
to update a 54 year old classic

Chichester Society members have probably consulted, or even own, a copy of The Buildings of England: Sussex, by Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, first published in 1965. It covers the historic county, treating the post-1888 East and West Sussex as two separate sections in a single volume. Nikolaus Pevsner’s East Sussex was revised by the late Nicholas Antram and published as Sussex: East in 2013. At last the West Sussex volume is complete and is now available in bookshops.

Nikolaus Pevsner, joint author with Ian Nairn for the original guide to West Sussex Photo: Yale University Press
What’s new?

What can you expect to find that’s new and what has been preserved from the original Sussex? The foundation is Ian Nairn’s West Sussex section, with some interventions by Pevsner, and the swathe of Pevsner’s East Sussex consigned to West Sussex in 1974. It has taken three authors to bring it all up-to-date. The team grew as work progressed. Tim Hudson took on Arundel and Chichester (apart from the Cathedral and Close, revised by John Crook), Midhurst and Petworth, places south of a line from Southbourne to Eartham, all but one of Lutyens’ houses, and the Charterhouse in Cowfold. Jeremy Musson has worked on the remainder of Chichester District, that is, eastwards to Loxwood and Bury. Other significant contributors were Bernard Worssam and David Rudling for specialist introductions to the county’s geology and archaeology. David also checked and updated all archaeology entries and wrote new ones including Roman Chichester and Chichester’s City Walls. ‘Pevsner guides’ would be an impossible task without the help of dozens of experts on particular localities and subjects, many of whose names you will recognise in the Acknowledgements – where we also thank those who kindly invited us into houses, churches and public buildings.

Spotting stylistic contrast

Should the reader detect differences in style and content in the easterly parishes, that is at least partly due to the distinctive approaches of the original authors. Pevsner regretted that Nairn ‘… found that he could no longer bear to write the detailed descriptions which are essential’ once he had completed West Sussex, acknowledging that ‘Mr Nairn has a greater sensibility to landscape and townscape than I have, and he writes better than I could ever hope to write. On the other hand, those who want something a little more cataloguey … may find my descriptions more to their liking.’ A balance has been struck: the original authors’ intentions and words have been preserved where appropriate but often fresh research and more time to investigate have required fresh beginnings or almost complete overhaul.

Marriott Lodge was designed by Ahrend, Burton &
Koralek as an extension to the Theological College at
3 Westgate. It is now part of a residential care home Photo: James O Davies
Chichester

Probably most important to Society members is the new information about Chichester and its immediate surroundings. At the centre is John Crook’s account of the Cathedral, prefaced by a splendid new introduction clearly explaining the building phases. There is new information too about the Close, including rare survivals like the C13 roof of St Faith’s chapel in St Faith’s House. In the town, Tim Hudson has cast a critical eye over the most recent additions: Pallant House Gallery, with a ‘lumpish S front’, and the Novium, ‘unrelated to its surroundings’, do not come off unscathed, though there is praise for the ‘appropriate’ additions to the Festival Theatre. Some older modern buildings are reappraised. One is Marriott Lodge, which, at the time of the first edition, was planned as an extension to the Theological College at No. 3 Westgate. New discoveries have been made about older buildings presented here as ‘Perambulations’. Within a short walk along West Street one can find out about such diverse subjects as: the 21st century sculpture of St Richard; the Prebendal School’s medieval fabric; Edes House and its seventeenth-century interior; the original purpose of former St Peter’s Church; and the architect of the Oliver Whitby School (until recently House of Fraser).

The Gridshell at Singleton’s Weald & Downland Museum, completed 2002
by Edward Cullinan & Associates with Buro Happold as engineers Photo: James O Davies
The coast

Useful attention is given to historical development. Along the coast for example, Selsey has been separated from the ancient Church Norton and given its due as a seaside resort; there are some special early C20 buildings including large Arts-and-Crafts houses, notably The Bill House by Baillie Scott. On Thorney Island the RAF Officers’ Mess takes its place alongside the medieval church and rectory.

New themes

A huge range of information is to be found throughout this volume from church monuments, medieval wall paintings and war memorials to the architects of Victorian churches and schools; architectural histories of great houses such as Cowdray, Petworth and West Dean; and the local character of cottages and village halls. New for this edition are discussions of challenging modern designs, particularly those for the Goodwood and Wakehurst estates and at the Weald and Downland Museum, with its collection of vernacular buildings. This West Sussex volume of The Buildings of England series will guide you to the best of the county’s architecture. And the colour photography is fantastic!

The authors
Elizabeth Williamson is former editor of the Pevsner Architectural Guides. Tim Hudson is a former editor of the Victoria County History for Sussex. Jeremy Musson is an architectural historian, consultant, and author.

An earlier article by Tim Hudson published during the planning phase  for the update is available here
The Buildings of England: West Sussex. Yale University Press. The book jacket features Boxgrove Priory on the front cover (right) and Monkton House Image: Yale University Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of the Society’s Newsletter)

Chichester merits UNESCO World Heritage Status

Why we believe Chichester merits consideration

When one studies William Gardner’s map of the City of Chichester dated 1769 it becomes clear how little of the really important elements of our great City have actually changed over all the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nairn and Pevsner in their 1965 edition of the Buildings of England record that the Romans occupied Chichester almost immediately after the conquest and encircled its 100 acres with a wall much of which remains today. It misses its four cardinal gates and perhaps these could be reinstated.

But within its walls lie not only the Cathedral, distant views of which are dominant within the largely flat landscape, but also its precincts, the Market Cross, St Mary’s Hospital and a plethora of Georgian architecture lining its medieval street pattern. Of all the periods of English building, none has surpassed the Georgian era and we have numerous examples of houses rebuilt from about 1700. Dr Thomas Sharp’s 1949 report Georgian City commissioned by the City Council includes the pertinent remark that ‘Chichester is a very special city indeed which probably holds more of the purity and true essence of its type than any now remaining in England. It is an important and irreplaceable part of the national heritage’.

The Chichester Society Executive Committee believes that this kind of history could make Chichester a prime candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Status when one considers the good fit we make with UNESCO’s criteria for selection spelt out below. It can take years to submit an application but these delays may be acceptable if Chichester becomes better known both nationally and internationally. Our September newsletter will be asking our members what they think.

Do you agree that we should try? Please let us have your comments

The Selection Criteria for Inclusion

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

These criteria are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.

Until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists.

Selection criteria
  1. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  6. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The (UNESCO) Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
  7. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  8. to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
  9. to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  10. to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.


The extent of our history was captured in part by our Heritage Trails  -details of which are on our website here  where they are available in downloadable form or can be followed on a  smartphone or tablet as you walk around our City. Printed versions may be available from the Novium and other locations.

Six Decades of Change across Chichester

One Cicestrian to witness the city’s changes is author and historian
Alan Green
Westgate Fields before the College and new road were built. Can you see the cows grazing? Photo: author’s collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1959 aerial photograph provides a telling snapshot of the city as it was 60 years ago and is very nostalgic for me as it shews the Chichester of my boyhood. As a (true) Cicestrian I have observed closely the changes that have occurred over those 60 years and will point out just a few features that can be seen in the view.

Alan Green in 1959 when a pupil at Central Junior Boys School Photo: author’s collection
Open Spaces

Most striking from the first glance is the vast open expanse of Westgate Fields (B) which at the time were the city’s water meadows, stretching down to the harbour intersected only by the railway and the A27. For a boy growing up in Chichester in the 1950s and 60s, Westgate Fields was a lotus land: a busy shunting yard to be observed from the long footbridge, the River Lavant and its many tributaries, copious mud and many dogs. Loss of the fields began in 1962 with the building of Chichester College, followed in 1964 by the ring road (Avenue de Chartres) which cut across from Southgate to Westgate, then a car park (later to be redeveloped as multi-storey) and a rapid expansion of the college, all of which completely filled the area north of the railway. South of the railway the Terminus Road Industrial Estate was to spread westwards to occupy the fields down to the A27 (F) .

Westgate Fields before the College and new road were built. Can you see the cows grazing? Photo: author’s collection

More lost open land can be seen to the north of the photograph. In 1959 East Broyle Farm (X) had just been sold for a private housing development. Starting in 1961, 412 houses were progressively built on the site known as the East Broyle Estate. Just below that was Little Breech Farm (Y)whichwas also to be developed for housing from 1967,this time by the City Council to provide affordablehomes.

The other expanse of open ground is Oaklands Park (C) where a notable absence from the photo is the Festival Theatre. Leslie Evershed-Martin had had his brainwave in 1959 but construction was not to start until 1961, bringing the one major change that surely no-one would dispute as having been for the better. The theatre apart, Oaklands Park has miraculously escaped the attentions of developers.

Infrastructure

It is noticeable how the westward expansion of the city had been arrested by the Midhurst railway line (E). Although it had lost its passenger services in 1935, a stump of the line still served Lavant, conveying sugar beet. When this traffic ceased the line served new gravel workings near Brandy Hole Lane whence trains took the mineral to Drayton, thus obviating heavy lorry movements through the city. When this in turn ceased in 1991, the line was turned into a cycleway/footpath known, by dint of someone’s baffling logic, as Centurion Way. The Romans did many things for Chichester but railways were not amongst them! Staying with transport, Southdown’s bus operations had transferred in 1956 from West Street to a purpose-built bus station in Southgate. The adjacent, and brand new, bus garage (Q) has a thin shell, prestressed concrete roof whose clear span was ground-breaking for its era. Although locally listed, its future is now under threat from the Southern Gateway Development Plan.

In Stockbridge Road is the gasworks (O). This had stopped producing coal gas in 1958 when gas was piped up from Portsmouth, The south end of the site was redeveloped as the GPO sorting office in 1964 but the gasholders were to remain in use until the arrival of North Sea Gas in 1970. The north end of the site would eventually be redeveloped by McCarthy and Stone as Brampton Court.

Schools, Ancient, Modern and Revised

In New Park Road can be seen what is now the New Park Centre (L) with whose facilities most readers will be familiar. In 1959 however, it was still the Central Junior Boys’ School where I numbered amongst its pupils. The school was to move to Orchard Street in 1964 after which the site was earmarked for redevelopment. Fortunately, it was to be saved by a vigorous campaign to convert it into a community centre – a victory for democracy! In 1962 I moved on to Chichester High School for Boys (I) in Kingsham Road. In the photograph its extensive playing fields can be seen, but the eastern end of them have long since been developed for housing (Herald Drive) and most of the outlying school buildings have since been demolished. The remaining buildings were abandoned in 2014. They still exist, but only just as they are boarded up awaiting their fate: Chichester High School for Boys was to cease to be just two years later.

Chichester High School for Girls was then in Stockbridge Road (J). After it had amalgamated with the Lancastrian Girls’ School in 1971 it progressively moved to newer premises in Kingsham and the Stockbridge site was abandoned. Chichester Gate was built on its playing field in 2003 and recently the main school building was converted into student flats.

Industry and Infirmary

Almost opposite the Boys’ High in Kingsham Road was Wingard’s factory (P) . Wingard made seatbelts and other automotive products and were a major employer in Chichester. They were taken over by Britax who eventually relocated after which the site was converted into housing.

Chichester still had two main hospitals in 1959; The Royal West Sussex (M) in Broyle Road and St Richard’s (S)off Spitalfield Lane. Both were relativelysmall so the two gradually amalgamated at StRichard’s which was to expand exponentially into thecurrent hospital. The ‘Royal West’ (as it was knownlocally) was converted into apartments namedForbes Place after one of its founders. There wasalso the separate Isolation Hospital on the south sideof Spitalfield Lane [not indicated] but that closed inthe 1960s. I can claim to have been an inmate of allthree!

The Cattle Market (K) was still very active in 1959 with cattle arriving by train, being grazed overnight in Westgate Fields and then driven to market on the hoof. The photo shews the site covered with sheds and pens all of which were to be swept away in 1990 when the market closed and was converted into – yes – another car park.

The Festival Theatre under construction in 196. Photo: author’s collection.
Destruction

Also seen still standing is the east side of Somerstown (N) This late Georgian development of artisan housing, had been condemned in 1958 as slums by Chichester City Council – a controversial action challenged in the national press by Sir Lawrence Olivier no less. Protest fell on deaf ears though and all was swept away in 1964. The site lay empty for 10 years before redevelopment took place but, whilst the new housing estate perpetuated the name Somerstown, it was a very poor substitute for what had been lost. Mercifully the west side of Somerstown was to be spared, its erstwhile ‘slums’ now being considered highly desirable residences. There was also to be destruction of many Georgian buildings in Southgate and Westgate in order to accommodate the ends of the aforementioned ring road, and this took place in 1963-65.

On the other side of Broyle Road is the Sloe Fair Field (V) taking its name from the eponymous fair that had taken place annually by Royal Charter since 1107. The field was tarmacked over to form a new car park in 1961 which deprived the fair of much of its charm. It invariably rained on 20 October resulting in the field becoming a quagmire making squelching through the mud an added attraction.

Envoi

Much of the change over the last 60 years has beeninevitable in order to provide for an ever expandingpopulation, but some, such as the wanton destructionof the east side of Somerstown and the obliteration ofthe water meadows, is difficult to forgive. One wouldlike to think that such would not happen today…

The same aerial view in 2079 will shew Whitehouse Farm (Z)developed with its 1,600 houses – but whatelse besides one wonders? I for one will not be hereto see it!

Alan Green is chairman of Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee and the author of several books on the city’s history.

(This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of the Society’s Newsletter. To see more from this issue go to our past Newsletters page)

Chichester Camera Club – A Celebration of People and Places

The Club celebrated its 125th anniversary this year with an exhbition which was hosted at the Novium Museum in March.

In this article by Amy Roberts and Portia Tremlett (first published in the December 2018 isue of the Chichester Society’s Newsletter) explore a fascinating history since Chichester Camera Club, first known as Chichester Photographic Society, was formed in 1893.

The early years

To begin with, the Photographic Society met weekly, organised lectures about new photographic techniques and equipment, and arranged excursions to places such as Midhurst, Hunston and Arundel. Monthly and annual competitions were held. Categories for entries included Seascapes and Landscapes, Architecture, and Lantern Slides.

Some members of the Society were prominent local citizens including George Turnbull who was an Alderman and also Mayor from 1909 to 1912 and again in 1919. He was a member of the Society until at least 1939 when he would have been around 85 years of age.

Members of Chichester Photographic Society about 1900-1910.
George Turnbull, Chichester’s Mayor 1909-12, is at back left
with the camera (hoto: The Novium Museum.)

The First World War took its toll of both the membership and its activities, and in 1917 meetings were abandoned. They were resumed, however in 1922 when a notice appeared in the paper in the rather formal style of the period inviting both LADIES AND GENTLEMEN to attend a meeting at the Technical Institute on North Street with the intention of restarting the Society. This led to weekly meetings, regular excursions and lectures. The Society moved to new premises in 1928 at Flint House in South Street. There they held an exhibition of old photographs taken by former and current members.

The society continued to flourish in the 1930s and competitions improved in quality and quantity of entries. 1938 saw an innovation in the way competitions were judged. Until this time entries had been assessed by fellow members but this changed and entries were passed to an external expert for judging. During the Second World War the Society met only twice in the two years 1940 to 1942. It seems fuel rationing greatly limited their efforts to organise excursions. By 1945 they had left their premises in South Street and placed their possessions in store.

A new beginning

Members of the Society did not meet again until 1949 when they emerged from the war years with a new name – the Chichester Camera Club. The club met fortnightly now at the Methodist Hall in the Hornet. The first post-war exhibition was held in 1950. Since then the Club has thrived. It is now recognised as one of the most successful photographic clubs in the country with a reputation for excellent photography and a programme of visiting speakers, competitions and social events. Anyone with an interest in photography is welcome.

Honouring Admiral George Murray is important for Chichester

Local Historian Alan Green on George Murray’s life, and plans for a commissioned sculpture in the cit.

There can be few living in Chichester who have not now heard of Admiral Sir George Murray following the “Murrayfest” held in 2015 and the recent newspaper publicity about the proposed statue of Murray and Nelson by Chichester sculptor Vincent Gray. Admiral Murray’s importance to the country as a whole as the naval officer of whom Nelson famously said “Murray or none”, is well known, but why is he so important to Chichester as to justify his own statue?

Admiral Sir George Murray around 1815 by Charles Woolcott (Image: with thanks to Ian Murray)
To sea aged eleven

George was the middle one of three surviving sons of George and Ann Murray all of whom went on to become prominent citizens, much involved with the life of their native city following the example of their father who was an alderman.1  George was born in January 1759 and baptised at St Peter the Great on 16 April that year.2

In 1770, at the tender age of eleven, George Murray joined the Royal Navy, rising swiftly through the ranks. He served under Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 when the two men became very close friends. He was then sent to the Mediterranean serving as Captain of the Fleet under Nelson, and on 23 April 1804 he was promoted to rear admiral.

A rare photograph of Admiral Murray’s former house taken in the early 1930s (Author’s collection)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naturally Murray spent most of his active service at sea but missed the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 as he had to remain ashore to sort out the estate of his late father in law; had Murray been at Trafalgar perhaps he, rather than Hardy could have been alongside Nelson when he died.

Life as a civilian

Admiral Murray made a significant impact on Chichester with the building of his grand new house on the corner of North Street and Guildhall Street (now The Ship, also known as the Harbour Hotel) between 1804 and 18063 John Marsh, that great Georgian diarist, obviously thought it rather pretentious when he recorded his first visit to the house on 7 February 1807:

On the next day we fix’d our first visit to Mrs G Murray at ye Admiral’s new House in North Street, term’d whilst it was building the Admiralty . There we met a large company in two rooms of six card tables, one of them a Commerce party of 13.4

After 1808 Admiral Murray did not go back to sea but instead became fully involved in the social life of his native city. John Marsh records several events at the house including the entertaining of royalty; the Prince and Princess of Hesse Hombourg no less (she the third daughter of George III) visited Chichester on 18 June 1818 and Marsh records that “[after] 2 & 3 o’clock… they went to breakfast at Sir G Murray’s”.5

He was also a member of the Book Society whose meetings were held at The Admiralty.

The entry on the mayoral boards in the Council Chamber recording George Murray’s year of office.
(Photo: Alan Green courtesy Chichester City Council)

George also followed his father in serving on the Corporation, but prior to this he was awarded the Freedom of the Merchants’ Guild by the Mayor in September 1800. In October 1802, he was nominated for the office of Portreeve and in September 1815 he was elected Mayor.6

Admiral Murray was clearly a man of great wealth whose income enabled him to live a lifestyle commensurate with the scale of his new house: he amassed a considerable wine cellar which was put up for auction on 27 July 1819 after his death and realised £672 15s 6d – equivalent to £47094 at today’s prices7. Not only that, he sent his son George to be educated at Winchester College which cost him some £45 per term in fees.8

George Murray died at his North Street home in Chichester on 28 February 1819 aged 60. John Marsh lamented the loss of his friend, recording with genuine feeling in his journal:

Besides the loss to the Corporation and our Book Society, a valuable member of each, the society in general of Chichester and its vicinity had a great loss, there being no-one who was more universally liked or esteemed.9

Whilst the funeral services of his two brothers were held in the church of St Peter the Great, which at that time was still in the north transept of the Cathedral, that of George, on 8 March 1819, took place in the Cathedral proper, after which he was buried in the Close in the area bound by the cloisters known as Paradise. 10

The unveiling of the blue plaque to Admiral Sir George Murray on the Ship Hotel by The Mayor of Chichester, Cllr Alan Chaplin, on 24 June 2013 (Photo Alan Green)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fine monument to George, and his wife Ann who died in 1859, can be seen in the Sailors’ Chapel in the Cathedral. In 2013 a blue plaque to him was installed on the front of The Ship bearing those immortal words None but Murray will do.

The monument to Admiral Murray and his wife Ann in the Sailors’ Chapel in Chichester Cathedral (Photo Bob Wiggins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent Gray’s statue of Nelson and Murray will stand opposite The Admiralty in the front garden of 40 North Street (now Jack Wills); appropriately, this was the house of George Murray’s elder brother Richard.

How the twin sculptures of Nelson and Murray will appear when placed on a plinth at 40 North Street, Chichester. Image: courtesy of Peter Robson Architect

 

  1. WSRO St Peter the Great, Chichester, Parish Records
  2. WSRO St Peter the Great, Chichester, Parish Records
  3. For a detailed history of the house see The Ship Hotel, Chichester built as the house of Admiral Sir George Mur – ray by Alan H J Green. New Chichester Paper No 6, Chich- ester Local History Society & The University of Chichester 2014
  4. John Marsh History of my Private Life. John Marsh was a wealthy barrister who moved to Chichester in 1787. Every day he wrote about three pages in his journal giving us an authentic – if at times somewhat acerbic – picture of life in a Georgian cathedral city
  5. John Marsh– op cit
  6. WSRO C/3 Chichester Common Council minute book 1783- 1826
  7. Ian Murray collection. A copy of the sale catalogue marked-up with the prices
  8. Ian Murray collection – a statement of Admiral Murray’s account with the college. £45 is equivalent to £3,150 today
  9. John March op cit 10. WSRO Cathedral Close burial register
  10. WSRO Cathedral Close burial register

(This article originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of the Society’s Newsletter)

Goodwood’s Motor Circuit – a glorious mix of tradition and technology

Jon Barnett, the Motor Circuit’s General Manager, describes the history and future of this historic site from War-time fighter station to iconic star of the British motor scene.

The Goodwood Motor Circuit Aerodrome began life as RAF Westhampnett, satellite airfield to RAF Tangmere  during the Second World War. However, this story begins before the outbreak of the war when the 9th Duke of Richmond and Gordon gifted this land to the war effort on 7 December 1938. It was designated as an Emergency Landing Ground. But with the fall of France in July 1940, Westhampnett received its first residents: the Hurricanes of 145 Squadron. Being one of the most southerly fighter stations, it was kept very busy, playing an important role in the Battle of Britain. Several well-known fighter aces flew from RAF Westhampnett including Douglas Bader, Johnny Johnson and ‘Cocky’ Dundas, as well as many Commonwealth pilots. By July 1942 the Americans had arrived: on the 26 July the 31 Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Force flew from RAF Westhampnett to join their British comrades in combat; they were the first US Fighter Group in the European theatre. But once the Allies moved across Europe, RAF Westhampnett’s importance declined. It was officially closed in 1946.

From airfield to race track

Goodwood’s race track had its beginnings with the original perimeter re-fuelling road for the Hurricanes and Spitfires in the years Westhampnett was a fighter station. How did this come about?  The 9th Duke of Richmond – Freddie March – was a renowned amateur racer who had won the Brooklands Double 12 in 1930, later going on – as an engineer – to design both March sports car bodies and aircraft. He was approached by his friend, Squadron Leader Tony Gaze, who had flown from Westhampnett during the war years. Tony had raced his old MG round the service road in his down time, using fuel from the planes! This is why Tony was so sure the road would make a great race track and why he suggested converting the perimeter road into a motor racing circuit. Freddie March seized upon the idea. It wasn’t long before the Duke and Duchess officially opened the track by driving around the Circuit in a Bristol 400, then Britain’s state-of-the-art sporting saloon. The date was 18 September 1948, a Saturday. (The NHS was two months old).

Racing in the early days of the Goodwood Motor Circuit before closing in 1966

The response was rapturous, for the British public had been deprived of motor racing during the Second World War when Brooklands had been forced to close its doors in 1939. Huge demand for wheel-to-wheel competition saw 85 drivers and over 15,000 spectators turning up to Goodwood to support the UK’s first professionally-organised post- war motor racing event. Imagine the picturesque scene at the foot of the Downs steeped in heritage. This same venue has since witnessed some of motor racings greatest heroes in action, including Juan Manuel Fangio, John Surtees, Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss.

The Motor Circuit closes

By 1966, the Duke could foresee that the rapidly changing nature of front-line motor racing would require Goodwood to make sizeable investment in physical changes to the venue in order to continue. By now in his mid-Sixties, and by nature disinclined to follow the expensive dictates of the ‘authorities’, the Duke opted instead to stop all motor racing. Both he and later his son did have the foresight, however, to ensure the circuit continued to be used, and therefore maintained, for testing, Sprints and other uses for the next 30 years.

A new chapter
The Goodwood Revival is all about style! (Photo by Dominic James)

On 18 September 1998, exactly 50 years to the day since the Goodwood Circuit first opened, the 9th Duke’s grandson, the present Duke of Richmond, re-opened the Circuit in spectacular fashion – using a Bristol 400 identical to the model his grandfather had used half a century earlier. This was the very first Goodwood Revival meeting for which preparation had been meticulous, the Circuit restored to look exactly as it did in its heyday, down to the very last detail. Since then the Goodwood Revival has been held every year: thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing with some of the most valuable grid selections in the world, dancing to the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll, the joy of the fun fair and the smell of engines mingled with perfume. Experience the Goodwood Revival and you experience the romance and glamour of motor racing as it used to be: a step back in time to the years between 1948 and 1966, when the joys of motor racing allowed the post-war world to kick off its heels  and have a jolly good time.

The Circuit today

In addition to Goodwood’s Revival, the circuit today is a hub of activity year-round, now also hosting the two-day Goodwood Members’ Meeting in March. This weekend recaptures the atmosphere and camaraderie of the original British Automobile Racing Club meetings held from 1949 to 1966. But there is more, such as Motor Sports Association Sprints, Car Club Track Days and Manufacturer Press Days. Members of the public and corporate groups can get behind the wheel of their own car or choose to drive one from the Goodwood fleet, like the entire BMW M Performance range; or there is an eclectic mix of 1960’s classics including an Alfa, Porsche, Ford Falcon and MG amongst others.  Moving on – new experiences.

Chance to drive one of their classic Land Rovers

Goodwood’s Motor Circuit continues to evolve and a new addition this year has been the introduction of a fleet of six classic Series 2 Land Rovers. To understand the world’s love affair with the Land Rover, you need to drive one and preferably drive a classic. So we offer the chance to drive off-road across the Downs on farm and forest tracks. We make no bones about it, these vehicles have seen life and they have character and patina, which makes them totally unique. As quintessentially British as a plate of fish and chips, the boxy, utilitarian Land Rover has become an iconic part of what it is to be British.

(This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of the Society’s Newsletter)

‘Priory Park – Its story in 100 objects’ by Alan Green

On September 30, 1918, the 7th Duke of Richmond and Gordon gifted Priory Park to the people of Chichester for their leisure and as a perpetual memorial to the fallen in the First World War.

‘Friary’ Park 1812 (object 21) (1)

The centenary falls this year with a week of celebratory events from 21st to 30th September. To accompany this and provide a more permanent record, local historian Alan Green has selected in his new book 100 ‘objects’ (artefacts, people, events etc) that in some way are connected to the park. Drawing on a variety of sources and aided by a grant from the Chichester City Council the result is a cornucopia of colourful images spanning the period from Roman Times to the present day – passing on the way the Civil War in the 17th century, the Priory Park Society years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the interwar and war years.

All the ‘objects’ provide much to talk about, some being less familiar to the populace – so for some examples. The park has long been a location for public protest and pleasure. Thus, the Guildhall was the location for the trials of William Blake in 1804 (object 19) and of the Hawkhurst gang of smugglers in 1748 (object 16) while the Park was used for the protest rally against hospital closure plans in 2007 (object 90).

Hawkhurst Gang (object 16) (2)

In contrast the Park’s grassy expanse has seen cricket since the 16th century (object 30), a bowling green from mid 17th century (object 39), tennis tournaments (object 47), and during the first world war entertainment for wounded soldiers (object 46).

Progamme of entertainment (object 46) (3)

Celebrations have over the years been conducted for royalty such as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (object 37) and George V’s silver jubilee in 1935  (objects 60 and 61).

The span of true objects includes archaeological finds such as a fragment of an encaustic tile (object 9) from the long-lost Friary, the Coade Stone Druid statue (object 33) made of a patented ceramic, and locally-made cast-iron casement windows (object 29) in the refreshment room, these serving later as a clubhouse for cricketers and hockey players. The general public are now well served by Fenwick’s Café (object 94) started in 2013 as a temporary measure but now on a more permanent footing.

Fenwicks Cafe (object 94) (4)

Personalities are not neglected, principally Charles, Earl of March and Kinrara (object 48) whose gift was the Park itself and who is the great-great-grandfather of the current Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the author of the book’s foreword. Various bodies were also granted the Corporate Freedom of the City of Chichester with the honour being conferred in the park, one being RAF Tangmere (object 82) in 1960, another the Royal Sussex Regiment (Object 74).

Freedom of the City (object 74) (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A support group was established in 2004 by the Chichester District Council and is now called the ‘Friends of Priory Park and Jubilee Gardens’ as its remit now includes the Jubilee Gardens.

Splendidly illustrated and furnished with an extensive index and references for those wishing to delve further, Alan’s book also provides a window on the life and times of the broader Chichester community.

It is published by Phillimore Book Publishing at £15 and copies are available from Kim’s bookshop, Waterstones, West Sussex Record Office and the Novium.

Acknowledgements
(1) The cartographic town plan was that of George Loader surveyed in 1812
(2) The illustration comes from ‘A Gentleman at Chichester’ A full and Genuine History of the Inhuman and Unparalleled Murders of Mr William Galley etc etc London, 1749
(3) Image from West Sussex Record Office
(4) Image from Alan Green
(5) Image from Chichester City Council

Chichester Picture Quiz Trail

Enjoy a tour of Chichester and find where the photographs were taken.

The page below shows just 16 of 47 images for you to locate within the City. Download the complete guide by clicking here or  on the image and receive a map with indicative locations.

The text below provides some information on the various items and can also be downloaded here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following provides brief information about the photographs included in the Chichester I-Spy quiz, with some links to other sites.

1. Site of former Shippams Paste factory. Probably Chichester’s best known local firm, dating back to the 18th century and closed in 2002. Now housing retail outlets with apartments above. The former clock and wishbone were reinstated. For more information: http://www.thenovium.org/article/28861/The-History-of-Shippams

2. Noli me Tangere – a 1960 painting by Graham Sutherland, which is displayed on the altar of the Mary Magdalene chapel at the south-eastern corner of the Cathedral.

3. 18th century Sadlers Warehouse, converted to apartments, providing evidence of Chichester’s former commercial base.

4. Wall surrounding part of the Bishop’s Palace Garden.

5. The front entrance of Pallant House, a Grade One listed Queen Anne town house, now housing part of the Pallant House Gallery. Known locally as “Dodo House” because the owner, Henry Peckham, wanted ostriches carved on columns (ostriches appear on his family coat of arms). However the person who carved them had probably never seen an ostrich and they are said to look more like dodos.

6. The Oxmarket Gallery is located within a deconsecrated medieval church (St Andrews), which is a Grade Two * listed building. It is an art centre run by volunteers since the early 1970s.  For more information: https://oxmarket.com/ .

7. St John’s the Evangelist’s Church is a Grade One listed building, built in 1812. For more information http://www.stjohnschapelchichester.co.uk/

8. Art or graffiti? ‘The Big Deal’ which shows children swapping bank notes at North Pallant. Created by street artist JPS who also created the cat on the corner of West Pallant and South Street. For more information : https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/new-banksy-inspired-graffitispotted-in-chichester-1-7303219

9. The Grade One listed Cathedral Bell Tower (viewed from the Bishops Palace Garden). An early 15th century structure unique among England’s medieval cathedrals in that it is free-standing.

10. Now a hotel, this plaque marks the former home of Admiral Sir George Murray (1759 – 1819). For more information: https://admiralsirgeorgemurray.club/

11. The Deanery, a Grade Two* listed building, erected in 1725 by Dean Thomas Sherlock. It is understood that the former deanery was destroyed in a siege in 1643.

12. City Gunpowder Store – Self-explanatory.

13. The entrance to gardens marking the site of St Martin’s Church. The medieval flint walls of the former church now enclosing part of a garden

14. Thomas Iveson and Richard Hook black plaquelLocated on the wall of the Providence Chapel, which is still in use for worship today.

15. One of two crane sculptures reflecting the name of the street within which it is located.

16. The Novium Museum, home to the Tourist Information Centre, with changing exhibitions and permanent displays, including Roman remains. For more information: http://www.thenovium.org/

17. Quaker Meeting House plaque – Self-explanatory. For more information on the history of Quakers in Chichester: https://michaelwoolley.weebly.com

18. Chichester Cathedral, viewed from the Bishops Palace Garden. Over 900 years old, this Grade One listed building is currently undergoing extensive restoration work costing some £5.8 million. Its spire is visible from the sea and used as an aid to navigation. In 1861 the spire collapsed due to building works below to provide for a new organ, which destabilised the tower. It was rebuilt in just five years, with the original weathercock re-fixed at the top. For more information: https://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/

19. One of several access points to the City walls. To ease the flow of traffic into Chichester West, North and South gates were demolished in 1773. Eastgate was demolished in 1783.

20. County Hall, home to West Sussex County Council.

21. West Sussex Library Headquarters, a Grade Two listed building built in 1965-6 to the designs of the county architect. The building was formally opened on 24 January 1967 by Asa Briggs, Vice-chancellor elect of the University of Sussex.

22. Lion atop The Council House (giving nearby Lion Street its name). This comprises a group of connected buildings built at different times between 1731 and 1881. The buildings remain in regular use by various organisations including Chichester City Council.

23. A former Grade Two Listed Council building now housing a retail outlet and offices.

24. North House, built in 1936 and currently in retail and residential use. Ordnance Survey maps of the 1930’s indicate there was possibly a hotel in this location. .

25. A plaque possibly relating to the former restaurant at the top of North Street known as Number One.

26. The Grade One listed Guildhall set amid Priory Park, which is bordered by the Roman City Walls to the north and east and contains the remains of Chichester Castle (a Norman motte and bailey castle). It was constructed as a chancel by the Grey Friars of Chichester, being a good example of late 13th-century architecture. It is one of the few Franciscan churches in England that is still roofed.

27. Tapestry by John Piper at the high altar in Chichester Cathedral.

28. Gold dolphin and anchor reflecting the name of a former hotel in this location. These began as two separate establishments, The Dolphin and The Anchor, but merged in 1910. It remained a hotel until 1996 when it was sold.

29. Eric Gill plaque – Self-explanatory. For more information https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gill

30. The site of the former Oliver Whitby School, currently in retail use. Founded in 1702, for 12 scholars, the school closed at the end of 1949, merging with Christ’s Hospital School near Horsham. The school motto Vis et Sapientia (strength and wisdom) is still visible on the upper level.

31. Crooked S Lane was once called The Shambles and was full of slaughterhouses, where butchers threw offal into the street.

32. Decorative stonework outside Edes House, constructed in 1696 for John and Hannah Edes. It has been known by various names during its history, including Wren’s House (in the mistaken belief that it was the work of the famous architect). It is now owned by the County Council and used for weddings and other functions.

33. Small door within Canon Gate, or the gatehouse to Canon Lane, probably constructed around the 16th century. The area fell into disrepair and the space
between the smaller arches was used as a stable. In 1894 it was restored and the upper story reconstructed.

34. An ancient tree within the Bishops Palace Gardens.

35. A bronze statue of St Richard of Chichester by Philip Jackson.

36. A recently installed statue of Keats. He looks down East Street towards Chichester Cathedral and other landmarks mentioned in his famous poem, “The Eve of St Agnes”. Behind him is the building in which he started writing the poem.

37. Location of Halsteds Foundry – Self-explanatory. For more information on the history of Halsteds http://chichestersociety.org.uk/halsteds-the-ironmongers-chis-long-forgottenindustrial-history/

38. A sign advertising the wares of a related shop, especially helpful for those who could not read.

39. Interesting architectural detail in one of the few remaining jettied timber framed buildings in Chichester.

40. Railings that escaped removal during the war effort. It is understood that some were relocated from the nearby cattle market.

41. The site of the Swan Inn, a key building in the centre of Chichester throughout the 18th and 19th century, destroyed by fire in 1819 and rebuilt. Visitors included Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1842. It was again destroyed by fire in 1897 and forced to close. The London and County Bank rebuilt on the site in a gothic style and that building is now Grade Two listed. The bank sign can still be seen carved into the building above the main entrance.

42. The Clock House is a converted coach house, now used for tourist accommodation.

43. Art or graffiti? Created by artist Stik, whose Stick-like figures are highly sought after with celebrity followers including Sir Elton John and Bono. For more information on street art in Chichester https://pallantbookshop.com/the-chichester-street-art-festival/

44. The Grade One listed Market Cross, erected in 1501 by Bishop Storey. One had to pay a toll to sell goods at the market but some poor peasants only had a few eggs or a few vegetables to sell. The bishop said anyone could sell things at the market and not pay a toll provided they could stand under the cross. In 1726 four clocks were added to the cross.

45. Detail of a window in a medical practice next door to Edes House (see no. 32), which was removed from that larger neighbouring property.

46. 18th-century sundial on the south face of the angle buttress of the Chichester Cathedral.

47. St Olave Church in North Street For more information: http://sussexchurchez.blogspot.com/2007/11/st-olave-north-streetchichester.html

If you’ve enjoyed this experience why not join the Chichester Society here and receive our quarterly Newsletter packed with local current and historical interest (you can view back copies here).

The South-West Prospect of the City of Chichester in the 1730s

 

This view, from what is now the Waitrose car park, is the ‘South-West Prospect of the City of Chichester’ by printmaker Nathanial Buck published in 1738 and comes from the British Library website. Click on image for enlarged view 

Once part of George III’s Topographical Collection which his son, George IV, gave to the nation in 1829, this print can be consulted today in the British Library (Cartographic Items Maps K Top. 42.19.c).

Working from the west side of the image eastwards, the viewer (you are probably on top of the multi-story car park by the railway station) can make out Ede’s House, the roofs of property in West Street , the Bishop’s Palace and its adjoining gardens with the Bell Tower behind, the cathedral building, parts of which are decidedly dilapidated, properties on the site of 4, Canon Lane, and The Deanery. The spire of All Saints in the East Pallant (which does not exist today) and the top of the Market Cross can also be made out.
The city walls flank the Bishop’s gardens and a series of water courses fill the foreground, now the Prebendal.

Numbered references in the picture:

3              The Bishops Palace
4              The Cathedral
5              The Market Cross
6              The Deanery

Not shown are:

1              London Road on Rook’s hill
2              The Brill or broil
7              All Saints Church in the Pallant

The text at the bottom of the print reads:

This City was built by and derives its name from Cissa a Saxon King about the year 520, but the several Pavements, Medals, and other Roman Antiquities of late discovered in it plainly prove that it was once a Roman Station.

Till the Norman Conquest it was of no great note; but in the reign of William I it began to flourish, the Episcopal See being then brought hither from Selsey. Not long after, Bishop Ralph built a Cathedral Church here which was casually burnt down before it was fully finished, but by his Endeavours and the liberality of Henry I it was soon rebuilt, as it was afterwards by Bishop Seffrid the 2nd upon a like conflagration.

The Church is not remarkably large, but neat, especially the Quire; the Spire is very high and reckoned as elegant as any in England. It has belonging to it besides the Bishop a Dean, Chaunter, Chancellor, Treasurer, 2 Archdeacons, 4 Canon Residentiaries, about 26 Prebendaries, 4 Vicars General, several Lay Vicars, Choristers and many others.

The City is situated too much upon a flatt for a very advantageous Prospect to be taken of it; it is walled about in a Circular form and washed on every Side, except the North, with the little river Lavant. The 4 Gates of the City open to the four quarters of the World, from whence the 4 principal streets (spacious and regular) take their names and meet almost at a common Centre where there is a stone Piazza (or Cross) built by Bishop Story, very commodious and much admired for the beauty of its Architecture. In the North Street is a very handsome and convenient Council House, with a Market House under it, lately built by Subscription, under the more immediate Direction and Encouragement of his Grace the Duke of Richmond.

The chief Traffick of the City is in Corn and Cattle; for both which the Markets here are as considerable as most in the Kingdom. It is well supplied with provisions of all sorts, particularly Shell fish, lobsters, Prawns, and Crabbs; being in the utmost perfection here in the proper Season.

The City within and without the Walls contains 7 Parishes; is governed by a Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen and a Common Council and sends 2 Members to Parliament. The present are The Honourable James Brudenell Esq and Thomas Yates Esquire.

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck delin et sculp According to Act of Parliament 1738

 

 

Chichester during Civil War 1642-1646 – Flow chart and references

The Society has published Heritage Trail No.6 Chichester during the English Civil War available for download here. It describes the beginnings of the  Civil War and in particular the impact it had on Chichester and the roles played by these individuals.  Four of the main buildings and locations involved in this event are cited and form a trail that can be followed from the North to the East and finally to the South finishing at the Cathedral.

 Physical copies of the leaflet and all previous trails are available from Chichester Library, The Tourist Information Centre at the Novium, West Sussex Record Office and The Council House (City Council offices) in North Street. 

For details of all  Heritage Trail leaflets see here.

The information provided here supplements that in the Trail leaflet.
It comprises:
  • a flow chart of the main events in the form of a timeline (see below) which can be printed off (click the image) or downloaded as a pdf for offline reference when walking the Trail
  • additional information (below the flow chart) about the personalities and events  including links to other posts and sources – these will be added to where relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSONALITIES
Henry Chitty
Little seems to be known about Henry Chitty despite the important local role he played in the Civil War. Some information about his personal background was found in a genealogical study on the Chitty name here.