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A Speculative Reconstruction of ‘The Haven’,

No. 5, The Esplanade, Worthing


by Fred Aldsworth BA FSA MCIfA IHBC
Archaeologist and Heritage Consultant
124 Whyke Road,Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8JG
Tel. 01243-782904, e-mail: aldsworthfred@hotmail.com

Introduction

During the summer of 1894 Oscar Wilde and his family stayed in
Worthing, at a rented terraced house at the eastern edge of the town –
No. 5, The Esplanade, in those days known as The Haven – and it was
during that summer that Wilde wrote the first draft of his best-loved
play, The Importance of Being Earnest.

When, in 1994, a blue plaque commemorating Wilde’s stay was placed on


the building that now stands in that location, there was inadequate
information available about where The Haven had been located, so the
plaque is fixed to the wrong section of the modern building.

Detailed research a few years ago by Antony Edmonds established that


the eight houses known as The Esplanade did not comprise, as used to be
thought, eight houses in a west-facing terrace on the short street still
known as The Esplanade today. In fact the terrace comprised only four
houses, while the other four Esplanade houses were two pairs of
substantial semi-detached houses all of which faced both north onto
Brighton Road and south towards the sea.

The four semi-detached houses were numbered 1-4 – starting, somewhat


illogically, at the east – while the terrace of four west-facing houses were
numbered 5-8, starting at the Brighton Road end.

Hence No. 5, The Esplanade was on the corner of Brighton Road, where
the north-west part of Esplanade Court now stands.

The evidence appears in detail in Antony’s book, Oscar Wilde’s


Scandalous Summer: The 1894 Worthing Holiday and the Aftermath
(Amberley, 2014).

Elsewhere in his book Antony sets down who was staying at The Haven
in August and September 1894 – thus, Oscar Wilde and his family and
various servants, either the Wildes’ or the house-owner’s – and it would

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be of interest to try to “fit” these individuals into the rooms of the house
as I have conjectured them to be.

I am grateful to Antony for supplying some of the photographs that


assisted me in my reconstruction and are reproduced here.

‘The Haven’

Constance Wilde rented The Haven from a friend – Miss F Lord, who was
recorded as the occupier in the editions of the Worthing & District
Directory for 1893 and 1895.

Nos 1-4 were re-numbered as 102-96 Brighton Road between 1920 and
1922 and then re-numbered, again, as Nos 108-102 before 1952 and they
were shown as such on the 1954 edition of the Ordnance Survey 1:1250
plan for which the surveys were undertaken in 1952 – Nos 5-8 retaining
their original numbering in The Esplanade.

Site plan, showing the former


location of Nos 1-8 The Esplanade
and the existing Esplanade Court
and car workshop (shown by
dotted outlines). Scale 1:2500.

Further confirmation of the former location of No. 5, as Antony


identifies, comes from Long’s Worthing Directory of 1891, which listed a
‘wall letter box’ located between Nos 4 and 5, The Esplanade, and this
was shown in that position, at the corner of Brighton Road and The

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Esplanade, on the 1898 edition of the Ordnance Survey twenty five-inch
plan (see below).

Finally, there is a photograph, taken in the 1940s, of Lord Alfred Douglas


standing outside the house where he had stayed with Oscar Wilde half a
century earlier – and it is indeed the house on the corner of Brighton
Road. (See Oscar Wilde’s Scandalous Summer, page 198 and plate 23.)

Historical Background

The pair of semi-detached houses (Nos 1-4) and the terrace of four
houses (Nos 5-8) appear to have been constructed in about 1880. They
were not shown on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey twenty five-
inch plan, published in 1875, and they do not appear to be referred to in
the editions of the Worthing & District Directory (Kershaw) for 1880 or
1881.

Extract from the 1875


edition Ordnance Survey
plan, with the location of
No. 5 The Esplanade
identified (arrowed).
Not reproduced to
original scale.

However, there were two relevant entries (267 and 268) in the Worthing
Population Census Returns for 1881. The first, for No. 6, The Esplanade,
has Granville Brooking, aged 30 and a private tutor, living with his wife,
Gertrude aged 26; and two servants – Sarah Chapman, aged 35 and a
domestic cook, and Elizabeth Hopperton, aged 23 and a house parlour
maid. The second entry, for No. 8, The Esplanade, has William Carter,
aged 46 and a builder employing twelve men, living with his wife,
Harriett aged 47; a daughter, Annie, aged 20; his mother-in-law, Harriett
Roads, aged 82 and a widow; a visitor, Emma Durham aged 46; a
boarder, Elsie Skinner, aged 5 and a scholar; and Alice Meetens, aged 16
and a general servant.

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Extracts from the Worthing Population Census Returns for 1881.

These two entries were followed by an annotation which appears to


indicate that there were six unoccupied houses in The Esplanade –
presumably Nos 1-5 and No. 7.

The 1882 edition of the Worthing & District Directory has entries (pages
49-50) for Nos 1-8 The Esplanade, with Grenville F Brooking at No. 6
and Mr W Carter at No. 8. Nos 1-5 and No. 7 still were unoccupied at that
time.

The 1883 edition of the Worthing & District Directory (page 51) has No.
2 occupied by Guy Pigot; No. 6 by Mrs Evans; and No. 8 by Mr W Carter.
Nos 1, 3-5 and No. 7 were unoccupied at that time.

There seems a strong possibility that William Carter was the builder of
the eight Esplanade houses, and that from 1881 until 1883 he occupied
No. 8 – choosing the best house of the eight for himself and his family.

William Carter was born in 1835 in West Ham, then in Essex but now
part of Greater London. In the Population Census Returns for 1841 he is
listed as aged 6, the son of George Carter, a bricklayer aged 30, and his
wife Elizabeth, and living at Waterworks Place, Stratford.

It has not, as yet, been possible to locate either William Carter or his
parents in the Population Census Returns for 1851 and 1861, but on 28
July 1857 at St Mark’s Church, Islington, William Carter, son of George
John Carter, a builder, married Harriett Roads, who had been born on 10
September 1833. She was the daughter of John Roads, a farmer.

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The marriage record of William Carter and Harriett Roads.

The Population Census Returns for 1871 includes an entry (45) for
William Carter, aged 36 and a builder’s foreman, living at 19 Union Road,
Clapham, with his wife, Harriett aged 37; son George, aged 12; and
daughter Annie, aged 10.

Extract from the Population Census Returns for 1871.

William Carter and his family appear to have moved from The Esplanade
by 1884 and in the Population Census Returns for 1891 they are living in
a property called Tilsmore, at Heathfield, East Sussex. William is now 56
years old, and is described as a retired builder and contractor. The rest of
the household consists of his wife Harriett, aged 57; their son and
daughter; one servant; and six visitors. In the Returns for 1911 they are
still living at that property, He is now 76 and described as a retired
builder. The rest of the household comprises his wife, Harriett aged 77;
their grandson, Thomas, aged 23; and a Miss Godens, aged 24 and
described as a boarder / teacher.

Tilsmore was built between 1875/8 and 1899, on Mill Lane, Heathfield,
on or near the site of a windmill, but was later re-named Holdenhurst.
The original house is now supported accommodation known as
Holdenhurst, Mill Lane, Heathfield, TN 21 0TD. It is possible that the
house was built by William Carter in about 1885-90.

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The dwelling on Mill
Lane, Heathfield,
formerly known as
Tilsmore and now
Holdenhurst.

-
By 1884, four of the houses in The Esplanade were occupied, but some of
them may initially have been used as holiday homes, perhaps for
seasonal occupation. The Worthing & District Directory of that year has
Guy Pigot still living at No. 2 and Mrs Evans at No. 6; Mrs Heath at No.
5; and H E Ashling at No. 8. Nos 1, 3, 4, and No. 7 are unoccupied.

In 1885, Guy Pigot, Mrs Heath and Mrs Evans are still living at Nos 2, 5
and 6 – the latter being a lodging house – whilst No. 8 is now occupied
by S Leaman and called Seafield. Nos 1, 3, 4, and 7 are still unoccupied.

In 1886, Guy Pigot, Mrs Heath and S Leaman are still living at Nos 2, 5
and 8, whilst H E Ashling is now at No. 7, with Nos 1, 3 and 4 still
unoccupied.

In 1887, Guy Pigot, Mrs Heath and S Leaman are still living at Nos 2, 5
and 8. W D Collins is now at No. 7. Nos 1, 3 and 4 are still unoccupied.

The 1888 and 1889 editions of the Worthing & District Directory both
give Nos 1-4 and 6 as all unoccupied, but have Mrs Heath at No. 5; W D
Collins at No. 7; and S Leaman at No. 8, which is still known as Seafield.

In 1890 Mrs Martin is living at No. 3; Mrs Heath at No. 5; G Bigot at No.
7, now known as Heath Lodge; and S Leaman at No. 8, Seafield. Nos 1, 2,
4 and 6 are unoccupied.

In 1891, only No. 4 is unoccupied. The other houses are occupied as


follows: No. 1, J. Langham; No. 2, Mrs Petar; No. 3, Mrs Martin; No. 5,
Mrs Heath; No. 6, Miss Woodruff; No. 7, Mr Collins; and No. 8, G Bigot,
as Heath Lodge.

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As a result of extensive searches through the Worthing Population
Census Returns for 1891 it has been possible to identify eight relevant
entries (206–211) in Brighton Road under Broadwater, East Worthing,
and these clearly relate to Nos 8-1, The Esplanade, taken by the
enumerator in that order, although the actual addresses are not recorded.

Entry 206 – presumed to have been for No. 8 – has Maria Bigot, aged 52,
and a nurse born in France, living with her sons, both born in France,
Felix, aged 32, living on his own means, and George, aged 21, a painter;
Matilde Cieteu, aged 61 and a widow from France, working as a general
servant; and Albert Samper, aged 19 and from Switzerland, working as a
manservant.

There was then a house, presumed to have been No. 7, which was
unoccupied.

Entry 207 – presumed to have been for No. 6 – has Blanche Skipworth,
aged 25 and the governess of a private school, living with two domestic
nurses Emma Gilbert, aged 27, and Lizzie Harris, aged 20; Winifred
Woodruff, aged 9 and the daughter of R Woodruff, who is described as a
scholar; three other scholars who are the sons of R Woodruff – John,
aged 7, Charles, aged 5 and George, aged 4; Dorothy, aged 2, another
daughter of R Woodruff; and Stanley, aged 1, another son of R Woodruff.

Extract from the Worthing Population Census Returns for 1891.

Entry 208 – presumed to have been for No. 5 – has Alfred Heath, aged
50 and a commercial jeweller from Stepney, East London, living with his
wife, Kate aged 40 from Kensington; three daughters – Edith, aged 17,
Amy, aged 13, and Isabel, aged 3; and four sons – Sydney, aged 10,
Rowland, aged 7, Philip, aged 5, and Douglas, aged 1 month. The older
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three children had been born in Poplar, East London; the fourth was
born in Worthing; the fifth in Poplar; and the last two in Worthing.
There was then a house, presumed to have been No. 4, which was
unoccupied.

Extract from the Worthing Population Census Returns for 1891.

Extract from the Worthing Population Census Returns for 1891.

Entry 209 – presumed to have been for No. 3 – has Albert Martin, aged
59 and living on his own means, with his wife, Jane, aged 48; four
daughters – Jane aged 18, Ada aged 16, Edith aged 15, and Julia aged 12;
three sons – Albert aged 13, Archibald aged 10, and Reginald aged 8;
Emily Gilbert, aged 28, a private school governess; Frances Barber, aged
56, a cook; two nursemaids – Jessie Gaywood, aged 28, and Eleanor
Gaywood, aged 21; and Edith Gaston, aged 16, an under nursemaid.

Entry 210 – presumed to have been for No. 2 – has Fanny Petar, aged 53
and living on her own means, with her sister, Selina Petar, aged 45; Mary
Whatley, aged 40, a domestic nurse; and Mary Allen, aged 17, a general
servant.

Entry 211 – presumed to have been for No. 1 – has Mary Langham, aged
66 and living on her own means, with Mary Smith, aged 48, a ladies’
maid; and Sarah Clarke, aged 47, a general servant.

In 1892, all the properties are occupied mostly as in the previous edition,
except that No. 3 is occupied by J Martin and No. 4 by Revd J Bennett.

In the 1893 edition of the Worthing & District Directory no occupiers are
given for Nos.1-3 and 6-7, possibly because they were holiday homes, but
No. 4 is still occupied by Revd J Bennett as St George’s, and a Miss Lord
is given as the occupier of No. 5.

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An 1894 edition of the Worthing & District Directory has not been
identified.

In 1895, No. 1 is occupied by a Young Ladies’ School run by Miss Coulson


and Miss Southerwood; Nos 2-4 are unoccupied; No. 5 is still occupied by
Miss F Lord; No. 6 by E G Painter; No. 7 by J P Collins, solicitor, as
Earlsmere; and No. 8 by Mrs Heath.

In the 1896 edition of the Worthing & District Directory No. 1 is still a
Young Ladies School; Nos 2 and 3 are unoccupied; No. 4 is known as St
George’s; No. 5 is recorded for the first time as The Haven; and Nos 6-8
are occupied, as in 1895.

All eight houses are shown on the second edition of the Ordnance Survey
twenty five-inch plan published in 1898.

Extract from the 1898 edition of the


Ordnance Survey plan, with the
location of No. 5, The Esplanade
identified (arrowed). Note the ‘wall
letter box ‘(L.B.) at the corner of
Brighton Road and The Esplanade
referred to in 1891.
Not reproduced to original scale.

No. 5 was again referred to as The Haven in the editions of Worthing &
District Directory for 1897, 1898, 1899, and 1900. In the latter two years
it was occupied by C H R Hallett.

The Worthing Population Census Returns for 1901 include entries (142-
149) for all eight houses in The Esplanade, but in the rather curious
sequence of 5-8 and then 4-1, suggesting that the enumerator proceeded
south along the street known as The Esplanade and then east along the
south sides of the properties fronting Brighton Road.

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Extract from the Worthing Population Census Returns for 1901 for Nos 5-8 The
Esplanade.

No. 5 is occupied by Charles Hallett, aged 40 and a cycle agent, living


with his wife, Charlotte aged 39; two daughters – Florence aged 17 and
another aged 11; and three sons – William, aged 16, and others aged 14
and 13.

Extract from the Worthing Population Census Returns for 1901 for Nos 4-1 The
Esplanade.

All eight houses are shown on the third edition of the Ordnance Survey
twenty five-inch plan published in 1912.

Extract from the 1912


edition Ordnance Survey
plan, with the location of
No. 5, The Esplanade
identified (arrowed).
Not reproduced to
original scale.

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The properties can then be traced through the directories and the 1911
Census Returns until the 1920-21 edition of the Worthing & District
Directory (pages 60-61) which included all eight houses numbered 1-8,
with a Mrs E H Whitfield at No. 5.

However, the properties in Brighton Road had evidently been re-


numbered shortly after this, as – while the 1921-1922 edition of the
Worthing & District Directory (page 64) includes Nos 5-8, The
Esplanade, with the occupiers as in the previous edition – Nos 1-4 have
been re-numbered Nos 102-96, Brighton Road, with No. 102, previously
No. 1 and occupied by Mrs Hughes, now occupied by Miss Fisher and
Mrs Hughes; No. 100, previously No. 2, still occupied by Col. C F Hallett,
now as Pyrford; No. 98, previously No. 3, still occupied by John Hodges
Hart, as St Dunstans; and No. 96, previously No. 4 and occupied by Mrs
Capon as St George’s, now Hadleigh House School (Boys Preparatory)
and Leonard B Baird.

All eight houses are shown on a further edition of the Ordnance Survey
twenty five-inch plan published in 1932.

Extract from the 1932


edition Ordnance Survey
plan, with the location of
No. 5, The Esplanade
identified (arrowed).
Not reproduced to
original scale.

By 1952 the properties in Brighton Road had been re-numbered again, as


Nos 108-102 and are recorded as such on the 1954 Ordnance Survey
1:1250 plan, surveyed in 1952, whilst Nos 5-8 The Esplanade retain their
original numbering (Sheet No. TQ 1502 NE).

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Extract from the Ordnance
Survey plan of 1952. Not
reproduced to original scale.

As regards the date when the houses of The Esplanade were demolished,
Antony Edmonds notes, in an article published in the Worthing Herald
in October 2012, that Kelly’s Directory of 1964 is the last to list the four
semi-detached houses, whose addresses by then were 102-108 Brighton
Road, and suggests that they must have ceased to exist about 1965. He
adds that, although Esplanade Court makes its first appearance in 1972,
the Esplanade Hotel – which had eventually occupied all four houses in
the west-facing terrace – puzzlingly still features in Kelly’s as late as 1974.
He suggests that the most likely explanation is that the directory’s
compilers simply neglected to remove the entry for the hotel.

It would therefore seem likely that the eight Esplanade houses were
demolished in the mid-1960s.

Esplanade Court. Extract


from the Ordnance Survey
plan of 1968. Not reproduced
to original scale.

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Speculative Reconstruction

The following (provisional) attempt to determine the layout of the now


demolished terraced properties known as Nos 5-8, The Esplanade – and
particularly No. 5, where Oscar Wilde wrote the first draft of The
Importance of Being Earnest – was prepared for the Worthing World of
Words Oscar Wilde Festival, which was scheduled for 2016 but did not in
the event take place.

The eight houses comprising The Esplanade seem to have been built
shortly after 1880, possibly by William Carter, and first appear in the
Worthing Population Census Returns for 1881 under that name (see
above) and on the Ordnance Survey twenty five-inch plan published in
1898.

The four houses in the west-facing terrace (Nos. 5-8) were gradually
adapted as guest houses and finally as a hotel and were shown on the
Ordnance Survey plans published in 1898, 1912, 1932 and 1954. They
were demolished between 1952 and 1968 and replaced by an apartment
block called Esplanade Court and a car workshop.

The Evidence

In the absence of any readily available plans of the houses, an attempt


has been made to reconstruct the plan of the terrace of the four houses
known as Nos 5-8, The Esplanade, using the old Ordnance Survey plans
and a series of old photographs.

Using the 1898, 1912, 1932 editions of the Ordnance Survey twenty five-
inch plan, it has been possible to establish that the terrace of four houses
was about 29 metres in total length, north-south, with each house being a
little over 7 metres in length. The 1954 edition shows the terrace a little
longer, possibly resulting from a later addition, or additions, at its south
end. The main part of the terrace was about 9 metres deep, but the house
at the north end (No. 5) extended to a depth of about 14 metres at the
rear.

Amongst the various photographs of the former terrace which have been
used for this reconstruction, there are some good views of the west front,
both from the south-west and from the north-west.

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Nos 5-8 The Esplanade from the south-west in the 1890s, perhaps shortly after
construction (above left); and in about 1900 (above right).

The Esplanade, from the south-west in about 1900 (above left) and from the north-
west in about 1930 (above right). Note that the four semi-detached houses on
Brighton Road have been airbrushed out of the first photograph.

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Nos 5-8, The Esplanade in the 1950s, by now partly or wholly the Esplanade Hotel.

Two photographs taken from the south-east are of particular use in


determining the form of the backs of the properties. These comprise an
aerial view and a ground view. Both include Nos 1-4, The Esplanade to
the right of the rear of Nos 5-8.

Nos 1-8 The Esplanade, from the south-east.

One difficulty with the reconstruction has been establishing the form of
the north and east sides of No. 5, since the only photograph with any
degree of detail is one taken at an oblique angle to the house, looking east
along Brighton Road. The image has been foreshortened by the camera
so that the detail on No. 4 is partially confused with that on No. 5, to the
extent that a dormer window appears to have existed on the roof of No. 5,
but it is in a form alien to Nos 5-8 but common on Nos 1-4.
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Nos 1-4 and No. 5, The
Esplanade, looking east
along Brighton Road.

Reconstruction of Nos 5-8

All four houses were of four storeys. The ground and first floors of Nos 5,
6 and 7 had large two-storey bay windows on the street frontage, whilst
No. 8 had both a two-storey bay window surmounted by a turret at the
south end and a two-storey bay window on the east elevation. All these
features were designed to provide views of the sea to the south, the bay
windows having balconies accessible from adjoining bedrooms on their
flat roofs and the turret. The turret comprised a two-storey bay window;
an additional covered viewing balcony at first floor level; a series of
viewing windows at second floor level in the first stage of the turret; and
a tiny dormer-type window in the turret at attic floor level.

The second and attic floor levels were contained in a form of mansard or
double-slope roof which was hipped at either end of the terrace.

The terrace had a number of chimney stacks, all to a similar design and
containing a varying number of flues – three on the west elevation; one
on the west slope of the roof near its southern end; and five on or close to
the east elevation.

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The reconstructions of the details on the external elevations are probably
fairly reliable, but the interior layouts are speculative and based partly on
intuition and partly on the positions of chimney stacks and external
doors and windows. The positions and extents of staircases are
approximate, giving indications of possible ceiling heights and floor
levels. The wall and partition thicknesses are rough estimations of what
may have applied and could be clarified with a little research of roughly
contemporary buildings and construction methods in the locality. The
internal door positions and swings indicate roughly where they may have
been located.

In the following descriptions of each floor level, that for No. 5 is given
first and then there are some comments on the other three houses in the
terrace.

Ground Floor

The photographs provide a very clear view of the façade of the terrace
facing the street and part of the return at its north end on Brighton Road,
as well as the south and east elevations of Nos 6-8.

Speculative ground floor plans of Nos 5-8 The Esplanade


Scale 1:200.

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No. 5 was entered at its south-west corner by a door alongside which
was a sash window – both protected under a canopy extending between
the two adjacent bay windows. These may have given access and light to
an entrance hall and a passage. I have suggested that this passage was up
to about 2 metres wide, extending to the rear of the main part of the
house, which is likely to have contained the main staircase to first floor
level on its south side.

I have shown the entrance hall in front of the stairs as about 3 metres
long, in order to allow for a reasonable space and for a small room above
it at first floor level. It may have been shorter, but not by a great deal
since it had to allow for head clearance above the lower – perhaps five –
treads of the stairs beneath the room above. On the staircase I have
allowed sufficient stairs to give a first floor landing at about 3.2 metres
(10ft 6ins) with a ground floor ceiling at about 3 metres (9ft 10ins).

The two sash windows in the north elevation suggest that the main part
of the house was arranged as two rooms, accessed from the passage, that
on the street frontage, possibly the main sitting room, also being lit by
the large bay with sash windows and heated by a fireplace. This appears,
unusually but a common feature in all four houses, to have been located
in or near the corner of the room.

The room behind this, possibly a dining room, was lit only by the window
on its north side and may have been heated from a fireplace on its east
side. Antony has suggested that the dining room may have been at the
front of the house, with a sitting room above at first floor level, although
this would have limited the number of bedrooms in the house.

The extension at the rear, not present on the other three houses, could be
accessed from outside at its north-east corner and was lit by a window on
its north side. It may have had a fireplace, or perhaps a recess and flue
for a cooking range or stove, on its west side, above which the chimney
stack appears to have served at least three flues. There is also likely to
have been a window or windows on its south side. The extension was
probably also accessed from the end of the passage in the main part of
the house and may have been subdivided internally to provide a kitchen
and other service rooms.

An external chimney stack on the party wall with No. 6, towards the rear
of the properties, probably served a fireplace in No. 6.

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No. 6 appears to have been almost identical to No. 5, albeit without the
rear extension. It may instead have had two additional rooms on its east
side. The photograph from the south-east indicates that No. 6 had a
small, lancet-type window and probably a door with over-light in its east
elevation. This suggests a rear access, possibly to a space otherwise
poorly lit. The photograph also shows a larger window lighting the
second room.

These were most likely a dining room to the north, measuring about 4
metres by 3.25 metres and with a fireplace at its north end; and a kitchen
to the south, measuring about 3 metres by 2.5 metres and with a recess
for a cooking range or stove at its south end. The latter would have been
partially beneath the staircase and landing above, in which case it may
have had a partially lowered ceiling. Alternatively, the staircase may have
commenced a little further to the west, as also suggested for No.5.

No. 7 was probably a mirror image of No. 6, although – on the two


photographs from the south-east – the east elevation is masked by
vegetation and a glazed lean-to addition. The chimney stack on the party
wall with No. 8, towards the rear of the two properties, possibly served a
fireplace in the rear room.

No. 8 was probably similar to No. 7 at its north end, but adapted at its
south end and on its east side to accommodate the two bay windows. The
east elevation is masked by vegetation and a lean-to extension on the two
photographs from the south-east. However to the north of the bay
window it probably contained a door and a small lancet-type window like
the houses to the north. It probably also contained a principal living
room on the west side, heated by a fireplace at its north end and lit by the
bay window on its south side, with a further window in its west side. To
the rear was probably a dining room, heated by a fireplace in its south-
east corner and lit by the bay window on its east side. A small room,
possibly a kitchen, on the east side measured about 3 metres by 2.5
metres. This kitchen may have had a recess for a cooking range or stove
at its north end, and a small lancet-type window and an external door on
its east side.

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First Floor

The photographs also provide a very clear view of the façade of the
terrace facing the street and part of the return at its north end on
Brighton Road, as well as the south and east elevations of Nos 6-8.

Speculative first floor plan of Nos 5-8 The Esplanade.


Scale 1:200.

No. 5 was accessed from a landing at the top of the stairs, the proposed
arrangement of which allows for a first floor ceiling at about 2.6 metres
(8ft 7ins) and a second floor at about 2.8 metres (9ft 3ins).

The arrangement of windows on the north and west sides suggests a


similar arrangement of spaces to that on the ground floor, except that the
entrance hall was possibly replaced by a small room, perhaps measuring
about 3 metres by 2 metres, lit by a pair of sash windows on its west side.

The main room on the street frontage was lit by the sash window on its
north side and the large bay with sash windows on the west side, and
heated by a fireplace in or near the north-west corner. The room behind
it was lit by the sash window in the north elevation and may have been
heated by a fireplace on the east side.

The extension at the rear, not present on the other three houses, was lit
by a window on its north side and, since it faced south and the sea, it is
also likely to have contained a window or windows in the south elevation.

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No. 6 was probably similar in form to No. 5 but without the extension at
the rear.

The partition forming the north side of the landing, as shown, would
have partially overlapped with the window in the east elevation, but this
could be avoided with a slight adjustment in the position of the partition.

The room on the west front was lit by the bay window and heated by a
fireplace in the north-west corner and alongside it, to the south, there
was probably a small room lit by a pair of sash windows on its west side.

The room to the rear was lit by a window on its east side and had a
chimney breast on its north side.

The chimney stack on the party wall with No. 7, towards the rear of the
two properties and probably serving only the ground floor kitchens,
appears to have impinged on the stairs and it is difficult to envisage an
arrangement by which this could have been avoided.

No. 7 was probably a mirror image of No. 6, with the chimney stack on
the party wall with No. 8, towards the rear of the two properties, possibly
serving a fireplace in the rear room.

No. 8 was probably similar to No. 7 at its north end, but adapted at its
south end and on its east side to accommodate the two bay windows.

The room on its west side was lit by the bay window on its south side and
heated by a fireplace at its north end. It probably had a glazed door on its
south side giving access to the covered balcony, which extended around
the outside of the bay window giving views covering an angle of about
270 degrees.

The room on its east side was lit by the bay window on its east side and
heated by a fireplace at its south end. It may have also have had a small
window between the chimney stack and bay window on its south
elevation, like that visible on a photograph at second floor level – and
also a glazed door on its south side giving a second access to the covered
balcony.

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Second Floor

The photographs also provide a very clear view of the façade of the
terrace facing the street and part of the return at its north end on
Brighton Road, as well as the south and east elevations of Nos 6-8 and a
distant, high view of the east side of No. 5.

No. 5 was accessed from a landing at the top of the stairs, the proposed
arrangement of which allows for a second floor ceiling at about 2.4
metres (7ft 11ins) and an attic floor at about 2.6 metres (8ft 7ins).

The internal layout was probably similar to that at first floor level, but
the rooms were contained in the first stage of the Mansard roof and so
they would have been slightly smaller.

All the openings appear to have been provided with glazed French doors,
presumed to have been inwardly opening. Those over the bay windows
gave access to relatively large, flat roof balconies and the remainder to
small balconies – all the balconies being enclosed by wooden
balustrades.

5 Fireplace?
6 7 8

Speculative second floor plan of Nos 5-8 The Esplanade.


Scale 1:200.
.
The room on the west frontage was lit by the glazed doors on the north
and west sides; the room to the rear was lit by the glazed doors on its
north side; and, what was possibly, a small room above the entrance hall
was lit by the glazed doors on its west side.
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The landing and stairs may have been lit by a small window in the east
elevation.

The room in the extension at the rear was also lit from the glazed doors
in its north side, but here the wooden balustrade appears, on the
photograph, to have extended as far as the north-east corner of the
house. Since it faced south and the sea, the room is also likely to have
contained a window or windows in the south elevation, perhaps similar
to that in the north elevation.

It seems unlikely that the rooms at this level were heated, but the wall
between the rear room and that in the extension contained the chimney
stack serving fireplaces at ground and at first floor levels.

No. 6 was similar to No. 5, but without the rear extension.

The large room on the west front and the small room to the south of it
were both lit by the glazed French doors on the west side. The room to
the rear and the landing were lit both by glazed French doors with small
balconies and wooden balustrades.

The partition forming the north side of the landing, as shown, would
have partially overlapped with the window in the east elevation, but this
could be avoided with a slight adjustment in the position of the partition.

The chimney stack on the party wall with No. 7, towards the rear of the
two properties and probably serving only the ground floor kitchens,
appears to have impinged on the stairs and it is difficult to envisage an
arrangement by which this could have been avoided.

No. 7 was a mirror image of No. 6.

The chimney stack on the party wall with No. 6, towards the rear of the
two properties and probably serving only the ground floor kitchens,
appears to have impinged on the stairs and it is difficult to envisage an
arrangement by which this could have been avoided.

The room to the rear and the landing were lit both by glazed French
doors with small balconies and wooden balustrades. The room to the rear
had a chimney breast on its south side.

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No. 8 was probably similar to No. 7 at its north end, but adapted on its
east side and at its south end to accommodate the balcony over the bay
windows and the room forming the first stage of the turret.

The room on its west side was lit by six sash windows in the lower stage
of the turret providing views of about 135 degrees. On its north side it
contained the chimney stack serving fireplaces at a lower level and
possibly another here.

The room to the rear had a window or glazed doors on its south and east
sides side, both possibly with a small balcony and balustrade beyond, as
well as the glazed French doors leading out onto the balcony over the bay
on the east side.

Attic Floor

The photographs also provide a very clear view of the façade of the
terrace facing the street as well as the south and east elevations of Nos 6-
8 and a distant, high – but not very clear – view of the east side of No. 5.
However, the return at its north end on Brighton Road has been
foreshortened in the one photograph in which it appears and the roof
level is not discernable.

Speculative attic floor plan of Nos 5-8 The Esplanade.


Scale 1:200.

Because the rooms were contained in the upper part of the Mansard roof,
they would have been considerably smaller than those at lower levels and
were probably designed as servant accommodation.

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No. 5 may have contained a landing and stairs along with two small
rooms, both lit by gabled dormer windows, one on either side of the roof,
together with one small unlit storage room or cupboard on the west side.

Neither of the rooms at this level appear to have been heated.

No evidence has been found to indicate either that the extension on the
east side ever contained attic rooms or for the form of its roof. The latter is
most likely to have been in the form of a secondary gable forming the top
section of the Mansard roof, terminating at its east end in a full hip,
although this is not visible in the aerial photograph taken from the south-
east. In this case the ridge would have been lower than that over the main
part of the terrace and probably of insufficient height to have contained
rooms.

No. 6 may have had a similar layout to No. 5.

No. 7 was probably a mirror image of No. 6.

No. 8 was probably similar to No. 7 at its north end and only lit by a
dormer window in the east side. It was adapted at its south end to
include the upper level of the turret, which contained one dormer-type
sash window on its south side.

Further Research

Additional research may throw light on the precise date of the


construction of the terrace; the name of the architect, if there was one;
and original design drawings.

Worthing Library and Worthing Museum would be a useful starting


point for any such research.

The local newspapers of the time – available at the library – may be


worthy of a search to establish the date of their construction.

The photographs indicate a very eccentric architect design and it would


be worthwhile checking to see if any of the original designs exist,
although it may have been a one-off scheme by the builder – possibly
William Carter.

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There is a possibility that the design was of wider interest, in which case a
visit to the Royal Institute of British Architects at 66 Portland Place,
London W1B 1AD Tel 020 7580 5533 may be worthwhile – it is open to
the public (see website).

The RIBA holds a very large collection of drawings, whilst others are held
at the Victoria and Albert Museum. They also hold bound copies of two
magazines – The Builder, from 1842 onwards, and The Building News,
from 1857 onwards. Since we already have a tight date bracket for
construction, it would be possible to browse these to see if The Esplanade
was mentioned – articles often included drawings.

The Historic England archive holds two aerial photographs of The


Esplanade, taken in 1924 and 1927, but they are distant views and have
not been helpful in this speculative reconstruction.

The terrace was shown on the Ordnance Survey plan of 1952 but had
been replaced by 1968, so the date of 1974 given by some writers for
demolition seems incorrect. It may be worth looking at the local
newspapers for the period 1952-1968 to see if there is any mention.

The local planning authority (Worthing Borough Council) may hold


copies of planning applications going back that far, or they may know
where they are now held.

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