Bear Road

Belle Vue Cottages

By David Maplesden

 
Photo:Far left is number 11 Belle Vue Cottages

Far left is number 11 Belle Vue Cottages

Photo by Tony Mould

Windmill Farm

I grew up at 11 Bellevue Cottages, the last house on the dead end (and still unpaved) street at the top of Bear Road above the cemetery. My grandfather, George H. Hillman and my Uncle Jim had Windmill Farm; this stretched from the top of Bear Road to Bevendean. Before this my grandfather managed Bevendean Farm in the valley. He moved to Bolney when they banned the keeping of pigs on the Race Hill in 1960; the farm buildings were demolished and the council let the land to horse people.

Cottages built circa 1880s

I moved back to the house I spent my early years in with Mum & family when Uncle left. I went to Coombe Road School as did my Mum, Sylvia Hillman, who was raised in the house her father bought in 1908. The houses, we were told by Uncle Ern, were built at the same time as Brighton General Hospital (1866) for workers there, but I later researched and could not date them before the 1880s.

A close community

They were originally semi-detached with outside loo and no bathroom. There were three older and smaller cottages at the end of the street facing Bear Road that were demolished in the 1930s. My Mum remembered these, as well as a shepherd's hut built into the cemetery wall at the top of Bear Road. Growing up there was fun, but somewhat isolated with few other children on our street. Everybody knew each other on the street of only eleven houses, but we never had street parties.

This page was added on 24/07/2013.
Comments about this page

Hi David, I answered a query on these cottages a few years ago and this is essentially what I found out about them. The plans to build Belle Vue Cottages were submitted on May 18th 1880, but that does not necessarily mean that they were commenced immediately afterwards. Brighton Borough Sanatorium was built between 1881 and 1898, initially as a temporary building. This tends to imply that Belle Vue Cottages pre-dates the hospital, which was built in response to a smallpox epidemic in 1881. It had been contended that the cottages were built using leftover materials from Brighton Sanatorium but I could not shed any light on whether this was actually the case (it looks unlikely due to my earlier remarks). IMHO, there is a greater possibility that the building of the cottages was more to do with the construction of the underground reservoir, which lays behind the cottages. Directories tend to only record the existence of the cottages but not their occupants around the turn of the century. In 1917 and throughout the 1920's Nutley occupied numbers 3,4 & 6 and Hillman 10 & 11. By 1931 Nutley also occupied number 8. By the mid 1940's Hillman also occupied number 9. By 1960, numbers 6 and 10 had been relinquished to other occupants. By 1972 this had declined further, with number 11 also being relinquished. It may well have been that Nutley/Hillman were owner occupiers and the other residents were tenants, albeit I have nothing that would positively confirm this. I hope this sheds some light on the origin and occupation of the cottages. Regards, Andy

By Andy Grant (25/07/2013)

Hi Andy. The Nutley's that you speak of living at Belle View are part of my family tree - I would be interested in any information you have and can be contacted at stephenntly@hotmail.com Regards Stephen Nutley.

By Stephen Nutley (11/08/2013)

Hi Stephen, The occurrence of the Nutley family in Belle Vue Cottages was purely coincidental to the article and I regret I have no connection to, or special information about them. Nutley was not an uncommon name in Brighton, there being around a score listed in the 1920's and the ones in Belle Vue Cottages were Robert (#3), Frederick (#4) and a Mrs (#6). Regards, Andy

By Andy Grant (12/08/2013)

I did not realize the Brighton General sanatorium was built as late as that. Some people on the street thought it strange the houses were built in such an exposed location at top of hill when there was plenty of open land closer into Brighton at that time. The ownership of the street itself has been questioned but never decided, though it never belonged to the Town (now City) Council. Sylvia Hillman married Fred Maplesden of Brighton in 1953 (my parents) and some of the houses at Bellevue Cottages that were Hillman owned, were later owned by Maplesden names.  Vi Nutley lived at #3 when I was young and I don't remember her husband Bill Nutley who died earlier, but he had assembled the homes on the street owned by Nutley.  He was I think a builder by trade.  His brother and sister-in-law lived at #8 (I don't remember their first names just Mr. & Mrs. Nutley).  Vi's sister Dolly Moon lived at #1 and another brother Fred Nutley lived at #4. Bill Nutley's sister Mrs. Ford lived at number 6 and her daughter Phylis Ford remained there after she died.  Phyllis died about 2008 in a nursing home. Vi Nutley died around 2000 I think. I believe some of her relatives lived at #3 for a while after she died and sold it a few years ago. 

By David Maplesden (18/02/2014)

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