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During the 1940s, 24 or 25 Montpelier Crescent housed Montpelier College with the first head a Dr. Mason who retired about 1947 and was replaced by a Captain Costello who then moved the school to Danny Hurstpierpoint.

By Kenneth Ross (29/01/2007)

I was a pupil at Montpelier College from 1939 to 1942 and my brother Guy was there before me. Dr Mason was a Christian Scientist. I remember a favourite pastime was climbing the fence into the (forbidden to the boys) small park/gardens enclosed by the Crescent. I don't remember getting up to any mischief in the gardens - the exciting thing was to be in forbidden territory - and be chased by the gardeners.

By Robin Manning (14/09/2007)

I was a pupil at Montpelier College in 1948. I was 9 years old. I was taught in a rectangular brick building at the back of the playground, but occasionally had Algebra lessons with the 'big boys' in the main school. The uniform was a royal blue blazer and a blue and yellow tie. I lived in Hangleton (Hove) and travelled by bus to Seven Dials. The buses had outside staircases and an ungloved hand could freeze to the handrail in the winter! Near the bus stop coming home was a baker's shop. They sold some form of off-ration stodgy chocolate flavoured 'cakes ' - possibly left over cake scraps. It was at this shop that on the day bread came off ration (July 25th 1948), I bought 1/2d or 1d worth of bridge rolls - about 6 I think - and ate them on the bus with no butter or jam. I left when the school moved to Hurstpierpoint, and was never sure whether it became the famous Hurstpierpoint College. From Kevin's information I now know that it moved to Danny House in Hurstpierpoint which was famous for having LLoyd George to stay frequently during the First World War. It closed in 1950 according to a web item.

By Alan Pendlington (21/03/2008)

Just wanted to pick up on the closing reference in the last comment that - Danny House closed in 1950. It stayed open, at least as a school - Wolstonbury College, for a few years longer. I know that for sure, as I was a boarder there for a few years. Memories of those times are a little hazy, but I remember that the headmaster was Mr. Harris and he had a son called, David. I also recall that my dormitory was called Raleigh. In fact, as I write a few more memories are coming back, like that of a group of us boys going to the cinema in the Head's car - some in the car and some in the boot! I certainly remember seeing the film "The Robe" while at school at Wolstonnbury College. The Robe was the first Cinemascope film. The school moved to Horsham where it became St. John's college, if memory serves me right. I also remember the exceptional kindness and generosity of a lady called Mrs De Brune, who lived in the "The Red House" in Hurstpierpoint, where I once stayed as a guest, and was treated like a young prince.

By Danny Doyle (05/10/2008)

Just found this site after Googling on Montpelier Villas, having discovered that our ancestors used to live there. My ggg grandfather Captain Frederick Marryat, sea captain and author of many books, including the well known 'Children of the New Forest' was living in Montpelier Villas from 1833-1834 with his family. So theirs was built before 1845 (see above). I discovered this in David Hannay's book, 'The Life of Frederick Marryat', written in 1889. His ninth child, Florence, was my gg grandmother and she also became a well known authoress and actress. She was born on June 9, 1833 in Brighton, so presumably at the Villas too. She was christened on August 21st, 1833 at St Nicholas, Brighton. Strangely enough, Florence had the nickname 'Bluebell' and my cousin has a portrait painted of her in a bluebell wood, so perhaps the inspiration came from the woods that are mentiioned in the description above. Apparently, while he was living at the Villas in 1834, Frederick wrote three of his books: 'Jacob Faithful', 'Mr. Midshipman Easy' and 'Japhet in Search of a Father'. Unfortunately David Hannay's book doesn't say which of the villas he actually lived in, but thought people might be interested to know that they had been there. Montpelier rang a bell with me anyway, as we used to hang out in the Starlight Rooms back in the early 60's (lived in Burgess Hill then), so had this mad thought that perhaps we had unknowingly been dancing in the basement of their house!

By Simone Hull (24/01/2010)

The comments of old Montpelians encouraged me to contribute to this page and I am delighted to have this opportunity to talk about the old school which was set in the wonderful surroundings of Montpelier Crescent. My brother, Geoffrey Strong, and myself were pupils at Montpelier College located at 25 Montpelier Crescent, Brighton from 1943 until early 1946. My lasting memories are of the Principal, Dr. William E. Mason. He was a thorough gentleman of undoubted integrity and his physical and intellectual presence set a fine example to his pupils. At the time he was about 57 years of age. A picture of him appears in the Montpelier College Newsletter of December 1945 together with details of his teaching career. He retired in December 1945 and on that occasion a Valedictory address was presented by R Core. I got to know the Principal quite well because he taught me in Class 3. Although he was a Christian Scientist the school was undenominational. The College was founded in 1924 as a boarding and day school for boys. The prospectus applicable for the period 1924-1945 mentions that the Principal received boys between six and sixteen who were prepared for various examinations including matriculation.
There was a well-equipped gymnasium in the district which was used as part of the curriculum. Pupils were encouraged to become proficient in organized games and athletics. During our time at the school we played cricket and football on grounds at Hangleton, Hove. Mr Jephson was our football coach reputed to be a former player of the Brighton and Hove Albion. School colours were royal blue and gold and I still have my football shirt, tie and scarf. Mrs Mason was in effect matron. The football team was known as the Wasps. The last sports day under the headship of Dr Mason was held at Hangleton on 11th July 1945.
War memories include the excitement at the school on learning that Allied troops had landed in France in the early hours of Tuesday 6th June 1944. It was difficult to concentrate on lessons that day. A few days later on 14th June while at lessons we heard an unusual and terrifying noise which we learnt later was a pilotless plane (doodle bug or V1) which had passed over the school. I recollect that a Rev. Morgan who taught class 2 was also an Air Raid Warden at an ARP/Civil Defence post located in the Crescent. I also recall that a Miss Channel taught the Junior class. Some names remembered: K. Anthony, Peter Bagguley, R. Barber, J.H. Boswall, Carlsberg, Calo, R. Core, M. Furse, M. Gunn, Hewittson, Jackson, J.S. Leech, Lewis, Geoffrey Philips, K. Simmons, G. Smith, David Starley, R. Stewart, Treacher, Watson, Wilkinson, Winstone.
Captain R. Costello, late of the Canadian Army, took over the school in September 1945 with 111 boys on the register. He immediately commenced a programme of modernization. It would seem that the school moved to Danny Park sometime in 1948 and there is evidence to suggest that it flourished until its abrupt closure in the early part of 1950. After a brief respite the school re-opened as Wolstonbury under the headship of Major Danby-Hunter, BSc. The papers in my possession regarding the school are to be deposited with either the Curator of the Brighton Museum or the East Sussex Record office.

By David Stewart Strong (28/06/2012)

I have just read about Montpelier Road; we lived in a flat at 60 Montpelier Rd, from 1969 till 1971. The Reverend Robertson lived in that house from 1850 to 1853. I believe that Robertson Rd was named after him. Strangly we moved from 60 Montpelier Rd when we bought a house in Robertson Rd - also no.60.

By F.Gething. (16/03/2013)

Just a correction on the Park Royal/ Belvedere section. The Park Royal soldiered on as an underused hotel until around 1970, when it was finally sold off,  and its last residential guests ejected, to become a nightclub called the Montpelier Rooms. It did not last long, being closed down in 1972, but the building was far too big and old for its purpose. I remember watching it finally being demolished sometime early in 1973- the flats built immediately after. I knew every nook and corner of that spooky old hotel intimately. As a child its grounds were my playground, and I think I wept when it finally went. It was probably the first time I had known a strong feeling of loss. Unfortunately photographs of the place seem as rare as hens' teeth.

By Mark Thompson (21/07/2014)

I concur with Danny Doyle (Hello!)  about association between Danny and Wolstonbury College. I was a boarder there in early 50s when the Harris's ran the school. I was also in the dormitory "Raleigh" situated on top floor south wing. I recall climbing Wolstonbury Hill and going to the cinema in Hassocks? I moved with other boarders to Horsham where it became St Johns College.  

By Graham Burton (10/01/2015)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Coney Hill Jazz Club which occupied the basement of the Park Royal Hotel on Friday nights in the 50s. There must be others who, like me, spent many hours listening to Les Woods' great jazz.

By Raymond Ede (14/05/2015)

I was at this school from 1949 to 1952. The boys I knew there were Gardener, Hensler, Law, Day, Smith and a boy in my dormitory who came from Bahrein who's family looked after BOAC. (British Air Ways) I can't remember his name but I will update later. There were a lot of Persions there names of Fuladgar, Shahim, Cyrus.

If Micheal Mitchell is reading this, give him my regards:)

By Arthur Green (01/04/2016)

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