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A History of Burwash Place - page 2 / 3





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in Burwash Place before moving to Batemans. Col. and Mrs. Sutherland-Harris rebuilt and greatly enlarged the house and buildings c.1912, adding a large wing on either side of the house. The original stable block with a dairy, was close to the house on the north-east side. A large new block of outbuildings comprising stabling, coach house, cottage and garages was also built up the driveway to the north-east at this time.

In 1923 the house was sold to Mr. James Lacey of Coleshill near Birmingham. He added a further wing to the roadside of the house. He and his wife had two sons and a daughter who was a good tennis player, and they gave many tennis parties on the two tennis courts, and also many children’s parties. They built a ballroom for their daughter on the occasion of her 21st birthday, c1930.

During the Second World War, Burwash Place was taken over by the army and was occupied by Canadian troops.

In 1949 the house was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Pope who occupied it until 1960. Mr. Pope was an opera singer at Covent Garden and many continental opera houses, and Mrs. Pope was a pianist, Gold Medallist G.S.M. They had two children, and their daughter was a ballet dancer. During this time they ran a language school for foreign students, teaching English and other subjects. Mr. Pope converted the former dairy into a bungalow in 1959 (now Burwash Place Cottage).

In 1960 Burwash Place again came up for auction. In the sale catalogue it is described as an old Sussex Manor House comprising, on the ground floor, Entrance hall, Cloakroom, Ballroom or Music room, Study, Drawing room, Old Hall, Dining room, Sun Loggia and Garden Hammock room. The domestic offices were Butler’s Pantry, Kitchen, Larder, Utility or Playroom, Flower room, Housemaid’s Pantry and Cellarage. On the first floor were ten bedrooms and on the second floor six bedrooms. The outbuildings were a garage for five to six cars and three good storerooms and the grounds extended to one and a quarter acres.

The property was bought by Brighton Corporation as an Outdoor Pursuits centre which was administered by the educational authority. It was bought for the sum of £6000 with an additional £3000 being spent on refurbishment. The 16 bed roomed manor house accommodated 30 pupils from Brighton schools, and teacher’s courses were also planned. The boys undertook activities such as canoeing and rock climbing, and Patrick Moore of “Sky at Night” was a visitor with his telescopes.

Sir John Hunt, leader of the 1953 British Everest Expedition performed the opening ceremony of the Centre in 1961. There is a plaque on the wall in the front hall to commemorate this event.

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