Who are We?
We were founded originally in 1937 as the Ratepayers Association and Preservation Society, but became a charity in 1960 with the object of preserving and improving the village, its amenities and rural surroundings.
What have we done?
RPS and its predecessors have played a pivotal role in Rottingdean life over the last century. In the 1960s we took over the responsibility for the Windmill, which had fallen into disrepair, and restored it. In 1983, we purchased the Kipling Gardens, threatened by development, and in 1993 leased the Museum at The Grange and prevented its sale by Brighton Council. All these initiatives have changed the face of the village and contribute to its attraction as a tourist destination.
What do we do now?
Our current activities continue to promote village life by maintaining the Windmill and opening it to the public, working with BHCC to improve the facilities in the Kipling Gardens, and encourage a range of Events and Exhibitions at The Grange.
How can you help?
All our activities are only possible by the generous help of volunteers, and if you would like to help, please contact us. You may be interested to give a few hours to Steward at The Grange Museum and Gallery, or to help in the Grange Garden, or have an interest in The Windmill. Do contact us to find out more, and join as a member to support our activities!
The exhibition will focus on how Brighton and the Sussex coast has featured in numerous classic cinema films that were filmed on location in an era when most films were shot on a studio backlot: Genevieve (1953) captures the thrill and spectacle of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally by filming the action around the actual 1952 run, all shot in glorious Technicolor; Oh! What A Lovely War (1969) used the rolling Sussex Downs as a mass war grave to amplify the mismanagement and waste of life seen in World War One ; On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) sees Barbra Streisand play a seductive 18th century coquette cavorting through the magnificent rooms of The Royal Pavilion in Cinemascope and stereophonic sound; Brighton Rock (1948) was much enhanced by its 8 week shoot in Brighton. So effective were the results that one contemporary reviewer declared “Brighton is now a film star.”
The Exhibition opens on Saturday 26th September and is expected to run for a year.
Local Radio Visits Rottingdean
BBC Sussex visited the village as part of their July tour of Sussex villages on the early morning Breakfast Show. There were interviews with Rob Upward about Kipling and the village, Colin Deller about the Windmill and the Society’s involvement in the upkeep, and Graham Sheppard about the forthcoming Village Fair. Listeners can hear the full interviews on the link below
The Brighton Mayor, Cllr Brian Fitch held a special reception at the Town Hall for members of the Rottingdean Preservation Society and Rottingdean Parish Council on 9th April. He praised the work that the many voluntary organisations which played such a strong part in the social cohesion of the many individual communities within the City boundaries. In response the Chairman of RPS, Chris Davidson, thanked the Mayor for the support that Council has given to our organisations and paid tribute to the many “unsung heroes”, the volunteers who bring so much to the life of villages such as Rottingdean.
HASTINGS SOCIETY VISIT
The Society were delighted to welcome a party of 25 from the Preservation Society of Old Hastings to Rottingdean for a day-long visit to our village. Although a little windy, the day was sunny and warm, and the party enjoyed guided visits to the Museum (Marcus Bagshaw), the village (Rob Upward), the Kipling Gardens (Valerie Whittle) and of course, The Windmill (Chris Davidson). Although Hastings is only 30 miles away, many had never visited the village before, were delighted that there was so much to see, and vowed to come back soon. The RPS is planning a return visit to Hastings in the Autumn for a guided tour of the old town. Our thanks to Lesley Skinner for providing such excellent refreshments in the Grange Garden to add to the success of the day.
New Look at The Grange
During the winter break this year the Society finally installed the new lighting in the Museum and Art Gallery, transforming the experience for visitors and artists alike. The old lighting had been an increasing source of frustration, but as The Grange a historic building the Society had to apply for full planning permission which took longer than we would have liked. The new lighting is museum quality, and low energy, which reduces the maintenance costs in the long term. During the closure we also opened up the windows in the North Room and provided new flooring there, transforming the overall appearance.
The Gallery opened this year with an imaginative exhibition of work from our own artists in the Whiteway Centre, and continues with an exciting and varied programme throughout the year. The Museum will shortly reopen the South (Local History) Room after a revamp following the end of the St Aubyns exhibition. The Dora Bryan exhibition still attracts in many visitors but will be replaced in the summer with a new Exhibition of “Film By The Sea”.
GLITTERATI OF ROTTINGDEAN
Richard Coates, former resident of the village, has put together a delightful and well-illustrated account of some of the famous people who have lived in Rottingdean, which he has now given to the Society. It includes the well-known, such as Burne-Jones and Kipling, and the less well-known such as William Noyes and Mary Elizabeth Dear, who were all famous in their time. He also details the cavalcade of fascinating characters who passed through the village in the first half of the 20th century. The account is well-referenced and is a must for anyone interested in local history. You can download a copy and read it here:
RPS Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the RPS will be held on Thursday 22nd October 2015, at 7.30pm, in the Main hall of the Whiteway Centre, Whiteway Lane, Rottingdean.
All members are welcome. Non-members who would like to find out more about the work of the RPS and, perhaps become members are also welcome
The Grange is playing a full part in the forthcoming Kipling Festival in the Village with new Exhibitions in both the Gallery and Museum. The Kipling Room in the Museum has had a complete facelift, and our Curator, Marcus Bagshaw, has managed to source a wealth of new photos of Kipling and his family during their years in Rottingdean which have never been on view before. The new room, opened by Audrey Smith, wife of the late Michael Smith, who contributed so much to our knowledge of Kipling in the village. And building on this tradition, Amanda Davidson has involved local schools and artists to contribute to a new ‘Inspired by Kipling’ Exhibition, so come and see what 21st century children make of Kipling’s rich heritage!
How To Find Us
See our contact page for more contact details