Welcome To The Rottingdean Preservation Society

Who are We?
DSC09253We 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.

Image 2What 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!

Latest News

RPS videoProduced by John Commin and Michael Smith
The Society has recently uncovered a video about Rottingdean made 20 years ago by local historian, Michael Smith, who was a key member involved in setting up the Rottingdean Museum when it was handed over to the Preservation Society by Brighton Council in the early 1990s. There is some fascinating footage from the past, but perhaps the interesting thing is to see how much the village has moved on in the last twenty years.

You can see the full video on our YouTube Channel

Cinema By the Sea
GENEVIEVE UK QUADCinema By the Sea is a new exhibition opening 19th December 2015 at The Grange Art Gallery & Museum, Rottingdean, East Sussex celebrating the Golden and Silver Age of British film making and its many associations with the Sussex Coast, spotlighting classic films including Brighton Rock, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Genevieve, Oh! What a Lovely War, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Chalk Garden, and National Velvet, along with the many associated film stars, writers, directors, designers and artists who’s significant contributions have left an indelible mark on the British film industry including Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Streisand, Max Miller, Anna Neagle, Herbert Wilcox, Dora Bryan, Terence Rattigan, Enid Bagnold, Cecil Beaton, Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Taylor, Rowland Emett and many more…

The exhibition will focus on how Sussex, Brighton particularly so, 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 which director Henry Cornelius caught on celluloid by filming the action around the actual 1952 run, all shot in glorious Technicolor; Richard Attenborough’s celebrated Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) was almost entirely filmed on Brighton’s West Pier, and 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 Hollywood superstar Barbra Streisand play a seductive 18th century courtesan singing and dancing through the magnificent rooms of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion; 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.”

Cinema By the Sea’ opens 19th December 2015 and will run until Summer 2017

For more information on ‘Cinema By the Sea’ please refer to the Museum page

Grange Garden Awards
best-charity in-bloomholding-certificateSue Backhouse, Glenda Vincent and the Volunteers were celebrating an unexpected windfall when they scooped an armful of prizes at the Brighton In Bloom Competition. These included the Best Charity Community Garden and The Ed Furey Cup for Community Involvement as well as the Silver Gilt Award in the Heritage Garden section of the SE and South In Bloom competition. This was all the more unexpected as it was the first time that we have entered the Grange Garden in this competition since all the repairs were carried out to the Flint Walls in 2012.

This is a great tribute to the hard work of all those who give up their time to make this Gertrude Jekyll garden a place for visitors of the 21st Century to enjoy.

Annual General Meeting
October 22nd 2015
Over thirty members attended the AGM in the Whiteway Centre, where the activities of the Society were presented by the Chairman, Chris Davidson and Members of the Management Committee. Highlights included the continuing success of the Gallery and the Museum with over 7000 visitors this year (up to October), the recent Awards to the Grange Gardens, and the extension of the Lease on The Grange with Brighton Council until 2015. The Chairman also gave details of the plans for 2016 which include joint funding for new Heritage lighting in the Village, and a complete overhaul of the Archive, undertaken by our new archivist Mike Laslett. He also paid tribute to Amanda Davidson’s very successful tenure as Gallery Organiser over the last 3 years and to Maggie Loveridge who sadly died earlier this year but made a great start to the review of the Archive. The year’s Annual Accounts for the Society were unanimously approved.
Click the links for the full report and the Chairmans presentation

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


IMG_3901The 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.

IMG_3920IMG_3923During the summer of 2015 the Rottingdean Preservation Society was delighted to welcome a party of 25 from the Preservation Society of Old Hastings to Rottingdean for a day-long visit. The group enjoyed guided visits to the Museum with curator Marcus Bagshaw; the village with local guide Rob Upward; the Kipling Gardens with Valerie Whittle, a long-time ‘friend’ of the Kipling Gardens; and of course, The Rottingdean Windmill with Chairman of the Rottingdean Preservation Society Chris Davidson. Although Hastings is only 30 miles away, many had never visited Rottingdean before, and were delighted that there was so much to see, and vowed to return. The Rottingdean Preservation Society is planning a visit to Hastings in 2016 which will be hosted by the Society of Old Hastings in return.

New Look at The Grange
IMG_3882During the winter 2014 break the Rottingdean Preservation Society installed new lighting in both the Museum and Art Gallery, transforming the experience for visitors and artists alike. During the closure they also installed new flooring in both the Kipling Room and the North Room, transforming the overall appearance to great effect.

The Art Gallery opened in 2015 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 Local History room in the Museum reopened in early 2015 with a new exhibition on Rottingdean author and playwright Enid Bagnold. Whilst the end of 2015 sees a new exhibition opening in the North Room entitled ‘Cinema by the Sea’, a celebration of the Golden and Silver Age of British film making and its many associations with the Sussex coast.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 13.09.38Richard 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:

Rottingdean glitterati final PDF

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


IMG_3135The Grange Art Gallery & Museum played a full part in the Kipling Festival Rottingdean in 2014 with new exhibitions in both the Art Gallery and Museum. The Kipling Room in the Museum was given a complete facelift, and our Curator, Marcus Bagshaw, after considerable research managed to source a wealth of rare photographs of Kipling and his family taken during their years in Rottingdean which have never been on public view before. The new exhibition entitled ‘Rudyard Kipling – The Rottingdean Years’ , was opened by Audrey Smith, wife of the late Michael Smith, who over many years contributed so much to our knowledge of Kipling in Rottingdean. Additionally, Amanda Davidson involved local schools and artists who contributed so much to a tie-in art exhibition entitled ‘Inspired by Kipling.’

How To Find Us

See our contact page for more contact details

Current Exhibitions

The Grange Opening Times


April - October
10.30 - 4.00 mon, tues, thurs, fri, sat (closed wednesday)
Sunday: 1.15pm-4.00pm


Rottingdean Windmill Open Days 2016

The opening times for the Mill this summer are as follows :-

Sat 14th May - National Mills Weekend
Sun 15th May - National Mills Weekend
Sun 19th June
Sun 17th July
Sun 21st August
Sun 18th September

On the above dates the Mill will be open from 2.00pm/4.30pm