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Created by ArgusCommunities on 14/04/2010
Last updated: 20/04/10 at 13:27
The area has a population in excess of 10,000 but despite its size still manages to maintain its village atmosphere. Woodingdean today has dynamic social and religious communities of clubs, associations and organisations which also include sports and leisure facilities.
by Peter Mercer 'The Hunns Mere Pit' the story of Woodingdean and Balsdean' by Peter Mercer was published in 1993. This was followed by a further book by the same author in 2000 entitled 'Woodingdean Reflections and the Millennium'.
The actor's parents, Marelle and Professor Theodore Flynn, a respected marine biologist, lived in Woodingdean.
Flynn's parents' home in McWilliam Road is currently lived in by Sheila Hobden, widow of former Brighton Kemp Town Labour MP Dennis, who died aged 75 in 1995.
It is even named the Sea Hawk after another one of Flynn's popular movies.
Tasmania Mrs Hobden said: "The house was designed by the Flynns and was based on how their house in Tasmania looked.
"We bought it off a builder 14 years ago. He'd put up a few photographs of Errol which we've kept up in the hall.
"We do get a few people from time to time knocking on the front door asking if we knew of Errol Flynn's links to our house. It is quite fun and used to amuse Dennis that a movie star used to live here."
From the 1920s building plots were sold off and first generation shacks and houses began to appear.
In 1928, Woodingdean and Ovingdean became part of Brighton County Borough, a move which heralded a substantial increase in residential development.
The most historic building remaining in Woodingdean is the former school building in Warren Road. It was originally erected on twenty acres of Rottingdean parish by the Brighton Board of Guardians as an industrial school for poor children whom it was not considered appropriate to keep in the workhouse with adults. Known as the Warren Farm Industrial Schools, construction commenced in March 1859 to the design of parish surveyor George Maynard, and the building was completed on 1 December 1859 with accommodation for 300 children. In March 1858 a well was started, but water was not reached until 16 March 1862 by which time a depth of 1,285 feet had been reached, the deepest dug well in the world. It was only when the water supply was ready that the buildings were opened, and on 14 August 1862 seventy-seven boys and sixty-five girls marched in procession from the Dyke Road workhouse to Warren Farm. In 1878, however, the well was abandoned in favour of the corporation's piped water supply.
Deepest hand dug well in the world
Roy Grant Local Historian
One of the more unusual local sites with a claim to international fame is the Woodingdean Well. It was started in 1858 by Brighton's Guardians more as a cost cutting exercise, than as an attempt to break a world record, but it did break a record and still remains as the deepest "HAND DUG" well in the world.
The Woodingdean Well's depth into the earth was greater than the height of the Empire State Building.
by Jennifer Drury, Ovingdean and Woodingdean Editor, My Brighton and Hove website
Woodendean House, which stood in what is now Ovingdean Close, was built in the 1830s by a Mr. Lennard. By the late 1800s it was known as Woodingdean House. Notable owners include Mrs. Van der Elst, who lived there from 1929-39, 'the richest woman in Brighton' who had three Rolls Royce motor cars and fifteen servants.
Thomas Henry Sargeant of Brighton 'gent' - better known as Max Miller - owned the house from 1939-45. He 'cheekily' changed its name to Woodland Grange regardless of the fact that it certainly never was a grange.
Between 1958-60 the then owner sold off plots of the land adjoining the house for redevelopment. When he died in 1962 the rest was sold off and the house eventually demolished.
By Jennifer DruryIt is generally accepted that the name Woodingdean, (Kelly's 1890 Directory) evolved from its association with Woodendean (i.e. wooded valley) Farm which was situated in the south end of what is now Ovingdean. This farm existed from before 1714 until 1979; it is recorded on a map of 1714 as a small thatched type of farmhouse unlike Ovingdean Grange which was a large stone-type house. The last farmer to work the area was Col. Percy Filkins, son-in-law of William Cowley who had previously farmed at Ovingdean.