Offington Park and its lodges on postcards from a century ago
The ancient parkland of Offington, north-west of Broadwater, is now entirely built over, and the great house – which will in due course be the subject of an article in our “Old Buildings” series – is long gone.
So also are the two Offington lodges, which are the main focus of the present article.
The single-storey lodge on the northern edge of the estate was located at Offington Corner, now the busy roundabout just south-east of Durrington cemetery, at the junction of the A27 and the A24.
The much-photographed two-storey eastern lodge stood at the other end of Warren Road – three-quarters of a mile south-east of the first lodge, and at the north-east corner of Broadwater Green.
Oddly, some postcard publishers seem to have thought that the location of the eastern lodge was also called Offington Corner – but I assume this is an error, since I have never otherwise seen that name used for this location.
If any Herald & Gazette readers know otherwise, I would be interested to hear from them.
Curiously, several different views produced for Walter Bros are among those that make this – apparent – mistake. This is surprising, since Walter Bros was a Worthing firm.
The eastern lodge was built by Thomas Gaisford, owner of Offington from 1858 till 1898, and was often known as Gaisford’s Lodge or Major Gaisford’s Lodge.
According to Robert Elleray’s ‘A Millennium Encyclopedia of Worthing History’, the lodge was built in 1858 and demolished in 1959 – so it stood for almost exactly a hundred years.
Towards the end of the 19th century Gaisford’s Lodge was occupied by one of the gardeners on the Offington estate (probably the head gardener), a man named Monnery.
There were a number of Monnerys in Worthing at that time, and at least three members of the extended Monnery family died in the Great War.
Monnery’s son and wife are briefly mentioned in magazines dating from, respectively, 1882 and 1892.
The issue of the Gardeners’ Chronicle of November 25, 1882, includes this advertisement: “To Nurserymen – Wanted, a situation to work in the houses [that is, greenhouses]. Two and a half years’ experience in a nursery. Age 17; good character. – F. M., Offington Lodge, near Worthing.”
In the February 20, 1892 issue of Cycling magazine, Monnery’s wife is described as “the cyclers’ friend at Offington Lodge”, so she presumably offered refreshment to passing cyclists.
The messages on the backs of two postcards of Offington Park both include comments of interest.
The cards were sent seven years apart to Miss Dunolly, by someone who signs only with initials.
The first was posted on May 16, 1914, to an address in Stockton-on-Tees, and the second on August 14, 1921, to 227 Winchester Road, Southampton – so Miss Dunolly presumably moved from County Durham to Hampshire at some point between 1914 and 1921.
On both cards the sender laments changes at Offington.
On the back of the view of Offington Park he or she writes: “This park will soon be cut up for building: so no more shady seats.”
The message on the card of Shady Lane includes this: “Have sent you P. C. of the lane, which is a wide road now, so you must keep it. There is no beauty in it now.”