Osborne House

From Historical Hastings
General information
Address245-251 The Ridge
Postal CodeTN34 2AE
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Admin. Information
Prop. Ref. No.100060039555

Originally constructed in 1868 to a design by Edward Habershon and formerly known as the 'Shaftesbury Home', this house and collection of buildings situated on the east side of the junction between Elphinstone Road and The Ridge was demolished to make way for a housing estate around 2014.

The white-faced buildings were for many years a prominent feature of the junction, being utilised variously as a convalescent home for injured Canadian servicemen during WW1, a school for mentally disabled children (The Fountain of Hope Group), an old people's home[1] and an educational establishment[2].

Following a re-fit in 1952, the buildings were re-opened as a unit of the Fountain of Hope group of hospitals with the Mayor and Mayoress (Alderman and Mrs H. W. Rymill) in attendance at a ceremony presided over by the vice-chairman of the South West Regional Hospital Board, Mr A. G. Linfield[3]. Prior to this, it was St. Vincent's School, a boarding school for girls aged 3 to 7 years old[4].

The building was listed as being for sale at auction in 1905, the previous owner Mr. H. Hardinge reportedly having obtained another property in the neighbourhood[5]. Prior to this in 1893 the house was occupied by Mr. Henry John Farmer-Atkinson[6] - a pen portrait of this gentleman in December of that year revealing that Mr. Farmer-Atkinson was a native of Yorkshire and an avid book collector, the hallway of the property being described as strewn with books of rare and interesting natures. Further detail is given that he was a Freeman of Hull, MP, actor, lively public speaker and an ebullient character. A Protestant, he was Mayor of Hull prior to becoming a freeman and before this, at the age of 19, he had formed the shipping firm of William Brown, Atkinson & Co - a position from which he resigned in 1873. Charitable by nature also he is recorded as having raised £4000 for a sailor's home in Hull in 1856, director of too many companies to list and undoubtedly one of the busiest men towards the end of the 18th century[7]. For all this, by May 1893 a petition of bankruptcy appears against the man, he apparently having deserted Osborne House[8]

Going back further in time, the house was occupied by the actress Miss Craigie Halkett during the early 1870s[9], the property apparently having been constructed around 1871[10], and at that time being described thus[11]:-

Approached by a carriage drive and containing three handsome and spacious reception rooms, eight bed chambers, bath room, the usual domestic offices, stabling, conservatory, flower and kitchen gardens and a croquet lawn.

One of the few extant horse troughs still stands to the west of the site on Elphinstone Road.


References & Notes