Malling Hill Villas

Mill Road History > Malling Hill Villas

Alfred Grieves, a builder with premises at 142 High Street, Lewes, bought the land on which the villas stand in 1901 from Mr Castle Leaver, managing director of the Lewes Sanitary Steam Laundry Company.

Malling Hill plots 1901
Advertisement for freehold lots for sale, 1901. Mill Road is referred to as ‘Old Ringmer Road’. Plan reproduced with permission of East Sussex Record Office, copyright reserved. ACC 5500/1/171 (Click to enlarge)

The houses were erected by 1903: a shares prospectus for the laundry company in that year refers to their inhabitants as a likely source of laundry workers. The houses were known as 1-17 Malling Hill Villas until they were re-numbered 13-45 Mill Road in the 1920s. Lots 1 to 15 became what is now the terrace comprising 17 to 45 Mill Road. The houses now numbered 13 and 15 Mill Road were built on Lots 16 and 17 on the opposite side of the access lane, nearest to the mill.

At the time of the 1911 census 16 of the 17 villas were occupied, providing homes to a total of 74 people, an average of 4.6 per dwelling. Perhaps the most interesting household was at Number 3 (21 Mill Road), comprising an actress in a portable (travelling) theatre company, her son, daughter and niece; and a husband and wife, both actors. The scattered birthplaces of the children (Aberdeen, Birmingham and Maidenhead) indicate the itinerant nature of the adults’ profession.

I have a fairly complete record of occupiers of the villas up to the early 2000s but not much idea of who owned them. Any further information about any of the villas and their owners/ occupiers would be gratefully received.