Peacehaven Series


Artist's impression of the "Sussex Garden City"

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Peacehaven. Charles Neville (1881-1960) began purchasing land at Peacehaven in 1914 with the intention of establishing a "garden city by the sea". The First World War brought unwelcome delays, but when peace returned Neville embarked on a major publicity campaign to promote land sales and house building. His South Coast Land & Resort Company placed a succession of advertisements in national newspapers, organised seductive competitions, and conducted tours of the fledgling "resort". As a further attention-seeking ploy, it issued at least 6 attractive colour postcards of the Downs and the planned developments. The cards were halftone reproductions of unsigned paintings that are believed to have been the work of Gordon Volk, son of Magnus Volk, creator of the Brighton electric railway. Volk was employed by Neville as a full-time artist in 1921 to illustrate Company brochures and other promotional material. He proved more than equal to the task, taking full advantage of artistic licence to portray the new housing estates and surrounding countryside to best advantage. His pictures conjure up a vision of a delightful rural and suburban Arcadia that never actually materialised despite Neville's unfailing optimism and enterprise.

The cards must have been published in 1922 or 1923. They show the Peacehaven Hotel, which opened in September 1922, and the Bastion Steps, which were planned in 1921 and completed about a year later. Also depicted is the original main Estate Office on the South Coast Road, which by 1924 became the Rosemary Tea Rooms, where Peacehaven residents and prospective land purchasers could take refreshments.

Not content with the Peacehaven Series, The South Coast Land & Resort Company also published cards showing some of its show houses and houses on offer as prizes in competitions.

Design: Lucid Design