The History of The Grange
The Grange is a Georgian house, originally built as a vicarage. It was later extended by the Rev Dr Thomas Redman Hooker, the much loved vicar of St Margaret’s Church from 1792 – 1838. It is possible that an underground tunnel ran from The Grange to the beach for Dr Hooker’s sideline as a smugglers’ “lookout” man! More respectably, he established a well-known school for boys that attracted the sons of many wealthy and distinguished families. His effigy and plaque are on the wall in nearby St Margaret’s Church.
A nationally more famous resident was Sir William Nicholson RA who produced a number of downland and coastal oil paintings of this area where he lived between 1909 – 1914. He called himself “the painter of the Downs”, and was in his time as famous as Kipling.
During WWII the Grange was used as an Officers’ Mess. During the 1950’s it was taken over by the local authorities to house the library and the museum. In 1992 it seemed likely that, due to of lack of funds, the museum and exhibition facilities on the first floor and the public library on the ground floor would be closed.
The RPS came to the rescue to prevent this important village building being lost and in 1993 took a lease of the upper floors of the building and the gardens. The Society’s lease from Brighton and Hove City Council was recently extended to 2030.
Today, the Grange houses a museum, art gallery and summer tea garden, all under the auspices of Rottingdean Heritage, in addition to the local authority who run the public library and tourist office”