Edwin Lutyens designed a scheme consisting of a large York stone terrace, lawns and herbaceous borders, leading down to an attractive sunken garden, which spanned much of the width of the plot. The garden is now mostly laid to lawn with euonymus hedges replacing the original yew plantings. However the sunken garden, the most important aspect of Lutyens' original design, has survived.
Roedean is perhaps best known for its prestigious school for girls that forms such a prominent landmark on the downland slopes just to the east of Brighton. This area can also claim an interesting Link with the world of architecture in addition to education, for White Lodge-on-The Cliff', a house not far from the school, has connections with two eminent architects: Sir Edwin Lutyens, the famous Arts and Crafts practitioner, as well as the architect of Roedean School, Sir John W. Simpson.
White Lodge, originally designed and built by Simpson in 1904, is at the eastern end of the Cliff, on a residential road which runs parallel with the Brighton to Newhaven coastal route.
Lady Sackville, mother of the writer Vita Sackville-West, enjoyed a long friendship with Edwin Lutyens following their first encounter at the opera in 1916. It was Lutyens to whom she turned for advice in 1923 when she decided to leave her house in Brighton's Sussex Square. She looked at several possible sites for her new home before settling on White Lodge, which enjoyed a panoramic view towards the sea.
Despite its architectural provenance, Lady Sackville instructed Lutyens to substantially enlarge and re-model the Simpson house to suit her own needs. Under his hand it gained its distinctive outline shape with prominent gables and tall, angular chimneys. Today, these typically bold Lutyens features quickly distinguish White Lodge visually from its neighbours. The garden to the rear of the house also benefited from the architect's design skills. The outcome was a scheme consisting of a large York stone terrace, lawns and herbaceous borders, leading down to an attractive sunken garden, which spanned much of the width of the plot.
Lady Sackville remained at White Lodge until her death in 1936, after which the house passed to her grandson, the writer Nigel Nicolson. Later on and following further changes in ownership, White Lodge was split into a number of separately-owned apartments with a shared ownership of the garden.
Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
- Associated People
- Features & Designations
- House (featured building)
- Description: The house was originally built by Sir John W. Simpson. The house was re-modelled by Lutyens in 1923. New features included its distinctive outline shape with prominent gables and tall, angular chimneys.
- Earliest Date:
- Latest Date:
- Description: The garden is now mostly laid to lawn with euonymus hedges replacing the original yew plantings.
- Description: The sunken garden, the most important aspect of Lutyens? original design, has survived. This consists of two areas sunk at either side of a central platform. These are paved with stone slabs inset with circular patterns of slate on edge. Steps lead up to the platform which is patterned with diamond shapes in slate. A dry-stone wall bounds the whole feature but probably this has been re-built over time.
- Key Information
Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
Part: standing remains
Sussex Gardens Trust