High Street No. 1

D5.3 No.1 High Street (originally Colonnade House).

Part of 1852OS map showing No.1 High Street (Colonnade House).

The southern end of the Colonnade, at the junction of Warwick Street and High Street, was originally named Colonnade House and let by Edward Ogle to Mary Spooner as a Circulating Library. It is obvious from the architectural enhancements to this end of the building that Edward Ogle had considered such a use when formulating the design.

During the first decade of the 19th century the Colonnade Library was regarded as a major improvement in the amenities provided at Worthing and very quickly became the rendezvous for the fashionable visitors to the town. In addition to having access to an extensive reading room, where new works of fiction, the latest works on sea bathing and the most popular of the London papers were available, visitors were able to enter lotteries and play games like Loo. Tunbridge ware, cheap jewellery and other trinkets were also offered for sale.

By 1808 Worthing had expanded sufficiently to become a Post Town and Mrs Spooner became the town’s first post-master, earning a yearly salary of £101 -16s -4d and the library became known as ‘Spooner’s Library’ (see illustration below).

No.1 High Street – ‘Spooner’s Library’ on right, circa 1810.

After the death of Mrs Spooner, about 1826, the post office was moved further down Warwick Street and the library was taken over by Mr Samuel Brewer when it became Kilburton Library. He did not stay very long and the next occupier was Mr James Ogle who converted the library into a dining room. By 1846 the owner/occupier was Henry Smart, solicitor, who remained there until circa 1886. In 1881 the census records him as a ‘retired solicitor’. Between 1892 and 1918 the building was occupied by Dr Henry John Strong. In 1920 the building was acquired by the Y.M.C.A. whose main object was to provide a meeting place for the young men of the town and encourage them to participate in recreation, sports and pastimes as well as in the Christian work of the association, the purpose for which it exists. A tennis club was formed and a cricket programme arranged. The building was described as ‘a modern one, well lighted, beautifully decorated and furnished throughout with taste. There is a social room, lounge, billiard room, reading room, library, and capital hostel accommodation, with dining room’.

[Worthing Herald, Saturday 15th May 1920, front page].

The Y.M.C.A. continued in the building until circa 1936 after which there were a number of commercial enterprises and other tenants utilising it (see occupants list).

Owners/occupants list.

1802            Edward Ogle

1803 – c1826 Mary Spooner – [Spooners Library]

1826            Samuel Brewer – [Kilburton Library]

1838            James William Ogle

1846 – 1887 Henry Smart – solicitor

1888            Mrs Smart

1889 – 1891 Empty

1892 – 1918 Dr Henry John Smart

1920 – 1936 Y.M.C.A.

1922 – 1936 Thomas H.Pratt

1922 – 1923 Horace Manning

1925 – 1926 Charles Feist

1926 – 1927 Mrs Ogilvie

1926           Percy Marcus Childs

1927           Miss F.Butcher

1928           C.L.Brackston

1930           C.L.H.Martin

1930 – 1931 Miss Ryan

1930 – 1931 West Sussex Typewriting Office

1930 – 1935 W.Jenner

1932 – 1933 Mrs M.Graham

1933 – 1935 Madame Campbell

1934 – 1936 H.Duval

1935 – 1936 H.Adsett

1937 – 1938 F.Burrell – quantity surveyor

1937 – 1970 H & S Ford Ltd – shoe repairers

1937 – 1949 R.Hills – Road Transport & General Insurance Co. Ltd.

1938 – 1940 Benson & Hawkins Ltd – estate agents

1934 – 1940 H.C.Welsh – business transfer agent

1949 – 1975 Richard Chambers & Co. – chartered accountants

1949 – 1951 Worthing Estate Agency

1949 – 1953 Charterhouse Industrial Development Co. Ltd.

1956           Clifford E.Caney – The Studio

1956 – 1968 Vincent H.D. Jackson & Son – solicitors

1962 – 1974 John King Films Ltd.

1968 – 1971 Little School of English

1974 – 1975 Voxdean Ltd – microwave oven distributors

1975           Sandwich Bar.

From 1949 it is sometimes difficult to ascertain from the local Directories whether these later occupants are all in No.1 High Street. In some cases, they may be occupants in the adjoining No.3 High Street.

www.westsussexpast.org.uk - E000176

Colonnade House (on left) when acquired by the Y.M.C.A. in 1920.

[By courtesy of the Worthing Herald.]