Volunteer Spotlight: Homage to Hodson

November 15th 2019 by Hayden Francis-Legg

This luxurious terraced housing is located in central Brighton near the vibrant city centre and train station which provides easily accessible transport links to London. Despite the clue in the name, what one may not realise is that a twelve-sided tarred smock mill once stood on Mill Row.
Poster Image

‘Mill Row’ in modern Brighton 

It was owned by the Hodson family, who became well known millers throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1856, James Hodson succeeded Alfred Millyard at the Kipson Bank Mill in Hunston, leaving his two brothers John and Charles in charge of the Mill on West Hill Road. Unfortunately, after the mill was worked by the Hodson family, it was demolished in 1866; with only the base and some of the grinding mechanism remaining, until that too was demolished in the 1950s.

Ordnance Survey Six Inch Map created following the mills demolition in 1866, with the gap on West Hill Road highlighting where the Mill stood.  

A photograph of Hodson’s Mill on West Hill Road was discovered within the Archive’s recently acquired Rex Wailes collection, kindly donated by the Science Museum. The photograph was taken in August of 1929 and at first glance, it is difficult to identify any remains of a Mill. However, as seen below, the round shape of the building indicates the base of a Mill. It is likely that Rex had photographed the building on West Hill Road to capture the remnants of the grinding mechanisms that were still situated inside the base from the previous Hodson’s Mill, despite the lack of masonry tower. By doing so, Rex strived to maintain the legacy of the Mill that stood there before.

West Hill Road Mill (known as Hodson’s Mill) photographed by Rex Wailes on the 23rd of August 1929

UPDATE

Here is a photo of the mill and some paintings:

http://regencysociety-jamesgray.com/volume31/source/jg_31_028.html

https://sbpc.regencysociety.org/view-of-brighton-from-hudsons-mill/

https://twitter.com/JohnConstableRA/status/1149350636372107264/photo/1