Osborne Villas House Move

As I write, I’m on the late train to work following a stressful move to my new home on Osborne Villas in Hove. I bought my first house, in Hangleton, about eight years ago and although I have happy memories of the area, its 1950s architecture simply didn’t go hand in hand with my interest in Regency, Victorian and Art Deco buildings.

For some time I’ve been on the look-out for something manageable with ‘a bit of character’. Osborne Villas offers reasonably-sized pairs of early Victorian villas which fit the bill perfectly. The road was built in the 1840s as part of an area known as Cliftonville. To the east, Brunswick Town and the Goldsmid Estate (Adelaide Crescent, etc) had already been developed but, to the west, little had been built save for a small collection of buildings around Hove Street. Cliftonville’s fine houses were largely influenced by Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Indeed, Osborne, Albany and Ventnor Villas take their names from the Isle of Wight yet, somewhat ironically, Queen Victoria chose Osborne House as her official residence over the Royal Pavilion.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately, depending on your outlook – my vendor spent more time dreaming up innovative ways to patch things up than he did fixing or replacing them. The price reflected this and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. My friends and family find his work hilarious though which will make it doubly satisfying when I rip it all out and return the property as close to its original layout as possible. The satellite dish, straight off the set of Shameless, will be first to go. 

I rarely comment on the dynamics of the property sector but, in this case, it’s relevant to local history. I’m all for markets operating which is why I believe that buyers should be shunning mangled properties. Legislation may not be required. Irresponsible developers and the like are ultimately responsible but they would think twice if purchasers were more demanding. As for bargains, avoid chains, be organised and be prepared for a bit of graft. It’s morally wrong to gazump/gazunder but when my seller moved to Australia and started messing around, I insisted on a price reduction – and got it.

I’m lucky in that I have the deeds for my new home which date back to the 1840s.  As the renovation progresses, I will report back on the contents.