Sampson Society

House Histories


Sampson Society Appreciation Visit - 10 February 2011

Built in 1938, Pit Orchard was probably one of the last large houses designed by Sampson, who by now was 72 years old, and had moved about this time to Shatterway (the house next door to Pit Orchard).

It marks the growing trend to build ‘out of town’; a movement happening all over the UK especially around big cities. The trend was enabled by increasing affluence and motor car ownership (personal transport, no need for servants) and only came to an end with the outbreak of World War 2, and then the introduction of planning controls. Fortunately, the pace of development in Sidmouth was slow, otherwise the whole of the Sid Valley might have been smothered by houses.

Sampson Society Appreciation Visit - 9 November 2010

Kings Acre was built in 1923.

The original plots of Bickwell Valley were fully developed in the first decade of the Twentieth Century. Boughmore Road followed, but the pace of development was slow. This was mainly because the only access to the area until the mid 1920’s was via Boughmore Lane (now only a narrow footpath linking with Cotmaton Road).

Even in 1923 when Kings Acre was built all deliveries etc. had to be made along Boughmore Lane, which at best was just a poorly surfaced cart track.

Because the development of houses along Boughmore Road took place over a long period of time there is a considerable variety of house design and style.

Kings Acre was built for Kate and Julia Sander in 1923 and was initially called ‘Cottesmore’. It is not known where the name came from, but was probably Cott (cottage) more (bigger).

Mrs Fell-Smith lived at The Hill from 1922

She was a widow and in reality just plain Mrs Smith (wrongly adopting her late husband’s middle name ‘Fell’ and hyphenating it – sounded better in Sidmouth inter-war Society?)

She was born Florence Jane Neumann at Awliscombe 1860.

Her grandfather Charles William Neumann was of Jewish descent and according to early census’s was born in Dantzig, Russia about 1775. (Gadansk, now in Poland, but various partitions of the country in the late 18th Century resulted in control alternating between Prussia and Russia).

He came to England, certainly by 1803, he was then living in Liverpool and was a merchant. That year he married Jane Stubbs from Cheshire, and either by his own endeavours (or by marriage) became the owner of a Cheshire Salt Mine.

(Still many references in street and place names to Neumann in the Northwich area – including Neumann’s flash, now a nature reserve. A flash is a local name for a shallow lake caused by subsidence from salt mining. Not really mined in conventional sense as the salt is brought to the surface by pumping brine).