Somerstown map of 1896


Somerstown was transformed beyond recognition in the 1960s, with a new estate replacing the old houses and cottages. A newspaper report in 1962 explained that a total of 160 old properties were due for demolition. It was also reported that the leading lights of stage and screen had lent their support to the campaign led by the Chichester Civic Society to retain and preserve the old Somerstown.

Those speaking out included Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Michael Redgrave, and Dame Sybil Thorndike. However, the council, persisted and insisted that the old properties were too dilapidated to be saved. They commended the scheme of their architect, Stanley Roth, to build a new suburb of houses, flats and open spaces, that would create “a sense of charm and interest.”