Brighton and Hove people: R

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RAMSAY, Margaret Francesca (Peggy)
Peggy RamsayTheatrical agent, who represented (among others) Alan Ayckbourn, Robert Bolt, David Hare, Eugène Ionesco, Stephen Poliakoff, J B Priestley and, perhaps most famously, Joe Orton. 34 Upper Gardner Street* [residence]
RANDOLPH, Admiral Sir George Granville KCB
Lived in Hove from before 1891 until his death1. 32 Upper Brunswick Place [residence]
70 Brunswick Place [residence]
RASTRICK, John Urpeth
Civil engineer, born at Morpeth, Northumberland, son of an engineer and machinist, to whom he was articled. He learned iron founding in Shropshire, becoming a partner in a foundry at Bridgnorth in his twenties, when his interest in trailway traction developed. He patented a steam engine in 1814 and in 1815-16 built a cast-iron bridge across the River Wye at Chepstow. In 1825 the promoters of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway employed him (and George Stephenson) to report on colliery tramways in the north of England. He was the first witness at the parliamentary enquiry into the proposed railway and thereafter supported Bills for other railway proposals. He was a judge in the Rainbird trials on the Liverpool-Manchester railway in 1829 that decided in favour of Stephenson's Rocket and was employed thereafter by the railway company in its surveying and construction. He joined Sir John Rennie on the London-to-Brighton line between 1837 and 1840 and the subsequent extensions of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway. He was responsible for the Ouse and Preston Road viaducts and the tunnels at Clayton, Balcombe and Merstham. He retired in 1847 and died at his home in Chertsey but was buried in the new Brighton cemetery.
RATTIGAN, Sir Terence (Mervyn) CBE
Terence RattiganHis stage plays enjoyed huge success from the start. French Without Tears was a West End hit in 1936, which was also the year of his first film screenplay. Between then and 1952 he wrote 15 films, including Brighton Rock, on which he collaborated with Graham Greene. In 1953 he started writing for television and wrote only five more films, compared with over 50 television scripts. He lived ain Brighton for many years until he moved to Bermuda at the end of the 1960s. Despite his stage plays being regarded as out of touch with modern times, he was for a time reportedly the highest paid screenwriter in the world. He was awarded the CBE in 1958 and knighted in 1971. Embassy Court, King's Road [residence 1960-1961]
79 Marine Parade [residence 1961-1965]
RAWLINSON, Herbert (Baneman)
Herbert RawlinsonBorn in Brighton, he emigrated to the USA and became a hugely prolific actor in American silent films. In the first year of his career, 1911, he made 36 films, then stepped up the pace with 44 in 1912—and so on until 1927 and a total of 244 titles in 16 years as a leading man. His lapsing career recovered in 1933 and he played character parts in 144 sound films and is said to have died the day after finishing his scenes for Jail Bait (1954), one of the early films of the infamous Edward D Wood Jr. As a child he boarded at Mrs Fitzhugh's preparatory school at 21 Springfield Road, Brighton. He is commemorated by a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
RAWSON, Sir Alfred Cooper MP
Alfred Cooper RawsonA solicitor by profession, was one of the two MPs for Brighton, serving from 1922 to 1944. He holds the UK record for the largest number of votes given to an MP and the largest ever majority at the parliamentary election in 1931. He is now remembered for performing the opening ceremonies at three Brighton cinemas: the Astoria in Gloucester Place (1933), the Gaiety in Lewes Road (April 1937) and the Odeon West Street (December 1937). Courtenay Beach [residence 1926]
Courtenay House [residence 1927-c1940]
REDDISH Professor Edward Johnson
Professor ReddishA 'professor of swimming' at the West Pier, his performance of diving off the pier, sometimes on a bicycle, was filmed by James Williamson in 1902 as Professor Reddish Performs his Celebrated Bicycle Dive from Brighton West Pier. He worked as a 'submarine diver' at Dover, possibly coming over to Brighton during the summer season. Like many a performer of the time he came from impoverished circumstances: in 1871 he was in the West Derby Union Workhouse for Sick Poor in Everton. By 1911 he was back in his home city of Liverpool but he died in Christchurch, Hampshire.
REEVE, Douglas (James)
Douglas ReeveA prodigy on the cinema organ, which he was taught as a pupil of Terance Casey at the Regent Cinema when only 14. He was soon 'discovered' by the BBC's organist, Reginald Foort, who recruited him for the County Cinemas chain. He was a regular at the Regal in Golders Green, London and made his first broadcast for the BBC in 1937. He was born in The Lanes in Brighton and returned to the town after war service, becoming borough organist and manager of the Brighton Dome and Corn Exchange. He was appointed assistant director of the council's resort and conference department but retired in order to continue his popular Tuesday at the Dome concerts. From the end of the 1940s he lived in a house at Woodingdean that he called St Cecilia. 15 Sussex Square [residence]
St Cecilia, Farm Hill, Woodingdean [residence]
RENDEL, Stuart, 1st Baron Rendel
Stuart RendelLiberal MP for Montgomeryshire 1880-1894, close friend of W E Gladstone. Created Baron Rendel in 1894. His house in Brighton was a third home, the main ones being Hatchlands Park in Surrey and 10 Palace Green, Kensington Palace Gardens. He was the grandfather of the architect Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel. 2-3 Clarendon Terrace [residence 1903-1913]
Barrister, born near Dolgellau, Wales, called to the bar 1780, elected as MP for Helston, Cornwall in 1796. Appointed to the new position of vice-chancellor of the Court of Chancery in 1812 and made a baron of the Exchequer in 1814, rising to be chief baron in 1817. He was knighted by the Prince Regenct in 1814. 2 Royal Crescent [residence 1823]
RICHARDSON, Sir Ralph (David)
Ralph RichardsonHis professional acting début was made at Brighton Little Theatre in 1921. He joined Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1926 and the Old Vic in 1930. His first feature film part was in 1933 and he first appeared on television in 1939. He acted in around 60 films as well as working extensively on stage and television. He had one crack at directing a film: Home at Seven (1952), in which he also starred. He was knighted in 1947 and continued working until shortly before his death. Three films opened posthumously. He was in Oh! What a Lovely War (1969).
RICHMOND, 6th Duke of
See Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox
RIGDEN, William Marsh
Farmer, born in Southwick. His 740-acre farm, in what is now the Wilbury/Shirley Drive area, was various known as Long Barn Farm and Hove Farm but more commonly Rigden's Farm. His daughter Catherine (1842-1923) married architect C O Blaber. Rigden Road
ROBERTSON, Rev Frederick W
Frederick RobertsonRenowned preacher, incumbent at the Holy Trinity Chapel. He was the founder of the Brighton Working Men's Institute. Holy Trinity Chapel, Ship Street
9 Montpelier Terrace [residence]
ROBERTSON, Sir William Tindal
Educated at The King's School, Grantham and University College London, he was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1850 and graduated MD at Edinburgh in 1853. He became blind from glaucoma in 1873 and retired from medicine, moving to Brighton in1876 and becoming a justice of the peace. Returned unopposed as one of the two MPs for Brighton in 1886, he was Brighton's second blind MP and was knighted for public services in January 1888. He committed suicide on 6 October 1889 at his residence by cutting his throat when severely depressed.1.
Portrait by Leslie Ward (Spy) from Vanity Fair, 16 February 1889
9 Belgrave Terrace [residence]

1Glasgow Herald, 7 October 1889
ROBEY, Sir George (George Edward Wade)
Actor and music hall artist, the self-styled 'prime minister of mirth', one of the greatest stars of the music hall. He made his professional stage début in 1891 and appeared in his first film in 1900, The Rats, with five other artistes, including Dan Leno, Johnny Danvers and Will Evans. He made 26 more films in a sporadic screen career between 1913 and 1952. He was notably Sancho Panza in G WPabst's production of Don Quixote (1933), a role he had previously played in a 1923 version directed by Maurice Elvey. He was Sir John Falstaff in Henry V (1944) by Laurence Olivier. He moved to a flat in Rutland Court, New Church Road, Hove on his retirement from the stage in 1948, then to Grand Avenue and finally in 1953 to Arundel Drive East in Saltdean. He was knighted in 1954 for his charity work, having raised £2m for war savings during the Second World War. His funeral and cremation were at the Downs crematorium in Brighton on 1 December 1954. Arundel Drive East
ROBINSON, General Sir Frederick Philipse GCB
General Sir Frederick RobinsonBorn in the Hudson Highlands in the Province of New York, the grandson of the President of the Council in Virginia. He joined the British army at the age of 14, was wounded and taken as a prisoner-of-war during the American War of Independence. His regiment and family were evacuated from New York and arrived at Portsmouth in 1784. Sent back to North America by the Duke of Wellington, he became Commander-in-chief of forces in the Canada station, briefly acting Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and Ontario, and then Governor and Commander-in-chief of Tobago from 1816 to 1828. From 1844 until his death he lived in Bedford Square. He died on New Year's Day and is buried at Hove parish church.
Portrait by George Theodore Berthon Click to enlarge
39 Bedford Square [residence 1845-1852]
ROBSON, Dame Flora (1902-1984)
Flora RobsonShe made her theatrical début in 1921 and became a leading stage actress in the early 1930s, when her film career also began, her first major film role being as Queen Elizabeth I in Fire Over England (1937), a part she also played in The Sea Hawk (1940). She appeared on television in the title role of Anna Christie as early as 1936. She was appointed a DBE in 1960. She made her home in Brighton in 1961. Both he houses bear plaques and there is a memorial to her in the porch of St Nicholas' Church, near her final home. 14 Marine Gardens* [residence 1961-1976]
7 Wykeham Terrace* [residence 1976-1984]
ROCKETT, (Edwin) Houghton
Houghton RockettBorn in St Pancras, London, he opened Tierney's Royal Picture Theatre in Edward Street, Brighton in 1911. At the time he was already a cinematograph exhibitor, living in Hackney, London, sharing a house with his wife and two brothers, who were both cinematograph operators and also called Houghton Rockett—first names Albert and Rowland. Confusingly, his father had the same name. In the late 1890s Houghton Rockett Jr had been assistant to Matt Raymond, who was the electrician for the first public film show in England and who in 1911 was becoming a leading exhibitor. Around 1901 Rockett Jr was a touring music hall artist, possibly based in the Midlands; he married at Walsall in 1902. In December 1912 Houghton Rockett was a founder member of the Anima freemasons' lodge, along with Charles Urban and J Brooke Wilkinson, the first secretary of the British Board of Film Censors. He later became master of the lodge. Tierney's Royal Picture Theatre, 64 Edward Street
Anita RoddickFounder of the Body Shop chain, the first of which was in Kensington Gardens. 22 Kensington Gardens*
ROE, Eliza Sophis Frances
Eliza OgleDaughter of William Thomas Roe (qv below) and heiress to his Withdean estate, which she inherited in 1833. In 1842 she married Captain Sir Chaloner Ogle (1803-1959), 3rd bart, at Morpeth, Northumberland; through his mother he was related to the Gage family at Firle. Their only son, Sir Chaloner Roe Majendie Ogle, 4th bart, died aged 18 in 1861 (a plaque to his memory is in All Saints Patcham), so their daughter Hebe Emily Maritana Ogle becmae her heir. She lived at Withdean House but replaced it with the more substantial Withdeane Court nearby. Known in widowhood as Dame Eliza Ogle.
Image: painted at Waterloo, Belgium in 1856
ROE, William
Chairman of the Board of Customs (now part of HMRC) for 14 years, having been a Commissioner of the Board for over 16 years previously. In 1783 he was one of the parliamentary commissions inquiring into loans occasioned by the regulation of the African slave trade. He acquired and unified the manor of Withdean from Charles Callis Western and Withdean Cayliffe from Thomas Walsingham Western in 1794. His second son, Frederick Adair Roe (1789-1866), was created a baronet. A commemorative tablet to him is in All Saints Church, Patcham. Withdean
ROE, William Thomas
Son and heir of William Roe (qv above). Barrister at Lincoln's Inn, he was appointed a Commissioner on the Board of Customs in 1823 and served on the Board of Admiralty. He married Mary Elizabeth Mathew in 1815, when her father placed the North Sound estate in Antigua with 140 slaves in trust as part of her marriage settlement; the estate was sold by the trustees in 1816. Their eldest son died age 22 in 1838 and a second son died in infancy, leaving his only daughter, Eliza (qv above) as his heiress. A commemorative tablet to him is in All Saints Church, Patcham. Withdean
ROOKE, Valentine Actor. See Valentine Brooke.
ROSE, William (Arthur)
William RoseAmerican born screenwriter, born in Jefferson City, Missouri. He attended Columbia University but in 1939 wet to FInland in 1939 to fight against the Soviet invation. He volunteered for military service with the Canadian Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment and was stationed in England, where he stayed on after World War II. Credits include Genevieve (1953), The Ladykillers (1955, BAFTA), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967, Academy Award). He left the UK in 1960. 23 Lewes Crescent [residence ?-c1960]
ROSSE, Laurence, 2nd Earl of
and Alice, (later Dowager) Countess of Rosse
Lived in Brunswick Terrace from 1836 until she died there in May 1867. 33 Brunswick Terrace
J H RoundMediaeval historian, was born and died in Brunswick Terrace. His maternal grandfather was Horace Smith. 5 Brunswick Terrace*
ROWELL, Harriet Elizabeth
See Elphinstone-Dick, Harriet
RUSSELL, Lord John
Lord John RussellEnglish politician; prime minister 1846-1852 and 1865-1866. His wife, Adelaide, Lady Ribblesdale, died in childbirth at their home in Sussex Square only two months after their arrival. His grandson was Bertrand Russell.> 14 Sussex Square* [residence September-November 1838]
RUSSELL, Dr Richard
Richard RussellPhysician from Lewes who recommended sea bathing and drinking sea water as a cure. He moved his practice to Brighton in 1753 and built a house, the largest in the town to that date, on land adjacent to the beach at the south side of the Steyne that he acquired for £40. The site is now occupied by the Royal Albion Hotel.
Portrait by Benjamin Wilson (c1755) [Brighton & Hove Museums and Art Gallery] Click to enlarge
Russell House, The Steyne
ª 53 Marine Parade [residence]
RUSSELL, Major Villeroy
Member of a cadet branch of the Duke of Bedford's family, owner of 'considerable landed property in and around Brighton and in different parts of Sussex'. He was a member of the Prince Regent's circle. His marine residence, with stabling for 30 hunters, was on the site of Russell Square and Great Russell Street. He commissions C A Busby to design Portland House. Russell Square
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Page updated 6 March 2022