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ORA Heritage Projects Appeal

ORA Heritage Projects Appeal


Our School’s Victorian structure in its prominent position above the cliffs at Brighton, as we all remember, faces the full force of the south-westerly winds from the English Channel. Its maintenance is like painting the Forth Bridge! The priorities and challenges of upkeep and maintaining a listed building in a state fit for 21st century education are considerable.

2023 is the 125th anniversary of the school at is current site. The Old Roedeanians’ Association would like to mark this significant anniversary, by supporting and celebrating the heritage of the school, enabling iconic artefacts to be enjoyed by future generations of girls and ORs and sharing their fascinating history.

The ORA has worked closely with the School Archivist and the Chair of the Estates Committee to identify and prioritise several artefacts integral to our School’s cultural heritage and these are now in need of some TLC.

The brochure, which can be downloaded below, outlines the five Projects, all of which, in different ways, symbolise the heritage of the School, the sense of connection with the Founders and the link between successive generations of ORs.

Several of these were originally donations. ORs remember them well and with affection. With the help and support of the ORs and the wider Roedean Community, the ORA would like to raise the funds to conserve and restore these much-loved artefacts for future generations of Roedeanians to enjoy and to appreciate our Heritage.

Please would you be able to support this Appeal? We would be so grateful.


on the Front Terrace

Friezes by Sylvia Lawrence

in No. 1, 2 and 3


in the Cloister Garth


in the Art Studio


in the Chapel

Appeal Target

We're aiming to raise £164,600.00. So far we've raised £44,391.83

£0.00 £164,600.00


Donate now

How can you support us?

We do need to raise the funds for each project before work can commence. Having said that, we can progress on each of the Friezes and each of the Ensigns separately.

Your donation could be for a specific project or towards the total Appeal. You can support your house by donating towards the Frieze in No.1, 2 or 3, or by donating towards the conservation of the specific Ensign donated by No.1, 2, 3 or 4. Perhaps you would like to donate as a year group, as a group of friends or in memory of an OR?

The breakdown of the target by project is in the Appeal Brochure which can be downloaded below.

It is easy to donate. You can donate online via JustGiving or via the Roedean Community Network using the links below, or by cheque or credit card by completing the Gift Form which you can also download below.

Donations go directly to the School so can also be Gift-Aided.  

All donations will be ringfenced for the Heritage Projects.

So far, the ORA has obtained and funded condition reports and estimates for the restoration/conservation of each item from specialist conservators.

Roedean lies with the South Downs National Park (SDNP) and is Grade II Listed. Therefore, consent is currently being sought from SDNP for each project. The cost of obtaining these consents will also be met by the ORA as part of its contribution.

The ORA contributions are in addition to the Appeal Target.

The Projects

The Sundial / Armillary Sphere - £11,600

The variously called Astrolabe/Sundial/Armillary Sphere situated on the front terrace was designed and donated to the School by it's Architect Sir J W Simpson in 1899 to commemorate his daughter, Clara Carrick Simpson’s (No. 4, 1897M -1899L) time at Roedean.

Sadly it is badly eroded from a century of exposure to the wind, rain and salt!

The Sylvia Lawrence Friezes - £21,450

Sylvia Lawrence was a younger sister of the School’s founders. She worked at studios in Paris, was a protégée of GF Watts the prominent Victorian artist and she taught at Roedean. She painted the 3 friezes above the fireplaces in the Housemistresses drawing rooms of Nos 1, 2, and 3 between 1898 and 1905.

They are important as Sylvia was linked to the Arts and Craft and Symbolist movement and she was a trailblazer in her artistic field. Like a number of other women artists she turned to mural painting at a time it was very much seen as a man’s preserve.

Understandably given their age they are in need of some TLC.

The Fountain - £27,800

The white marble fountain in the cloister garth was originally given to the school by OR, Muriel Silver (Abbott. No 2, 1894-99). She was Head of House and her sister Frances Elaine Abbott (SS 1894-97) became House Mistress of the JH, School Vice President, ORA President and Member of the Council.  

Sadly, the marble has deteriorated, the inscription is partly missing and the fountain itself is no longer in working order.

The Tiles - £50,900

The glazed and intaglio tiles covering the walls in the Art Studio were designed and created by girls at the school during the 30's and 40's under the tutelage of the art mistress Dorothy Burt "DB" Martin. The intaglio tiles depict life at the school.

Some tiles have simply fallen off the walls, some cracked and some deteriorated. The mortar in places is unstable and there is section of wall which is uncovered. Further intaglio tiles of the school life at Keswick have been discovered together with loose glazed tiles from the same period which we hope will be used to tile the uncovered section.

The Ensigns - £52,850

Four Ensigns, given by the four Houses to HMS Collingwood, Hercules, Canterbury and Neptune in 1914, were flown at the Battle of Jutland and later returned to Roedean in 1919 when the ships were taken out of commission.

A fifth Ensign was flown on D-Day from the flagstaff on the front terrace at a time when HMS Vernon was stationed at the School.

Due to their fragility the flags were taken down in the late 1980's and are stored in a glass fronted cabinet in the entrance to the Chapel. We would like to restore the flags and, if possible, have them rehung in their original place.

The Plan

Roedean lies within the South  Downs National Park (SDNP) and has been Grade 2 Listed since 1999. As advised by SDNP, we are now seeking Listed Building Consent for some of the projects.

We plan to restore the Astrolabe in its prominent position on the front terrace and start conservation work on individual Friezes as soon as funds are available.

More Information

If you would like more information about any of the individual projects, please email Noëlle Chase, Mary Henderson or call the Roedeanian Office on 01273 667398. There is also more detailed information on each project which can be found at:

View the Brochure
Donate via Roedean Community Network

Download the Gift Form
Donate via JustGiving
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