Be astounded by Rustington’s eclectic claims to fame

12 February 2020

Posted under: News articles

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Often described as a sleepy village, Rustington is one of West Sussex’s hidden gems. The charming coastal village blends the old and the new in a close-knit community and boasts a fascinating and little-known cultural heritage ranging from the Suffragette Movement to a hot cross bun!

Suffragist sisters Agnes Garrett and Millicent Fawcett Garret both had houses in Rustington where their eldest sister, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, and cousin, Rhoda Garrett, visited. All four blazed a trail for women’s rights. Agnes and Rhoda were the first women in the country to own and run their own interior design business in 1888, the Ladies Dwellings Company, having been given an entry into training with a London architect, which no other practices were willing to allow. Elizabeth was the first woman to qualify as a doctor and surgeon, with Millicent becoming president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Two years ago, Millicent was the first woman to be commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square.

At around the same time as the Garrett sisters and cousin were spending time in Rustington, novelist J M Barrie was a regular visitor to the Llewelyn Davies household at Cudlow House, having befriended the family in Kensington Gardens, London. The family became the inspiration for the Darling family in his famous children’s novel Peter Pan, the character having been invented to entertain two of the Llewelyn Davies children, George and Jack.

Staying with arts, film and theatre director, Lindsay Anderson, wrote the film ‘if…’ while staying at his mother’s house on the villages Sea Estate. A leading light of the Free Cinema movement and the British New Wave, ‘if…’ satirised English Public School life and won the Palme d’Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival as well as putting actor Malcolm McDowell on the map.

Flanders and Swann added to Rustington’s notoriety in the 1950s by featuring the village in the lyrics for their famous Gnu Song. The second verse begins with the line “I had taken furnished lodgings down at Rustington-on-Sea…”. A prize for the first Cavendish Collection Rustington resident who spots a gnother gnu!

With such a rich history, you might be looking to make Rustington your next home. If you’re interested in more information, or would like to tour our Cavendish development in the village, please click here or call us on 01903 337 235.