2 Alexandra Gardens: Miller's Rock
2 Alexandra Gardens is now known as Miller's Rock and does largely stand on ground which was originally occupied by the old Ventnor Mill building. It has also been know as the Silvermere, Rosetta and Cherretton House at various times.
The house has recently been converted into flats, two of which are rented as self catering holiday accommodation.
Like the other houses in the street it had a variety of uses over the years. For a short time, soon after it was built, it was a boarding school. However for many years it has provided holiday accommodation as a boarding or guest house.
In the early 1900's R H Phillips ran apartments in the house, having previously lived in number 7. R H Phillips was a prime mover in the Ventnor Enhancement Association, local superintendent of the Wesleyan and General Assurance Company, member of the Wesleyan Church and one-time Sunday School Superintendent. He established "The Golden Key" grocery store at the top end of High Street at the corner of West Street.
In the 1930's number 2 was known as the "Silvermere", and the son of the then owners, Mr and Mrs John Wickes bought the Melbourne on the seafront - where the Golden Sands cafe now is - and renamed that as the "Silvermere", after which number 3 was known as "Rosetta".
For a while in the 1930's the Wickes' also ran "Bermuda" next door at number 3, but didn't own it. After the house became "Rosetta" it was "a well recommended house of good standing", according to the 1947 Ventnor holiday guide.
Percy Turney who, with his wife, ran the guest house for many years, died in February 1963. He was prominent in running the scout troop in the town. He was Vice-Chairman of the Parent's Committee and Chairman of the local association at the time of his death, and had served for 14 years on the committee. When the 3rd Ventnor Scout's new hut at Camp Hill Trinity Road was opened in May 1963 it was named the Turney Hut in his memory, and 300 people turned up for its opening - too many to get inside. Percy Turney's son, Robin Turney has written an account of what it was like growing up in Rosetta.
The house was leasehold on a 999 year lease from 1882 issued in 1886, until 1978 when the leaseholder and resident, Mrs P Sharp, bought the freehold from the executors of Sybil Knight, the widow of Reginald Knight who lived and had a dental practice at number 1 from 1886 until 1922. Sybil bought the freeholds to numbers 1 to 6 in 1922 and placed a number of restrictions on the houses and gardens in the form of covenants, some of which are still in place today. She gradually sold off the freeholds with her estate only owning 4 and 5 after her death in 1977.
A postcard of Cherretton House from around 1982 shows the house refurnished in 1970's style with brick fireplaces and even a TV in the dining room. It proudly proclaims on the back "own key - no petty restrictions". They charged £8.50 per person per night to stay in rooms which all had "hot and cold water, central heating and tea making facilities. Some rooms with TV and shower".
Here are some of the key names and dates associated with the house, gleaned from the Deeds, Kelly's Directories and other sources.
If you have further information about this house or have stayed there in the past please contribute to the 2 Alexandra Gardens thread in our discussion forum.