6 Alexandra Gardens: Dean House
"Dean House" in the 1938 Ventnor Guide
This house is now split into four flats, owned by the Hanover Trust. Like most of the houses in the street it has spend some of its life as holiday accommodation.
A few special people come to the fore at number 6. One such character is Mr Alfred Charles Phillips.
According to Kellys, Mr and Mrs Phillips lived in and ran a boarding house at number 6 from the late 1920's. In 1937/8 the Phillips acquired number 5, connected the two houses via doorways and ran their boarding house from both houses.
Mr Phillips was originally a gardener at Steephill Castle, where he specialised in hot house flowers and fruit. Later he worked for Mr Drover at his nurseries, where the tennis courts are now in St. Boniface Road.
During their married life Mr and Mrs Philips ran many guest houses - in East Street (now Sherwood Rise), Chickenpit (Trafalgar House) and, of course, Dean House in Alexandra Gardens. He also ran a café at Salisbury Gardens in the early 1950's.
From 1892 Mr Phillips had been a local preacher in island Methodist churches and at one time he was a circuit steward. For almost 70 years he served in the Red Cross, held the long service medal, and from 1948 he had been Commandant of the local section.
Alfred Phillips and the ambulance
He was well-known throughout the district for his fine work on behalf of the sick, and it was largely due to his efforts that Ventnor had its own ambulance. He collected for the vehicle, known as the King George V Jubilee Ambulance, and was its driver.
During the Second World War children from Southsea were evacuated to Ventnor and stayed in Dean House.
Phillips died in 1960 at the age of 87. By this time he had sold
number 6 and was living at number 5. As a young boy of 11 years
old Alfred probably saw Alexandra Gardens being built.
Thomas and Elsie Kay, another special couple, were the leaseholders and living in Dean House in 1975. In July of that year they bought the freehold for £300 from Sybil Knight.
In 1978 Thomas and Elsie donated Dean House to Help the Aged, on the understanding that only people of pensionable age could occupy the house.
Elsie died, it is believed, her ashes were buried in the garden
of number 6. Certainly, to this date (2009) there is a container
buried under the bird table, with a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on top
of the container and it is protected by a large plastic top. After
the death of Elsie her widower, Thomas moved to the mainland. It
was said that he was offered suitable accommodation, for the rest
of his days, in return for the house.
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 6 Alexandra Gardens thread in our discussion forum.