The residents of Woodards View are a lucky bunch.
The hustle and bustle of everyday life does not seem to rear its unwanted head in this tranquil road in a sedate part of Shoreham.
And with the town’s famous shingle beach and an abundance of fresh sea air at their fingertips, it was easy for residents to explain why they love their road.
The road’s name is attributed to Nathaniel Woodard, a 19th century vicar credited with founding an impressive 11 schools for the middle classes in England – including Lancing, Hurstpierpoint and Ardingly Colleges.
Born in 1811 in London, Woodard was confronted with poverty for most of his life and was privately educated at home by his religious mother.
At 30 he was given the job of curate in the poor parish of Bethnal Green in the East End of London, where he eventually started a church school for the children of deprived parishioners.
He moved to Shoreham in 1846 when he took up another curacy at St Mary de Haura Church, where he was again struck by the levels of poverty and lack of education among his middle class parishioners.
He grew concerned for the educational welfare of middle class children, sparked by an observation that the church was providing an education for poorer families, the wealthy had private tutors but the middle classes were being neglected.
From here, he started St Nicholas’ boarding school in 1848.
It was merged in 1849 to form the College of St Mary and St Nicholas, which eventually evolved in to what is now the architecturally stunning Lancing College.
Often described as an “educational visionary”, it was his formation of Lancing College that kick-started the Woodard Corporation, now know as Woodard Schools, which has grown to be the largest group of independent Church of England schools in Eng- land and Wales.
Woodard was documented as being a “thrifty man”, stemming from reports that the windows in Lancing College’s chapel are made of recycled beer bottles – green on the north side and brown on the south.
Additionally, the floor in the chapel is covered with Portland stone, salvaged from a boat wreck on the Sussex coastline which Woodard purchased for a paltry £1.
But with so many new schools to build and fund, being thrifty seemed a necessity.
His success was recognised in 1870 when Oxford University made him a Doctor of Civil Law and he was made canon, or priest, of Manchester Cathedral.
He used his pay packet to fund the building of further schools across the country and raised around £500,000 before his death in 1891.
Today, Woodard lays to rest in a tomb in the chapel of Lancing College.
But his name is forever etched in the history books of Shoreham thanks to the construction of houses in Woodards View in the 1950s.
DARREN REILLY, 40, and MICHELLE BRENNAN, 37
Michelle said: “We were living in a flat together and have just moved across the road to our new house. We didn’t want to leave Woodards View as we like it so much.
“We saw this was for sale and came to view it and saw its lovely big garden, which our two-year-old son will love.
“It’s all happened really quickly and took us six or seven weeks to move from our flat across the road.
“The community is great here.
“There’s a wild load of retired guys across the street who are always having get-togethers and drinking wine.
“Tomorrow we’re off to another party with a neighbour, so everyone is really lovely and welcoming.” Darren added: “We’ve been
living in the street, including in the flat, since 2006. I grew up in Mile Oak and Michelle is a Shoreham girl.
“We both snowboard and try to go abroad once a year.
“This year it will be France but I’ve been to Austria too. Michelle enjoys swimming also.
“There are a lot of windsurfers and paddleboarders round here because it’s a good location for the beach.
“When it’s windy, like it is today, it is ideal for the surfing guys.”
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