Blue Plaques

The Bognor Regis Blue Plaque Trail celebrates people and events that have either lived in or influenced the seaside town of Bognor Regis. The trail is focussed primarily on Blue Plaques but also includes memorial plaques and stones. The trail commences at Bognor Regis Pier, then heading west to Marine Park Gardens, then back through the town to Hotham Park Gardens and ending at Dome House.
This is the longest of the Heritage Trails and visitors should allow at least two hours to complete the trail.

King George V

King George V

King George V

Town Mayor Cllr. Phil Woodall unveiled a Blue Plaque in July 2019 commemorating the year when King George V bequeathed the title "Regis" on the town following his stay here. More information can be found here


Location of plaque - Town Hall, Clarence Road 

Joseph Witham

Joseph Witham 1832 - 1901. 

Joseph Witham was born in this house, the son of a cabinet maker. He was a seaman. In 1874, he moved to Liverpool where he set himself up as a marine painter until his death in 1901. Some of his work can be seen in the National Maritime Museum.


Location of plaque  Opposite the Museum on West Street 

Blue Plaque


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Frank L'Alouette

Frank L'Alouette 1901 - 1968 was a War Office sanctioned official photographer during World War 2, recording memories of Bognor Regis and the District. A collection of his photographs can be seen on the West Sussex Past Pictures website 

Images show the photographic shop on the left. On the right Members of his family celebrated the unveiling of the plaque by the Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership Board, with Bognor Regis Town Council.

Mr L’Alouette was born in Windsor in 1901 and trained as a photographer’s assistant. He moved to Bognor in the 1920s to work in the photography section of a chemist and branched out on his own at a time when cameras were becoming popular along with Bognor Regis as a tourist destination.

Mr L’Alouette was unable to join the armed forces when the war started because of a hole-in-the-heart condition so he instead applied for a Ministry of Information permit to enable him to photograph wartime events around the town. His contacts enabled him to capture a south coast town, with its barbed wire beach and pier cut in half, as its residents endured life in the Second World War.


Location of plaque West Street 

L'Alouette Shop

L'Alouette plaque

Tony Hancock

Tony Hancock 1924 - 1968 On the entrance to the Royal Norfolk hotel is a blue plaque to commemorate the time Tony Hancock spent at the hotel whilst filming "The Punch and Judy Man", his last film in 1962.


Location of plaque on the pillars at the entrance to the Royal Norfolk Hotel 

Blue Plaque

Tony Hancock

"The Punch and Judy Man" 1962 

Martin Venables

Edmond Martin Venables 1901 - 1920  was a self-taught geologist fascinated by the natural history of Sussex from an early age. He explored the Bognor Regis coastline where London Clay (Eocene) is exposed under favourable tidal conditions. His first paper on this subject was published in 1929 and provided the earliest detailed account of the stratigraphy. Venables soon became an expert in identifying macro- and microfossils, and provided important contributions to the study of the British Tertiary. A lifetime of collecting and investigation followed and, by the time of his second major paper in 1963, he had refined the stratigraphy of the Bognor foreshore section, listed some 450 taxa, including many new forms of which one genus and 14 species were named after him. During his life, he donated some 14 000 specimens to the Natural History Museum, London, including an important collection of pyritized fossil beetles from the London Clay. Employed first as a fruit and poultry farmer and later as a local museum curator, Venables published very few papers in scientific journals but produced over 2500 articles on natural history as a journalist for the local newspaper.


This work was first presented orally at a joint meeting of the Geological Society of London History of Geology Group and the Geologists' Association, The Amateur in British Geology, held at the Geological Society, Burlington House, London, 14–15 March, 2002.


Location of plaque on sea wall near the Yacht Club 

Martin Venables

Martin Venables

John Cyril Hawes

John Cyril Hawes 1857-1956 was a renowned architect and builder of churches. The blue plaque commemorating him is placed on the White Tower designed and built by Hawes.  More information on John Cyril Hawes can be found here


Location of plaque on The White Tower, Aldwick Road 

J C Hawes

J C Hawes plaque 

White Tower

William Fletcher

William Holland Ballett Fletcher 1852-1941 The plaque is sited on the Pavilion at Marine Park Gardens which was purchased during a sale of his lands in 1926. William Fletcher opened Marine Park Gardens in July 1935. He is also known as a benefactor of the town by creating the legacy of the horticultural rich collection of trees, shrubs and ornamental plants that are seen in Hotham Park today. He moved into the house, then known as Bersted Lodge, in 1899 and immediately changed the name to Aldwick Manor as he had inherited the Lordship of the Manor of Aldwick. In 1906, he was Co-opted as Chairman of Bognor Urban District Council and in 1910 he became a County Alderman. He was a very private man and never consented to being interviewed about his life and work. His wife Agnes Fletcher became well known in her own right for her unusual interest in reptiles, amphibians and rodents.

William worked closely with Kew Gardens and at one period his plantings were compared with Kew as being an outstanding collection of species. We should remember that this was his garden and not the park we know today. The boating lake was his pond where he could be regularly seen standing at the side feeding his huge goldfish with bread. A cork oak he found at Goodwood is planted near the house to commemorate his wedding to Agnes.

In 1939 she died at the age of 84 and within 2 years William also died, aged 89. This ended the Fletcher association with the house that had lasted over eighty years, since his father took over the house and completing over 40 years for William. Their deaths finished the private ownership of the house and park we know today.

Following his death the house was leased to the Ministry of Pensions for the duration of the war. At the conclusion of the war it soon became obvious that no maintenance had been carried out, but it was still considered possible for the house to be used as a Museum, Restaurant, or community area for the town. Many letters appeared in the press about the use of the area but no plans materialised. However in May 1947 Captain Corbishley, Chairman of the Bognor Regis Council, opened the grounds as a park for the benefit of all.


Location of plaque Marine Park Gardens 

Wm Fletcher

Marine Pk Gdns

Victor Lorenzo Whitechurch

Victor Lorenzo Whitechurch 1868 - 1933.  Originally a parson he later became Canon of Christ Church College, Oxford, but he is famous as the creator of the railway detective Thorpe Hazel!. His genre was impossible crime on the railways and spy stories, many of which appeared in Strand Magazine. The Plaque commemorates the house where he lived in Victoria Road


Location of plaque Victoria Road 

V L Whitchurch

Victor Lorenzo Whitechurch

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828 - 1882. Poet, painter and leading member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Romantic love was the main inspiration for both his poetry and painting. For a short period Rossetti had a studio in Bognor. 


Location of plaque on Belmont Lodge.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Daniel Gabriel Rossetti

James Joyce

James Joyce 1882 - 1941) Novelist, famous for his book 'Ulysses'. Worked on his other classic 'Finnegans Wake' while staying in Bognor in 1923.

Location of plaque: 6 Clarence Road.

James Joyce plaque

James Joyce

Henry Leopold Guermonprez

Henry Guermonprez 1858 - 1924  Self-taught natural historian and botanist lived in Bognor while recording and collecting the plant and wildlife of West Sussex. The Guermonprez Collection can be seen at Portsmouth City Museum. More information here 

Location: St Joseph's, Albert Road.

HL Guermonprez plaque

Sir Richard Hotham

Sir Richard Hotham 1722 - 1799  Hatter and entrepreneur Sir Richard Hotham was elected MP for Southwark in 1780. In 1787 work began on a purpose built holiday resort for the gentry, the new town of Bognor had been founded. More information can be found here

Location of plaque Hotham Park House, Hotham Park 

Sir Richard Hotham

Mr C. Cowles-Voysey FRIBA

Mr Charles Cowles-Voysey 1889 - 1981 In 1929, the fortunes of Bognor  seemed to be changing. It was at a time when the town received the royal accolade of Regis and it was the year when the town council was destined to have a new town hall. The brief for the work and competition rules were sent out to 91 companies. Bognorians were not totally happy with the plans and, when they were made aware of the location of this new building, it was felt that its construction in a ‘back street of the town,’ the report continued, would be something that the ‘town will regret as long as it exists’.

The winner of the competition was Mr C. Cowles-Voysey FRIBA, the architect, who was also responsible for numerous buildings including the Guildhall at Cambridge, and Watford and Bromley town halls. He appeared to work for numerous councils, where his styles were appreciated.

Location of plaque Town Hall Clarence Road 


Town Hall