Hotham Park obtained its name from the founder of modern Bognor Regis, Sir Richard Hotham, who came to Bognor in 1787. His dream was to create a seaside resort similar to Brighton, designed to attract royalty and the rich.
Sir Richard Hotham - Copyright Sylvia Endacott
In 1887, Sir Richard laid the first foundation stone of his new resort, with the building of Hotham Park House following in 1792. Sir Richard Hotham both built and lived in this house (originally called Chapel House) and it was off limits to the public. The Ice House was built to serve as a refrigerator for the residents of the house and still remains today. It is located near Edward Bryant’s Primary School.
Hotham Park House - Copyright of Young (1983) A History of Bognor Regis - Picture 100
Hotham Park House included a clock tower which was hand-wound until 1994. The clock tower remains with the house today although no longer needs to be hand wound.
Sir Richard Hotham passed away on 13th March1799 with his legacy still continuing today. Every year a wreath is laid on the grave of Sir Richard Hotham in Bersted Church graveyard, commemorating all the work he achieved.
On the 23rd May 1947, Hotham Park was purchased by Bognor Regis Arun Council and was opened to the public. The original house still remains as a Grade II listed building but has since been converted into housing. The park surrounding the house is listed as a Green Flag park, highlighting its quality. It has since become a popular attraction in Bognor Regis due to: its wide variety of plants; the miniature railway, mini golf and the Hotham Park café.
Annual events take place in the park including the Hotham Park County Fair.