The Evens Family of Upper Freedown , Kingsdown Road and Holly Lodge
This collection consiste of documents and photos relating to the Evens Family who lived in St Margaret's from 1898
John and Agnes Evens and their five daughters were living in Canterbury in 1897 when John died.
In the year after his death Agnes bought property in St Margaret’s a house,Holly Lodge, in Cripps Lane, which still stands, and four acres of downland overlooking the sea along Kingsdown Road known as the Upper Freedown.
On this land she built' Platte Seline', named after the family’s favourite beach in Alderney, to run as an overflow sanitorium for schoolboys from Kings School in Canterbury. It was, unusually, a house made of compressed paper and card designed by a Mr Alport, expected to last for 20 years although it was still going strong 40 years later
Many boys spent a happy time here eating home grown vegetables and enjoying the rural location and care provided by the Evens family.
The only daughter to marry, Agnes, did so in 1904 leaving Janet, Eunice and Mabel to run the sanitorium.
Mabel was considered a bit fast for the time- she took part in theatricals and went for runs over the downs- an unknown pastime for a lady at that time. She is remembered in the family as talkative, interested in books and people if a bit bossy.
In 1914 Mabel was 47 years old living at 'Platte Seline' . Many of the boys they had known and cared for went into the forces at the outbreak of war and some were killed in action.
She started a diary just before the war and although it has large gaps it gives a first- hand account of what it was like to live in the village. The archive has a copy.
The Evens family had to vacate Platte Seline during the Second World War and when they returned there was little left of it and they all moved to Holly Lodge. The family built new houses on the Upper Freedown land, which in their turn have been replaced by modern homes.
The History Society is grateful to the Phillips family for allowing us to copy their family archive