Can you solve the mystery of Neptune?

Beatrice Ellis
Beatrice Ellis

SOME 90 years separate these two photos of Neptune.

Some sharp-eyed readers will recognise the Neptune statue as the one that stands today on an island in the little pond in Motcombe Park.

Neptune in Motcombe Gardens

Neptune in Motcombe Gardens

But who is that smiling woman sitting on Neptune’s lap?

Her name was Beatrice Ellis, and she posed for the picture sometime in the roaring 1920s.

At that time, she lived at Michel Grove, a grand home that stood at 17 Upperton Road.

The Neptune statue adorned the garden at Michel Grove.

Beatrice and her husband, Percy, were employees of Dr. William Gratwicke Heasman, owner of Michel Grove.

Percy was groom of Dr. Heasman’s hunting horses. Dr. Heasman, who died in 1934, was a physician who occasionally played cricket for Sussex as a young man.

He is best remembered today as a great friend of Indian prince Ranjitsinhji, the legendary Sussex and England cricketer. “Ranji” often stayed at Michel Grove.

Beatrice passed the photo on to her daughter, Joan Prentice, who died in Eastbourne in 2007.

She in turn passed it to her son, Michael Prentice – Beatrice’s grandson.

Michael, who now lives in Canada, does not know how or when the statue moved from Michel Grove to Motcombe Park.