It was either fated, or the most incredible set of coincidences, that brought the Generating Station's savoir together. For sure, without him, Nikolai Askaroff, had it in mind to demolish what he saw as a liability. That was until he was running short of change, and wanted to secure the skills of his best decorator & handyman.




Nikolai Fawley Askaroff, was one of six boys, brought up by Igor and Rosemarie Askaroff, the Russian/Austrian entrepreneurs, who escaped from Nazi occupied territory during World War Two.


The good news for the Electricity Station, was that somebody cared about it enough, to want to save it from collapse. The other stroke of luck, was that Nick Askaroff was a chartered accountant, and could not resist a good deal. His whole mantra was wheeling and dealing, as his Obituary reads. He was also partial to a hearty meal. Growing up with five siblings, meant that competition for food was fierce, meat almost unheard of. It is unclear if that led to his obsession with collecting china pigs. If perhaps roast pork was a subconscious driver. But for sure Nick did have a large collection of porcine porcelain. We know that his younger brother Alex, was very keen on roast beef. Enjoying many a Sunday repast in Seaford, with Victor and his family, when he visibly salivated as the generous portions were served with lashings of gravy and roast potatoes, without limits on seconds. Coming from a background of peas and cereals, this must have seemed like heaven.


Arm wrestling was a thing in the Askaroff family, and Nick was king. That was until Victor beat him left handed, while Nick was stronger on the right hand. Sort of making them equals, and a mutual respect developed from those challenges in the kitchen in Ashburnham Gardens, in Eastbourne.


Mainly because of his high skill levels, Simplantex, would engage Victor for some of their more complicated tasks. One of which was designing a special steel work station for the inspection and packing of their baby goods, to increase productivity. Nick's mother Rosemarie was also fond of Victor, and Nick was the Managing Director of the family firm.  Nick's wife Clare, was enamored of Victor's woodworking and decorating abilities, another factor in the proposal that followed. It was obvious that the couple were keen to have such qualities close by. Thus, when the subject came up, it was more or less a done deal, save for quantum. Victor finally offered to purchase the generating sheds. He could see from the gleam in Nick's eyes that he'd just been offered a deal, not to be refused. Clare was visibly anxious, suddenly coming alive, with more colour in the pale cheeks of her English Rose complexion. She too wished for a versatile handyman within the Park and could not hide it. The couple sold the proposal to themselves. All Victor had to do was bide his time.










The dilapidated buildings, were not that much of a bargaining tool, as Victor pointed out, since Nick was set to demolish them. Yet, it was the starting point for negotiations, and soon a figure was settled, where Victor would decorate and renovate number four, to include refurbishing the multitude of sash windows. The workings of which had seen better days. Clare would bake delicious cakes for her husband, always making one for Victor to take away. The tastiest of which was her wild cranberry and raisin special. It was Victor's turn to drool. Nick and Victor would often watch a film together in the freshly decorated lounge.


The contract completed, Clare was desperate to keep Victor on for as long as possible, producing a snagging list several meters long. To her chagrin, Victor dashed those off in a morning. Except for a wash basin downstairs off the reception hall, resting on an ornate metal frame. Victor painted it again, and still Clare said it had not been done properly. Finally, Victor asked her to show him where he'd missed the ironworks. At which point Clare got on her back on the floor and pointed to the underside of the sink, where there was a small miss in a corner, about 3mm square, that nobody would ever notice, and an ordinary brush would not reach. They both laughed at the absurdity.


His brother's called Nikolai, "Pig Nick." We assume this was a reference to his collection of china. Victor found Nick to be generous, and fair in all his dealings. Nick explained that family politics were not quite so straightforward. Especially, when his relationship with Clare began to wane.








An aerial view of Herstmonceux Museum in 2022, showing the public footpaths north of the generating buildings. Many of which are unregistered, but well trodden for over forty years, from our records.





Nikolia was the second born of a number of boys: Noel, Alexander, Maximilian, Samuel (Simon) and Oliver. To some this may seem like a virtual production line of children that one may think of today as less than responsible in terms of global population and climate change. But in those days having a large family gave the best chance of success, certainly so in evolutionary terms. Whereas, the alternative (modern) view is to invest more time in less children. Explaining why career mothers, delay motherhood, later and later.

Nick qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1980 but quickly decided that there must be more exciting occupations than auditing, investigations and tax. His first position in industry was in a small family fashion textile company called Simplantex, based in Eastbourne, where he soon learned that, despite the grand title of financial director, he had to be involved in selling, exhibitions, packing cartons and even cutting material. He also experienced at first hand the problems that can arise in second generation family businesses. As a power struggle developed, leading to full blow fist fights in the boardroom.

He was a capable rugby player at school and he liked to ski.

His eyesight suffered, as a result of so much close paperwork, and he wore contact lenses. Probably as a result of working late, one dark evening in 1983 he drove his Range Rover into one of the dykes along the Pevensey marsh road, at night. Clare came rushing over to Victor's workshop in the Generating Station to ask for help. Thus, Nick was rescued by Victor and towed home, using an old Land Rover Safari. Nobody (including the police) any the wiser. A year or two before this, Nik had a car accident in Eastbourne, where he'd probably [nobody knows the cause] had a bit to drink, covered in the local paper. Nobody was injured. Despite this record of momentary lapses, Nick and his son Leo, went on to compete successfully in a number of classic cars events.









EASTBOURNE HERALD - 31 DECEMBER 2021 - Tributes paid to award-winning businessman who died suddenly over Christmas

Prominent businessman Nik Askaroff has died suddenly while enjoying a break in the Far East during the festive season.

Mr Askaroff, 65, was a very successful, well-known and award-winning businessman in Sussex for decades. He has been involved in a number of Eastbourne businesses over the years including Anglo Dutch Meats, Genesis Freight Forwarding, Posturite and Hotchkiss. He was founder and chief executive of EMC, which was founded in Eastbourne in 1989.

Mr Askaroff died suddenly on Christmas Eve and the news has shocked his loved ones, many friends and the business community.

A statement on the EMC website reads: “It is with deepest sadness that we share news of the passing of Nik Askaroff, EMC’s founder and chief executive. Nik suffered a sudden cardiac arrest whilst travelling in the Far East over the Christmas period.

“Nik spent over 30 years of his working life building EMC to become the leading corporate finance house in the South East and the well placed succession plans will ensure that his legacy is built upon.

“Our hearts go out to Nik’s loved ones at this difficult time. Please keep them in your thoughts.”










Nikolai Fawley Askaroff (NFA) passed away on a golf course in the Far East, on the 24th of December 2021. May he Rest In Peace.


If it had not been for Nikolai (Nick) marrying Clare Martin, and moving to Lime Park, Victor would never have discovered the old Electricity Generating Works, or been able to negotiate with the renowned negotiator, to purchase the rundown monument. A deal to remember.












Alexander Igor Askaroff

Sewing machine engineer

Casper Johnson

County Archaeologist ESCC

Clare Askaroff (nee Martin)

Wife of Nikolia

Dr Andrew Woodcock

County Archaeologist ESCC

Greg Chuter

County Archaeologist ESCC

Igor Askaroff

Russian émigré

John Hopkinson

Electrical Engineer

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan

Inventor light bulb, UK

Major Charles de Roemer


Margaret Pollard (Peggy Green)

The chauffeur’s daughter

Max Askaroff

Donated the Australian Bulldog ant

Neil Griffin

County Archaeologist ESCC 2023

Nikolia Fawley Askaroff

MD Simplantex, deal maker

Ron Martin

Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society

Ronald Saunders

The engineer’s son

Rosemarie Violet Twentyman-Turnbull (Askaroff)

Austrian seamstress

Sophie Unger

ESCC historic environment records officer

Thomas Alva Edison

Inventor, light bulb USA

Vic the Handyman

Archaeological sleuth, amateur detective





If you know of any information that may help us complete this story, please get in touch.













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