Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. II.] A Tour round Old East-Bourne.                  II
Motcombe Lane used to lead to Motcombe Farmr but nothing agricultural remains except the farm-house. On the barn door it was customary to nail up the skins of all the stoats and weasels caught, pour encourager les autres. Opposite the front door there was, in my early days, a very large farm pond with fish in it, fed by a spring in the chalk, and used by the farm cattle. At a later period (about 1858) it was discontinued for farm purposes, reduced in size, and fitted up as a reservoir to supply the New Town with water, a line of iron pipes being laid down for the purpose. This scheme soon broke down as a water supply, but the subject belongs to another chapter. (See chapter XIII., post).
Near the lowest point in the Ocklynge Road there used to be 2 cottages on the W. side, one of which was the head post-office down to about 1857, when a new post-office was established in the Terminus Road. The postmaster up to that date had been a very antediluvian person, and the interior economy of the office, which was about 8ft. square, was of similar character. I well remember the institution of the second or mid-day post in from London in 1851. This innovation, though liked by the better class of residents, was not, I think, very acceptable to Mr. T. Cook, the postmaster, or his two letter carriers who served the whole town. At Cook's death his daughter, Miss Mary Cook, who had done most of the work for several years previously, was appointed official postmistress and remained such for several years after the office had been moved to the Terminus Road. The old town cottage was kept up for a long time as a sub-office in the hands of a fly-driver named Payne, his wife doing the work. The great advantage of the second post was that it gave us the London newspapers of the same day. Not that these were very numerous or very varied. They did not comprise much beyond the Times (Liberal), the Morning Herald (Tory) and the Morning Post and Morning Chronicle of uncertain politics. The Herald and Chronicle both perished about the same time, say about 1860 for the latter and 1803-for the former.
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