Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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18                   Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. II.
Ball on January 26, 1898, was the great social event of the winter of 1897-98, and on July 23, 1898, the Duchess gave a delightful garden party. Another of Her Grace's garden parties on July 28,1900, was stigmatised by some democrats as an election trick. This evoked some newspaper correspondence as to which something will be found in Chapter XIX. (post.)
The house at the corner of Compton Place Road, known as Grey stone House, was at an earlier period than I have just been speaking of occupied by a Mr. R. B. Stone, who was a grocer and kept a shop hard by. Giving evidence before a Parliamentary Committee on a Railway Bill, he spoke of Lord Burlington as a neighbour and friend of his, by way of impressing the Committee with a due comprehension of his local standing and importance. Thereupon the Counsel on the other side said " I think, Mr. Stone, you sell groceries to his Lordship, don't you ? "A question which Mr. Stone would rather had not been put.
Meads in 1910 is a totally different place from the Meads of half-a-century previously. In the " Fifties " and " Sixties " it was an agricultural hamlet, with a few fishermen thrown in, and with no more than 5 or 6 houses above the status of labourers' cottages, and of those houses two were farm-houses and a third a house used as a sort of anchorite's cell. Of course there were two " pubs," the Ship and the Pilot. The farm-houses were Sprays Farm in the occupation of Mr. Joseph Gorringe, and the Place Farm (now Meads Place) which had been bought and annexed to the Cavendish property no further back than the early part of the 19th Century. That farm changed its tenants several times in my early recollection, and I cannot remember either the dates on the exact succession, but two of the tenants were named Rason and Filder, and the latter was there in 1858. It was not till after that time that the Duke of Devonshire decided on laying out the whole of that part of the Parish of East-Bourne for the building of large private residences, and the land for such purposes was taken up very slowly. Plate XI. represents the territory
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