Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. III.] A Tour through Central East-Bourne. 31
1749." About 1870, however, the then owner, Mr. Robert Cooper, seeking to combine business in this world with business in the next, lost the former, and I should suppose found ere long that a trade with spirits was far less remunerative than a trade in spirits.
South Street as it now exists has been so completely transformed by re-building that there remain now no more than the three adjacent houses, numbered 10, 12, and 14, which were in existence in 1851. At that time a blacksmith's forge occupied the site of the new Independent Chapel. The blacksmiths were two brothers, Thomas and George Keeping, and their father had been a blacksmith before them. Thomas was Clerk at Trinity Church and never looked much like a blacksmith, but George was a typical iron-worker, and Longfellow's well-known lines describe him.
Nearly opposite to the blacksmith's forge was a large wooden structure built in the early part of the 19th Century as a theatre and used as such. But in my days dramatic performances had long ceased and I only knew the place as a builder's workshop and then as a furniture warehouse; and after it had been such for some years it was pulled down. Alderman Rowe possesses a play-bill of performances there in February, 1813. The Local Board owned it for some time, but sold it in 1883.
The house next to Keeping's was occupied by William Morris, a burly old-fashioned tradesman, who besides being a watchmaker was a silversmith, an auctioneer, and all sorts of things. A little further along was a substantial private house of some size, with a good garden attached, which was owned first by a Mr. Lanyon and then by Mr. F. H. Gell, the Lewes Solicitor. Nearly opposite to this was another comfort­able old-fashioned house which before my time had been occupied by Dr. Ranking. I do not remember who had it after him, but it eventually became the property of a London solicitor named Truman, and was derelict for many years, windows broken, roof in holes and tumbling down. This was the result of a craze on the part of the owner because he thought (and in a sense
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