Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. III.] A Tour through Central East-Bourne. 35
At the supposed epoch of these early notes, namely 1851, Lark field House stood out in the open, surrounded by fields. The nearest inhabited house was a small one occupied by a baker named Dumbrill, and known as The Wish, which, added to and modernised, is now the property of Mr. W. L. Wallis. There has been a long, and I might almost call it an acrimonious controversy Ľover the meaning of the word " Wish," and I have nothing of my own knowledge to contribute towards the solution of the problem. The suggestion that in mediaeval times there was a landing place of importance here seems inadequately supported by proof, which no doubt is available, that there once did exist a row of piles to the E. of the Wish Tower which might have carried planks to constitute a landing place. That " Wish " is a corruption of " Wash " seems much more plausible, especially if we may assume, as we are asked to do, that Wash means " a wet place." It is quite within my memory that the site of the Devonshire Baths was such a wet place, a sort of morass in fact, and it was also a matter of notoriety 40 years ago, that the reason the land now forming the Devonshire Park was made a park and was not built upon, was that it was so low as to be unfit for houses of the character as regards drainage facilities, which the Duke of Devonshire wished all the modern houses on his estate to possess.
In 1852, I went to a picnic on the beach under the Wish Tower. The site was selected as not involving a long journey, but at the same time, as being quite out of the way of curious eyes, and of people likely to " lift " silver spoons and forks lying about!
Proceeding Eastwards from the Wish, there was nothing to interrupt the pedestrian save two houses, one called Cliff Cottage and the other Mount Pleasant, close by ; after which, if he did not walk warily, he would have fallen into an open stone quarry close to where the Cavendish Hotel now stands. It was a quarry of green sand-stone, such as that of which the Parish Church is built. It was almost, but certainly not quite, exhausted by its stone being excavated about 1849 for building so
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