Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. IV.] A Tour round the Sea Houses.                   45
Gowland's Library may confidently be spoken of as-one of the oldest shops in the place, carried on through its whole existence for the purposes of the same trade, books and the things which usually go with books. The business was apparently not in existence in 1787, but it is described in a token issued in 1796 as "Fisher's Library," and a Guide-book dated 1819 speaks of it as "a good library kept by Heatherly with an excellent lodging-house over it having the accommodation of the daily papers and periodical publications. The Library itself is a very spacious apartment, and for a small sum the subscriber has the benefit and amusement of reading as well as the room to lounge in if thought proper. This is a great accommodation to those who prefer lodging at a distance from the sea, yet wish occasionally to con­template the grandeur of that element. In the adjoining room is an excellent billiard table kept quite select for the use of gentlemen only." The billiard table has long been discontinued, and the space thrown into the shop. John Heatherly died at a date which I cannot specify. Mr. R. J. Graham says that he wore a black suit, with knee breeches, silk stockings, powder in his hair, and a pig-tail. A house in Church Street, Old Town, bearing in recent years the name of Kolassy House, had once been carried on as a branch shopa of the sea side one but used chiefly for the delivery of library books and the sale of fancy articles. 1 often used to pass it and peep into the window with ■ envious eyes. Up to nearly the middle of the 19th Century the Marine Parade library was carried on by 3 Miss Lays, nieces of either Mr. or Mrs. Heatherly, whom they succeeded. They had a brother, a retired hatter, who came to live with them at about the time that they gave up the business of shop-keeping. I remember him only too well by the annoyance he caused me whenever I attended service at the Parish Church and he was there. He sat in the pew immediately behind that allotted to my family, and he always persisted in repeating out loud the " Dearly Beloved " Exhortation
(a) This is my interpretation of history, but Mr. J. C. Wright's puts it the other way about.
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