Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VI.]                 Naval Episodes.                               85
coasting vessels called " Boulder-boats." These went backwards and forwards to Newhaven carrying thither boulders collected on the seashore of Sussex. These stones were transhipped at Newhaven, and conveyed to France for use in the manufacture of glass. When this traffic had gone on for a long time the French Government put on an Import Duty and destroyed the trade ; and, thanks to Free Trade [!] we could do nothing to retaliate. I was told in 1906 by an old seafaring man at Newhaven that the action of the French Government had deprived Newhaven of £15,000 a year.
I remember Captain Harvey, R.N., the inventor of the Harvey torpedo, staying for some time at East-Bourne in 1879, and I made his acquaintance. His invention, ingenious as it was, has failed to hold its own against the well-known Whitehead torpedo.
The most disastrous boating accident in my time happened on Sunday, June 11, 1876. An unlicensed boatman took out 12 men and boys for a sail ; a gust of wind blew the boat over ; she sank in a few minutes and only one man of the 13 was saved, and that by a coastguard boat which put off directly the accident was noticed from the shore.
Having always been fond of ships and shipping, I have taken every opportunity available to me of seeing the great shows of ships at Portsmouth, beginning with the visit of the French Fleet in September, 1865, and I have see a nearly every great show of the kind and Naval Review down to the Review of August 1909, in honour of the Emperor and Empress of Russia. The illumina­tion of the ships on that occasion surpassed any previous thing of the sort I had ever seen. Formerly the ships were lighted up in skeleton outline, but in 1909, the whole surface of the hulls seemed to blaze with light.
" ffour s|ng8 un not totll-msnntlt"{Antony and Cleopatra). [To Mr. McKenna, M.P., 1910.]
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