Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

An Account of, notable events, Persons and town history - online book

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search



Share page  



Previous Contents Next


Chap. XL] Brighton to be defended.                      133
Company at a meeting called in 1877 (?), to sanction the construction of a railway from Lewes to East Grinstead. He said that " their main object had been to make such arrangements as would ward off any danger," i.e. danger from interlopers ! I well remember Mr. J. P. Knight, the then General Manager, illustrating this point one day when I was in his office at Brighton. Producing a map of Sussex, he drew a pencil over the various lines, opened or sanctioned, converging on BrightonóWorthing and Brighton, Horsham and Brighton, London and Brighton, East Grinstead and Brighton, Tunbridge Wells and Brighton, etc., etc., and said with a chuckle, " Look at this ; isn't this defensive strategy worthy of the Duke of Wellington" or words to that effect. He had something to boast of, seeing that since his com≠pany's victory in 1863, in the case of the London, Lewes and Brighton Line, they had defeated several subsequent schemes for rival main lines from London to Brighton promoted in Sessions subsequent to 1863, by the South Eastern and Chatham Companies in alliance and later still, in 1876, an anonymous scheme for getting into Brighton via Reigate and Shoreham, which was supposed (rightly or wrongly I do not know), to have been inspired by the Midland Company. At any rate, this I do know, that the Brighton officials were in a great " funk " about it for one of them told me so.
There is yet another line to be mentioned, support to which was given by the Brighton Company and justified by Mr. Laing in his speech just alluded to. That was the Lewes and East Grinstead line passed in 1877, and extended eventually northwards through Lingfield to join the Surrey and Sussex line at Oxted. Lord Sheffield was a great promoter of this, contributing a large sum (£200,000 I believe) to the cost. Mr. Laing's explanation to his shareholders was that by taking the line into their own hands, they would accomplish a final stroke to protect Brighton against all intrusive rivals, and so it has turned out.
My Railway history of East Sussex is not yet complete. Taking the subjects as nearly as may be in
Previous Contents Next