Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XVIL]                High Tides.                                215
away during a storm and high tide, and all traffic suspended for many hours. Seaford too suffered severely, but that storm did not affect East-Bourne to the same serious extent as some other storms which I can remember.
Previously to the passing of the Act of 1879 (presently to be mentioned), every expected unusual high tide was a source of great anxiety to the occupiers of houses facing the sea front or lying behind in Seaside from the Anchor Eastwards. They often had to board up the lower portions of their front doors and " pug " the boards with clay to keep out the water. These defensive efforts frequently failed and the water getting in converted the ground floor or basement rooms into swimming baths. When the water once got over the Marine Parade on to the roadway, it used to rush down the incline by Gowland's Library and so on, in extreme cases, flood the roadway as far East as Leaf Hall and beyond. I have seen the whole of the road between the corner at the back of the Albion and the Hall, a foot deep for the whole width of the road. Such was the case during the high tide and storm of March 12, 1876.
The most destructive storm on record was that of January 1, 1877, which washed away part of the Pier, flooded many houses at the Seaside, and caused a great devastation of property. The extent of the mischief was so great, that at length it became realised by nearly (but not quite) everybody that the sea wall then carried to a point only so far E. as just beyond the Anchor Hotel, ought to be extended further Eastwards, at least to the Redoubt. Such a proposal, involving as it necessarily did, great interference with property and a very large outlay, could only be carried out by an Act of Parliament. The Local Board after full deliberation, decided to apply for one, which was the signal for all the Do-nothings and Obstructives to marshal their forces to hinder the necessary Public Improvements, which included besides the sea wall, the widening of South Street and taking over the powers of the Commissioners of the Pevensey Levels. Mrs. Partington came very much to the fore,
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