Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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216               Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XVII.
but with only partial success. The Bill was in Committee in the House of Commons for 4 days, March 25-28, and in the Lords for 2 days, June 17-18, and soon became law. The wall was built and some important additional powers were obtained. The key-stone was laid on January 4, 1884, after many difficulties owing to a part of the finished work being washed away in the autumn of 1881, and to the failure of the Contractor, and the intervention of a law-suit. The erection of the wall was followed by a law-suit between Mr. Gilbert and the Local Board in the summer of 1880, as to the compensation to be paid for the land of the former taken by the Board. The matter was settled by arbitration, Mr. Clutton being the Arbitrator.
A very interesting and exhaustive paper on the changes in the coast line at East-Bourne, and to the E. and W. of the town, was read before the Natural History Society on February 19, 1875, by the late Rev. H. E. Maddock and was printed in the Society's Annual Volume of Proceedings.
The controversy before the Bill of 1879 became law, turned upon the respective merits of Avail v. groynes. One set of thinkers, who wished to do things on the cheap, went in for more groynes, whilst another section advocated a sea wall as more certain, more permanent, and more artistic, albeit more expensive. There can now be no doubt that the wall was the proper remedy for the disease which had to be faced, a few groynes being useful perhaps as a supplementary defence.
I may here insert the date of December 5, 1896, as that on which the Brighton Chain Pier was washed away. Beyond the words " a raging gale," I have no note of anything serious having happened at East-Bourne, but that is not surprising, for Beachy Head and the Downs protect East-Bourne in a marked degree from gales from the W. and S.W.
The Town Hall has a history which, if it -were worth while to tell it in full, would result in a singular narrative of controversy and mishaps ; bickerings and recriminations ; nearly all centred around an obstinate
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