Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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

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Chap. XVII.]               Public Offices.                              217
refusal on the part of a few men of influence to realise that East-Bourne in the " Seventies " was a growing place which could not afford to stand still.
During the first few years of its existence, the Local Board office work was carried on at the private office of the Board's Clerk, Mr. J. H. C. Coles, in Seaside Road, a house on the site of the present Town Hall being occupied by the Town Surveyor, and the meetings of the Board being held in the Old Vestry Room, of which mention has already been made. The growth of the town after 1870, rendered this diversity of centres for public business exceedingly inconvenient, to say nothing of the fact that the actual accommodation provided at the 3 places rapidly became totally insufficient.
An agitation was set on foot in 1874 for the provision of something in the nature of a Town Hall and Public Offices under the same roof. Respecting this matter a furious controversy took place, which eventually ended in 2 parties springing up in the town which can best be described as the " Do-nothings " and the " Go-aheads." The question of site was long and anxiously debated. When the " Do-nothings " found that they were bound to be defeated sooner or later on the main question, they set themselves the task of opposing each suggested site as it was put forward. The sites which were specially in competition first of all were in Sussex Gardens, in South Street, and in that part of Grove Road known as the Stocks Bank/aJ whereon the present Town Hall was eventually built. The site which I favoured was the South Street one (now occupied by Elliott's Stores), on the ground that it was an open position, central for all purposes, with a public road on 3 sides, and peculiarly suitable for a public building which, with St. Saviour's Church close bcy, and a large open space all round obtainable (for the houses in College and Spencer Roads were not then built), would have enabled the town to possess a handsome public building worthy of the town's future. However, it was not so to be. The sum of
{a) The name is suggestive, but the Parish Stocks once erected there had disappeared before my time. "Pillory Place," in the Old Town, may also perhaps indicate history
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