Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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224                Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XVII.
Corporation have an interior area of 8-J- acres on lease for 50 years at the nominal rent of 1 a year, this said area to be called " Gildredge Park." This settlement of the question has since been revised and extended, but that is a matter beyond the range of this volume.
Foiled in their endeavours to obtain a Public Park of adequate size and in a desirable situation, the Town Council long after my time purchased the " Willingdon Decoy " of Mr. Freeman-Thomas, and converted it into a public Open Space under the name of " Hampden Park." It has been laid out and improved with excellent taste, and nothing is wanted except a tramway to take you there.
The situation may be summed up as follows : that, thanks to Lord Willingdon, East-Bourne now possesses a " lung" which may be said to match in some slight degree " Preston Park," Brighton ; the " East and West Hills " of Hastings; and " The Public Gardens " of Bournemouth, but far inferior in area and accessibility to all these 3.
I forbear to prolong this chapter by any further allusion to controversial matters, but a big fight, in which I took some part, raged in the " Seventies " and " Eighties," from 1876 onwards, as to whether the Local Board or the Guardians should build a Hospital for Infectious Diseases. In the end there were 2 hospitals built to do the work (at that time) of one, and the Guardians, by prolonged " cussedness," saddled the ratepayers with an enormous building for non-infectious patients, which cost, I believe, 7000, and ought never to have been built. The Guardians also decided to build a new Workhouse at Polegate. That was a much more rational project, and though a quarter of a century has elapsed it still remains a projet de loi, as a Frenchman would call it.
" Sir* onljr ftmjr out 0f jjxrpfesifg is irmsi<m."(E. S. Hardy.)
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