Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIX.] Early in the 19th Century.
East-Bourne in 1809.
"Eastbourne, September 7th [1809].
"This little bathing-place is thronged with families of the first distinction ; not a house, or even a lodging, can be obtained on any terms.
" The theatre is well attended; the performance on Saturday was patronized by Lord Bradford and the officers of his regiment (the Shropshire Militia) and produced a bumper.
"The ball at the Lamb Inn on Monday boasted an overflow of fashionable company. The parade is delightfully situated close to the sea; and all the officers of the 2nd Surrey and Shropshire Regiments, with that politeness which distinguishes these gentlemen, send their bands every evening for the amusement of the company.
"Since the "Iris" frigate has been on this station the French privateers have not dared to renew their visits to this part of the coast."—{Globe, September 9, 1809.)
The Iris was an ex-French corvette of 24 guns, captured off the Texel on January 2, 1809, by H.M.S. Aimable, so her captors dfd not lose much time in utilising her. No doubt the Aimable had also been -originally French. (See James, Naval History, vol. v., p. 147.) I have been unable to recover any account of the visits of French privateers to the Sussex coast.
East-Bourne in 1812.
A certain Mr. Mayow Adams, who then resided at Sydenham, told Sir G. Grove in 1890 that—
" In 1812 or 1813 he was at East-Bourne and, being out with his nurse, was terribly frightened by a loud explosion ; it was the guns in the fort firing at a French ship which had come too close to the shore. He remembers the balls ricochetting along the top of the waves; also his fear for 2 men who were sitting down under the fort."—(Grove's Life of Sir G. Grove, p. 360.)
East-Bourne Bathing in 1819.
The following extract from the 1819 edition of 'East-Bourne and its Environs contains a fair mixture of fact and romance, and indicates that Daily Mail methods were not altogether novel even a century ago : —
•• East-bourne has one great advantage over other watering-places on this coast, in the circumstance of all the fleets navigating the Channel, usually coming close in shore, though when opposite to Brighton they are obliged to keep a very great offing, and are seldom perceptible. The bathing here may be equalled, but cannot be surpassed for the purity and cleanliness of the water, as there is not a drain of any description falls into it, for many miles on either side (a great contrast to many fashionable watering-places on this coast), and it seldom happens that any person is deprived of one day's bathing in the season. The machines are very excellent, and the guides unremitting in their attentions. Here also are very commodious warm baths, lately built at a considerable expense by Mrs. Webb, wherein every accommodation has been strictly studied. The sands here are very fine and dry, and they form a
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