History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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beginning of the year 1700 there stood a house, 350 yards from " Wood's original Baths," (now the site of "the Ladies' Swimming Bath "belonging to " Brill's Baths Company," and near the Pump House Groyne), belonging to Mr Male, a respectable rope maker. At high tides the sea came up to the walls of the York Hotel, also up the west side of the circular bath, at the end of East Street, and flowed down Pool Valley into the sea again. The last memorable occasion was that of the great storm of the 23rd of November, 1824. For­merly it was the custom to unload coal brigs in front of the town, but this plan was abandoned in consequence of the numerous wrecks that took place, and the great risk attending the same. On one night during the last 40 years no less than half-a-dozen wrecks took place between Ship Street and West Street—the port of Brighthelmstone. The limit of the said port was from opposite the Old Ship Hotel to the bottom of West Street,—denoted by two stones each bearing the inscription: '■' The Port of Brighthelmstone :" the eastern stone was removed at the commence­ment of the sea wall, the other remains close to the fountain at the latter spot. The Insurance Offices refused to ensure longer any ships except upon such terms as made it almost prohibitory. It was of frequent occurrence formerly that one or two ships suffered in the same way, during the winter months, it being on a lee shore, and a gale springing up from the south or south west caused the damage. The principal coal merchants had at that time capstans and buoys, and to this custom is due the origin of so many gaps or roadways to the beach, to enable the coals to be brought to their several depositories. The coal duty was first levied in 1773 by Act of Parliament, and was Gd. per chaldron, afterwards increased to Is., subsequently to 3s. and then altered to 2s. 6d. per ton,—being one-sixth less than the same, as at the present time,—to enable the authorities to erect groynes, jetties, and other defences, to stay the encroachments of the sea. Every chaldron of
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