History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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227
sea 26 ships of war, equipped with 82 men each, at the expense of the inhabitants; and which was a greater proportion of vessels than even London and more than any other port in the kingdom,—except Fowey, in Cornwall; Yarmouth, in Norfolk ; and Dartmouth, in Devonshire,—at that time was required to furnish.
The Harbour limits include a large portion of the line of bay which extends westward towards Worthing, and to the east as far as Rottingdean,—including Brighton, and nature seems to have fashioned this spot for its present use, its many prominent features and inland curve well adapting it for the great and valuable purpose of protection to our shipping. At spring tides the water rises to the height of 20ft. up the estuary of the river, a depth sufficient for the formation of one of the first depots in the world for merchant ships or sloops of war. Docks could be constructed on either side of the river,—and the old bridge made subservient to shipping necessities. The Harbour and neighbourhood possess advantages which would prove in every way equal to the requirements of a large proportion of the shipping trade of our country.
In 1760 an Act was obtained for the formation of a new entrance to the Harbour, and the erection of piers and auxiliaries at a spot near Fishersgate. This project was carried into effect, but the works were so badly constructed, and in such an imperfect manner,—
" Somebody blundered,"
that in less than two years the piers became undermined and were washed away. This disaster, it is believed, was due to the shortening, by the pile drivers, of the timbers, which, on examination, were from six to ten feet short of the foundation, hence the tide soon sapped beneath them. Notwithstanding the defective execution of these works, at spring tides there was a depth of 24ft. of water, and at half-
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