Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. II.] A Tour round Old East-Bourne.                  19
surrounding St. John's Church when that Church was built in 1869.
The third house which I have mentioned above at Meads was occupied by a very quaint person, Mr. R. M. Caldecott, who was a vegetarian and fresh-air enthusiast; also a geologist and an author. Meads not being a sufficiently airy place for him, he bought several acres of land near Beachy Head whereon he built walls and had seats. His custom was to go up there and sit for hours and inhale the air of the Downs and sea. He was a very regular Churchgoer and rarely missed two attendances at the Parish Church every Sunday. His literary powers were concentrated in the Life of Baber, Emperor of Hindostan. I had a copy once. It was a singularly dull book and as I did not take the least interest in the great Baber I alienated the book for a few coppers, a step which I have regretted, now that I have become more conservative as to old documents. Mr. Caldecott left his geological specimens to the town and they were afterwards formed into what is called the " Caldecott Museum." He once gave a dinner party to two aunts of mine who came away more disappointed than surprised at the bill of fare. I think it was leg of mutton, currant buns and raw apples, their host limiting himself to the buns and apples.
The house known as The Links was occupied in 1873 by a distinguished Indian General, Sir A. T. Wilde, K.C.B. He left East-Bourne in 1876 to become a Member of the Indian Council on the nomination of Lord Salisbury, then Secretary of State for India. His widow remains to this day one of our nearest neighbours and best friends at Norwood. The General's memory is perpetuated by the 57th Punjaub Infantry being known as " Wilde's Rifles."
That portion of Meads which bears the name of Holywell deserves a few words. A spring there on the side of the cliff long bore in local Guide-books the designation of " a chalybeate spring," but this was a myth. Nevertheless Augustus Hare enshrined it in his book on Sussex published not very long ago.
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