Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

An Account of, notable events, Persons and town history - online book

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Encroachments of the Sea on the Sussex Coast.—The Sea-front before any wall was built.—The western extension of the wall.—Mr. James Berry. —Mr. M. Vidler.—High Tides in 1875 and 1877.—The Improvement Bill of 1879.—Opposition thereto by the "Do-nothing " Party.—Roads sometimes flooded.—History of the Town Hall.—Difficulties in finding a Site.—The various Sites discussed.—Stocks' Bank finally selected.—Continued opposition on the part of the " Do-nothings."—Plans selected and rejected.—The controversy as to these Plans.—Open Spaces.—The controversey as to the South Fields.—Negotiations with Mr. Gilbert.—Liberal offer on behalf of the Duke of Devonshire.—Strong public opinion in favour of a Park in the Town.—Final settlement of negotiations prolonged through many years.— Hampden Park, good in itself, but far away.—Hospitals.
"Sermons in sttfitrs, anir gwoir in tbttgtlimQ."—(^* you like it.)
T HE history of these things in East-Bourne is a very-tangled and controversial one. I begin with the Sea Walls. The fact that at different parts of the Sussex coast, in or near East-Bourne, the sea has been changing the coast line, either by accretion or denudation (I think these are the correct geological terms, but I am no geologist), is notorious, and is sufficiently shown by the simple facts that Pevensey Castle, once washed by the sea, is now a mile from the sea, whilst at East-Bourne houses which used to exist near the seashore have been washed away altogether. The erection of sea defences of some sort has therefore at various times been found indispensable. The oldest of these were groynes—rows of big timber stakes driven into the foreshore more or less at right angles to the general line of the coast, and braced together either by planks or faggots. The construction of groynes appears to have begun some time in the early part of the 19th Century. My earliest
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