Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

Chap. XVII.]                 Sea Walls.                                 213
recollection of the Marine Parade goes back to the time when nothing but groynes were there by way of defences, and boats were drawn up almost or quite on to the actual roadway in front of the houses numbered from 1 to 24; just as to a much later period they could be drawn up, if necessary, actually to touch the old houses behind the Royal Parade, I do not distinctly remember the actual construction of the Marine Parade wall, but I think it must have been about 1847 or 1848, that is to say, I remember the time when there was no wall there, and afterwards the time when there was a wall. I think that the wall in front of what is now the old part of the Grand Parade was constructed about 1849 or 1850, but perhaps it was a little later. The designs for these walls were in both cases provided by a Mr. James Berry, who was something between an engineer and an architect and an ordinary land surveyor. The Marine Parade wall was a wall properly so-called, almost upright, but it was an idea of Berry's, that a wall of blocks of stone in stages, each course set back behind the previous course, would present to the impact of rough seas a more certain protection to land behind the wall than would a perpen­dicular wall. This theoretical idea would seem to be supported by facts. However, further Westwards of No. 23 Grand Parade, when the wall and promenade were extended, the face of the wall was made almost perpendicular, I suppose because the sea never approached very near the wall.
The question of groynes versus walls gave rise to much controversy. Major Vidler (he was not a "Major" —that was his Christian name), who was the Surveyor in charge of the Pevensey Levels, removed the planking from the groynes and the effect was what he wished it to be—to strip the sea front of East-Bourne of as much beach as possible in order to heap up as much as possible in the direction of Langney Point, for the protection of the vast expanse of marsh land running back from there in the direction of Polegate and Pevensey. It was this action of Vidler's which inspired the erection of the sea wall as a substitute for the groynes tampered with by him.
Previous Contents Next