SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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the country of sunlight, burning sunlight, Brighton is a Spanish town in England, a Seville."
The history of Brighton is the history of Piccadilly, but although the Prince Regent is usually credited with the discovery of the town, this title to fame must be given to a doctor of Lewes named Russel, who wrote a book on the virtues of sea water as applied to the person. This was published in 1750, and from that time must be dated the rise of England's first sea resort, for almost immediately patients eager for the new cure came thronging from London by post-chaise and family coach, and the doctor soon removed from his native town to attend them. The "cure" became the mode, and in 1783, when the Prince made his first visit, the fortune of the town was assured.
After a hundred years that ended with the Mid-Victorians the exclusiveness of Brighton gave way to the excursion train, and though still a fashionable place, it is now more than ever London-by-the-sea and caters with true courtliness for coster and duke.
Brighton was never a "steps to the sea" for anywhere but London, and its beginnings as a small but independent fishing settlement are very remote; according to some seventeenth century writers it once boasted walls and upwards of two thousand inhabitants, but through the depredations of the sea, it had dwindled to a mere hamlet, and cut off by the Downs and away from all the usual channels of communication, the self-sufficiency of the place must have received a rude shock when the first visitors arrived, but natives of the coast are notoriously adaptable and know a "sure thing." The following account written in 1766 shows how quickly the town was preparing for its great future.
"Brighthelmstone, in the County of Sussex, is distant from London 57 miles, is a small, ill-built town, situate on the sea coast, at present greatly resorted to in the summer time by persons labouring under various disorders for the benefit of bathing and drinking sea water, and by the gay and polite on account of the company which frequent it at that season. Until within a few years it was no better than a mere fishing town, inhabited by fishermen and sailors, but through the recommendation of Dr. Russel, and by the means of his writing in favour of sea water, it is become one of the principal places in the kingdom for the resort of the idle and dissipated, as well as the diseased and infirm."
"It contains six principal streets, five (East Street, Black Lion Street, Ship Street, Middle Street, West Street) lie parallel with each other, and are terminated by the sea. The sixth, North Street, running along the ends of the other five, from the assembly house almost to the church. The church, which is a very ancient structure, is situate at a small distance from the town, upon an eminence, from
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