Hayling Island in old picture postcards volume 1

Hayling Island in old picture postcards volume 1

Auteur
:   Robert Godfrey
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Hampshire
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-5290-7
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

Levertijd: 2 - 3 werkdagen (onder voorbehoud). Het getoonde omslag kan afwijken.

   


Fragmenten uit het boek 'Hayling Island in old picture postcards volume 1'

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INTRODUCTION

Hayling Island has always been a special place to visit for a picnic by the sea or a healthy holiday - it's still the south coast's 'paddler's paradise'. But this century has seen the erosion, with increasing speed, not only of the southern coastline, but also the ·island's rustic charm. Gone for ever are most of the tree-lined roads, thatched cottages and acres of green fields. In their place have come wider , straighter roads to accommodate the holiday and rush-hour traffic jams, high blocks of flats and housing estates.

The advent of the railway link with the mainland in 1867 axed in 1963 - and the growing interest in 'seaside resorts' (sparked off by George IV the previous century) put Hayling firmlyon the map for holidaymakers and daytrippers who readily streamed to the island's unspoilt six square miles on excursions by char-à-banc and train from London and all parts of Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and Sussex.

Until the road bridge was opened in 1824 the island was accessible only by ferries and a wadeway from Langstone. In stormy weather it was completely cut off.

One of the island's first developers, Lord of the Manor William Padwiek. immediately embarked on several grandiose schemes to popularise Hayling as a seaside resort, on the lines of Brighton and Bognor Regis.

Still to be seen today is the ill-fated Norfolk Crescent, on the seafront, magnificcnt in concept but abandoned halfway through and destined never to be completed. Then came the Royal Hotel and the classical Bath House and library, later a café.

After these, Padwiek ran out of steam but kept the courts busy with endless actions against his island tenants. Thc weal-

thy saw their opportunity to move in, buy cheap land and build themselves large impressive houses, The less well-off bought plots from farmers at the wilder eastern end of the island, erecting weekend shanties built around old railway carriages. Most of these have now gone, replaccd by brick houses, flats and bungalows. With the upgrading of property Eastoke has become respectable, its old name of 'Bungalow Town' long forgotten.

The island has seen many development schemes appear and disappear over the years - among them proposals for a bridge to Portsmouth and the extension of the railway to the south-western shore , where a pier and doek were to be built in anticipation of vast business from cargo boats. Initial enthusiasm for steeplechase racing in front of the Royal Hotel failed to establish regular race meetings and the proposed annual season of regattas also failed to raise sufficient financial wind to keep them afloat.

Despite this lack of success as a super seaside resort the island has nevertheless expanded its population from about 2,000 at the turn of the century to sorne 18,000 today, as more people have chosen Hayling as their home.

Early observers maintained that by rctaining its unspoilt natura] advantages the island must steadily gain faveur. But the speed of 'progress' accelerated and the need to provide housing for the thousands who work in Portsmouth , Havant and Chichester has regretlably obliterated many of the oldworld charms of yesteryear, despite the best efforts of many residents who value such things. Planners always succeed in making the away-from-it-all pluces just like the pI aces people are trying to get away from!

But Hayling Island still has its secret corners - like Tournerbury Woods, believed to have been the site of a Roman hili camp. Legend has it that the island was named after the Saxon chieftain Haegel. Later, in 1043, the island was owned by Emma, wife of Ethelred the Unready, and later of Canute. She was the mother of Edward the Confessor.

In the middle ages the island was heavily forested and very much larger than it is today. Between 1294 and 1325, when the island's southern shore extended as far as the Nab Tower, some 300 acres of farmland we re swept away by tidal inundations. With hundreds of acres of farmland went Hayling's first church which, some say, lies two miles out at Church Rocks in Hayling Bay.

Like all quiet sea coasts the island became the haunt of smugglers and wreekers. who were joined by deserters from the Navy and Portsmouth dockyard. They found the waste lands of Hayling a secure place to hide. The gang of smugglers became known as the Forty Thieves and there are many stories of encounters with the Revenue men. Gable Head is so named, it is said, because the gang tried to hang a man there who they believed had betrayed them. The Revenuers saved hislife!

For the early inhabitants Hayling really was a land of milk and honey. They grew their own crops and vegetables, keeping cattle for milk and meat, chickens for eggs, bees for honey, and supplementing their diet by catching fish from the sea and shooting the abundant numbers of partridges, pheasants and rabbits.

The production of salt, carried on for some 1,000 years, was at one time a major trade with tons being taken by cart to the

mainland every year. The island also exported large quantities of excellent oysters until the industry died after fears of pollution. One oyster bed became a swimming pool at a holiday camp, one of several established on the island in the 1930s.

The 19th century's new-fangled pastime of sea bathing or paddling seems to have done most to popularise Hayling as a resort. Noted for irs bracing breezcs, the island also offered one of the best stretches of sand on the south coast, uncluttered by othcr resorts' seaside paraphernalia. Hayling's reputation as a healthy resort, with long hours of sunshine , mild temperatures and balmy air, inspired the setting up of a TB hospital and convalescent home for cripples and fee bie children. It was said in thc 1 920s that no doctor could afford to live on the island because the residents were so healthy! Bathing machines, introduced a century ago to enable swimmers to change at the warer's edge , can no longer be found but modest bathers can still usc beach huts. Even as late as 1930 a local guidebook warned that 'lt is laid down in the bye-laws of the local authority that bathing without a hut or an effective dressing screen is not permitted within 200 yards of any place to which the public have access.' Fifty years later astonished islanders wcre shockcd to find nude bathers on their beach!

I would like to th ank my many friends on Hayling Island who have helped me gat her together this intcresting collection of old photographs which so many more peoplc will now be able to share.

1. For generations Hayling Island's five miles of 'sunny sands' have been noted as a padier's paradise , ideal for children. The island's main claim has always been that its seafront remains largely unspoilt by modernisation into a man-made resort. Even today, with wide new roads and housing estates, the island's beaches are bounded by natural gorse-covered beachlands. The Victorian image of a paddling beach for mother and her children is just as true today.

2. The health-giving properties of sea bathing. coupled with Hayling Island's bracing air - 'purest of the pure, full of ozone,' said the early guidebooks - prompted convalescent homes to move to the island. The island's publicity claimed that bathing at Hayling could not be surpassed at any resort in the country or even on the French side of the Channel. Bathing machines and huts could be hired to preserve the modesty of bathers, while health freaks could indulge in hot sea baths at the bathing station.

3. Early swimming costumes for ladies revealed little and a dip in the briny meant no more than a paddle up to the knees.

4. The 19th century Palladian style library, built for the residents of Hayling at Beachlands, in front of Norfolk Crescent, later became a café to cater for the increasing numbers of day trippers coming by car and char-à-banc,

5. Green's café, Beachlands, where refreshments welcomed the many coach parties who came for a day out by the sea.

6. The Royal was the first hotel to be built on the island in the early 1800s, when plans were drawn up by Sir Richard Hotham, who had developed Bognor, to turn the island into a super seaside resort. The hotel had an unrivalled position facing the sea with views to the Isle ofWight.

7. Carriages from the Grand and Royal hotels await the arrival of train passengers at South Hayling Station in 1910.

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8. The single-track 'crab and winkle' railway opened in 1867 and helped to popularise Hayling as aresort by bringing thousands of holidaymakers and trippers from London and all parts of the home counties. In 1878 a cheap day return excursion from London cost 11 shillings (55p) first class and five shillings (25p) third class. Station staff pose for a photograph in the early 1900s.

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