Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 1

Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 1

:   Peter S. Bailey
:   Sussex, East
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2745-5
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 1'

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Rather than give a lengthy account of the Hlstory of Newhaven, I have attempted to incorporate much of it in the explanatory captions to the photographs, whereby certain facts and incidents can be readily associated to the present day scene.

Newhaven, like so many other coastal towns, had its defences on high ground from ancient times, with emphasis on the proteetion of the bay and the river estuary, At some time the river moved to Seaford and made an exit at the eastern end of the coastline. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I this limb of the Cinque Port of Hastings, became choked and finally broke out in an area west of the 'Buckle', this was named the New Haven. The whole district was very marshy and many channels were formed and deserted, one of these later becoming the ereek to Tidemills. This sluggish situation led to much flooding in the Ouse valley up to Lewes, the low land at times being unusable for grazing, even in the summer. This situation became so serious that the length south from the present swing bridge was straightened and cut to the sea, emerging under Castle Hili. This is believed to be the course of the Ouse in Roman times. The canal work eased the flooding upstream and a fixed harbour entrance was eventually established. The old Saxon name of 'Meeching' was dropped and the fishing village by the river bank became Newhaven.

The coming of the railway in 1847 was directly connected with the introduetion of a steam packet service to Dieppe. The routes were extended over the years to include St. Malo,

Honfleur and Caen. Also, there were regular cargo-passenger services to this harbour by steamers from St. Nazaire and the Clyde. The freights handled by all these vessels, added to the regular passenger and cargo sailings to and from Dieppe resulted in the 1880's with Newhaven becoming the sixth most important port in the United Kingdom in terms of revenue earned.

Three other milestones were to follow, the first was the New Cut made in 1863, when yet another canal was made, this time north from the area of the first swing bridge (yet to be built) later to become North Quay, As a result of this work Denton Island was formed. With the spoil from the New Cut, Pennants Eye, a backwater reaching almost to the town railway station, was filled in. These extensive alterations created ian increased flushing effect by the fa ster moving water. The next major happening was in 1879 when the creek to Tidemills was closed allowing the building of East Quay and in this year began the dramatic Harbour Works which inc1uded the widening of the harbour mouth, the building of new east and west piers and the reclaiming of the area under the Fort Cliffs to create the promenade, this whole massive enterprise culminating in the construction of the remarkable breakwater and the establishing of a cross channel service free of tidal restrictions.

With the diverting of the railway track supplying the breakwater, to a new course around Sleepers Hole at the turn of the century, the causeway running from the lifeboat station to the Green Light was removed for a considerable length and

with much dredging an area of this slob land was deepened to allow for a lay-by berth to accommodate two cross channel steamers abreast and moorings for two dredgers plus any yachts which could squeeze in. Destroyers were moored here during the First World War and a loading area for tank landing craft in the Second World War.

The deep mud to the south and north was not removed until the yacht marina development of the 1960's. Apart from the renewal of quays and piers (and a new swing bridge in the 1970's) there were few other changes in the port scene in the period covered by this baak.

The growth of the town went hand in hand with the progress of the port. Industry was not encouraged, there were small concerns like the chalk quarry and the even smaller 'blue boulder' trade, when hand picked beach flints were collected and sent to Runcorn for use in glass and pottery glazing processes. The building of sailing ships of several hundred tons had taken place in the shipyards between the 'old river' and now Robinson Raad, but after the heyday of John Gray the quest for steam driven iron eraft, put the trade into decline by the mid-1800's. A small fishing industry has fortunately survived.

Newhaven town has been stripped of all its old properties and its few impressive houses have been demolished, leaving but the record of the one time existance of a Roman villa in the area of the present police station, and apart from the possible inclusion of the 'Bridge Inn' of 1623 there remains only the delightful old Parish Church of St. Michael as the sole re-

minder that once a place called 'Meeching' was hereabouts. Compiling this little book has brought me considerable pleasure, for at last it seems the sight of Newhaven how it was, will now be available to those seeking to find out. With this pleasure, there has also been sadness, for the need to re strict the number of photo's to the figure stipulated, has meant the rejection of so many lovely and instructive pictures. Acknowledgements will be brief, for so many of the photo's here presented, have come into my possession after passing through many hands, so that it is often difficult to know the origin or just whom to thank. I therefore extend my sineere appreciation to all those who have contributed with their pictures and information.

The view of Newhaven in about 1864, in a pale yellow and erumpled condition, was first loaned to me in the 1960's by a dear oid friend, the late 'Ted' Arthur Davis. I am sure he would be very proud and pleased to think it had been published in a book concerned with the local Historical Society and their museum; the museum which he helped to staff when it first opened and where he spent so many happy and useful hours until his end. I must give acknowledgement too, to The National Army Museum, for permitting the use of the photo of the Armoured Train at Newhaven, and to my wife for suffering me during the preparation of this photographic record of Newhaven past.

Peter S. Bailey


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1. The earllest known photograph of Newhaven dates from before 1864. A hedge berdered Fort Road leads down to the marshy area now the recreation ground. The first swing bridge has not yet been built. Denton Terrace with the Railway Hotel to the right, looks down on the backwater 'Pennants Eye' which reached almost to the railway crossing gates. This area had to be infilled with spoil from the 'New Cut' (later to be the North Quay) befere the swing bridge could be built.

2. P.S. 'Lyons' (1856 to 1885) of 244 tons, she boasted 30 berths in the saloon, 20 in the first cJass Jadies cabin, 12 in the fore cabin and 12 in the Jadies second class cabin. The paddies were 15 feet in diameter. Navigation was from an exposed bridge between the paddle boxes. The 'Lyons' is on the gridiron to have her bottom c1eaned and painted. She was sold for two thousand pounds. The creek to Tidemills has not yet been closed.

3. Looking across Sleepers Hole from the Fort approach in about 1910 the strange building, near, was known as the 'Ark' (or boat) House, it was in fact a semi detached wooden cottage, with slate roof built on an old barge, which had been brought here in the early 1800's from Rye. The bedrooms were in the hull with windows cut facing the south-east only. Positioned here on a spring tide, it became Iandlocked when the rail track was brought around the Hole reclaiming some land, by infil! in the process. A delightful story entitled 'Carolines Kingdom' will probably be published in 1984 and is based on the fascinating diary of this intriguing lady who lived for many years in the 'Ark' House.

4. Bridge Street, before the First World War. The shops on the left offer postcards, tobacco and china, On the right hand of the street is the steam flour mill of Towner Bros., successors to the 'Tipper' Brewery, behind the hedge was 'Towners Lawn', here in fact the populace gathered for the 'Relief of Mafeking' procession. Between the lawn and the old river, was a coal yard. This whoie site is now occupied by the Co-op grocery store and what is left of the one time R.N.V.R. Dril! Hall. The shop in its front garden, was Hedges the greengrocers,

5. W.D. Stone's store - 'Shipping supplied', Over the shop door are the words 'Stamp Office'. The lamp-post is at the corner of South Lane. The building behind was later to be replaced by a purpose built Barclays Bank, itself to be demolished only recently in favour of a site in the Newhaven Square precinct. The photo was probably taken in the 1880's.

6. Barmisters staff outing, believed before the First World War. The gathering is outside one of their High Street shops, the site now being occupied by Woolworths.

7. The High Street about 1910. The building left, was demolished in the 1980's, Barclays moving their bank into the new precinct to the left. 'The White Hart Hotel' was built in 1726 and was cut back in 1925 to allow road widening. Enterprising boys in the centre of the road, ensure a good eropping of garden produce!

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8. A delightful study of the pace of life in the High Street probably before 1918. Mr. J. Funnel's horse is given a bucket of refreshment outside of the Southdown bakery, where humans could also partake of tea and coffee. To keep the gas bills down, it was quite usual for people to take their Sunday joints to the bakery to be roasted for a minimal charge.

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