Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 3

Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 3

:   Peter S. Bailey
:   Sussex, East
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3471-2
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 3'

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

Newhaven, like sa 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 1 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 creek 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 sa 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 vilIage by the river bank became N ewhaven. 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. Mala, Honfleur and Caen. Also, there were regular cargopassenger 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 aresult ofthis work Denton Island was formed. With the spoil from the New Cut, Pennants Eye, a backwater reaching almast to the town railway station, was filIed in. These extensive alterations created an increased flushing effect by the faster moving water. The next major happening was in 1879 when the creek to TidemilIs was closed allowing the building of East Quay and in this year began the dramatic Harbour Works which included the widening ofthe 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 fortanklandingcraftin theSecondWorld 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 book.

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 Road, but after the heyday of John Gray the quest for steam driven iron craft, 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 reminder that once a place called 'Meeching' was hereabouts.

The greatest 'incident' of the last war occurred at 5 a.m. on 22nd November 1944, when a barge carrying 180 tons of a very high explosive broke from its tow and came ashore on the west stone beach, here it hit a mine and blew itself up and but for the cliffs, much of Newhaven would have followed it. Windows were broken in Lewes 7 miles away ...

The mess in Newhaven can be imagined, an additional problem was the loss of so much rationed food through the contamination by splintered glass both in the hornes and the shops. Emergency feeding had to be introduced. Injuries were numerous with many of the population being awakened by their ceilings joining them in bed, yet only

one person was killed, a wall fell on an unfortunate naval rating.

Compiling this, the third book of 'Newhaven in old picture postcards' has been a most pleasing task, tinged with the sadness at having to reject so many other lovely or constructive pictures. I have attempted to concentrate on scenes of pi aces which have gone or been greatly altered, this will explain the omission of our parish church and the restored Fort Newhaven. Reference is sometimes made to volumes 1 and 2 and a picture number. This is to help readers who have the first books link up the cross references. Reprints of the volumes 1 and 2 may be published if there is sufficient demand.

Since the formation of the Newhaven Historical Society in 1969 thousands of photographs have been given or loaned for copying. This unique collection is housedin the Society's Museum at the West Foreshore and from these archives I have made the selection of pictures featured in this book. May I take this opportunity to thank all of those who have so kindly contributed towards this store of local history. Several of the photos will have passed through many hands, so that it would be impossible to be sure to whom to give acknowledgement and likewise there is always the fear of accidently infringing on some reproduetion rights. I hope sincerely that this has been avoided.

Lastly may I thank all of the members of this Society for their support which has ensured our survival after many years and my sineere appreciation to the officers, past and present for their work and generous sacrifice of their free time. I think it can be justly said: 'We have done Newhaven proud!'

Peter S. Bailey

1. Looking inland from the Fort approach in about 1900. From left to right one can see the roofs of the two 'lee Houses' on the north side ofthe chalkquarry, Court Farm Cottages, the few houses then, of Gibbon Road, the pond in the Recreation Ground, (vol. 1, pico 31) the tall 'stink pipe' an improvement on the none of today. In sleepers hole is probably the P. S. 'Rouen' of 1888 to 1903. Chalk ballast trucks can be seen to the left of the steamer. Above the Army Camp can be seen the the Smallpox Hospital, the Union, trees, the Parish Church and the large house, 'Grays', In the foreground the Fort Master Gunner's house and other small buildings belonging to the army.

2. The old Police Station and the Girls School are just out of the picture to the left, as we look down at what used to be Dacre Road (now Southway). A little of the Infants School is visible beyond the hedge. Christ Church occupied the site of the present day Police Station. The horse chestnut trees have not yet grown above the wall. On the right hand corner with South Road is the 'Volunteer' Inn.

3. Interior of Christ Church. I understand that the screen was the gift of one ofthe Bannister families.


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4. Not surprisingly a church room was to appear next to Christ Church (on the south side). This was weIl used for many activities and even as a part time school, when the boys school was taken over to be a military hospital in the First World War. Here the foundation stone is being laid on 16th June 1905.

5. A delightful scene in South Road. The new church room. Either side of the large windows is an air brick, these were made in terracotta and resembled a church window. One of these is in the local Museum. The horse chestnut trees are now 'well away' .

6. A funeral cortege prepares to move off from Christ Church on 31stJune 1931. Newhaven was to say goodbye to one of its brave lifeboat coxswains, Richard (Dick) Payne. Returning from a dramatic rescue of the crew of the 'Mogens Koch' at Cuckmere Haven in December 1929, he and several others were injured during the passage. It is generally agreed that his injuries hastened his untimely death. Ironically his lifeboat, the 'Sir Fitzroy Clayton', after many years as a houseboat on Lake Windermere, was only braken up this year of 1986. School Cottages in South Lane, with Alma Cottages behind, can be seen beyond the Infants School wall.

7. From South Road towards the High Street, the conneeting South Lane is bordered on the left with the wall of the Girls School, after this would be 'Sidney Terrace' , with then the house 'Sidney Cottage' of 1851, visible and facing. Beyond three more cottages on the left and then the old Barclays Bank at the junction with High Street. On the right would have been School Cottages, Alma Cottages, Albert Place, Florence Place and Wooden Row. About 35 families lived in this area.

8. What a nice and kind Harbour Company to have provided such a desirabie seat for the genteel ladies to use when tired from pushing their perambulators! The steamer leaving is either the 'Manche' or the 'Tamise' of 1892 to 1913 period. With the 'Seine' of 1890, these were the fust French steamers on the crossing. One imagines a lot of activity in the stokehold! The heavy lift fixed hydraulic crane can be seen on the quayside near 'Monkey Island',

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