Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 4

Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 4

:   Peter S. Bailey
:   Sussex, East
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-4699-9
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Newhaven in old picture postcards volume 4'

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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 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 protection 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 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 so serious that the length south from the present swing bridge was straightened and cut to the sea, emerging under Castie Hill. 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 band 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 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 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 an increased flushing effect by the faster 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 included 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 aceommodate two eross ehannel steamers abreast and moorings for two dredgers plus any yaehts which eould squeeze in. Destroyers were moored here during the First World War and a loading area for tank landing eraft in the Second World War.

The deep mud to the south and north was not removed until the yaeht 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 eon-

cerns 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 rniles 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 fourth 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 places which have gone or been greatly altered, this will explain the

omission of our parish church and the restored Newhaven Fort. Reference is at times made to volumes 1, 2 and 3 and a picture number. This is to help readers who have the first three books link up the cross references. Early volumes may be reprinted if there is sufficient demand. Errors too can occur and I would like to make the following corrections - Vol.l. earlyedition, pic. 16., make of car should read 'Chenard Walcker'. The lad to the left at the petrol pumps is Vic Hollands, who sadly only recently died. He gave much of his life to the ambulance service. Vol.2. pic. 1 early edition, first date should read 1896, not 1867. Vol.3. pico 1 ice houses and smallpox hospital ornitted from left side of picture. Vol.3. pic. 32 group on tug, this has been printed in reverse, which will make the linking of names difficult or the use of a mirror an advantage!

Since the formation of the Newhaven Historical Society in 1969 thousands of photographs have been given or loaned for copying. This unique collection is housed in the Seciety'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. The Reverend Sam Frogatt takes Holy Communion at the Downs Hospital, 1920-1930 period. He is being assisted by lay reader Mr. Stan Pagham, normally to be found at the Railway Booking Office. As weil as a hospital, this establishment was also the workhouse and was known as the 'Union' or of course ,'The Spike'. Note the austere gas lamps.

2. In Bridge Street, Mr. Alan Hedges stands in the doorway ofhis !ittle kingdorn, the 'Southdown' Bus Office. What a useful place too, not only as a weatherproof waiting room, but to obtain timetable information or even to send pareels by bus, either way along the coast, arriving at their destinations for collections, the same day! Situated next to the R. N. V. R. drill hall, this office would today occupy the first site on the left beyond the new residential development. The picture is from the 1930s.

3. Beyond the Bus Office and on the same side was 'Gibsons Drug Stores'. Standing in the doorway is Miss Alma Strong, who would have commuted daily from her home at Piddinghoe. The large notice refers to 'Police Notice-Control of noise defence order 1939' , the notice below infers that Mr. Gibson was an Air Raid Warden. The picture was taken in October 1939.

4. Further along, still on the left of Bridge Street, where is now a coffee house, was Hedges the greengrocer. 'Boss', as he was known, is the left figure, the straw boater suggests summertime, for he was renowned for usually wearing a black bowler. His daughter Doris was to marry a 'Mobile' greengrocer from Seaford, Jack Parsons, establishing the present day popular shop at the junction of High Street and Meeching Raad.

5. Full ofinterest is this air picture from about 1931, on the near side ofthe river from right to left we see the very early 'Bonded Warehouse' (a ballast plant has recently vacated the site); over its roof can be seen two grab eranes at the coal wharf. To the left the black roofed tarpaulin works, next the 'Ark' inn, coal and contractors yards, then the Royal Engineers Drill Hall with finally the Missions to Seamen Chapel (now the 'Mencap' centre). Between these buildings and Chapel Street, ran the railline to the end ofthe breakwater. At the marine workshops is moored the self propelled bucket dredger 'Newey' (ex. 'Cambois') to her right, the carpenters and paint shops, in the one building. Crossing over the old swing bridge, there is the goods yards road to the left, with Denton Terrace on its right. At the corner of New Road and the Drove is the Electricity Power Station with opposite, the Drove Garage and covered roller skating rink.

6. Delamark White or 'Del' the hairdresser of Chapel Street, a popular man who did mueh for the community. His first shop was next but one to the old Co-op (now the Social Club), then he moved into the terrace south from the 'Jolly Sailor' until these houses were demolished for the new town eentre, where upon Del retired. His little salons will be remembered for the way he deeorated them with interesting items of brie à brae. I wonder ifhis spirit finds the new swimming pool of interest?

7. Harry Ives, the pork butcher, had his first shop next to the old Co-op (the butchery atthat!). His shop had at one time been the bakery for Fred Waters who lived next door at Del's first shop. Fred had also been Chief of the local Fire Brigade and was the younger brother of Carotine (for those who have read 'Caroline's Kingdom'). Harry Ives also moved shop, but just to the other side of Chapel Streel. 'Don't make pork sausages like that any more!'

8. Edward Howell, boot repairer, poses with his son John in the doorway of his little shop in Chapel Street, in the 1920s. Edward was also a part time postman and, with his wife, opened the general stores at what was then the top of Gibbon Road and directly below Second Avenue. The name and the trade remain linked to this day in matters of footwear. The shop featured was close to the houses shown in picture 32 in Vol. 1 and can just be discerned in the centre of picture 26, Vol. 2.

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