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EAST DEAN & FRISTON LOCAL HISTORY GROUP

WE HOPE that members will feel inspired to contribute some local history items that they have discovered. To get them published here, please contact us

THIS OLD POST CARD, sent in 1924, shows Wish Hill in Willigdon. The shops on the right are long gone but Red Lion pub (the half timbered building on the left)  is still there.

A SEAFORD DISCOVERY

EVIDENCE THAT LIGHTHOUSE EXISTED

Was there ever a lighthouse on Seaford Head? For a number of years this question has been debated by the inhabitants of Seaford and district. Now there seems to be definite proof that at one time a lighthouse did stand on Seaford Head.

A few days ago Mr. R. Fairley, of 8. Esplanade, Seaford, was cleaning on old mezzotint engraving he purchased with a number of other pictures at a sale in Kent eight years ago. On examining the frame, he found the picture was backed with a stiff fine texture board, on which was an old engraved map of Sussex and part of Kent. He found that Eastbourne or Brighton are not even marked as villages, but Seaford is plainly marked as a port with a lighthouse on the Head, and on the left of it facing south is a large tower for beacon lights.

The picture in which this map was discovered was an engraving by Val Green of the original print of “The Tribute Money,” painted by J. S. Copley, R.A. Val Green must have had an intimate knowledge of Seaford district, for he was a native of East Dean. He was engraver to the King, and was born in 1739 and died in 1818. The map is a Government engraving, and, although there is no name of the engraver on the map, it can be safely assumed is the work of Val Green, who made the engraving of the picture, “The Tribute Money,” in the year 1783.

Newspaper report, January 1936

UNVEILING the Eastbourne War Memorial, South Street, in November 1920. The memorial is of a bronze winged victory, holding a laurel wreath and an inverted sword, to resemble cross. It is set on a granite pedestal with a surrounding plinth of steps.

Here is something for the genealogists among you. Below are the secretary's notes for the Granville House Old Girls’ Association from December 1930. Lots of names are mentioned, together with a summary of what some of them were doing. If you had a relative at this Eastbourne school during the 1930s, it could be a useful document for your family researches.

MEMBERS of EDFLHG have contributed towards the restoration of the Village War Memorial. The cracked greenstone base has been replaced by more substantial York stone structure. The railings, forged by our last local blacksmith, Luther Hills, are also scheduled for restoration. And hopefully, someone will root out those weeds too.

Then we will have a monument fit to last another 100 years.

Unknown schoolgirl and Lady Shackleton, Commissioner of Guides. Photographed at Endcliffe School, Eastbourne in 1921.

Seaford Bay and Newhaven in the 1960s.

There are a couple of very interesting history talks coming soon at Eastbourne Town Hall:

*You might remember that David Olusoga presented the BBC TV programme of the same name and visited our village fete last year, with a film crew, as part of the ‘Beachy Head Woman’ recording for the TV series.

All talks start at 7:30pm, tickets are £10 and include glass of wine.

For more information visit www.heritageeastbourne.co.uk visit the Heritage Eastbourne facebook page or call 01323 410300.


OCTOBER MEETING REPORT

In November 2015 I wrote to Lawrence Stevens, a highly regarded local amateur archaeologist, asking him to give a talk to our history group based on the ‘Presentation Book’, awarded to him by the Sussex Archaeological Society and documenting his achievements over the last fifty years.

In reply Lawrence wrote “I am so busy that I am sorry to have to decline any bookings this year or late 2016. Twenty seventeen is also going to be a busy year as Eastbourne Natural History & Archaeological Society will be celebrating its 150th anniversary and Polegate Windmill will be celebrating its 200th year anniversary. However, the pleasure we have enjoyed talking at your meetings calls for an exception to be made.”

Sadly Lawrence’s wife, Pat died early in 2017. So it was entirely appropriate that his talk was not only an account of the many excavations carried out by Lawrence and Pat but also a tribute to the invaluable contribution that Pat made to local archaeology. The resulting talk was not as sombre as might be expected — it was a celebration of the work the couple undertook together, with many amusing, as well as informative, recollections.

Lawrence, who admitted that he was not well versed in the ‘magic arts’ of computers, called on the willing help of his daughter, Cecilia. It also fell to her to be Lawrence’s prompt, when a name or event escaped his memory; just as Pat had been in the past.

The village hall was packed with our members, staff from Eastbourne Museum Services, local history experts and colleagues from Eastbourne Natural History & Archaeology Society — giving a very good indication of the high esteem in which Lawrence is held.

Thank you Lawrence and Cecilia for making this a special exception.

Mary Brunt