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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.



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

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

Seaford Bay and Newhaven in the 1960s.


Paul Jordan gave us a beautifully illustrated talk on "Eastbourne streetscapes through time".  The illustrations were his own - drawn with ink and then painted with water colours.  Many of the illustrations showed a row of buildings, for example where Debenhams store is on Terminus Road, with views of what it looked like in the late C19th, the mid C20th and the present day.  The comparisons between these three views were most interesting!  Terminus Road was originally entirely residential so, not only have those buildings disappeared, but so too have their gardens, resulting in far less green areas in the town centre.  In addition to Debenhams we also saw pictures of what had been Dale & Kerley, now T J Hughes, and of the "Crystal Palace" that is now Superdrug.  Paul is meticulous in his research and particularly likes to "capture" buildings before they're demolished.  Certainly a talk and presentation with a difference, and one which we all enjoyed.

Christine Reid

Below is an example of one of Paul’s beautiful paintings showing the development of the buildings on Terminus Road, Eastbourne from 1877 to 1968. The glass roofed building (grandly known as the Crystal Palace) is now a Superdrug store.

Removing the old steps at Birling Gap - now some distance from the cliff edge. October 2017

Installing the new steps nearer the cliff. December 2017. Photographs by Lee Roberts.

THE LAST TEAM OF OXEN Ploughing in Sussex.

Oxen were once widely used across Sussex for ploughing on the Downs. Because of their great strength, they could pull the heavy wooden Sussex plough on the sloping ground; working better and longer than horses. On the right in this photograph, ‘Curly’ Pope holds the goad and the farmer (probably Mr Gorringe of Exceat Farm) stands in the background on the left. Oxen fell out of favour when the reaper-binder was introduced because they could not pull it quickly enough, and horses were used instead. After a short reprise in 1926, when this team was bought by Major Harding of Birling Manor Farm, oxen were never again to be seen working on the Sussex Downs.


From left to right: Glebe Cottage (where the Dennetts lived), Dennetts Stores, stable for ponies (for delivering Dennett’s goods), Delphine’s cafe and Arthur Raylor butcher’s shop.

The house in the background is ‘Little Hill’ and on the right is Darby’s cottage.

From a photograph taken in the 1950s or 60s. The scene is much the same today, with a delicatessen and a Thai restaurant replacing the shops. A sign of changing times and tastes.

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