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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

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 The cracked greenstone base has been replaced by more substantial York stone structure.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.


At our November meeting Andy Thomas spoke to us about the history of our Christmas traditions.  In a fast-moving, well illustrated talk Andy took us on a journey from ancient Egypt, through Roman and Greek legends, Biblical references, Druidic influences, Norse festivals, the Puritans and the Victorian era,  to the present day.  It turns out that giving gifts, spending too much money, eating too much food and putting up lavish decorations are by no means recent Christmas "traditions".

Andy suggested that we put up decorations to create a different atmosphere and environment, that snowflake decorations and greenery are echoes of nature, and that lights remind us of the lengthening days.  We learned that the Puritans banned Christmas and only allowed the singing of one carol: "While shepherds watched their flocks by night" as the words were straight from the Bible.  When Charles II came to the throne, he reinstated Christmas in England, Wales and Ireland - but not in Scotland, which is perhaps why the Scots place greater emphasis on Hogmanay (and Burns' night).  Prince Albert brought German traditions with him but did not introduce the Christmas tree, as is commonly thought; rather he popularised the concept.

In conclusion Andy reminded us that writing cards and giving gifts make us think of others; all the trappings of Christmas are not the real Christmas; the real Christmas is within us.

 Christine Reid

DO YOU like browsing old maps? The National Library of Scotland has published a set of scanned images of maps of the UK (and the world) on their web site. They are free to use for non-commercial, educational and private purposes under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence.

Below is an example of a Sussex map (published 1879) which you can zoom and move to find your point of interest. There are many more maps on their web site.