Our next meeting is on Wednesday, 27 June. Click here for details.
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.
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.

At our May meeting we welcomed Dr Chris Kempshaw to give his talk entitled ‘The Battle of the Boar’s Head’. We learned that, at the outbreak of the Great War, Britain only had a relatively small army. Recruitment started, slowly at first, but increased after the Battle of Mons, when it seemed possible that Britain could lose the war. Claude Lowther, Member of Parliament for Lonsdale, began a very effective drive to recruit men, raising battalions for the Sussex Regiment  and giving himself the title of  Lieutenant-Colonel. He also wanted to lead his troops into battle in France but was barred because of ill-health.

In 1916 a diversionary battle, called the Battle of the Boar’s Head, was devised with the object of drawing the German Army away from the Somme. Fought by the 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions of the the Sussex Regiment, none of the soldiers was told it was a diversionary tactic, with no one caring whether it was won or lost as long as German resources were diverted from the planned battle of the Somme.

The casualties numbered 1,100, with only 450 of the 1000 men of the 13th battalion surviving the battle. Despite these heavy losses, the tactic failed to draw German artillery and troops from the Somme.

Ronald Shotter


From the Black and White Budget weekly magazine, published Feb 23, 1901. Photo by J Coster.
SENSATIONALISED FRONT COVER from the TRUE DECTECTIVE, March 1984. (The scantily clad woman with a gun has nothing to do with it.) Inside, the magazine tells the story of Dr John Bodkin Adams; a doctor with surgeries in Eastbourne and East Dean. Accused of "easing the passing" of his patients, he stood trial at the Old Bailey for murder. You can read the real, but none the less sensational story in booklet 48, written by Dr John Surtees. Decide for yourself whether he was a murder or man of mercy - it is not a clear-cut decision.
Ever wondered about the unlikely story of the tunnel running from the Lamb Inn in Eastbourne to the old Parsonage? Sometimes referred to as a smugglers or monks tunnel, it now seems certain that it was a cesspit. Not as romantic a tale but archeologist Jo Seaman finds the truth more exciting and unusual. Watch his investigation report from the cellars of the Lamb here.
This photograph, from the 1950s, appears to show Donald Swann (of Flanders and Swann fame) seated at a harmonium on the village green. We would really like to know more about it so, if you remember the occasion or can identify anyone in it, please contact us.
Here is a post card showing the forge at East Dean with blacksmith Luther Hills, and another unidentified man, standing outside. It was sent in 1949 to Mrs Gardner of St George's Square in London SW1. Mr Richardson wrote on it:

"The weather has been rather sunny & foggy in turns & the temperatures enervating."
This dramatic post card was published by A E Marchant, a wholesale newsagent based in Seaford. It shows rough seas pounding Seaford beach before it was raised and re-inforced in 1987 to prevent flooding in the town. The salt spray is drifting over some parked cars of early 1960s vintage and a loan crane on the beach (left) struggles, Canute-like, to turn back the tide!

In the photo Martello Tower no. 74 still has the additions put on top to make it into a cafe, and described by Dirk Bogarde as "a very curious and dampish place" where they took tea after swimming. These alterations have now been removed and the tower has taken on the more dignified role as the town's museum.