A Fisherman’s Tale – the Maple Family

For centuries Shoreham folk have earned a living from the sea and one hundred years or so ago the fishing families of Ratcliffe, Page, Laker and Maple were prominent. Perhaps the best known of them were the Maples who sold their fish and oysters from their shop at the west end of the High Street in one of the ancient cottages that once stood alongside the King’s Head pub. Continue reading “A Fisherman’s Tale – the Maple Family”

Tragedy at Old Erringham


The West Nova Scotia Regiment had been carrying out defensive and security duties at various places in the southeast of England before arriving at Worthing on the 22ndNovember 1941 from their previous posting at Newhaven. Here they took over responsibility for the area including Shoreham Airport from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The official strength of the Regiment at the time was 36 officers and 840 other ranks.

In the Shoreham area some billeting was arranged for the Canadians in local residents homes but others were also thought to have been housed at the Grammar School in Pond Road (the pupils had been evacuated) and more under canvas in the school’s playing fields, now the Greenacres housing estate, where a searchlight, anti aircraft gun and heavy machine gun emplacements were installed

Continue reading “Tragedy at Old Erringham”

Shoreham’s Mystery Seaplane Base


A chance swop of postcards between collectors Neil De Ville and Alan Humphries revealed previously unnoticed buildings on Shoreham Beach. The image is of the old Norfolk Suspension Bridge and across the river below the bridge span two large shed-like structures can be made out.

Photo by permission of Neil De Ville and Alan Humphries


The image has been postitively dated as 1921 by local historians at the time when the Bridge was being prepared for demolition so what were the mysterious buildings for? Their location looked to be near Ferry Road and at first sight 1927 aerial photographs seemed to confirm this by showing their likely footprints on the beach, not just of the structures but also a concrete raft or apron on their seaward side. Continue reading “Shoreham’s Mystery Seaplane Base”

Albert Warren of the Northamptonshires

One of the regiments that carried out their training at Shoreham during WW1 was the Northamptonshire Regiment. Unusually despite wartime restrictions their stay there and at Southwick is comprehensively recorded in numerous photographs that were taken at the time.

One soldier who served with the Northamptonshires and trained at Shoreham was Albert Warren of whom we are lucky enough to know a little more through a magazine article in Albert’s home town and letters that he wrote home whilst serving his country.

Before the war Albert, or Bert to his friends and family, worked with his father at the local brickworks and at the outbreak of hostilities at the age of 21 enlisted with the 7thBattalion of the Northamptonshires.

Continue reading “Albert Warren of the Northamptonshires”


1622 Shoreham to Lancing Marshes Map – Although lacking in some detail and is incomplete (the original has the extreme west part missing) this is probably one of the earliest large scale maps of the area. Surveyed and drawn by George Randoll , presumably for the then owners of the land, it came into the hands of the Petworth Estate in 1784 when they purchased Pad Farm and some of the marshes. It shows the main course of the river around Old and New Shoreham. Unusually orientated north to south it covers the area from Well Dyke (near today’s Sussex Pad site) to the ‘Stoane Beatche’ (which shows the build up of the Shoreham Beach spit or peninsula – this is thought to have been long established and even by the 17th century the river is believed to have entered the sea as far west as Southwick). From east to west the map originally covered from Shoreham to Worthing Gate (map piece missing – now known as Teville Gate). Text in the top left corner refers to the submerged village of Pende reads ‘In this place being distant from the shore in the sea (axer?) could wales (rocks) to be (seen?) at low water which are commonly called axaparte – the old name for Pende. A ferry is shown at Old Shoreham where the toll bridge is now – the Lancing and Well Dyke ‘shoppes’ were, of course , workshops. Were these offshoots of the river man made for drainage or naturally formed? Apart from the main river little or nothing of them in their original position remains now although the section from ‘Salte Mershes’ opposite Old Shoreham down to ‘Lyttel Iland’ seems to have survived up to 1780 alongside a road through what is now the airport (Map5a) and although that road can still be seen on the 1912 map (Map12b) the ditch itself has disappeared.

Reproduced by permission of Lord Egremont.


Ship Arrivals & Departures 1837-1842.

A selection of newspaper cuttings providing  five year example of ship movements in and out of Shoreham port during the 19th century. The ship’s name is followed by the surname of the captain then the port sailed from or to. From early 1840 the cargo carried is also given.

The British Library Newspaper Archive is a massive and absolutely fascinating resource and thanks must go them for their permission in allowing these images to be reproduced (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). Please also note that in copyright images belong to Northcliffe Media Limited and out of copyright images belong to The British Library. Continue reading “Ship Arrivals & Departures 1837-1842.”

The Early Bungalows

Amongst photographs recently found in part of the collections of the late Shoreham historian, Michael Norman, is one noted by him on the reverse ‘First bungalow on Shoreham beach c.1890.’ There are no other notes at all concerning it and curiosity prompted an attempt to find out more.


Before the bungalows arrived the chemical works, cholera hospital, coastguard station, and a few boat and fishermen’s huts were about the only buildings on the beach. The location of the earliest bungalows can be seen on the 1898 Ordnance Survey map. Matching this to the 1930’s Bungalow Town map and lists shows that these first bungalows were named, from west to east, Kittiwake, Arcadia, Struan Lee, Rhodesia, Lazyland, Sea View, Sea Spray, Coronation, Shoreham Dene, Waterville and Canaan (the empty rectangles were plots for later bungalow to be built on them but some don’t seem to have materialised.



Photographs and postcards of these first bungalows in their early years are scarce but there are a few.


The most westerly of these bungalows named Kittiwake was sited on the beach just below the eastern tip of Widewater. It only survived until 1911 when it burned down and was rebuilt. Beyond it in the distance is the dark roof of Straun Lee and the castle-like Rhodesia.

The next photo takes us a little further eastwards. It is an older image than the previous photo, somewhat over exposed, shows Struan Lee in its earlier, smaller form and beyond it the plain bungalow that preceded the Rhodesia rebuilding. The later photo alongside it is from a hand coloured postcard showing Struan Lee with a taller roof and extension of the decorative porch supports to the right hand side. Behind stands the impressive Rhodesia but only a few years later it became yet another Bungalow Town building to be destroyed by fire. The lower photo shows how the original bungalow was incorporated into the new building.


Landmarks, background scenery, other nearby buildings, flag poles etc., can be useful in identifying individual bungalows and for this exercise beach capstans used by the local fishermen also helped. There were two capstan positions on the beach that we know of and these are shown on the 1912 Ordnance Survey map. One was near Sea Spray bungalow that had been built in 1893 by owner Tom Lee, one of the first permanent residents of Bungalow Town – he most likely built Coronation next to it as well as he is recorded as living there by 1911.



The photo top left (again somewhat over exposed) shows in the background the unmistakeable dormer and conservatory window of Sea Spray bungalow alongside a much later photo of the same building. The dormer in the older photo looks to be in the process of being added with timbers on the ground below it ready for use and next to the walker striding towards the camera is the capstan. A later photo (below) show this capstan (or a replacement) repositioned at the west side of Sea Spray but fitted with wheel-handles that indicate an horizontal drum winch generally known as a ‘crab’ capstan.


This photo (1) must be one of the oldest beach photos and shows one basic bungalow with, in the distance, two railway carriages surrounded by picket fences. In the far right of the photo another capstan can just be made out. The 1912 map confirms the second capstan as being close to Shoreham Dene bungalow so could this be that bungalow in its original form?


A study of the photos taken in subsequent years suggests that the closest match to the configuration and spacing of those three is photo (2)  showing detail from a larger image of the bungalows near Shoreham Dene but taken from the opposite, western, side. Shoreham Dene is the one behind the two bathing huts and like the bungalow in the older photo is also side-on to the beach. The simple bungalow in the centre is Salopia and the other to the left of it is Hirondelle, both in the same postions as the carriages in the earlier photo but now without their picket fences. Each of them contains one of the railway carriages and one can just be made out in the latter. Photo (3) is a head-on view of Hirondelle showing the carriage more clearly and next to it (4) a hand coloured post card providing an unobstructed view of Shoreham Dene after the roof had been extended to include a porch.


Famous music hall artists and other entertainers provided the most influence in popularising the attractions of life in Bungalow Town but 1930’s local historian Arthur Wilde reckoned Shoreham’s oyster merchant and fisherman Sam Maple was the true pioneer.


The Maple family fishing with seine nets on the beach


Each fishing family had their own stretches of beach where they kept their boats and fished from. Wilde tells us that in 1879 Sam had a railway carriage towed over the river and sited on the Beach for use as storage for his fishing equipment but also as a bathing hut. This carriage was later included as part of the bungalow Sea View that we know, from old directories and maps of named bungalows was located on the beach at the spot just below where the Church of the Good Shepherd was subsequently built.


Sea View was later split into two properties. The western half of which was built up to two storeys retaining the same name and the eastern, single storey half renamed Beach Court.


Below – Sea View as it was with the single storey shed-like side extension. Above – the later semi-detached building with the renamed Beach Court on the right.


Returning now to the question of Michael Norman’s photo. This shows (below) a Victorian railway carriage on a shingle beach with the sea behind. A good quality hipped roof has been added with a small decorative dormer and gable ends. A moustached man holds open one of the doors and, with typical Victorian attitudes, three others (and a bird in a cage) shelter in the shade from the sun. The photo provides no other clues as to the location. The carriage is of a type seen in many Bungalow Town photos. The individuals have so far not been identified – were they the Maple family or the next known occupants the Havindens who were there in 1914 and may have been responsible for developing it?


Photo courtesy of Ian Newman


Could this really be the original Sea View, the first bungalow in Bungalow Town? If it is, its appearance as shown here didn’t last very long before it was completely covered by the enlargement work that was to eventually evolve into the two, semi-detached properties.



Michael Norman was known to be a stickler for historical accuracy so it is most unlikely he would have made the notation on the photo’s reverse without good reason. However, there are no other records in this part of the collection to confirm that. The original collection was considerable, a priceless record of Shoreham’s past but was broken up and sold off after his death. Perhaps the answer still lies somewhere amongst the other surviving parts of the collection?


‘Coronation’ and ‘Canaan’ were also two of the original bungalows


Roger Bateman

Shoreham September 2017


One final aside concerns the Maple family who were to be further involved in Bungalow Town’s history when Sam Maple’s son, Arthur, became romantically involved with near neighbour Agnes Rhodes, a widow who owned and lived at ‘Rhodesia’ – their story and that of the impressive castle-like ‘bungalow’ is covered in the separate article Rhodesia – a special ‘bungalow’ http://www.shorehambysea.com/rhodesia-special-bungalow/ Arthur was later to become the Superintendant of Works for the Shoreham Sea Defence Commisioners.




1917 Bungalow Town property map and listings – see http://www.shorehambysea.com/bungalow-town-property-map-index/   

1935 Bungalow Town property map and listings – see http://www.shorehambysea.com/bungalow-town-property-map-1935/

1938/9 Town Guide

Winton Family Album *

ShorehambySea.com photo collections *

Sussex Archaeological Society Marlipins Collection *

Rhodesia – a ‘special’ bungalow – Roger Bateman – see http://www.shorehambysea.com/rhodesia-special-bungalow/ 

* Shortly due for inclusion on the website