Tale of 5 Bridges

Shoreham has 5 bridges over the Adur. Before 1781 the only way to cross was by ferry boat or detour upriver to cross at Bramber bridge. The ‘old’ Toll Bridge changed this in 1781, followed 50 years later by the suspension Bridge and causeway to Lancing. Within 12 years the railway was extended westwards from the Shoreham terminus with the building of an impressive viaduct / wooden trestle rail bridge (1845). This was replaced 50 years later. By 1921 Shoreham had a new footbridge to the beach and 2 years later the original Norfolk Bridge was replaced. 46 years later a brand new road bridge was constructed as part of the new A27 trunk road, bringing the tally of river bridges to five.

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Cinemas in the early years

For a town that has no purpose built cinemas it is interesting to chart the history of cinemas from 1910. There were never more than three cinemas at any time in the last 100 years and all have disappeared except one – hiding in the guise of a goods store of a High Street shop.

Bijou Cinema, High Street, Shoreham 1911-1931

The Bijou Electric Empire was opened in June 1911. It was built as a garage behind the old shipyard. It was a wooden building with a corrugated -iron roof and an earth floor.

By 1925 it was operated by Sussex Picturdrome who also operated the Duke of York’s Cinema in Brighton and the Bijou Electric Empire was re-named Duke of York’s Cinema. The Bijou entrance had a painting on the ceiling, it depicted some Cowboys chasing after some Red Indians. There was a piano by the screen, and the pianist accompanied all of the films, the floor at the front was covered in peanut shells and orange peel. There was also a large spitoon. The full name of the Cinema was Bijou Electric Empire.

It was closed on 5th August 1931 when it was completely destroyed by fire.

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Middle Road Secondary School 1936-1992

MR1

– the new school photographs and plans in 1936 with reminiscences of former pupils from the 1940’s to 1990’s

Built in 1936 on a five-acre site in Middle Road, Kingston, where the recreation ground is now but then in land that had largely been used as fruit orchards and nurseries by the Cook’s Jam Factory in Dolphin Road. Initially opened as a boys’ senior elementary school for 360 pupils it included a number of unusual features (for those days) in both design and construction. It was built of reinforced concrete and flat roofs to allow for future extensions to be placed on top of the ground floor building and enabled wider spans for rooms that, with the large Crittall windows also installed gave pupils and teachers a bright and spacious environment.

Looking from Middle Road 1992
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Doodlebug discovery

In preparing photos to load on the website we made an interesting discovery when sorting through the Marlipins Museum photos which has led to an article for the Shoreham Herald appearing.

A sad reminder

Sadly the tragedy concerning the Canadian soldiers discussed in previous posts was not an isolated incident.  We know of the drownings of some individuals over past two centuries or so from newspaper reports of the time but there was another multiple drowning accident in June of 1858.  A group of Lancing College boys were bathing at Applesham Creek, we know it now as Cuckoo Creek, and were overcome by the strong current. Two managed to make it to the river bank but the other three were lost to the river and only two of the bodies were later recovered.

Feature Films shot around Shoreham

Vernon Sewell is a B-movie film writer / director of the 1950’s who seemed to have an obsession with making films in Shoreham, that included the harbour, boats and often his own boat. (the S.Y. Gilert, 122 tons which was berthed at Southwick’s Lady Bee starred as the Ghost Ship).   

Films to look out for that were filmed in Shoreham are listed below. Many are directed by Vernon and/or produced at Brighton Studios:

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Air Training Corps

Written by Gerry White

No 1440 squadron Air training Corps ATC ,was founded at Middle Road School in 1941, At wars end in 1946 the Squadron was given premises at the Dome on the Airport, there were a number of associated wooden Huts used as lecture rooms , When I joined in 1951, the meetings were Tues and Thurs 7 til 9 30 pm. The Commanding Officer was Flt Lt Sidney Cole a wartime RAF Officer Flight Commanders were Flt Lt Kenneth Winstone,Fg Off Norman Finch and Fg Off Kenneth Guest , the Squadron had three flights Shoreham Lancing and Steyning. at that time membership was approximately 60 , an Adult  Warrant Officer Wilfred Stephenson  and Civilian Instructors  Gerald Woolvern Alan Morgan and Thomas Pollington , Lectures on dress deportment, and drill were given , the squadron had approx. 25 .303 Lee Enfield Rifles of WW1 vintage. The Squadron members were taught Morse Code, basic Engine function , and map reading , hobbyists took part in model making on Sunday Mornings as did the Drum and Bugle Band ,The Squadron took part in Annual Summer Camps held at RAF Stations for one week  duration each cadet was given a flight in service aircraft and fired  on the weapons range ,The joining age was 13 years leaving at age 18.