SS Arthur Wright -collier

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The SS Arthur Wright – a Shoreham Collier

The SS Arthur Wright was built by William Pickersgill & Sons at their Southwick, Sunderland yard in 1937 for the Brighton Corporation. It was a 1,097-ton vessel, the Corporation’s first collier, and used for conveying fuel to the electricity works at Portslade. Named after the first (1894) manager and engineer of the works (he also designed the first domestic supply meter) the Arthur Wright carried coal mainly from the Yorkshire and Welsh coalfields via the ports of Goole and Port Talbot.

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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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