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Doomed Bungalows on Widewater

Nice, clear photo from a postcard on E-Bay. Bungalows that stood on the western half of Widewater Beach.  Regimented, sturdy looking buildings but all destroyed in the 1912/13 storms.


A cautionary tale – Bungalow Town

Not of much interest to many perhaps but this cautionary note is for those researching Bungalow Town property locations:-

For many years now it has been known that the 1930’s Bungalow Town property map (in Shoreham Library and on this website) to be unclear in places as regards the rather indistinct way some of the bungalow names are noted against the property footprints. Nevertheless the map remains a good indication of where most of the bungalows were, in fact many have been proved correct through old photographs (e.g., name signs on the walls of the buildings etc.,).
One glaringly obvious inaccuracy though has to be the misnaming of the well known ‘La Morna’ (1) as ‘Silverstrand.’ The attached illustration footprint of property number 566 clearly matches ‘La Morna’ as do the features indicated in the photographs of the neighbouring properties.  Obviously this has the effect of shunting the order of names on by one but due to the indistinct labelling the names that appear on the map some properties later continue to match correctly against proven bungalow locations.

(1)   A high resolution copy of the ‘La Morna’ photo shows a lifebelt on the wall with the building’s name on it.
(2)    The property map is here

Lifeboat house on beach

A postcard that shows a fairly usual view west of the beach end of Ferry Road but one that unusually includes the old lifeboat house that stood there next to the coastguard cottages up to the 1920’s. On the extreme right of the card marked by the asterisk more bungalows nearer to the sea are just visible that were built after 1912 and narrows the probable date of the card.

The Ordnance Survey map of 1912 doesn’t show any buildings nearer the sea but obviously there must have been. Another example of even OS maps not being as accurate as you would think.
(The bungalows in question are marked in yellow)

Bungalow locations from old deeds

Interesting extract on e-bay from the 1908 deeds of Sea View owned by the Maple family. They sold their fish and oysters from their shop at the west end of the High Street – more here
Detailed plans like this of Sea View and surrounding bungalows are invaluable for confirming location and names at a specific time, particularly as the names were often changed.  Inset is Louisa Maple, who signed the document, matriarch of the family at the time – husband Samuel had died just a few years earlier.

Bungalows at Widewater

The articles and reference material on this website provide a reasonably comprehensive picture of the bungalows in Bungalow Town on the Shoreham part of the Beach. Up until now though, due to their early destruction by storms, our records and elsewhere lacked the identification and location of those bungalows that once stood along the beach at Widewater.
Hopefully, the omission is now addressed with this recently published research that identifies those bungalows, the defence work and destruction caused by the storms of 1910 to 1913.

Widewater Bungalows

Bungalow Town properties were known by name, not the street numbering system used across the river in Shoreham Town and it was first necessary to identify the location and names of the bungalows at Widewater beach.  This has been carried out using photographs, Ordnance Survey maps of the period, Street Directories and the 1911 Census Returns – all have inexactitudes to a greater or lesser extent. Furthermore, the majority of these bungalows were lost to storms and it wasn’t just one storm that caused the bungalows to be Continue reading “Widewater Bungalows”

Catty Norman and Framnaes

Joined Neil De Ville at the auctioning of these eight old photos and managed to purchase them.

Pencilled notes on the reverse of some indicate they were photos of Catty Norman and his family who’s bungalow was destroyed by the 1913 storm. No  bungalow names were shown but we were able to identify them by by a painstaking trawling through this website’s collections comparing them with similar photos. We thought it might be interesting enough to include an explanation of the identification process and this follows after the eight photos.


Continue reading “Catty Norman and Framnaes”

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”

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”

The Robertsons and their Bungalows

AD Robertson

Alexander Duff Robertson, the son of a Scottish industrialist, began business as the proprietor of a laundry in London. He later became predominantly involved in property development both in London and Shoreham. During WW1 he was a captain in the RFC/RAF and afterwards served on Shoreham‘s Urban Council.

Alexander purchased land on Shoreham Beach and went on to build a number of bungalows there for himself, his family and to let out. During their time in Bungalow Town the building work and subsequent residency in their homes was uniquely recorded in a collection of photographs and ephemera that have been generously donated by a descendant who bears the self same names of his forbear.

Continue reading “The Robertsons and their Bungalows”