– a collection of images from the galleries and collections of shorehambysea.com illustrating the changes to the area since the 18th century.
What a wonderfully eccentric place it was! Besides a fascinating ropemaking and shipbuilding past there were, in Victorian times, ancient buildings still standing, quaint cottages, wharf houses, a gas works and, spookily, a mortuary alongside an incinerator! In the Little High Street there were peculiarly shaped houses and strange, shop-like windows.
It was never a fashionable area, being part industrial and part residential where the poorer, labouring families largely dwelt. In 1817 William Butler’s poor grammar described it as being “the lower ‘hend’ of town” and goes on to mention a ‘pour new’ shop where he had ‘connections’ with Sarah Fillaps. Something of a mystery and perhaps a pawn shop (a corruption of the French ‘for us’) or as William’s escapades suggest one of the numerous brothels in Shoreham port then?
During the early part of the 19th century Ropetackle included wharf houses, sheds, a brickyard, coal yard, a bonding pond, Thomas Clayton’s deal yard, his cement factory, stables, a mixture of 17th to 19th century houses and even a mill pond. By the Victorian era there was also a sewage plant and of course the gasworks, flint-built ware houses, incinerator and mortuary. It all added to a certain air of eeriness and mystery to the area.
Shoreham historian Henry Cheal tells us that following the great storm of 1703 that blew down the town’s original market house another was built in its stead in 1711 on 10 columns and stood opposite the Crown and Anchor pub.The new market house was described as having consisted of ‘an oblong canopy of freestone (a fine grained stone, usually sandstone or limestone) embellished with gothic ornaments, supported by ten columns’ and was ‘a fine piece of architecture.’ Was it merely a canopy or roof supported on columns – maybe not as Cheal refers to the new building as a market house? It was itself later removed and replaced by another market house contemptuously described as ‘a mean building of brick,’ in East Street near the New Road junction in 1823. From there we are told it was taken to the island at the bottom of Southdown Road where it would have been a landmark seen by the crowds on their way from the station to the popular Swiss Gardens.
Built around the 1750’s it is first recorded as a tenement and garden in 1782 owned by John and Sarah Purse and occupied by Richard Lashmar. Ann Foster, a Church Street resident and landlady of a number of rented houses, then acquired the property letting it out to William Lashmar during the 1820’s and 30’s.
A HISTORY OF CHURCH STREET, NEW SHOREHAM 1782–1920
Due to its predominance of surviving older properties Church Street is probably the best known of Shoreham’s old streets. Luckily this is also matched by the records and deeds that still exist to provide us with a more complete picture than any of the other streets. Continue reading “History of Church Street”
During the Napoleonic Wars the threat of invasion by the French caused Britain to strengthen its defences along the south coast in readiness. Initially, more troops were redeployed to the south followed later by other defensive precautions such as the Martello Towers that were built along the Kent and East Sussex coasts. Barracks and camps were set up, most were intended only as temporary accommodation for the troops but the one along the Lewes Road near Brighton became permanent and survived into the 20th century as Preston Barracks. There were others further inland but the local coastal camps were at Blatchington (Hove), Southwick, Steyning, New Shoreham and Worthing. Continue reading “Napoleonic Army Camps”
Described as a ‘Capital Messuage in 1738, the land within which the vaults are situated was owned by the Smith family and then, in 1782, passed to the Bridgers. However, the description of the property whilst mentioning ‘two tenements, malthouse, garden, stables, coach house and coachyard (which included the land and buildings southwards from the Manor House down to – but not including — the old Custom House and west [behind] the latter.) does not mention a vault or cellar at all. Continue reading “Vault in Church Street”
The story of Captain John Butler has already been extensively described in Maria Butler’s family history ‘Memories of a Shoreham Seafaring Family’ but this circa 1786 sketch shows another side of his talents. The naive character of some of the buildings, St.Mary’s church etc., in the drawing may suggest that he was not an especially gifted artist and many have thought that his representation of Shoreham is not altogether realistic. Continue reading “John Butler’s 1786 Sketch of Shoreham Examined”