History of Shoreham Street Names

by Gerry White

As a child I read that Wilmot Road had been named after Lord Wilmot a supporter of King Charles, and his son Prince Charles, who escaped to France, this could not have been done without the help from the Noble Lord.

I also found out that Lennox Road, was named after an earlier Member of Parliament, who had represented Shorcham. I had never before given much thought to the origin of Street names. Therefore I decided to make notes and to find out more about other streets in this ancient town.  I was not disappointed. 

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Middle Street

A little known story is  about the demolition of the lovely old cottages in Middle Street that were replaced by today’s car park. Why just those in between other similar cottages in the street? It seems the whole row  were considered then to be unfit for human habitation and, true or not, one of the criteria was said to be a lack of natural light (which of course many old buildings do suffer from). During the inspection of those in Middle Street the  council official responsible for approving the demolishing had reached the cottages beyond today’s car park and, when asked if she needed the light on to be able to see, replied she could see perfectly well. In doing so she could not then condemn it and that, I am told, is why the rest survived.

1914 & 2020 image from NLS and Bing. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=19.7&lat=50.83261&lon=-0.27595&layers=168&right=BingSat

Coronation street views

Lofty writes:
King George V was crowned in June 1911, and a grand street procession was organised which marched through the town. The two postcard views below show part of this.

In the first photo the procession is at the west end of Ham Road, just about to turn left into Brunswick Road. The second photo shows a different section of the procession which is heading westwards along the High Street.

Jack’s Bargain Store

The shop, formed part of Victoria Terrace, on Victoria Road It was next to Jock Hamiltons Garage, and faced the Ritz Cinema, which is now demolished, and replaced by the RopeTackle development . Jacks Bargain stores extended it’s trading space by setting several tables, out side onto the pavement. The tables, were covered with numerous boxes, of all manner of used domestic utensils, rusty meat mincers, lay alongside an old cribbage board, or some well worn eating knives and forks.

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Little High Street & Ropetackle

Looking through the history of Ropetackle – what an eccentric place! As well as the ropemaking and shipbuilding past there were, in Victorian times, ancient buildings still standing, quaint sounding cottages, warehouses, a gas works and, spookily, a mortuary alongside an incinerator! In Little High Street there were houses with strange, shop-like windows and this mysterious looking architectural protrusion.
Is it what was left of  a partly demolished house; was it built like that to fit into a small space or  did it have a special purpose? The 1872 map also refelects its irregularity as part of the longer building to which it was attached. It all adds to a certain air of mystery and antiquity to the area. 

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West End – High Street

We know for a fact that a photo of buildings in Shoreham High Street was taken in 1891 – the 31st of March that year to be precise and this enlargement of one of them is a bit puzzling. The house, just beyond the King’s Head, is a low structure compared with the buildings around and is thought to be quite ancient – a very old chamfered queen post in the roof trusses was found during the 1970’s demolition.
What is intriguing is this enlargement that seems to show items outside it. At least three of the items look identical. Was it a shop or perhaps the occupiers moving in/out? The items look almost like inflatable dinghies but it seems those did not appear for a couple of decades or so after?

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Star Gap mystery

GPO writes in 2020:
I recently came across this first picture of Star Gap. It may be familiar to others, but it’s not one I have seen before.  The concrete part of Coronation Green seems to have been recently made up and has new concrete posts supporting chain-link fencing.

As we know that this part of the High Street was widened in the thirties, it must be after this time, although I understand that there had been a wharf in this position even before the buildings were demolished.  But this view is obviously later than that.

What I find interesting is that the cottage or house (houses?) is quite different from what we see today. The main difference is that the present house is built right up to the retaining wall, whereas in this photo there is a path in between.

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