On the corner of Victoria Road and Hebe Road, the Hebe pub (possibly named after HMS Hebe) was built to serve the clientele of the very popular Swiss Gardens. The Swiss Gardens entrance (built 1838) was opposite. I estimate the Hebe was built after 1844 but before 1872.

The Hebe ghost image: 1894 and 2018 ©Roger Bateman
Ghost image of the Swiss Gardens entrance with Hebe on right of frame. c1900/2018

Ernie Mayne is listed as landlord in 1929 but by 1935 the landlord had changed. Percy Ernest Barratt (17 March 1871 – 15 May 1937) was an English music hall entertainer who performed under the name Ernie Mayne. Mayne was one of the first music hall stars to broadcast on radio in 1922. He retired to a bungalow on Shoreham Beach and died at the age of 66 in the Royal Sussex after becoming ill with appendicitis.

This 1930’s cartoon references Ernie Mayne’s songs and comic routines. It also suggest ‘fill up at Ernie’s” implying the garage behind would supply petrol.

A curiosity is this Pathe short reel of Ernie Mayne performing his routine for the camera. Is this filmed in the first floor function room of the Hebe with drapes and the large bay windows in the background?

During WW2 The Hebe was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for purposes unknown. There is an account of a large load being delivered to the Hebe after being unloaded by crane from a goods train positioned on the Victoria Road rail bridge. The mystery of what this may have been persists.

According to local resident Gerry White: “The Hebe was a popular place as it had an activity room, where private parties were held. During the 1950s the Ancient Order of the Druids held their lodge meetings there.  A banjo and accordion band run by Frank Beeler, and Harold Snelling, the Hight Street butcher, held rehearsals in the first floor room.”

Latterly, in the early 1970’s the children at Victoria Road School were swiftly invited inside the Hebe on the occasion of a phoned in bomb scare at the school opposite.

HMS Hebe

Leda class HMS Unicorn (1820s) with curved stern similar to HMS Hebe (1826)

The question as to the naming of the pub is curious. The pub/ hotel was built opposite the Swiss Gardens opened in 1838 by successful boatbuilder JB Balley (1793-1863). His adjacent hotel was clearly built later to serve visiting clientele of the Swiss. Hebe Road was presumably named after the pub, rather than the other wayround – and we can speculate the building of the pub and Hebe Terrace was immediately after the new railway split Shoreham in 1844. Balley’s home at Longcroft was the only other significant building in Hebe Road. So why would Balley name his pub Hebe? Was it a reference to HMS Hebe (launched 1826) which was a Leda-class frigate that had a revolutionary rounded stern design that looks remarkably like the South face of the Hebe pub (see Leda class ships HMS Unicorn). The 1826 HMS Hebe was eventually used as a receiving ship by 1839–1852 at Woolwich and then was hulked in 1861 (2 years before Balley died) and later broken up in 1873. But that doesn’t explain why the pub should be built like HMS Hebe? I wonder if Balley had a closer connection and affection for the hulks of HMS Hebe?

The Hebe and grounds in the late 1960’s
The Hebe closed in the early 80’s and was converted into flats. Note pub sign with ship.

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