This is probably my favourite postcard at the moment, it shows Belle Tout lighthouse east of Beachy Head near Eastbourne, East Sussex. For a postcard that is over 100 years old the colours are incredibly vibrant and the novelty of feeding chickens on Beachy Head is just so appealing to me. I can’t help wondering if any of the chickens ever tumbled over the edge of the cliff!
Both the front and the back have been written on, and helpfully the date appears to have been written on the front, 14.9.03 and a set of initials. As you can see the back just has a name and address on it, Miss Booth of Oxford Street, Ripley.
I wonder if Miss Booth ever got this card, the marks on the corners attest to the fact that it has been in an album for a long time, and I wonder who L.A.L. was?
Last week I showed you a postcard of the current Beachy Head lighthouse, now it is the turn of the old Beachy Head lighthouse, also known as Belle Tout lighthouse (named after the cliff on which it sits).
Like the previous postcard there is no clue as to the publisher or the date it was published, other than a divided back which dates it after 1902. This is confirmed by the fact that the caption refers to "the old lighthouse".
The new lighthouse took over from the old lighthouse in 1902. The lighthouse began protecting shipping to the west of Eastbourne, East Sussex in 1828, and after it was replaced by the new lighthouse the building was converted to a private residence.
The lighthouse still stands today, and although it has been featured in several television programmes, the most interesting chapter in it’s history came in March 1999 when the entire building (all 850 tons of it) was pushed 55 feet further away from the cliff edge by hydraulic jacks.