Tag Archives: worthing

Picture Postcard Parade: Wrecked Worthing Pier

6 Oct

Searching through the postcards at Haywards Heath last weekend I came across a postcard of Worthing Pier that reminded me that I had some postcards of the pier in my collection. As I was down at Worthing last week and showed you a photograph of the pier as it is now, I thought I would show you an earlier postcard of Worthing Pier from my collection.

Wrecked Worthing Pier

Wrecked Worthing Pier

There picture really speaks for itself, the pier was partially destroyed in a storm on the night of the 22nd March 1913. According to the National Piers Society website Worthing Pier was re-opened a little over a year later on the 29th May 1914 by the Lord Mayor of London.

The news of the destruction of the pier was reported in The Times on Monday 24th March 1913:

Shortly before midnight on Saturday about 200 yards of the pier at Worthing was swept away. During the winter work has been in progress on the pier, the intention being to enlarge the shore end of the structure preliminary to the erection of an arcade leading into a shore-end pavilion. It was the swaying of a big crane used for lifting the ironwork into position that gave the assembled crowds on the front the first indication of danger. A few minutes later loud reports were heard above the noise of the gale, and three-fourths of the pier disappeared, isolating the pavilion and landing-stages at the far end. The electric arc lamps were extinguished by the severing of the supply, and the lamps on the parade and in the town were extinguished.

The pier was built in 1862 and represented a capital outlay of something like £17,000. Only the pavilion and the landing stages at the far end now remain, and the damage done is established at about £10,000.

At daylight the beach for a distance of nearly a mile was strewn with timber planking, iron seats, and other wreckage from the pier. The roadway along Worthing Parade and the adjacent streets were yesterday flooded to a depth of from one to two feet.

A visit to the seaside on my day off (or rather a visit to a library near the seaside)

29 Sep

One of these days I am going to take a day off work and not get up the same time as I would if I was going to work. Still it gave me the opportunity to confuse the bus driver by going in the opposite direction to the way I would normally be going.

I know I was supposed to be heading to the East Sussex Record Office at Lewes, East Sussex, but I needed to do a couple of look ups in Worthing as well. So instead of jumping on a bus heading east out of Brighton, I jumped on one headed west.

Worthing Pier in the sunshine

Worthing Pier in the sunshine

Worthing Library was featured in the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? and for good reason. In my opinion it has the best local studies collection of any of the West Sussex libraries and today it was more convenient (cheaper and quicker) for me than visiting the West Sussex Record Office at Chichester.

Not only did I find the two entries in the parish registers I was after, but I also came away with a copy of Wills and Other Probate Records by Karen Grannum and Nigel Taylor. This book published by The National Archives in 2004 had been withdrawn for sale for some reason (perhaps it has been republished since) and cost me just £2, a real bargain and something to read on the bus heading back to Brighton and Lewes.

The South Coast Family History Fair

19 Apr

It was quite a nice day to visit the seaside, the sun eventually came out, but the wind made it feel colder. Still, I wasn’t too worried because I was inside for most of the day. Either on a bus or in the Worthing Pavilion Theatre at the family history fair.

This is quite a small fair, perhaps 20 stalls and about seven or eight of those were postcard dealers. There were none of the big online database providers, which is much the same as previous years. There were four or five family history societies, including the Sussex Family History Group, but I don’t remember seeing the Society of Genealogists there this year. The West Sussex Record Office also had a stand there, selling their guides and DVDs.

The rest of the stalls were a mixture of retailers selling maps, CDs, accessories and charts etc. To be honest I spent most of my time (and money) with the postcard dealers. Having said that I didn’t spend a great deal, I did see a few nice cards that were out of my price range, but none of my main collecting area, which is becoming much harder find these days.

I did come away with three church postcards to illustrate my family history, and they will probably all end up on this blog sooner or later. They were of Shermanbury, Bolney and Framfield, all in Sussex. I also decided that I need to create a list of all the churches that my ancestors were connected with, the list is getting too much for me to remember, especially with all the MITCHELL ones as well now (and I forgot to look for St Cuthberts, Carlisle as well today).

To be honest there wasn’t a lot else to interest me or that I needed, I did buy the Singleton parish register transcripts CD (published by The Parish Register Transcription Society) from the SFHG stand, which will help me push back my BOXALL ancestors a few generations by giving me some idea of where to look in the original registers.

The fair was pretty well attend by the look of it, but it is a small venue so there were never going to be huge numbers. The entrance fee, £2, was great value, plus going down to Worthing meant that my wife and I got the chance to have fish and chips on the sea front, which is never a bad thing!

Am I ready a whole weekend dedicated to family history?

16 Apr

It is rather self-indulgent to spend all weekend on genealogy, at the expense of everything else, but I think I deserve it (even if no-one else does).

This coming Saturday will see me visiting the West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) and the library at Chichester, West Sussex, then on Sunday I plan to visit Worthing, West Sussex, and the South Coast Family History Fair at the Pavilion Theatre. So this weekend has been officially designated a family history weekend, in our home at least.

Sunday needs no planning as such, other than making sure I have enough money to spend and deciding if there are any books or CDs that I couldn’t possibly live without. There are sure to be some postcard dealers there as well, so I am sure I won’t come away empty handed.

Saturday is a different matter. Chichester library is simple enough (and should be quite quick), check the microfilm of the local papers for January 1951. The WSRO however needs some more thought and planning. I have a to-do list which probably has enough entries for the WSRO for several visits, so I need to decide where my focus should be directed this time.

A large part of my time will probably be spent trying to find out more about the Sussex part of William Henry and Harriet MITCHELL’s travels. I shall be check for school admission records for their children for starters and then likely burial places for William Henry and Harriet themselves.

I need to try and find out more about Thomas GASSON (3x great grandfather) who appears to have ended his days in the Cuckfield Union Workhouse. I want to see if there is any record of him there, and where he was buried.

After that it is probably a case of picking out the quickest and easiest items from my to-do list, and anywhere there are multiple items for the same document. There is probably nothing more I can add to either of my Thomas KINGHORN projects at WSRO, but you never know.

I have been very good this month and so far I have stuck to my promise to only make one archive trip per month, I didn’t even pop into the Brighton History Centre last weekend despite the temptation being very strong.

My long suffering wife does get a look in. She is going to come along with me to Worthing on Sunday and do some shopping in town, a small price to pay for a whole weekend of genealogy!

The Walter Gardiner Photography Collection

14 Mar

I had the chance today to visit an exhibition at Worthing Library, Worthing, West Sussex of some of the works of Walter Gardiner. These will be of most interest to those people with Sussex ancestors.

There are some amazing images on display, which I understand is only a small percentage of the overall collection. Details of the acquisition of the collection can be found in this old article on the BBC South Today website, which includes a few examples, but more can be seen on the West Sussex Past Pictures website.

The exhibition continues until the 28th March 2009 at Worthing Library, admission is free, and there is a catalogue (costing £1) which provides further information about the photo (where it is known). As well as the prints on display, there is also a slide show presentation of more digital images from the collection.

For me the star of the show was a print of a motor bus outside the Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex c1900. And why was that so special? well apart from my liking for old buses and pub history there is also the fact that my great grandparents lived opposite the Chinese Gardens.


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