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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       THE HARBOUR    
                   
stands. A fine oil-painting of the schooner " Kingston " built at this yard in 1838, is in the possession of Mr. E. V. Lucas, the well-known writer. Notable barques and other craft were built by Messrs. Shuttleworth at the Shoreham Canal Shipyards, Southwick, extensively used of late years as a yacht depot by Messrs. Courtney &. Birkett.   Yacht-building was carried on at Shoreham by Messrs. Stow & Son, and Frank Suter up to the outbreak of the war, and we hope to see it revive again in peaceful years yet to be.   and only voyage to the Solent, where she took up her final position (partly submerged) as a tower of defence near the Nab.  
  The cost, equipment, and endowment of the Shoreham lifeboat, " William Restall," was met by a legacy bequeathed by the gentleman after whom she was named. The present boat is the successor of an earlier one which numbered among her crew ten members of one family (Upton), a father, his six sons and. three nephews.  
  The Harbour itself, and some account of its varying fortunes during the past one hundred and sixty years must now claim our attention for a brief space.  
Here and there in Shoreham you will find paintings, in oil or water-colour, of the old-time sailing vessels for which the town was once so famous. The late Mrs. R. H. Penney preserved several very fine paintings of ships built for and owned by her husband. An interesting relic of one of these vessels, the "Arbutus," built at Shuttleworth's yard in 1863, for a London firm, and subsequently purchased by Mr. R. H. Penney, is preserved in the garden at "Higheroft," Brighton. This is the figure-head of the ship. A very finely executed female figure, holding in her hand an Arbutus-flower.    
  Owing to the bad state into which it had fallen by the middle of the eighteenth century, the prosperity of the ship-owners, merchants, and inhabitants again declined. They presented a petition to Parliament, praying that leave might be granted their to bring in a Bill to effect improvements, and Sir William Peere Williams, one of the Borough Members, introduced a Bill, which was passed on the 24th March, 1760. It appointed 51 Commissioners, who were authorised to make " a new cut through the sea-beach opposite Kingston," and to execute other necessary works " to make and maintain a new and more commodious entrance to the harbour."   The first meeting of the Commissioners was held at the Star Inn, Shoreham, 24th June, 1760. The works were carried out, but apparently with too great a desire to avoid expenditure. They quickly became undermined by the sea, and some fifteen years after their construction, the entrance began to travel eastward, forming, as the years went on, the later series of mouths before referred to. None of these remained open very long and the harbour rapidly silted up.  
During the last year of the war a shipyard was started on the beach, west of the Chemical Works. This was regarded at the time as a revival of the industry, but " the old order changeth, giving place to new." Unlike the ships of other days these vessels -huge " barges " of 1,000 tons burden, were built of concrete in dry-dock. Three having been completed ready for" launching" the ceremony took place on Saturday, January 18th, 1919, in lovely weather and was performed by Mrs. Andrew Miller and other ladies, who named the ships " Creteshade," " Cretestyle," and "Cretestream." Each vessel was gaily decorated with flags and the two first-named were towed from their berths by the steam-tug " Stella " and floated on a high tide into the river. Others have since been launched, as well as the attendant tugs, also of concrete but built on stocks. The last of these, the " Cretewheel," was launched in July, 1920.    
  A most unsatisfactory state of affairs existed for a quarter of a century, during which time many surveys and suggestions for improvement were made. One of these was to reopen the old entrance opposite Shorehain ; another to build extensive docks, neither of which schemes saw fruition.  
In the early part of 1918, Southwick Green was converted into a camp to accommodate the Royal Engineers. They were preparing for, and subsequently built, the two huge concrete towers or " Mystery-ships," which of late have formed so conspicuous a feature of the harbour mouth. One of the towers having been completed was towed out from the harbour on Sunday, September 12th, 1920, and successfully made her first    
  An Act of Parliament, passed in 1816, resulted in the Kingston entrance being reopened. These works commenced 22nd April, 1817, by the driving in of two of the foundation piles of the new piers. The Brighton Herald of that time records that " a Masonic procession gave grandeur and solemnity to the occasion. The party embarked in about thirty boats, which,
                   
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002