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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       TRADE OF THE PORT  
                 
with flags flying and to the accompaniment of music, proceededto the point where the ceremony of driving in the piles took place. Several thousand spectators lined the harbour, across, which a bridge of boats was formed, by which means many were able to approach nearer the interesting scene of action." The ceremony included an oration delivered by a clergyman-mason. By January, 1818, the new entrance was open to allow the passage of shipping, and at the end of the summer of 1820, an issue of the Brighton Herald records that :        
  between the eastern part of Rottingdean and the western part of Heene, are within the limits of the port.
  The lighthouse opposite the harbour entrance was erected in 1846, and about the same period the piers were also considerably lengthened.
  The canal or dock which extends from Southwick to Aldrington Basin, was opened 20th February, 1855. The harbour is therefore divided into two arms, that to the westward being deeper and leading up to Shoreham-about a mile distant from the present mouth-and to the L.B. & S.C. Railway Co.'s wharf at Kingston. The eastern arm is somewhat shallower and leads to the dock at Southwick, giving access to the canal, in which ships are enabled to lie afloat at all times of the tide.
" By the judicious application of talent and capital, the skilful engineers, the subscribers, and the Commissioners have improved the blessings peace bestows upon a nation. They have given. employment to industry in the erection of a work of which the county may be justly proud and for which they will receive the gratitude of the mercantile interest for whose vessels they have provided an asylum, and of the mariners whom they -will save from shipwreck.   To celebrate the happy termination of their gratuitous labours the Commissioners dined at the Star Inn, Shoreham, and there were also present M.P.'s and prominent residents of the county and of Brighton.   It is intended to further improve the harbour entrance and to apply to Parliament for an Act to make a new turnpike road above the cliff from Brighton to Shoreham. It is also in contemplation to lay down an iron railway from the point at which vessels discharge their cargoes to the western extremity of Brighton, and to form a junction of the river Adur and Arun by which a navigation would be opened up between Shoreham and the Metropolis."  
  The management of the harbour is now in the hands of a body of trustees, elected triennially by the Corporations of Brighton and Worthing, the Shoreham Urban District Council, the Steyning Justices, and the ship-owners and traders of the port of Shoreham.
       
  The trade of the port is chiefly in coals from the North. In former years it was not an unusual event for as many as twenty colliers to enter the harbour in one day ; but that was in the days of the far-famed Shoreham sailing-ships, when they traded regularly between Hartlepool and Shoreham. In the 'fifties there was a large business in fruit and eggs from Havre, Honfleur, Caen, and other French ports. Cheese, cattle, wine, and salt were among former imports.Flour and corn, timber from the Baltic and America, stone and roofing slates have been imported for many years, and the chief exports are Portland cement, chemicals, pitch, coke, and tar.
The turnpike road is presumably the present lower road from Shoreham to Brighton. The railway did not come until some twenty years later, while the projected communication with London, by means of a junction between the Adur and the Arun, thence to the Wey, and so to the Thames, was not destined to be realised.  
  From entries in the Vestry Book of New Shoreham in 1743, and 1746, we learn that it had been customary, " time out of remembrance," for the Constable and Vicar of the Borough " to demand and receive " out of every vessel coming into port one bushel of coal, salt, or grain, according to which of these commodities the ships were laden with. Sometimes the masters of vessels resisted payment of these perquisites, but the townspeople in those days seem generally to have upheld the Vicar and Constable in exacting these dues.
The harbour entrance was finally completed in June, 1821. Good results quickly followed these improvements, and in the year, 1833 a writer describes the scene on approaching Shoreham as being of " a cheerful and active character," there being possibly no port on the south coast which displayed in those days greater activity. A great deal of the harbour's subsequent prosperity may be attributed to its proximity to the large and flourishing town of Brighton, which, with all towns and villages  
  The Oyster and Escallop Fishery was formerly an important and prosperous industry and gave employment to a large number of men.   The dredgers, which sometimes numbered a hundred
                 
    160            

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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002