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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       FATE OF THE " BRIGHTON QUEEN "  
               
                     
sail, usually made about three voyages a fortnight during the months from September to April inclusive ; but the other months were " fenced," and dredging was then prohibited. The beds were situated about midway between the English and French coasts and were about twenty miles in length and seven or eight in breadth.   was making for Shoreham, and her small crew of five, although able to save themselves, lost their belongings. And again we recall the " Brighton Queen," a pleasure steamer so often seen leaving the harbour in those fair summer mornings of bygone years to call at the Brighton piers for her freight of light-hearted trippers. She will be seen no more, having been mined or torpedoed while on transport duty, " doing her bit " in the early days of the war, and lies somewhere beneath the waves. Who of us ever dreamed that such a fate would be hers ?
                     
The oysters, on being brought into Shoreham, were bought by resident merchants, who laid them down in ponds in the river and sent them thence to the markets in London, Leeds, Hull, Birmingham, Newcastle, and other parts of England. Some idea of the extent of this trade may be gathered when it is stated that, during the 'fifties, nearly 20,000 tons of oysters were sent by rail from Shoreham in one year. During the Crimean War the owners found great difficulty in manning their boats ; the war and high wages in the merchant service " having drawn a great many men from their trade."   When steam vessels, built on improved lines, took the place of sailing dredgers, the industry declined. Except for a very small quantity occasionally brought in, it is a thing of the past. Such, too, is the case with escallops, which trade, though important, was not so extensive. The disused oysterponds are visible at low tide.            
  It is hoped that a day will come when the traffic of the harbour will again revive and flourish as aforetime. Yet this cannot be, unless a due employment of capital and enterprise is forthcoming to make the best use of its natural advantages and possibilities, which are many and obvious.
           
Steam packets formerly sailed between Shoreham and Dieppe, Havre, Jersey, and other ports. After the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway was opened, they ran in connection with the trains; the Company, in the earlier days of its existence, having a passenger station at Kingston. Eventually the Steam Lines were removed to the neighbouring ports of Littlehampton and Newhaven, the Railway Company and the Harbour Commissioners being " unable to agree."            
What the future may hold for Shoreham Harbour can only be a matter of speculation. During the war, the town itself enjoyed a period of prosperity never before experienced.   This was owing to the presence of thousands of soldiers in camp. But the harbour was hit terribly hard : its traffic fell almost to nil and the war exacted a toll both of ships and men.   We can but regret the fate of the " John Miles,"-so frequently seen in past years entering the harbour to unload her thousand tons of coal at the Gas Works-torpedoed or mined on her last voyage from the North in the early part of 1917, most of her crew perishing. Among smaller craft the defenceless " Athol " was fired on and sunk off the " Owers " at the end of April in the same year She            
                     
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002