Previous Toc Next

  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM          
                 
" below their market value." Mr. Gates, Comptroller of Customs, " lived in a house of unbroken flint (St. John's) in a street nearly opposite the Custom House."        
" In the winter time there was not much in the way of public amusements, but the big room at the Bridge Inn (Mechen's) was occasionally used by companies of strolling-players." There Herman Vezin once appeared in a piece called " Clari." He was then unknown to the annals of histrionic fame and his costume was of the " make-shift " order.   Picture
Tom Savers, the noted pugilist, sometimes trained at the Royal Sovereign in Middle Street, and was seen about the town with the words, " Champion of England " on his belt.  
The celebrated Swiss Gardens, established in 1838 by James Britton Balley, the ship-builder, retained their popularity as a pleasure resort for more than fifty years. The amusements included bowls and archery, a well-appointed theatre, a refreshment room for 1,000 persons, a " magic cave," and an ornamental lake. The ball-room-in its day possibly the finest on the South Coast-had a length of 150 ft. and a breadth of 54 ft.   Here a former generation of Shoreham and Brighton people were wont to trip it right merrily, celebrating the successful launch of a newbuilt ship, or as a suitable wind-up to Regatta Day. The ornamental gardens were tastefully laid out and well kept, and some peacocks added not a little to the beauty of the place. Balloon ascents and firework displays were frequent.  
Many people retain pleasant memories of these gardens in what may be termed their " palmy days." This was at the time that they were owned by Mr. Edward Goodchild and admirably managed, and thousands from far and near came to Shoreham for " a day at the gardens."   In those days they were also considered a part of the social life of the town, and it was the usual fashion to meet friends and take tea with them, in one of the delightful arbours which were to be found there.   The evening performance in the theatre followed and then the dance in the ball-room.  
           
But the pleasures of one generation are not the pleasures of the nest. The popularity of this resort began to wane. It lxJuame in time the favourite haunt of a somewhat rough element, and it was then considered   " not quite correct " to go there. At length the gardens were closed, but occasionally performances were given by local amateurs in the theatre, which was also  
       
                 
              253  
    232            

Previous Toc Next

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