SIAS Newsletter 3

 

NEWSLETTER No. 3 June 1974.

Publications
If only for the benefit of some future bibliographer or librarian, it may be useful to set down the various publications which have emanated from the Society in the first six and a half years of its existence. There may also be present. members who want to complete their own collections.

The Sussex Industrial Archaeology Study Group was formed in October 1967, and in December 1972 changed its name to the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society

The publications of the Study Group and of the Society are as follows:

Sussex Industrial Archaeology Study Group, Newsletter. Edited by Kim C. Leslie,BA.FRSA., and published by him, as Honorary Secretary, at Rustington. Quarto. Five Issues:

No. 1 April 1968 8 pages
No. 2 October 1968 8 pages
No. 3 April 1969 8 pages
No. 4 October 1969 8 pages
No. 5 April 1970 8 pages. 
All issues are out of print.

Sussex Industrial History. Edited by John H. Farrant, MA., and published by Phillimore Co. Ltd.9 at Chichester, for the Group (nos. 1 -- 5) or the Society (no.6) Quarto. Six issues:

No. 1 winter 1970-71 43 pages.
No. 2 summer 1971 37 pages.
No. 3 winter 1971-72 32 pages.
No. 4 summer 1972 33 pages.
No. 5 winter 1972-73 33 pages.
No. 6 winter 1973-74 33 pages.

No. 1 is out of print, but one xerox copy is still available from the Society's General Secretary, price 55p. All other issues are available from Phillimore & Co. Ltd., Shopwyke Hall, Chichester, P020 6BQ, price 40p. (no. 2) or 50p. each (nos. 3 - 6) or from the General Secretary.

Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society, Circular. Edited by A.J. Haselfoot,MA.,C.Eng., FIEE., and published by him, as General Secretary, at Hastings. Foolscap; mimeo.
Four issues:

January 1973 2 pages
April 1973 2 pages
August 1973 4 pages
October 1973 3 pages
 Available from the General Secretary, 10p. each.

Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society, Newsletter. Edited by A.J. Haselfoot,MA.,C.Eng., FIEE., and published by him, as General Secretary, as Hastings. Quarto. In progess; three issues to date:

No. 1 January 1974 8 pages
No. 2 April 1974 8 pages
No. 3 July 1974 6 pages
Available from the General Secretary, price 15p. each.

Sussex Directories 1784-1940: A First List, compiled by John Farrant. March 1969. Published y .C. Leslie, Honorary Secretary, S.I.A.S.G., Rustington. Quarto; mimeo; 14 pages. Out of print.
Bibliography [i.e., of industrial archaeology], compiled by Hugh A. Gordon. Foolscap; various methods of reproduction. Undated, but 1969 - in progess, 18 parts, each one page. Available from the General Secretary, price lp. per sheet, plus postage. JHF.

Railway Architecture. In connection with the article in S.I.H. 6 Mr. R.M. Robbines, the well-known railway historian, writes:
"I think you may be interested to have a note on Mr. John Hoare's "Railway Architecture in Sussex". I believe that the architect responsible for the highly characteristic stations listed by Mr. Hoare under 6, Cuckoo-Line Style, 1879-83, can be
identified, and that he was T.H. Myres of Preston, Lancashire. The direct evidence is in F. McDermott, The Life and Work of Joseph Firbank (London: Longmans Green 1887): on page 116, apparently with reference to the East Grinstead and Lewes Line as well as to the Horsted Keynes/Haywards Heath Link, Myres is called "the architect of the East Grinstead and other stations on the line". It continues: "Mr. Myres chose the warm colouring and varied forms of what has, of late years, been termed the Queen Anne
school". For the Chichester-Midhurst Lines G. Biddle, Victorian Stations (1973), 180, cites The Builder as complimenting "Mr. Myres" on his "Old English style".

Pevsner's North Lancashire records T.H. Myres as the architect of everal works, all but one churches., in that area. It is puzzling that he should have got this com-mission from the Brighton railway; I have asked Dr. J.N.L. Myres, president of the Society of Antiquaries, and he cannot suggest what connections his "Uncle Tom" could have had with Sussex.

I do not think this attribution has been published before - that is, since the strictly contemporary accounts." R. Michael Robbins.

Donations, Our application to be registered as a charity at law has now been accepted by the Charity Commissioners and we have received a generous grant of 100 from the Strauss Charitable Trust to help the work of the Society.

SHORT NOTES
Sussex Canal Trust

We have received the Newsletter of the Sussex Canal Trust, which was formed a year ago to promote the restoration of the Portsmouth-Arundel Canal. They are an active body but are very much in need of more members, particularly working members. Any one interested in helping this work should get in touch with the Member-ship Secretary of the Trust - Richard Cossey, 4, Hawley Road, Rustington, West Sussex. 

Southern Industrial History Centre. 
This organisation, which was formed about two years ago, and has now become a rust, aims to establish. a centre for the exhibition of machinery, vehicles and processes to the general public and also to offer facilities and some co-ordination to various groups of enthusiasts.
They are interested chiefly in the period commencing with the decline of the horse as motive power to the present day, although to illustrate some processes, i.e. brick-making or iron-working, the scope may be much wider.
Their chief activities at present are:
The recording and cataloguing of items potentially useful for exhibition. A concentrated search for a suitable site for the centre.
Rescue operations, the dismantling of items and storing for re-assembly when the centre is established.
They mounted their second major rescue attempt on 27th and 28th April at Hurst Green Foundry.
The small complex is a virtually complete mid-nineteenth century foundry which must go, to make way for redevelopment. Many of the items weigh several tons and the operation involved cranage and low loaders. Our Society is actively co-operating with the Cente and assisted in the survey and recording of the various items at the Hurst Green Foundry which dates from 1863.

Street Furniture.
It appears from enquiries that little work has been done in this field an it is suggested that the Society should undertake a survey in Sussex. This should be construed in its widest sense to cover anything from lamp posts to manhole covers. As most articles in this field are in towns the best plan would be for volunteers in each town to undertake a survey in their local district, and the General Secretary would be glad to hear from any members willing to do this; also from any-one willing to co-ordinate the work and record the results, thus saving him this task. All members could keep a look-out for articles of street furniture, e.g. post boxes and lamp posts, in the country and villages,

Balloon Factory.
One of our members is anxious to know more about "Mr. Coxwell's Balloon Manufactury" which flourished at Seaford about 1870. Any one who has any information about this is asked to get in touch with J.A. Bagley, 18 Dollis Drive, Farnham, Surrey. GU9 9QD. Telephone Farnham 22140.

THE LOWER OUSE NAVIGATION (Part I)
John H. Farrant.
All those river navigations and canals in Sussex for which reasonable records are known to exist have received fairly full treatment at the hands of historians. To fill out the history of that aspect of transport improvement in the county, some description of the navigations (the Adur, the Baybridge, and the Lower Ouse) whose records have not come to light is needed. This brief study is concerned with the lower Ouse Navigation Trust (1791-1847) and its successors.2
Until the opening of the railway in 1847, barges on the lower Ouse were the main means of carriage between Lewes, the principal market centre for much of East Sussex, and Newhaven harbour. Through the latter passed imports of coal, Baltic timbers, groceries, manufactured goods etc., and exports of corn, oak and underwood products. The river also served as a drain, directly for the extensive levels (some 2,500 acres) bordering it and indirectly for the levels above Lewes and along Glynde Reach. But for most of the 18th century, the river was in a poor condition for such functions. Thus as late in the year (1767) as June, Smeeton found that the Brooks south of Lewes were in general under water. As to navigation a barge carrying 20 tons between Newhaven and Lewes was said in 1769 to take three days for a round trip, but sometimes could not load down and was obliged to wait two or three days extra because of insufficient water over the shallows; in 1783 the river was reckoned to be navigable for only six or seven days out of fourteen, that is, only during spring tides3 A programme of minor improvements, involving a cut of some 350 yards at Piddinghoe and widening elsewhere, and undertaken by the commissioners of sewers in 176976, seems to have had no great effects4 Such, then, was the river's condition when, in early July 1787, local traders met to discus's how to make the Ouse more easily navigable to Lewes. Within eight weeks, Thomas Pelham of Stanmer had invited the engineer William Jessop (then working in Rye harbour) to inspect the lower Ouse and Newhaven harbour, and had received Jessop's preliminary observations; the estimate for making the river navigable at Neap tides by barges drawing four feet was 2,420. A proposal for improving the river above Lewes surfaced in October, under the leadership of Lord Sheffield. It was his intention that the two projects should be one, and in August 1789 gave notice of intention to petition for an Act to improve the river's navigation from Newhaven to Cuckfield, But the two parties presented separate and conflicting petitions (as they both sought powers over the river between Lewes and Barcombe mill), and the lower Ouse petition made no mention of drainage because it followed the notice referring only to navigation, despite an agreement with the commissioners of sewers. The House of Commons committee decided in favour of the upper Ouse scheme, and the Upper Ouse Navigation Company was incorporated by Act of April 1790. A revised lower Ouse scheme was submitted in the next session, and an enabling Act was obtained in June 1791. It established a body of trustees - 124 individuals plus the Commissioners of Sewers for the Lewes and Laughton levels - who were empowered to borrow money at fixed interest and to repay it from Scots, or rates, on the lands which would benefit from the improved drainage, and from tolls levied on goods carried on the river. The intention was that the Scots should meet one third of annual expenditure (including interest and repayment of capital) and the tolls two thirds5

Having received an up-to-date survey of the river by Thomas Budgen, Jessop was able to provide in January 1791, a scheme for draining the levels and improving the navigation. It was essentially unchanged from his observations of 1787, except that he included a second major cut at Southerham, in addition to one at Southease. He now reckoned that embanking would cost much more, and allowed 1,300 (as against 200) for land purchase. So the estimate now reached 6,472. In May 1792, the trustees invited tenders to widen, deepen, and make new cuts on, the lower Ouse, and accepted that of Francis Pinkerton, probably in partnership with his father Thomas and/or his brother James. In mid-June, a number of river-cutters were set to work on Pool bar. Jessop seems not to have assumed any responsibility for his scheme's execution, and the trustees appointed Cater Rand, schoolmaster and part-time surveyor of Lewes, as (to use a modern term) resident engineer; he was paid one-half per cent of the value of work supervised. Tolls on barge traffic were introduced on 23 July, in accordance with the Act: 2d, per ton for beach and gravel, and other road-making materials, and for chalk, lime, dung., and other manures, and 4d. for other goods. In September 1793, 200 to 300 labourers were wanted for the works6

The progress of work is indicated by the cumulative expenditure (which may or may not included interest payments) : to April 1794, 5,057; to February 1795, 8,498 (on an estimate of 13,528); to September 1796, 10,980; to September 1799, 19,299, with 2,100 needed to complete.7 Work seems to have halted in 1799 with completion of the two major cuts at Southerham and Southease, smaller cuts at Cliffe and Asheham, and embanking the whole length from Lewes to just north of Newhaven.

Clearly the river's improvement - still incomplete - had cost much more than expected. Part of the explanation was inflation, but unless there were exceptional s local shortages of labour wage rates may have risen by only 20 per cent in the 1790's,8 and underestimating was probably the main cause of overspending. One consequence was that the tolls,whose maximum rates were set by the Act, could not cover two-thirds of annual expenditure, as intended. So in 1795, it was agreed that the ,cots should contribute an amount equal to the tolls rather than only a half, and in addition the provision that the Scots should meet any deficit had to be invoked. Hence up to September 1799 the total receipts comprised: tolls 1,624, Scots 5,390 (the ,cots also bore the cost, some 2,000, for new sluices, etc.), and mortgage loans at five per cent 15,850 (nearly twice the amount permitted by the Act). Although the trustees resolved in 1795 to petition for an amending Act, they did so only in 1800; the new Act doubled the tolls, confirmed the equal contribution of Scots and tolls, and required the trustees within three years to remove eight named shallows and to make a horse towing path from Southerham Corner to Stock Ferry. In fact the trustees did not do as ordered, though some of the shallows nay have been removed in 1803-5, and Quarter Sessions did not exercise its powers in event of such default.9

REFERENCES
D.F.Gibbs & J.H. Farrant, 'The Upper Ouse Navigation, 1790-18689, Sussex Industrial History, no. 1 (winter 1970-71), 23-40. P.A.L. Vine, London's Lost Route to the Sea, 3rd. ed. (Newton Abbot, 1973), and The Royal Military Canal (Newton Abbot, 1972).
2. The main sources are in East Sussex Record Office (abbreviated hereafter to E.S.R.O.); D187/3/25, miscellaneous working papers of John Ellman as expenditor of the trust and commission of sewers, mainly 17909,; RA/C/l,minutes of the Commission of Sewers for Lewes and Laughton Levels; RA/D/l, minutes of the Newhaven Harbour and Ouse Lower Navigation Trust, 1847-1952.
3. Mr. Smeaton's Report on Lewes Laughton Levels (Lewes, 1768), 3. Sussex Archaeological Trust muniments (abbreviate hereafter to S.A.T.), Misc. Box 21, Abraham Baley's notes. British Library, Add. MS. 5701,f.207.
4. J.H. Farrant, 'The Evolution of Newhaven Harbour and the Lower Ouse before 1800', Sussex Archaeological Collections, cx, (1972), 49-50, 56-9, for this and other 18th century works.
5. Sussex Weekly Advertiser (abbreviated hereafter to S.W.A.) 2 July, 22 Oct. 1787, 24 Aug, 1789, 22 Mar. 1790, S.A.T. Pp 4, Jessop to Pel am, 23 Aug. 1787, Journals of the House of Commons, xlv. (1790), 27,43,186; xlvi (1790-1), 178, E.S.R.O.,
D187/3 25 3,7. 30 Geo.III c.62. 31 Geo. III c.76.
6. S.A.T.,Pp4, Jessop to ?Pelham, 31 Jan. 1791, S.W.A., 21 May, 25 June 1792, 9 Sept. 1793. J.H.Farrant, "Civil Engineering in Sussex around 1800, and the Career of Cater Rand', Sussex Industrial History, no.6 (winter 1973-74),8,E.S.R.O., D187/3/25/14.
7, E.S.R.O., D187/3/25/14.36,40. S.A.T., Pp4, abstract of expenditure to Feb. 1795.
8. E.W.Gilboy, Wages in 18th Century England (Cambridge, Mass.1934),55, for Maidstone wage rates
9, E.S.R.O.,, D187/3/25/36. 40 Geo, IIIc. livo

ROYAL NAVAL AIRSHIP STATION; POLEGATE, SUSSEX.
J. A, Bagley.
The airship station at Polegate was established in July 1915, as the second in a chain of stations from which non-rigid airships of the Royal Navy (usually called "blimps") operated anti-submarine patrols around the British coasts during the first world war. There were two wooden airship sheds, each about 300 ft. long,, about 500 yards south of the windmill; the rest of the camp buildings were alongside the Eastbourne road, just north of the "British Queen" public house
The whole area of the airship station is now covered by housing, but one three- bay metal building survives at about TQ/584034, now occupied by an engineering company This was probably originally built as the station workshops, There is also a wooden hut, probably of the same vintage, in the yard behind the factory. Although I was always reasonably confident that this building was originally part of the airship station, I have now confirmed the fact by finding its twin in the former airship station at East Fortune in East Lothian. Here all the buildings except the airship sheds and the gas plant, have been preserved intact and are used as a geriatric hospital,

 

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