Thursday, 29 August 2013


Today we moved East along the coast to Eastbourne another seaside town with a pier like Brighton and housing along the seafront. We walked along the shoreline then stopped and ate chips from the Chippy on the Pier in the deck chairs really feeling like the locals soaking up the beautiful day and sunshine.

On the way we stopped to see the Long Man of Wilmington a hill figure located in Wilmington on the steep slopes of Windover Hill, 9.6 kilometres (6 mi) northwest of Eastbourne. It was formerly often known as the Wilmington Giant, or locally as the Green Man. The Long Man is 69.2 metres (227 ft) tall, holds two "staves", and is designed to look in proportion when viewed from below. Formerly thought to originate in the Iron Age or even the neolithic period, more recent archaeological work has shown that the figure may have been cut in the Early Modern era – the 16th or 17th century AD. Until 1873 the figure was reported as a faint indentation in the turf, visible only in low sunlight. In 1873-74 the outline was marked out in bricks. In 1969 these were replaced with pre-cast concrete blocks which still delineate the figure.

The Eastbourne Pier Company was registered in April 1865 with a capital of £15,000 and on 18 April 1866 work began. It was opened by Lord Edward Cavendish on 13 June 1870, although it was not actually completed until two years later. On New Year's Day 1877 the landward half was swept away in a storm. It was rebuilt at a higher level, creating a drop towards the end of the pier. The pier is effectively built on stilts that rest in cups on the sea-bed allowing the whole structure to move during rough weather. It is roughly 300 metres (1000 ft) long. A domed 400-seater pavilion was constructed at a cost of £250 at the seaward end in 1888. A 1000-seater theatre, bar, camera obscura and office suite replaced this in 1899/1901. At the same time, two saloons were built midway along the pier. The camera obscura fell into disuse in the 1960s but was restored in 2003 with a new stairway built to provide access.
Eastbourne Pier

Camera Obscurer

The current bandstand was built in 1935, with its unique semi-circular design and blue domed roof; there is no other in the United Kingdom. It has a main arena, middle and upper balconies for seating and originally seated 3,500 but with current health and safety laws this has been reduced to 1,600. The building of the bandstand formed part of the main seafront improvements, the bandstand itself cost £28,000 and was surmounted with a stainless steel spire. The project engineer was Leslie Rosevere. The first concerts were given on the 28 July 1935 with a total of 10,400 attending all three concerts and paying 3d each. With an audience of 8,000, the bandstand was officially opened on the 5 August 1935 by the Lord Lieutenant of the county, Lord Leconfield. The bandstand to this day plays an important part in the musical entertainment on the south coast offering around 150 concerts per year.

In 1793, following a survey of coastal defences in the southeast, approval was given for the positioning of infantry and artillery to defend the bay between Beachy Head and Hastings from attack by the French. 14 Martello Towers were constructed along the western shore of Pevensey Bay, continuing as far as Tower 73, the Wish Tower at Eastbourne. Several of these towers survive: the Wish Tower is an important feature of the town's seafront. 

Wish Tower

Apparently originally built by the Duke of Devonshire as a private bar for the staff of the Grand Hotel

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