A barmy plan to save
Seaford from the waves

Rouser 2013
Rouser 2013

Talk about a hare-brained idea. Seaford made history in 1850 by trying to create a breakwater in a split second.

The idea was to try and protect the beach from the encroachment of the sea. The powers that be decided to blow up a sizeable part of the eastern cliffs. It was judged that the fallen chalk would give the protection needed at a minimum cost.

The blasting of the cliff was advertised to take place on September 19 that year.

Great numbers of people from the locality and beyond gathered as near the cliff as they dared. A special train even brought people down from London.

Seven tons of gunpowder were used and the charge was fired by voltaic battery. It was estimated that the explosion brought down more than 200,000 tons of chalk.

Alas, the experiment didn’t work. In fact it made Seaford even more exposed to the sea.

Most of the fallen cliff was within weeks washed away by storms.

Eventually the town had to be protected by the sea wall we have today.

It was built by the grandly-titled Seaford Bay Estate Company in 1881.