A bold decision that changed Newhaven

Bailey 2012
Bailey 2012

LAST week I used a photograph of the area north of the Sleepers Hole right up to the houses in today’s picture which occupy the area to the north of last week’s photograph, going off past the Railway Hotel.

Beyond this it is rather confusing as the next feature in the picture is the main building on the far side of the railway crossing – the main building of the railway garage, the front having been shielded by the front of the hotel. Remove that and you will see the signal box and also the opening in the hedge for the line to the end of the breakwater, for there it emerged out into the open.

It must have been a most important decision by the railway company to commit themselves to what was to follow. At that time the River Ouse travelled around the section of land as it does today, but they were going to introduce another course straight down from north to south leaving us with an island, as it is today. This was what I was trying to impress upon you all, just how rare it is and how difficult things were going to be if the project was followed, and if the new cut was made from north to south, making an island.

The constant movement of the water around the island to be must have been substantial, because it has caused the turning of the river to the right to position itself some distance past where it should be, hence my respect for Pennants Eye being the cause of much trouble. It was certainly a very bold party of people who decided to make this move which did so much for Newhaven.

Imagine filling in all that land which has been exposed to the elements for so long and at the same time, no doubt, starting to dig a new canal due north and leaving us with Denton Island.

I suppose all the written material concerning these early days must have come and gone and all we can do is imagine all these strange happenings taking place ending up with what we have today. But it still strikes me as to how much progress there was, it must have been a very exciting time even if no cameras were present.

I would love to have seen some of the antics which must have been tried – some failed but the majority succeeded.

Pic 1: Denton Terrace and Railway Inn on the direct route to Railway Station, before the New Cut when route was diverted via Bridge Street.