THE area from behind the camera to the Bridge Hotel was known as Riverside.
Excluded from this but on the right-hand side of the road would have been the Blacksmith’s Arms pub. This was rather shallow because of a terrace of cottages in St Luke’s Lane at the rear, rather confining the depth of the pub.
Some distance behind the camera at one time was the up-turned half of a fair sized rowing boat, close to the waters edge. Some covering and a small door were close to the road and this had been the loo for the male customers.
How this was replaced, I know not having never entered the establishment, but maybe the passing Ouse had some influences for, looking straight ahead in this picture, you can see a tall white lamp-post, behind which was the Gents.
In this area had been two black warehouses with second storey levels, one of which housed the local rifle club. The building had an extension over the river to allow for the distance required for the target.
Separating these from the lovely house which was to become the Newhaven Dairy was the strange building, the Universal Stores. J Fernandel was the proprietor and among the wares he could offer you would be blocks, chains, lamps, ropes, oils etc - a cross between a hardware store and a boat chandler’s. At the top centre of the frontage was a large clock and in large words either side was written Tempus – Fugit. I cannot recollect ever entering this strange building but it joined on to what had been a very nice house which changed hands and became Newhaven Dairy. This was at the end of the row. Then came the short road which passed over the bridge, which was made up of brick either end and a small steel railway bridge in the middle. This sufficed until the Ring Road, Northway, and the fine present bridge were built. The final building was the ageless Bridge Hotel with all its clamorous memories.
On the Denton side of the Ouse we had Catts Cottages. Next to them was the Island bridge (the first) followed by Sefton Terrace and Fludes Carpet shop. By now we are heading towards the railway station.
On the approaching you pass Penants Eye, a backwater caused by the hurrying Ouse which should take a sharp right turn to head towards the sea, but the urge to go straight ahead created a backwater towards the station.
The new and first swing bridge was constructed and opened at noon on December 22, 1866. No longer did you need to cross by the old wooden draw bridge at the Bridge Inn. Now you could walk along Bridge Street and on to this new swing bridge which could be turned by eight men, two each pushing on one of the four poles of the capstan near the centre.
The port was flourishing, Sefton Terrace was completed and turned North West to the finish. Toward the railway crossing was Denton Terrace and the Railway Inn. Although narrow, the houses on the terrace were four storeys high and between the far side of the inn and the railway crossing was where the railway branched from the main line to cross the swing bridge and finish at the far end of the breakwater. Quite some achievement.
To overcome the rush of water into Penants Eye and satisfy the need for more docking area, it was decided near the end of that century to make a new cut from the swing bridge, straight north. This allowed the Ouse from Lewes to go straight to the sea, being the main stream, creating Denton Island and creating a much slower flow of water around it.
The new wharf was known as the North Quay and an extended area was dug creating a turning area for shipping. Although well used, for some reason the colliers, bringing the coal to be off loaded at the top of this new wharf and sent by train for the Eastbourne Gas Works, took the large vessels to swing at Sleepers Hole and travel up to their berth backwards. At least the port was being well and truly used.