Take a stroll around Arundel’s industrial past

This month we continue with the second and final part of a brief guided walk, which we featured last month, tracing Arundel’s trade and industrial history, by Arundel Museum’s guest author, Adge Roberts.

Warehouse on the corner of Arun Street and River Road, c1970, just prior to demolition
Warehouse on the corner of Arun Street and River Road, c1970, just prior to demolition

Commencing at the bottom of Brewery Hill we see the flint building that once housed the offices of the Arun River Board, and opposite stands the flint building that once housed its boat.

Brewery Hill is named after the brewery – at one time known as The Eagle Brewery – that has stood on this site for well over 200 years and occupied much of the ground from here up to Tarrant Street, where some of their property can still be seen fronting that street.

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From this point to the modern A27 relief road bridge, the riverside was almost entirely wharves and warehouses until the early part of the 1900s.

Abel Peirce & Sons Wheelright and Blacksmith businesses flourished between 1874 and 1956

Heading along to the corner of River Road and Arun Street, you will see an apartment block that was built on the site of one of the last warehouses on the river following its destruction in the 1980s.

Continue up Arun Street, turning left along Tarrant Street, and you will notice several houses have windows indicating they once traded as shops.

On the left, at the far end of Tarrant Street, you will find Surrey Wharf, that once had a tannery and a blacksmiths.

Wheelwrights Close was named after the Wheelwright business that existed here, and in the nearby Slipe was the wharf at which the Caen stone, used to build the present castle some 115 years ago, was unloaded.

This was the last known working wharf on the river, in use until the last half of the 20th century.

Head back along Tarrant Street and pause at the King’s Arms, possibly the oldest pub in Arundel.

Up King’s Arms Hill, on the right was the studio used by Ralf Ellis who painted hundreds of pub signs, including those of Henty and Constable’s (Swallow Brewery).

Continue along Tarrant Street to the large arched fronted building on the left, which was Sparks Emporium.

Sparks started as a carpenter and soon became a major trader in the town selling, or storing, just about anything.

As well as making coffins, in c1828 he also operated as an auctioneer.

Opposite Sparks are the offices of the Eagle Brewery, and other associated buildings, leading up to the Eagle pub at the top of Brewery Hill.

Further along on the left, the imposing red brick building was owned by the West Sussex Gazette, whose print shop ran from here, along the backs of the fronting buildings, right through to the High Street.

Just past this, in a recess from the road, in the far lefthand corner, was a candle factory, and to the right of that were two bacon smoke houses belonging to Watkins the Grocers.

Head on to the High Street and look left to see the front of the West Sussex Gazette office, the tall projecting ‘Tudorbethan’-style building built in c1900 to replace the original, which burnt down.

An early printing machine from here can be seen in the town museum.

At the rear of the Norfolk Arms Hotel, across the road, Hares were hiring horse-drawn vehicles, before turning their hand to motor vehicles in c1930

We finish our walk at the building to the right of the Norfolk Arms which was erected for Pain’s Ironmongers c1890, and the business thrived here for more than 100 years until it finally closed down in 1996.

One can still see the anvil on the roof which indicated the type of trade that took place in the building.

• This walk, compiled by the author, is just one of a selection of Arundel Museum’s Original Historic Arundel walks on offer from £3 to £5. Group bookings can also be arranged. For more details contact Arundel Museum on 01903 885866 or email: [email protected]

Forthcoming events at Arundel Museum:

• Monday, March 17, 2pm–5pm. Inaugural meeting of new poetry group, for writers of poetry who wish to expand and share their experience. This first meeting is to do a little writing and to decide a general direction. £4.

• Thursday, March 20, 7.30pm–9pm. Worth Every Scent - a talk on the fragrance industry by Andrew Warren. £3.50. Doors open 7pm. Refreshments available.

• Friday, March 21, 5.30pm–6.30pm. How Magnets Affect Our Lives - from the Hadron Collider to MRI scanners.

• Saturday, April 5, 10.30am–3pm. Talk in the Jubilee Room, Arundel, and The Civil War. Sunday to Friday, April 6-11. Gerry Foronda art exhibition, free.