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Eastbourne ( ) is a large town and borough of East Sussexmarker, on the south coast of England, with an estimated population of 97,992 as of 2009. The area has seen human activity since the stone age and it remained one of small settlements until the 19th century when its four hamlets gradually merged to form a town. Assisted by the arrival of the railway, Eastbourne became a prime Victorian seaside resort and still is today.

Eastbourne is situated at the eastern end of the South Downsmarker alongside the famous Beachy Headmarker cliff. The sheltered position of the main town behind the cliff contributes to Eastbourne's title of sunniest place in Great Britain.

Although Eastbourne has some industrial trading estates, it is essentially a seaside resort and derives its main income from tourism. Its facilities include four theatres, numerous parks, a bandstand and museums. The focus of the tourism trade is the four miles (6 km) of shingle beach, lined with a seafront of hotels and guest houses.

History

The area around Eastbourne is known to have been settled throughout history. Flint mines and other Stone Age artefacts have been found in the surrounding countryside, and there are Roman sites within the modern boundaries of the town. In 1717, a Roman bath and section of pavement were discovered between the present pier and the redoubt fortress in the hamlet then known as Sea Houses, while in 1841, the remains of a Roman villa were found near the entrance to the pier and lie buried near the present Queens Hotel. An Anglo-Saxon charter, circa 963 AD, describes a landing stage and stream at Bourne. Following the Norman Conquest, the Hundred of what is now Eastbourne, was held by Robert, Count of Mortain, William the Conqueror's half brother. The Domesday Book lists 28 ploughlands, a church, a watermill, fisheries and salt pans.
St Mary's Church (12th century), Old Town, Eastbourne
charter for a weekly market was granted to Bartholomew de Badlesmere in 1315–16; this increased his status as Lord of the Manor and improved local industry. During the Middle Ages the town was visited by King Henry I and in 1324 by Edward II. Evidence of Eastbourne's medieval past can seen in the fourteenth century Church of St Mary's and the manor house called Bourne Place. In the mid-sixteenth century the house was home to the Burton family, who acquired much of the land on which the present town stands. This manor house is owned by the Dukes of Devonshire and was extensively remodelled in the early Georgian era when it was renamed Compton Place. It is one of the three Grade I listed buildings in the town.

Eastbourne's earliest claim as a seaside resort came about following a summer holiday visit by four of King George III's children in 1780 (Princes Edward and Octavius, and Princesses Elizabeth and Sophia).
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, and part of Tower 68 forms the basement of a house on St. Antony's Hill. Between 1805 and 1807, the construction took place of a fortress known as the Eastbourne Redoubtmarker, which was built as a barracks and storage depot, and armed with 10 cannons.

The Bourne stream running through Motcombe Gardens
remained an area of small rural settlements until the 19th century. Four villages or hamlets occupied the site of the modern town: Bourne (or, to distinguish it from others of the same name, East Bourne), is now known as Old Town, and this surrounded the bourne (stream) which rises in the present Motcombe Park; Meads, where the Downs meet the coast; South Bourne (near the town hall); and the fishing settlement known simply as Sea Houses, which was situated to the east of the present pier.

By the mid–19th century most of the area had fallen into the hands of two landowners: John Davies Gilbert (the Davies-Gilbert family still own much of the land in Eastbourne and East Deanmarker) and William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington. The Gilbert family's holdings date to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries when barrister Nicholas Gilbert married an Eversfield and Gildredge heiress. (The Gildredges owned much of Eastbourne by 1554. The Gilberts eventually made the Gildredge Manor House their own. Today the Gildredge name lives on in the eponymous park.)

In 1752, a dissertation by Doctor Richard Russell extolled the medicinal benefits of the seaside. His views were of considerable benefit to the south coast and, in due course, Eastbourne became known as “the Empress of Watering Places".

An early plan, for a town named Burlington, was abandoned, but on 14 May 1849 the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway arrived to scenes of great jubilation. With the arrival of the railway, the town's growth accelerated. Cavendish, now the 7th Duke of Devonshire, hired Henry Currey in 1859 to lay out a plan for what was essentially an entire new town — a resort built "for gentlemen by gentlemen". The town grew rapidly from a population of less than 4,000 in 1851 to nearly 35,000 by 1891. In 1883, it was incorporated as a municipal borough; a purpose-built town hall was opened in 1886.
Chalet 2 with commemorative plaque
This period of growth and elegant development continued for several decades. A royal visit byGeorge V and Queen Mary in March 1935 is commemorated by a plaque on chalet number 2 at Holywell.

World War II saw a change in fortunes. Initially, children were evacuated to Eastbourne on the assumption that they would be safe from German bombs, but soon they had to be evacuated again because after the fall of France in June 1940 it was anticipated that the town would lie in an invasion zone. Part of Operation Sealion, the German invasion plan, envisaged landings at Eastbourne. Many people sought safety away from the coast and shut up their houses. Restrictions on visitors forced the closure of most hotels, and private boarding schools moved away. Many of these empty buildings were later taken over by the services. The Royal Navy set up an underwater weapons school, and the Royal Air Force operated radar stations at Beachy Headmarker and on the marshes near Pevenseymarker. Thousands of Canadian soldiers were billeted in and around Eastbourne from July 1941 to the run-up to D-Day. The town suffered badly during the war, with many Victorian and Edwardian buildings damaged or destroyed by air raids. Indeed, by the end of the conflict it was designated by the Home Office to have been ‘the most raided town in the South East region’. The situation was especially bad between May 1942 and June 1943 with hit–and–run raids from fighter–bombers based in northern France.
In the summer of 1956 the town came to national and worldwide attention, when Dr John Bodkin Adams, a general practitioner serving the town's wealthier patients, was arrested for the murder of an elderly widow. Rumours had been circulating since 1935 regarding the frequency of his being named in patients' wills (132 times between 1946 and 1956) and the gifts he was given (including two Rolls Royce). Figures of up to 400 murders were reported in British and foreign newspapers, but after a controversial trial at the Old Baileymarker which gripped the nation for 17 days in March 1957, Adams was found not guilty. He was struck off for 4 years but resumed his practice in Eastbourne in 1961. According to Scotland Yardmarker's archives, he is thought to have killed up to 163 patients in the Eastbourne area.
The controversial South Cliff Tower (1965)
After the war, development continued, including the growth of Old Town up the hillside (Green Street Farm Estate) and the housing estates of Hampden Parkmarker, Willingdon Trees and Langneymarker. During the latter half of the 20th century, there were controversies over the loss of historic landmarks and natural features, and over particular buildings. These factors, later exacerbated in 1965 by the construction on the seafront of the 19–storey South Cliff Tower, followed by the glass-plated TGWU headquarters, caused a storm of protest which resulted in the founding in 1961 of what has since become The Eastbourne Society. In 1981, a large section of the town centre was replaced by the indoor shops of the Arndale Centre. Most of the expansion took place on the northern and eastern margins of the town, gradually swallowing surrounding villages. However, the richer western part was constrained by the Downs and has remained largely unchanged.
The Eastbourne Centre - formerly called the T&G Centre, Eastbourne
In the 1990s, both growth and controversy accelerated rapidly as a new plan was launched to develop the area known as the Crumbles, a shingle bank on the coast to the east of the town centre. This area, now known as Sovereign Harbourmarker, containing a marina, shops, and several thousand houses, along with luxury flats and apartments, was formerly home to many rare plants. Continued growth in other parts of the town, and the taming of the central marshland into farmland and nature reserves, has turned Eastbourne into the centre of a conurbation, with the appearance from above of a hollow ring. Currently under review is the demolition of some of the town centre, to extend the existing Arndale shopping centre, and the adaptation of several existing roads to form an inner ring road. In 2009 the new Towner Arts centre was opened abutting the listed Congress Theatre built in 1963.

Geography

The South Downsmarker dominate Eastbourne and can be seen from most of the town. These were originally chalk deposits laid down under the sea during the Upper Cretaceous period, and were later lifted by the same tectonic plate movements that formed the European Alps, during the middle Tertiary period. The chalk can be clearly seen along the eroded coastline to the West of the town, in the area known as Beachy Headmarker and the Seven Sistersmarker, where continuous erosion keeps the cliff edge vertical and white. The chalk contains many fossils such as ammonites and nautilus.

A part of the South Downs, Willingdon Downmarker is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. This is of archaeological interest due to a Neolithic camp and burial grounds. The area is also a nationally uncommon tract of chalk grassland rich in species. Another SSSI which partially falls with the Eastbourne district is Seaford to Beachy Headmarker. This site, of biological and geological interest, covers the coastline between Eastbourne and Seaford, plus the Seven Sisters country park and the Cuckmere valley.

The town of Eastbourne is built on geologically recent alluvial drift, the result of the silting up of a bay. This changes to Wealdmarker clay around the Langneymarker estate.

Eastbourne holds the record for the highest recorded amount of sunshine in a month, 383.9 hours in July 1911, and promotes itself as "The Sunshine Coast". Other resorts, such as Jerseymarker, Bournemouthmarker and Weymouthmarker lay claim to being the sunniest place in Britain too, using different criteria of "sunniest place".

Several nature trails lead to areas such as the nearby villages of East Deanmarker and Birling Gapmarker, and landmarks like the Seven Sisters, Belle Tout lighthousemarker and Beachy Head.

Areas and suburbs

Grove Road, part of the Little Chelsea area of Eastbourne
St Saviour's Church (1865) in the centre of Eastbourne
Within Eastbourne's limits are:
  • Langneymarker: Langney Rise, Shinewater, Kingsmere, Langney Village, The Marina, Langney Point.
  • Hampden Parkmarker: Hampden Park Village, Willingdon Trees, Winkney Farm, Ratton.
  • Inner areas: Rodmill, Ocklynge, Seaside, Bridgemere, Downside.
  • Town centre: Town centre, Little Chelsea, Meadsmarker, Holywell, Old Town, Upperton.
  • Sovereign Harbourmarker: North Harbour, South Harbour.


The seafront at Eastbourne is distinctive in having few shop fronts opening onto it, the road being almost entirely populated by Victorian hotels. This is because much of Eastbourne has traditionally belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, who retains the rights to these buildings and does not allow them to be developed into shops. Along with its pier and bandstand, this serves to preserve the front in a somewhat timeless manner.

The Sovereign Harbour district is a marina/harbour development which was given the go ahead in 1988. An Act of Parliament had to be in force to allow breaking through of the foreshore owned by the crown. A whole new village was formed at the edge of the main town, comprising restaurants, shops and housing.

There was a community known as Norway, Eastbourne in the triangle now bounded by Wartling Road, Seaside and Lottbridge Drove. The name being a corruption of North Way, as this was the route to the North. The area is now a housing estate and the only evidence there was a Norway are a Norway Road and the local church whose sign reads "St Andrew's Church, Norway".
The former fishing hamlet of Holywell (local pronunciation ‘holly well’) was situated by the cliff on a ledge some 400 metres to the southwest of the public garden known as the Holywell Retreat. It was approached from what is now Holywell Road via the lane between the present Helen Gardens and St Bede’s School which leads to the chalk pinnacle formerly known locally as ‘Gibraltar’ or 'The Sugar Loaf'. The ground around the pinnacle was the site of lime kilns also worked by the fishermen. The fishing hamlet at Holywell was taken over by the local water board in 1896 to exploit the springs in the cliffs. The water board's successors still own the site, and there is a pumping station but little evidence of the hamlet itself, as by now even most of the foundations of the cottages have gone over the cliff.

Eastbourne's greater area comprises the town of Polegatemarker, and the civil parishes of Willingdon and Jevingtonmarker, Stone Crossmarker, Pevenseymarker, Westhammarker, and Pevensey Bay village. All are part of the Wealdenmarker District.

Beachy Head

Beachy Head and lighthouse


Beachy Headmarker cliff, to the west of the town, is an infamous suicide spot. Statistics are not officially published to reduce suicidal mimicry, but unofficial statistics show it to be the third most common suicide spot.

The lighthouse at the foot of the cliff came into operation in October 1902. Although originally manned by two keepers, it has been remotely monitored by Trinity Housemarker via a landline since June 1983. Prior to its construction, shipping had been warned by the Belle Tout lighthousemarker on the cliff top some 1,500 metres to the west. Belle Tout lighthouse was operational from 1834 to 1902, and closed because its light was not visible in mist and low cloud. It became a private residence, but was severely damaged in World War II by Canadian artillery. In 1956, it was rebuilt as a house and remains a dwelling to this day. In March 1999, the structure was moved back from the cliff edge to save it from plunging into the sea.

Transport

Road

Eastbourne is connected to Londonmarker by the A22 roadmarker, traffic for Brighton and Hovemarker and Hastingsmarker uses the nearby A27 road.

The most common form of transport throughout the town is the car, exacerbated by the number of tourists and commuters travelling in and out. Of the total daily commute, 62.4% travel by car, 13.5% by foot and 6% of the journeys are taken by bus. As part of the Council transport plan measures are being taken to reduce the amount of car usage, which has had positive results in Eastbourne, when compared to the rest of the county.

Bus

Services are operated by Eastbourne Buses offering journeys to most parts of the town. Following complaints about the poor service provided by independent operators, the County Borough of Eastbourne in 1903 became the first local authority in the world authorised to run motor buses. This long history has been a source of pride for the operator, Eastbourne Buses, which was a company part-owned by the Borough Council. However, majority public ownership ceased in November 2008 when the company was sold to Stagecoach, who were announced as the preferred bidder over Go-Ahead, the owners of Brighton & Hove buses. As well as local journeys within the town, the company also runs routes to Polegatemarker, Hailshammarker, Tunbridge Wellsmarker, Uckfieldmarker and East Grinsteadmarker at various frequencies.

The other main company to operate in Eastbourne is Cavendish Motor Services. From 2006, they were Eastbourne Buses main rivals but in January 2009 they were taken over by Stagecoach Group. Both companies now accept each others tickets, and since March 2009 are operating services on a new combined network as Stagecoach in Eastbourne.

Most bus services to other destinations are run by two different companies, both parts of major transport groups. Buses to Brighton via Seaford and Newhavenmarker are run by Brighton & Hove buses, while the two routes to Hastingsmarker via Bexhillmarker are run by Stagecoach South East from Hastings. Limited numbers of additional buses are run by the Cuckmere Community Bus service, and a regular National Express coach service operates daily from London's Victoria Coach Station.

Rail

The main railway stationmarker is situated in the town centre and is served by the East Coastway Line. The present station (the town's third), design by F.D. Bannister, dates from 1886. It was originally on what was termed the Eastbourne Branch from Polegatemarker. There was a rarely-used triangular junction between Polegate and the now-closed Stone Cross which allowed trains to bypass the Branch; the track has now been lifted. Also on the erstwhile Branch is Hampden Park railway stationmarker to the north of the town.

Regular services along the coast have invariably served Eastbourne. All trains, because of the layout, have to pass through Hampden Park once in each direction. This has the effect of making the Hampden Park level crossing very busy.

Regular services are to London Victoria, Gatwick Airport, Hastingsmarker and Ashford Internationalmarker and a commuter service to Brighton. Trains leave from London Victoria to Eastbourne with a journey time of 1hr 36mins.

Tram

A miniature tramway once ran a mile across "the Crumbles" (then undeveloped) from near Princes Park / Wartling Road towards Langney Point. It opened in 1954 but ceased operation in 1970, relocating to Seatonmarker in Devon after the owners had fallen out with the council; it is now the Seaton Tramwaymarker.

Economy

Tourism

Eastbourne is a seaside town, consequently tourism provides an important source of income and employment. The town is normally a short break resort, although hotels can be full during special events such as the International Women's Openmarker tennis. A 1998 study calculated an annual figure of £48 million of income creation and just over 4000 jobs were directly attributable to tourists. A further £18 million is generated by business conference visitors and foreign language students.

Eastbourne Council has developed a seafront strategy in order to boost the tourism economy. Already underway are grants provided for general improvements to accommodation. The regeneration of Seaside, the road running parallel to the coastline, is now complete. The new A22 and Polegate bypass provide a speedier link into the main town. The seafront strategy further outlines priorities for the future, improvements to online bookings and more conference hosting promotion. The International Children's Conference is scheduled to be held in 2010. National marketing campaigns, some based on Eastbourne as a gateway to the South Downs National Parkmarker, are in progress.

Industry

There are several large industrial estates on the outskirts of the town, particularly in the Hampden Park area; these include tyre making, wholesale, manufacturing, and catering businesses.

Harbour

The Sovereign Harbour development is a recent source of revenue for the town with an influx of visitors arriving via the harbour. The locks have recorded rates of up to 315 boats per hour.

Culture

Blue Plaques and other notable residents

In 1993, following a suggestion to Eastbourne Borough Council by Eastbourne Civic Society (now Eastbourne Society), a joint project was set up to erect blue plaques on buildings associated with famous people.The principles for selection were broadly those already established by English Heritage for such plaques in London. The first was erected in November 1994 in Milnthorpe Road at the former home of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer. The project is on-going, but now solely in the hands of the Eastbourne Society. Thus far, the following plaques under the above scheme are in position.

List of Eastbourne Society Blue Plaques
Name Dates Profession Plaque Location
Mabel Lucie Attwell 1879–1964 Artist Ocklynge Manor, 11 Mill Road
Lewis Carroll 1832–1898 Writer 7 Lushington Road
Cyril Connolly 1903–1974 Journalist, critic and author 48 St John’s Road
Charles Dickens 1812–1870 Writer Pilgrims, 4–6 Borough Lane
Jeffery Farnol 1878–1952 Writer 14 Denton Road
Eric Ravilious 1903–1942 Artist 11 Glynde Avenue
Sir Ernest Shackleton 1874–1922 Antarctic Explorer 14 Milnthorpe Road


The artist and illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell is listed under her married name of Mrs H Earnshaw at Ocklynge Manor in Kelly's Directories of Eastbourne for 1935 and 1936. Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, spent the first of 19 summer holidays in Eastbourne in 1877, initially in Lushington Road. Cyril Connolly’s plaque in St John’s Road commemorates the residence of this man of letters during the last nine years of his life. The plaque in honour of Charles Dickens records the author’s visits during the 1830s, when he stayed as a guest of the Victorian artist Augustus Egg, RA, who rented the house in Borough Lane. The author Jeffrey Farnol died at his home in Denton Road in 1952. Eric Ravilious was the town’s most famous painter, book illustrator and engraver. While serving as a war artist, he failed to return from an air-sea rescue mission off Icelandmarker in 1942. The plaque in Glynde Avenue is at his childhood home. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s blue plaque in Milnthorpe Road was the first to be erected in the town. The polar explorer lived there from 1916 to 1922.

List of Eastbourne Society Blue Plaques (cont)
Name Dates Profession Plaque Location
Pupils of St Cyprian's Schoolmarker
Sir Cecil Beaton 1904–1980 Photographer and designer 65 Summerdown Road
Cyril Connolly 1903–1974 Writer and Journalist
Henry C Longhurst 1909–1978 Journalist and MP
Gavin Maxwell 1914–1969 Naturalist
George Orwell (Eric Blair) 1903–1950 Writer
St Cyprian's Schoolmarker (1899–1939) in Summerdown Road was the preparatory school attended by a number of pupils in addition to those listed who enjoyed success in later life.

In addition to the plaques which form part of the above scheme, the following plaques and memorials have been erected privately.
List of Private Plaques
Name Dates Profession Plaque Location
Charlie Chester 1914–1997 Comedian, poet and artist Inside Royal Hippodrome
Tommy Cooper 1921–1984 Comedian and magician 7 Motcombe Lane
Nelson Victor Carter 1887–1916 Holder of the Victoria Cross 33 Greys Road
Professor Thomas Huxley 1825–1895 Biologist Hodesley, 10 Staveley Road
Professor Frederick Soddy 1877–1956 Physicist and radiochemist Eastbourne College, Blackwater Road
6 Bolton Road
The radio star Charlie Chester was born Cecil Victor Manser, the son of a local cinema sign-painter who is listed in the 1914 Eastbourne Blue Book at 5 Tideswell Road. An iron silhouette of Tommy Cooper, complete with the comedian’s characteristic fez and wand, can be seen at what was his weekend cottage in Motcombe Lane. Nelson Victor Carter, born in Eastbourne in 1887, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross while serving with the Royal Sussex Regiment on the Western Front in 1916. His medal is on display at the Eastbourne Redoubtmarker. The house in Greys Road where he lived with his wife bears a plaque in his honour.The biologist Professor Thomas Huxley took up residence in Staveley Road in 1890. Frederick Soddy, the eminent radio chemist and Nobel prizewinner, was born at 6 Bolton Road and educated at Eastbourne College. His larger plaque can be seen on School House in Blackwater Road. A bronze plaque bearing the inscription “In 1867 this building was the first home of Eastbourne College” can be seen at Spencer Court (formerly Ellesmere Villas), 1 Spencer Road. It was erected by the Arnold Embellishers—a charitable society associated with Eastbourne Collegemarker—to mark the 140th anniversary of the founding of the school.

Following the loss of the RMS Titanicmarker, an appeal was launched in 1912 for a plaque in honour of James Wesley Woodward, a former cellist with the Eastbourne Municipal Orchestra, who lost his life when the liner sank on her maiden voyage. In 1913, after much disagreement over a location, the marble and bronze plaque was finally placed on Grand Parade opposite the Eastbourne Bandstandmarker. It can still be seen at the lower level, opposite the rostrum of the present bandstand.

A blue plaque commissioned by the staff of the former St Mary’s Hospital, 1794–1990, was erected in Letheran Place in 2003. It commemorates the soldiers, inmates, patients and staff who lived and worked on the site.Other notable residents include Charles Webb writer of The Graduate, who moved to Eastbourne with his wife in 2006, where they are housed by social services. The pianist Russ Conway lived in Eastbourne for many years as did Henry Allingham, briefly the world's oldest man when he died in 2009 aged 113. Percy Sillitoe, director of MI5marker, also lived in the town in the 1950s.

Media

The seafront and the iconic cliff at Beachy Head has been used for many scenes in feature films. The 2006 Academy Award-nominated film Notes on a Scandal includes scenes filmed at Beachy Head, Cavendish Hotel and 117 Royal Parade. One of the Harry Potter films also filmed scenes at Beachy Head. Scenes from Half a Sixpence (1969) were filmed on the pier and near to the bandstand. The seafront area was also used for the film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging directed by Gurinder Chadha.

Eastbourne has two cinemas—the Curzon Cinema and Cineworld. The Curzon Cinema is a small, family-run, independent cinema in Langney Road, in the town centre. Cineworld is a large multiplex cinema with six screens, located in The Crumbles Retail Park, near Sovereign Harbour.

Television too has used Eastbourne as a backdrop. The series Little Britain had the character Emily Howard strolling along the promenade. Other brief appearances were made in the television series Agatha Christie's Marple, French & Saunders and Foyle's War. One scene in Bang Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer, was shot in and based around what is now known as "D2L" on Seaside Road. An ITV Christmas drama premiere entitled Christmas at the Riviera was also set in and around Eastbourne. BBC South East Today and ITV Meridian are the two regional news channels.

Local radio station Sovereign Radio broadcasts to Eastbourne from nearby Hailsham. There are two other regional radio stations, Southern FM which broadcasts across Sussex from Portslademarker and BBC Sussex which broadcasts from Brightonmarker. There is also a BBC shop in Eastbourne, situated on Terminus Road. Capital Radio afternoon presenter Chris Brooks started his career on Eastbourne Hospital Radio.

Parks

Gildredge Park children's playground and cafe
Upperton Gardens
The Western Lawns
Eastbourne has numerous parks and gardens, although there are several smaller open spaces including Upperton Gardens, the famous Carpet Gardens and the Western Lawns.

The first public park in Eastbourne was Hampden Park, originally owned by Lord Willingdon and opened on 12 August 1902. Facilities include: football pitches, rugby club, indoor bowls, a large lake (formerly a Decoy pond), lakeside cafe, children's recreation area, tennis courts, BMX and skate facility and woodland.

The largest and newest park is Shinewater Park, located on the west side of Langney and opened in 2002. There is a narrow gauge railway, large fishing lake, basketball, football pitches, a BMX and skate park and children's playground.

Helen Gardens - laid out in 1933
Park and Manor Gardens: A large open park located between the town centre and Old Town, Gildredge Park is very popular with families and has a children's playground, cafe, tennis courts and bowls lawns. The smaller, adjoining, Manor Gardens combines both lawns and shady areas as well as a rose garden.
2005, Manor Gardens was the home of the Towner Gallerymarker. This gallery incorporated a permanent exhibition of local art and historical items, plus temporary art exhibitions of regional and national significance. It was relocated to a new, £8.6 million purpose-built facility adjacent to the Congress Theatre, Devonshire Park which opened on 4 April 2009.

Princes Park obtained its name during a visit by the Duke of Windsor as Prince of Wales in 1931. Located at the eastern end of the seafront, it has a children's playground with paddling pool, cafe, bowls and a large lake, noted for its swans. A nearby water–sports centre also has kayak and windsurfing training upon it. Close by are tennis and basketball courts and a football pitch. At the north of the park is Eastbourne United F.C.

Devonshire Park, home to the pre–Wimbledon ladies tennis championships, is located just off the seafront in the towns cultural district.
Italian Gardens - landscaped in 1922
Other parks include: Helen Gardens and the Italian Gardens at the western end of the seafront, Sovereign Park between the main seafront and the marina and Motcombe Gardens in Old Town.

Theatre

Eastbourne has four council-owned theatres; the Grade II* listed Congress Theatremarker, the Grade II listed Devonshire Park Theatremarker, the Grade II listed Winter Garden and the Grade II listed Royal Hippodrome Theatremarker. The Devonshire Park Theatre is a fine example of a Victorian theatre with ornate interior decorations. The Royal Hippodrome has the longest running summer show in Britain.Eastbourne has another theatre, the Underground Theatre, which is run entirely by volunteers. In 2009 the town gained a new theatre, The Lamb Theatre, based at the Lamb Inn in the Old Town. The theatre was launched by a performance from actors Louise Jameson and Colin Baker.

Music

Eastbourne is home to some modern bands such as Toploader, Easyworld, Rooster and The Mobiles. The classical composer Claude Debussy and his young lover Emma Bardac, the wife of a Parisian banker, resided in Eastbourne in 1904 after fleeing France to avoid scandal. Whilst in Eastbourne he completed the Orchestral piece La Mer. The London Philharmonic Orchestra makes regular appearances and has an annual season at the Congress Theatre.

Eastbourne Bandstand (1935)
Eastbourne Bandstandmarker lies between the Wish Tower and the pier. It stages the 1812 Firework Concerts, Rock N Roll nights, Big Band concerts, Promenade concerts and Tribute Nights with tributes to artists such as ABBA, Elvis Presley and Queen.There was once a second similar bandstand (also built in 1935) in the "music gardens" near the redoubt fortress. The bandstand was removed to make way for the Pavilion Tearooms but the colonnades built around it are still there (behind the tea rooms). Before 1935 each of these sites had a smaller "birdcage" bandstand; the one in the music gardens having been moved from a rather precarious position opposite the Albion Hotel. The "kiosk" in the music gardens was originally one of the toll kiosks at the entrance to the pier.

Recreation

As a seaside resort, the natural focus of leisure activity is the of shingle beach which stretches from the harbourmarker in the east to Beachy Headmarker in the west. In a 1998 survey 56% of visitors said that the beach and seafront was one of Eastbourne best features, although 10% listed the pebbled beach as a dislike. The majority of the seafront consists of hotels, from petite guest houses to grand buildings.

Located halfway along the beach lies Eastbourne Pier, opened in 1870. In 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 seabed allowing the whole structure to move during rough weather.

Other recreation facilities include two swimming pools, three fitness centres and other smaller sports clubs. A children's adventure park is sited along the seafront. There are various other establishments scattered around the town such as crazy golf, go–karting and Laser Quest.

Sport

Devonshire Park - opened 1874
Centre of the town from The Saffrons cricket ground
Eastbourne's Devonshire Park is the venue for the International Women's Openmarker, a Women's tennis tournament traditionally seen as the warm-up to Wimbledonmarker. The tournament has been held in the town since 1975, and although in 2007 the Lawn Tennis Association was considering relocating it to London, they instead opted to merge it with the Nottingham Open, a men's event normally held at the same time, starting with the 2009 tournament.

On a national level, Eastbourne is home to three senior football clubs all bearing the town's name. Eastbourne Borough F.C. play in the Blue Square Premier, having been promoted from the Blue Square South at the end of the 2007–08 season, Eastbourne Town F.C. won promotion in 2006–07 to Ryman League Division One South while Eastbourne United F.C. play in Sussex County League Division 1. The Eastbourne Eagles are a speedway club located at Arlington Stadium, just outside the town. They compete in the Speedway Elite League, the highest level of speedway in England. The sport was staged prior to the war and included occasional team matches. The Eagles featured in the original National League Division Three in 1947 but the team transferred to Hastings in 1948. The track staged meetings over the years at the lower level but failed to gain entry to the Provincial League in the early 1960s. The track became involved in League speedway again in the 1970s and has operated continuously since. The Stadium also sees stock-car racing on Wednesday evenings in the summer months.

Eastbourne is represented at a local level in many other sports including cricket, hockey, rugby, lacrosse and golf. There is an annual extreme sports festival held at the eastern end of the seafront.

In addition to the town's own sporting teams, Eastbourne plays host to the University of Brighton's sports teams including the successful Women's Football Team who in the 2006–07 season were second only to Loughborough Universitymarker Women's Football Team in the British Universities Sports Association (B.U.S.A.) championships, and then went on to represent the UK in the European University Sports Association championships.

There was once a small race-course at Bullock Down near Beachy Head.

Tourism

The Carpet Gardens
In 2009, Eastbourne will gain a new cultural centre, replacing the Manor House (which has now been sold) as home of the Towner Art Gallery; it is located in the cultural district next to the Congress Theatre and Devonshire Park. One feature that has always been heavily promoted is Eastbourne's floral displays, most notably the Carpet Gardens along the coastal road near the pier. These displays, and the town as a whole, frequently win awards — such as the 'Coastal Resort B' category in the 2003 Britain in Bloom competition.The pier is an obvious place to visit and is sometimes used to hold events, such as the international birdman competition held annually, although cancelled in 2005 due to lack of competitors. An annual raft competition takes place where competitors, usually local businesses, circumnavigate the pier in a raft made by themselves, while being attacked by a water-cannon.

A major event in the tourist calendar of Eastbourne is the annually held 4 day, international air show, 'Airbournemarker'. Started in 1993, based around a long relationship with the Red Arrowsmarker display team, the event features Battle of Britain memorial flights and aircraft from the RAF, USAF and many others.

The famous Chinese State Circus performs once a year in Princes Park.

Eastbourne Redoubtmarker on Royal Parade is one of three examples of a type of fortress built to withstand potential invasion from Napoleon's forces in the early nineteenth century. It houses collections from The Royal Sussex Regiment, The Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, and the Sussex Combined Services Collection; including four Victoria Crosses and General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim's Steyr Automobile 1500A Afrika Korps Staff Car. Another museum is How We Lived Then, a museum of shops and local history, with exhibits representing complete scenarios such as shops and houses with life sized dummies. The museum contains more than 100,000 exhibits, covering the period from the 1800s to World War II.

Eastbourne can claim some notable regular visitors. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were often in the area; the latter's ashes were scattered from Beachy Head at his request.

Governance

Eastbourne Town Hall (1884)
The political allegiance in Eastbourne swings between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the balance of power changing frequently. As of 2007, the Conservatives have the majority vote at national and county levels, but the May 2007 local elections gave the Liberal Democrats a large majority in the Borough Council.

At local level, the town is served by Eastbourne Borough Council. The district is divided into nine wards; Devonshire, Hampden Parkmarker, Langneymarker, Meadsmarker, Old Town, Ratton, St Anthony's, Sovereign and Upperton. Each ward returns three councillors, giving a total of twenty-seven representatives. A Mayor is chosen traditionally from the ruling party but adopting a non-political and ceremonial role. Up to May 2006, elections were held yearly, with one seat per ward coming up for election. From May 2007, this was replaced by an election every four years, with all three seats per ward being contested.

The 2007 election had a turnout of 42.26%, resulting in a council made up of 20 Liberal Democrat and 7 Conservative councillors. The Mayor of Eastbourne is Councillor Greg Szanto and the Leader of the Council is Councillor David Tutt.

The next level of government is the East Sussexmarker County Council with responsibility for Education, Libraries, Social Services, Civil Registration, Trading Standards and Transport. Elections for the County Council are held every four years. Out of the 49 seats, nine are filled by the Eastbourne wards. These wards are the same as the Borough wards, with one councillor elected per ward.

The 2005 East Sussex County Council election resulted in 29 Conservatives, 15 Liberal Democrats, 5 Labour and 1 Independent, of which Eastbourne provided 5 Liberal Democrats and 4 Conservatives. The turnout was 64%. Some Borough Councillors are also elected as County Councillors.

The Parliament Constituency of Eastbournemarker covers a greater area than the nine local wards, extending to the north and the east, including additional areas such as Willingdon, Wannock, East Dean and Friston. Since 1992, Eastbourne's Member of Parliament has been the Conservative Nigel Waterson. In the 2005 election, despite a swing of 1.2% to the Liberal Democrats, Nigel Waterson held on to his seat with 43.5% of the vote, a 2.3% majority with a 64.8% turnout. Eastbourne has never been represented by a woman. A previous MP for Eastbourne was Ian Gow, who was murdered by the Provisional Irish Republican Army using a bomb planted under his car seat while at his home in Sussex.

At European level, Eastbourne is represented by the South-East region, which holds ten seats in the European Parliamentmarker. The June 2004 election returned 4 Conservatives, 2 Liberal Democrats, 2 UK Independence, 1 Labour and 1 Green, none of whom live in East Sussex.

Demographics

The population of Eastbourne is growing, and is expected to continue this growth. This is demonstrated by comparing the 2007 estimated population of 94,816 with the 2001 census population of 89,667.

For many people, Eastbourne is most readily associated with the elderly, as it has historically been a popular retirement destination, and it is often referred to in age–related jokes. The 2001 census showed that it still has a larger than average over–60 population (just over a quarter of the population are of retirement age as opposed to the UK average of 18.4%).

2006 Ethnicity Estimates



Ethnically, the town is 94.4% white, with small minority groups including Chinese, Thai and Korean; white minority groups include Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Greek (mainly from Cyprus), Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Venezuelan, Polish and Estonian.

Chinese form the single largest minority group and have been in the town for the past 4 decades.Chinese restaurants and takeaways are a common sight.

The second largest minority in Eastbourne are the Greek Cypriots, a significant community of whom can be found around the Susans Road and Seaside Road area, which consequently has many Greek restaurants, kebab houses and a Greek Orthodox church. Many of the town's fish and chip shops are Greek-owned.

Crime rates in Eastbourne (per 1000 population) 2005–2006
Offence Locally Nationally
Robbery 1.27 1.85
Theft of a motor vehicle 2.41 4.04
Theft from a motor vehicle 8.43 9.59
Sexual offences 1.47 1.17
Violence against a person 26.61 19.97
Burglary 4.68 5.67


Education

Independent schools

Moira House Girls' School
Eastbourne’s reputation for health, enhanced by bracing air and sea breezes contributed to the establishment of many independent schools in the 19th century and in 1871, the year which saw the arrival of Queenwood Ladies College, the town was just beginning a period of growth and prosperity. By 1896, Gowland’s Eastbourne Directory listed 76 private schools for boys and girls. However, economic difficulties during the inter-war years saw a gradual decline in the number of independent schools. In 1930, the headmistress of Clovelly-Kepplestonemarker, a well-established boarding school for girls on the seafront, referred to "heavy financial losses experienced by schools in the past few years". In 1930, this school was forced to merge its junior and senior departments; in 1931, one of its buildings was sold off, and in 1934 the school closed altogether. Finally, indicative of the changes that would later befall many of the larger buildings in the town, the school was demolished to make way for a block of flats, which was completed in 1939.The Eastbourne (Blue Book) Directory for 1938 lists 39 independent schools in the town. With the fall of France in June 1940, and the risk of invasion, most left - the majority never to return. By 2007, the number had reduced to just four: St. Andrew's School, Eastbourne Collegemarker, St Bede’s Preparatory Schoolmarker and Moira House Girls' School.

State schools

Eastbourne has six state secondary schools which undergo regular inspections by the official body Ofsted, whose role it is to ‘inspect and regulate care for children and young people, and inspect education and training for learners of all ages’ The schools are Ratton School, The Cavendish School, Eastbourne Technology College, The Bishop Bell C of E School, The Causeway School and Willingdon Community School. Inspectors’ reports on each school can be viewed via the Ofsted website. Further information is available via the websites of the individual schools. Eastbourne has seventeen state primary schools.They are:Stafford Junior School, Ocklynge Primary School, Willingdon Primary School, Hampden Park Infant School, Pashley Down Infant School, Roselands Infant School, Bourne Primary School, Highfield Junior School, Oakwood Community School, St. Thomas a Becket Catholic Infant School, St. Thomas a Becket Catholic Junior School, Tollgate Community School, West Rise Infant School, West Rise Junior School, St. Andrew's C of E Junior School, St. John's Meads C of E Primary School, Motcombe Community School, Shinewater Primary School.

Many of Eastbourne's state schools have twinning arrangements with schools in Germany and France, allowing students to exchange with those from abroad.

University of Brighton

Parts of the University of Brightonmarker are based in the Meads area of the town, and the University also owns playing fields in Willingdon, which are not presently being used.

Language schools

Several language colleges and schools are based in the town. Language students are therefore a common sight on Eastbourne's streets, coming mainly from Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. Most of the language students visit Eastbourne during their summer holidays and stay with host families, who are paid for hosting the students. Language schools are divided into two categories: Accredited and Non-Accredited. The British Council awards accreditation following inspections to ensure high standards of quality. Eight institutions run accredited courses in Eastbourne - seven in the private sector and one in the state sector.

Notable scholars

There have been some notable scholars passing through the Eastbourne education system. Aleister Crowley, occultist and mystic attended Eastbourne College as did Michael Fish, the former BBC weather forecaster. Aleister Crowley later edited a chess column for the Eastbourne Gazette.Polar explorer Lawrence Oates attended South Lynn School in Mill Gap Road. George Mallory, the noted mountaineer, attended Glengorse Preparatory School in Chesterfield Road between 1896–1900. On 8 June 1924, Mallory and his climbing companion Andrew Irvine were last seen moving towards the summit of Mount Everestmarker, and may have been the first climbers ever to reach the top. Mallory’s body was discovered on 1 May 1999 on the north slope of the mountain at an altitude of Count László Almásy de Zsadány et Törökszentmiklós, the basis of the lead character of The English Patient, was educated by a private tutor at Berrow, 17 Carew Road, from 1911 to 1914. He was a member of the pioneering Eastbourne Flying Club.
Douglas Bader
Douglas Bader, who became a successful World War II fighter pilot despite having lost both legs in a flying accident, attended Temple Grove Preparatory School in Compton Place Road.The philosopher A. J. Ayer was a pupil at Ascham St. Vincent's Schoolmarker in Carlisle Road. In addition to Orwell, Connolly, Beaton, Maxwell and Longhurst listed on the St Cyprian's School blue plaque, the writers Alaric Jacob, E. H. W. Meyerstein and Alan Hyman also attended St Cyprian's. The biographer and historian Philip Ziegler was at the school as was the music historian Dyneley Hussey and politician, historian and diarist Alan Clark. Other politicians were Richard Wood who had lost both legs in the war, and David Ormsby-Gore later ambassador to the USA. Artists Cedric Morris and David Kindersley also attended the school as did military figures such as General Sir Lashmer Whistler and Major General Robert Foot VC. Pupils with sporting connections include the amateur jockey Anthony Mildmay and Seymour de Lotbiniere Director of Outside Broadcasts at the BBC. Jagaddipendra Narayan was a reigning Maharaja of Cooch Beharmarker while at the school. Other former pupils whose exceptional lives are worthy of mention are the war-blinded life peer Lord Fraser and the submarine commander Rupert Lonsdale.

Modern celebrities who studied in the town include Prunella Scales and Eddie Izzard.

See also



References

  1. "Gildredge, an ancient house and estate," says Sussex historian Mark Antony Lower, "gave name to a family of considerable antiquity, who subsequently had their chief residence at Eastbourne, and gave their name to the manor of Eastbourne-Gildredge."
  2. Archive of the Davies-Gilbert Family of Eastbourne, East Sussex, East Sussex Record Office, The National Archives, nationalarchives.gov.uk
  3. Hallworth, Rodney and Mark Williams, Where there's a will... The sensational life of Dr John Bodkin Adams, Capstan Press, Jersey, 1983. ISBN 0946797005
  4. Handbook of Stations ... on the Railways of Great Britain and Ireland British Transport Commission (Railway Clearing House) 1956
  5. .English Heritage
  6. Ben Rogers A.J. Ayer: A Life 2002 Grove Press ISBN 0802138691
  7. St Cyprian's Chronicle 1914-1930 (at Eastbourne Reference Library)


External links




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