Sunday, October 02, 2011

End of the line... - September 26, 2010

We were now at the end of our six week jaunt around southern England and our last campsite was in Horam, East sussex. Our London based daughter and her husband visited with us while we were in the area and, among other things, we all enjoyed dinner at the Star Inn in Waldron on our last evening. 
Although Horam is in an official AONB it has an air of neglect and decay, possibly as a long term effect of not enjoying convenient rail service to London. With around 2,500 inhabitants, its most vigorous institution appears to be the pub and even that looks to hanging by a thread. The local railway connection was closed some time ago and is now the Cuckoo Trail footpath through the village. Stripping out a rail connection may have been a boon for the quiet life half a century ago but rural bedroom communities, clustered around remaining rail lines that have since been electrified, have emerged as major growth drivers. Commercial centers, containing big box retail outlets are drawn to such burgeoning communities, in turn spurring their growth and further impoverishing backwater towns like Horam. See here for more pictures.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Brighton and Rottingdean, East Sussex, England - September 19, 2010

Brighton (and Hove)
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove on the south coast of Great Britain. Although Brighthelmstone was recorded in the Domesday Book by 1086, Brighton really came into its own as a sea-bathing health resort during the 18th century and became a destination for day-trippers from London after the railway arrived in 1841. By 1961, the population had soared in excess of 160,000.
In 1514 Brighthelmstone was torched by French raiders leaving only part of St Nicholas Church standing along with the street layout of the area now known as "The Lanes". By 1780, development of the Georgian terraces had started and the fishing village became the fashionable resort of Brighton.
Growth was further spurred by the Prince Regent - later to become King George IV - who constructed the Royal Pavilion during the early part of his Regency. The population grew from 7,000 in 1801 to around 120,000 by 1901 and the Victorian era witnessed many attractions such as the Grand Hotel in 1864, the West Pier in 1866 and the Palace Pier in 1899. The world's oldest operating electric railway, Volk's Electric Railway created in 1883, runs along the inland edge of the beach
Brighton is among the least religious places in the UK according to the 2001 census in which 27% professed no religion, almost double the national average of 15 per cent. Brighton is also well known for having a substantial LGBT community, estimated at one in three of the population, and is often referred to as "the gay capital of Britain".
"The Lanes" form a retail, leisure and residential area near the seafront, characterized by narrow alleyways following the street pattern of the original fishing village. The Lanes contain predominantly clothing stores, jewellers, antique shops, restaurants and pubs.
Rottingdean is a coastal village east of Brighton and technically within the city of Brighton and Hove. The name is derived from Old English for 'valley of the people associated with Rota'. Rottingdean is in a dry, steep sided valley that runs down to the English Channel and has approximately 2,500 inhabitants. A farming community for most of its history, in the late 18th century it began to attract leisured visitors wanting a more civilized alternative to Brighton. Some well known individuals made it their home, including Rudyard Kipling. Most histories of Rottingdean mention that its inhabitants were involved in smuggling, especially in the 18th century when the tax structure made it highly profitable.
More pictures of these locations are here.