The Gut

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

The beach Ted Bunker launched his
boat from sadly is no more
once called 'The Gut' its gutted now
no more a shingle shore
Filled in to make a car park
the beach where once we played
is another loss to history
and to the fishing trade

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics (the Fisherman’s Beach [aka ‘The Gut’], Albion Street, Southwick, Sussex).

[‘The Gut’ was a small beach immediately behind Albion Street in Southwick, West Sussex. It was used by fishermen for many years and I can vividly remember playing there as a boy and talking to the fishermen as they pulled their boats ashore at high tide. But now – for no sound reason that I can imagine – the beach has been filled in to make way for a public car park].

This is what ‘The Gut’ looks like today

Bungalow Town

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

Just east of the church on the foreshore
bungalows once on the beach
presented a vista of Shoreham
history has put out of reach
Popularised by early movies
actors built many homes there
salvaging old railway carriages
the carriage works then had to spare
Mary Loftus, a music hall favourite
Florrie Ford, Ernie Mayne, Marie Lloyd
all of the lovelies who flocked to the beach
making it hard to avoid

©Jemverse

Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection

[South of the town of New Shoreham, now fronted by the estuary of the River Adur, a spit of land formed by the eastward drift of shingle through the English Channel pushed the mouth of the Adur slowly towards what is now Hove. This spit of land is what eventually became Shoreham beach and, although there were probably dwellings there long before, it was popularised in the early 20th century when film studios were built to capture the light needed for early moving pictures. As actors flocked to live there, it became known as ‘Bungalow Town’].

Malduppinne

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

'Malduppinne' as it was first called
in thirteen forty-seven
by grant from John le Pottere
to his wife in his succession
Its purpose now long lost to time
a museum now it hosts
in the oldest secular building that
the town of Shoreham boasts
From 'Malduppinne' to 'Marlipins'
this build of Caen stone
with flint-knapped chequered walls remains
the oldest one still known

©Jemverse

Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection

[Although vaguely referred to as ‘The Chantry’ (as this postcard claims) this ancient building in Shoreham’s High Street probably dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest buildings erected and used for entirely secular purposes remaining in Europe. Now hosting the town’s museum, the earliest written reference to it is in a deed dated 1st August 1347 (20th year in the reign of Edward III) in which John le Pottere of New Shoreham bequeathes a stone-built corner tenement called ‘Malduppinne’ in the market place called ‘Otmarcat’ (oat market) to his wife Juliana and thereafter to their son Richard to hold for life. However, the building itself (certainly medieval) probably dates back to at least 1100 with a reconstruction in about 1300. It was definitely a builder’s storehouse in the 19th century as it was then occupied by Messrs Gates & son, a long-established Shoreham family with roots back to medieval times. One other thing is definite; it has never had anything in common with a ‘chantry’. That’s nothing more than whimsical fantasy].

Tarmount Shepherds

Now where people park their cars
on tarmac for some shopping
once stood an open field where
you'd oft see sheep a-hopping
A shepherd's hut stood to the south
close to its southern border
fenced in with wooden latticework
to keep the sheep in order
On Tarmount Lane in Shoreham town
the shepherd's field you'd see
for many years with grazing
for the sheep that wandered free

©Jemverse

Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection

[This picture, taken from the top of St Mary de Haura’s church tower, shows an early 20th century view of Shoreham looking east towards the chemical works on the beach and the harbour entrance. You can see the shepherd’s hut and field in the bottom left hand corner. It’s now a car-park.]

Ferry cross the Adur

On the corner of East Street the Ferry Rigg
keeps history alive with its name
though the vista to South with a century past
will never now quite be the same
For once cross the Adur the ferryman pulled
his oars for the people to cross
from the beach to the town for business and such
with a gain to the past and our loss

©Jemverse

Photo – from the author’s postcard collection

[Until a footbridge was constructed across the river Adur in Shoreham in 1910, the only passage from the beach to the town was via the ferry men. The original footbridge was replaced with a new one called ‘The Adur Ferry Bridge’ in 2013. The new bridge retraces the route of the original ferryman rowboat service across the river. The ‘Ferry Ring’ is a pub.]

Sussex Trails

These hills, these ways, these wildflower trails
so many times traversed
and yet in absence, no regret
as evidenced by verse
For here I'm in my element
my heartstrings pulled to smile
whenever I'm on Sussex trails
for mile on wondrous mile

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Beaches

Looking out 'cross windswept beaches
though this one's far from home
a familiar feeling warms me
from all the views I've known
For here I'm in my element
close to the sea, my heart
a synergy that's part of me
and has been from the start

©Jemverse

Photo – the beach at Camber Sands, East Sussex, looking West – Jempics

Sandcastle

We made the best sandcastle
that a beach has ever seen
it took us several hours to make
a mark where we had been
Little children paused to stare
and admire it with a smile
for it was truly massive
and took all of us a while
It had a moat and curtain walls
bridges, steps and towers
and when we'd finished it we knew
that it was wholly ours
We'd made the best sandcastle
Camber sands has ever seen
and whilst it stands you'll surely know
that Crouchers there have been

©Jemverse

Photo – ‘Seahorse castle’, Camber Sands, Sussex, May 2022 – Jempics

Reversing the loop

Six miles and thirteen thousand steps
reversed, the loop's still fine
as this quite pleasant circuit
is something wholly mine
Takes around two hours
with a few stops in between
to savour once again the views
amongst the best I've seen
For this is Sussex and my home
we share a synergy
taking full advantage of
each other's company

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Shoreham my home

Through a gap in the bushes
I spied Shoreham town
nestled there under the Downs
twixt me and the sea
safe there in the lea
the bearer of treasure and crowns

And I smiled in the knowledge
that this was my home
the place I am so pleased to live
for it has everything
to make my heart sing
with the riches it serves there to give

©Jemverse

Photo – Shoreham town from Mill Hill, West Sussex – Jempics

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