With Venus shining in the sky
for Galetea a sunset gleamed
and sixteenth century playwright vibes
descended to the place it seemed

the message loud and clear
spoken, signed and acted
whilst the crowd applauded here

And as dusk fell into nightfall
with shadows gathered long
the yield of epilogue spoke true
of love's all-conquering song


Photo – Jempics (the bright glow in the centre is Venus in the Western sky over Shoreham)

[Galatea is an epic tale of love, transformation and acceptance, written by John Lyly in the 1580s and adapted for the 21st century by Emma Frankland, an award-winning LGBTQIA theatre-maker and performer. Galatea premiered at the 2023 Brighton Festival on Shoreham recreation ground in the week ending 20th May]


Bringing Smiles

[#16 in the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse]

One hundred sixteen years ago
'Old B' he wrote some lines
and sent them to Molteno
in those now long distant times
I can't quite read his writing
but I know so well the scene
on the postcard that he used
as it is a place I've been

My hometown, Shoreham, Sussex coast
though things have changed a tad
my home since the mid sixties
when I was just a lad
And this little piece of cardboard
though it's travelled many miles
still serves the purpose given
as it still keeps bringing smiles


[Photo – of a postcard in the author’s collection].

William Henry Borrow (the artist) was 19th century English watercolorist who worked largely in Sussex between 1863 and 1893. This postcard, postmarked Bexhill-on-Sea (Sussex) on May 10 1906 and Molteno (South Africa) on 31 May 1906, is notable as it has travelled from Shoreham to South Africa and back to Shoreham again, 116 years after it was first purchased, written and sent.

Ticking the box

Walked a circle round the airport
the rain was in the air
and it was fairly windy
but we loved being there
The three of us and Wolfgang
ten thousand steps then home for tea
is always going to tick the box
in Shoreham by the sea


Photo – Shoreham from the Airport floodbank – Jempics

Mapping the past

No.15 in the ‘past to present’ series from Jemverse

Found an old map in Emmaus
worn and dusty and old
thought to myself 'I'm having that'
went out of the shop with it sold

Familiar but different
there are things long gone away
a past the history books have claimed
from our quaint yesterday

And yet there's still a memory
from distant childhood time
places gone, remembered still
with part of them still mine


Photo -Jempics. Taken from the 1946 map itself. An original 182 Ordnance Survey of Sussex from 1933, it’s significant as it’s pre-Shoreham flyover (1970) – so there’s no blot on the landscape, pre-Beeching (1966) – so the whole of the old Guildford line is marked with all the now long-gone stations, and it’s immediately post-WWII – so the Brighton & Hove Municipal Airport at Shoreham is there but not marked as such. (Emmaus – btw – is a second-hand bric-a-brac and furniture store run by a homeless project).

Four spans across the Adur

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

Four spans across the Adur
at its mouth at Shoreham town
on the road on into Lancing
at the foot of Sussex Down

Four spans of steel construction
admired for sixty years
'til Norfolk Bridge mark II's demise
'midst many local tears

Four spans across the Adur
not forgotten yet now lost
to progress and the march of time
no matter what the cost


Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection – Jempics

[The second Norfolk Bridge in Shoreham was opened on 4th July 1923 by Lord Leconfield. A four-span cantilever design, it was initially a toll bridge until 1927. It was replaced the third (and present) Norfolk bridge in 1987].

See also ‘Of horses and lions‘ (posted here in July)

The kissing gate

Part of the ‘past to present’ series from Jemverse

Parallel to Oxen Avenue
the ancient trackway lay
from Mill Lane to Upper Shoreham
as a pedestrian way
Elm trees at its southern end
stood by the kissing gate
which though the trackway is still there
has long since met its fate


Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection

[The picture of the kissing gate in this postcard dates to around 1900. Both the elm trees and the gate have long gone now but the pathway remains beside the old flintstone wall just visible in the bottom right. A ‘kissing gate’ allows pedestrian passage but prevents large animals like horses and cattle from passing. As only one person can pass at a time, tradition has it that a kiss was required as right of passage when a girl followed a boy (or a boy a girl)].

Of horses and lions

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

When the Norfolk Bridge first opened
the High Constable had the key
for the old toll bridge in deference
in eighteen thirty-three
The Duke of Norfolk he was present
for a procession up the street
'neath both surmounting arches
and the horse and lion's seat
Designed by W Tierney Clarke
it was the first of three
to bear the name of 'Norfolk Bridge'
in Shoreham by the sea.


Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection

[The first Norfolk Bridge (pictured here) was opened by the Duke of Norfolk on May 1st 1833. Old Shoreham bridge (the present Old Toll Bridge) was locked up by the High Constable of the town for the grand opening of the new bridge following a procession up the High Street. The lion and horse surmounting the arches and carrying the chains on which the bridge was suspended represent the crests of the duke whose name it bears. When the second Norfolk Bridge was opened in 1923, these stone statues were winched down and re-erected at Arundel Castle, the Sussex seat of the duke. The third (and current) Norfolk Bridge was opened in 1987].

Homeward bound II

When away in a city that's far from my home
a comforting thought there to hold
is that homeward I'll head and I'm never removed
too far from the warmth of that fold
For no matter how much pleasure derived
or enjoyment from being away
it's always the best to be homeward bound
I would say at the end of the day


Photo – Shoreham, my home – Jempics

Old Buckingham walls

Part of the ‘past to present’ series from Jemverse

As a boy I used to play there
inside the burnt out walls
for hide n seek and other games
within its hallowed halls
once we ventured to the basement
down dark and dusty stair
oblivious to danger
with innocence to dare
But now all these years later
it is a block of flats
though with outer walls remaining
preserved and still intact


Photo – the east & south elevations of the old Buckingham House today – Jempics

[The original Buckingham House was built in 1655 but extensively remodelled in 1808. When its last owner passed away in 1905 it stood empty until 1910 when dry rot and fire destroyed it. The remains were in ruins until 1962/63 when plans for the new and existing Woodview Court were proposed within its north and west elevations. Building of the new flats was completed in the late 1960s, the east and south elevations preserved as a part of the planning permission granted].

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


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’].

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