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Tony Grist

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Shoreham And Steyning [Mar. 16th, 2014|09:48 am]
Tony Grist
It's 50 years since I was last in Shoreham so of course there have been changes. I shouldn't have been surprised but I was. There are houses where there was foreshore. The old toll bridge has either gone or been upgraded. And that rather splendid footbridge across the Adur is so new that the mortar's barely dry.

My school was just up the road- or hill- from here. At least that hasn't changed. That socking great chapel still dominates the landscape like a transplanted French cathedral.

We had lunch in a restaurant on the pedestrian precinct. Pedestrian precincts? We didn't have those in the 60s.

I ate Bouillabaise. All local ingredients. Does Shoreham still have a fishing fleet? I think it must.

Afterwards we drove to Steyning. i used to climb that hill on my bicycle; it was a long haul.  Now we're at the top before I realise. 50 years ago Shoreham and Steyning were secret places. Now- on a sunny March day- they're full of people- like us- who've come to poke round the shops and admire the vernacular architecture. A lot of them have push chairs.  In the 21st century nowhere is hard to get to and everywhere is connected to everywhere else.

On a plaque on an outside wall of the Steyning Museum is a poem written by a soldier of the Great War.

I can't forget the lane that goes from Steyning to the Ring
In summer time, and on the downs how larks and linnets sing
High in the sun. The wind comes off the sea, and oh, the air!
I never knew till now that life in old days was so fair.
But now I know it in this filthy rat-infested ditch,
Where every shell must kill or spare, and God alone knows which.
And I am made a beast of prey, and this trench is my lair -
My God, I never knew till now that those days were so fair,
And we assault in half-an-hour, and it's a silly thing:
I can't forget the lane that goes from Steyning to the Ring.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2014-03-16 10:16 am (UTC)
I love both places and use to visit quite often when i lived in Brighton
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-16 12:13 pm (UTC)
I'm very fond of that part of the world.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2014-03-16 12:03 pm (UTC)
Likewise, I know those places from my days living in Worthing. We had our wedding at Wiston House, which is not far from Steyning, and I always liked the fishing-village quality of Shoreham; quite unspoiled compared to Brighton and the suburban tat of Lancing. The college is pretty impressive, especially when floodlit. You must have come from a very well-heeled family to be sent there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-16 12:14 pm (UTC)
Fairly well-heeled. My father was a director of a big engineering firm.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-03-16 01:51 pm (UTC)
The Chantry House at Steyning was also the residence of journalist Edith Shackleton Heald, who in her early fifties was the last lover of WB Yeats and who often entertained him there. He was deeply in love with her and I think unhappy in his marriage by then, mostly due to his own fault. She was a very interesting figure.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-16 04:19 pm (UTC)
I didn't know any of that.

I think Yeats was a bit of an idiot where women were concerned.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-03-16 04:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, and rewarded for it too, which leaves a bad taste in the mouth - and I love Yeats (his poems)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-16 04:26 pm (UTC)
Greatest English language poet of the modern era, but not a nice man.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2014-03-16 04:40 pm (UTC)
That's a wonderful poem!

These days I'm more likely to go to Shoreham Airfield (airfield cafes are often convenient for bikers, and a fondness for planes seems to go with one for bikes) than the town itself. Must fix that.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-16 09:56 pm (UTC)
There is a field next to the school which was supposedly haunted by the ghost of a crashed airman. First World War, I suppose. I don't remember anyone actually seeing him.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2014-03-17 07:22 am (UTC)
That's a great story, though! *cracks knuckles and dons thinking-cap*
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-16 08:33 pm (UTC)
We had a pedestrian precinct in Harlow in the 1960s - but it was a New Town, so perhaps it doesn't count.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-16 09:57 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the idea started in the new towns- and then spread to the older ones...

Edited at 2014-03-16 09:58 pm (UTC)
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