NOSTALGIA: Remembering the fire at Beachy Head pub

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Looking Back reader Bill Purcell has sent in these photos of the blaze which destroyed the Beachy Head Hotel on December 10 1994.

It wasn’t the first time the site had been destroyed by fire. In the mid 1960s a blaze saw the whole site burnt to the ground.

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By May 1966 a prefab pub made of five large caravans joined together were put up as a temporary replacement for the Beachy Head hotel gutted by fire.

People took to Facebook this week to recall their memories of the fires.

Bryan Parrott said he remembered the landmark building going up in flames in the 1960s.

Terry Colbran believes the fire started in the bin area and said, “If I remember right it was a very windy day and once the fire got a hold, it spread like a wildfire and despite the fire brigades effort there was not much they could do in the wind.”

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Babs Owen said she thought the fire was started by someone placing ashes from the fireplace in the wrong bin.

Keith Fillery worked on the 1960s rebuild for Eastbourne building firm Llewellyns.

Robin Hodgkinson is a former police officer and remembers it well.

“I saw the smoke before the call went out and arrived just before the fire brigade,” said Mr Hodgkinson.

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“The road was completely divided by thick smoke - a woman was screaming that her husband was in the pub but he had come out.

“The heat was tremendous - couldn’t get near cars in the car park and could only watch as the tyres exploded and the paint blistered in the heat. Really intense blaze fuelled by the wind, not that strong as I remember but certainly enough to keep it fed - not seen a fire quite like that before and it stayed in my memory.”

Lynn Morley said, “I remember I’d spent ages trying to get a date arranged for a large Christmas lunch and had booked it and the place went up two days previously.”

Beryl Forster Contact Andy Carter, Carters Fish &Chips, the Crescent he was the Chef at the time of the fire and I think he discovered the fire

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Sharon Tate said, “My son would have been around three-years-old.

“My auntie took him to see the firefighters and burned out building and he was fascinated.

“They gave him some coins that had all melted together in the heat. I still have them somewhere. It’s ironic that now he is a firefighter ‍ himself here in California .

Hazel Storey Harrison said, “My Dad was in attendance at the fire and I remember him saying they had a big problem with the water pressure up there which hindered them.”

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