Historic Eastbourne coffee house demolished for flats

145 Seaside demolition - the former Lloyds Bank building
145 Seaside demolition - the former Lloyds Bank building
  • Seaside building with colourful past is taken apart
  • Making way for three-storey block of homes
  • Scene of an inquest into 1896 tragedy

Demolition work has begun on a historic coffee shop and bank which is being knocked down to make way for flats.

Developers were granted planning permission to demolish the Lloyds Bank building at 145 Seaside in 2008 and workmen have been taking the building apart in recent weeks.

They will build a three storey block of five one bedroom and three two bedroom flats with a retail unit on the ground floor.

It was used as a bank branch with a flat above but is steeped in history.

Originally built prior to 1885, the building was called the Rising Sun Coffee Tavern.

It is a stand-alone building, with a narrow alleyway on one side and Christ Church the other and was built as a coffee house or meeting place for local businessmen.

It was the only coffee house in the area, as opposed to other meeting places such as temperance halls and public houses.

The main business was conducted closer to town centre, this was for the smaller enterprises, because the Seaside area of Eastbourne was known as the artisan quarter, where the poorer people lived.

An extract from the Eastbourne Chronicle dated August 1 1896 reads: The coroner sat with a jury at the Rising Sun Coffee Tavern, Seaside, on Wednesday, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of William Louis Page, aged 41, who was killed whilst employed at the new sewer outfall at Langney Point early on Tuesday morning.

Mr Page was working in a trench where outfall pipes were being laid when a timber brace was accidentally dislodged from a gantry fell on his head and killed him.

The Rising Sun Coffee Tavern was a logical location, because it was sufficiently close to the scene, and apparently near to Mr Page’s residence.

Another inquest was held there too in October 1911 after a baker named Edward Parris, 43, carrying on business at Firle Road committed suicide by hanging himself.

The facade has not changed appreciably over the years, but the original painted sign of the sun hung from a wrought iron support is no more.

It was basic inside, with wooden floors, and private rooms above. The main meeting place was on the ground floor, with a communal area.

Around the time of the First World War the coffee house closed, and after a period of dereliction it was purchased by Martins Bank, which was regarded as being a little strange.

Martins was later taken over by Lloyds.

The building’s history is well documented on Facebook group Gone but not Forgotten – Eastbourne’s vanished shops

Linda Scutt and Julia Prentice worked there when it was Lloyds.

Linda said, “This brings back memories. I worked there for about eight years on and off when it was Lloyd Bank.”

Janine Gibbons lived in the building when she was 11 and said, “It was a photographic shop. It had a lovely rose garden at the back.”