We continue our look this week at the history of some of the town’s public houses, which are documented in a new book by Alan Smith.
Public Houses in Eastbourne tells the brief histories of pubs that existed in 1986 or before.
Meads has lost only one public house, a short lived pub, The Blacksmiths Arms, that stood in Meads Road opposite the junction of Meads Street.
It has been suggested that it was bought by a neighbour and demolished because he didn’t want to live next to a pub.
The town centre has many ‘pubs’ but very few of them existed in 1986 and so are not included.
With the loss of the Gildredge Hotel, only Bills and the Duke of Devonshire (both recent names for buildings that date back to the late 1800s) remain in Terminus Road although South Street still has four out of five pubs that existed at the turn of the 20th century including the New Inn, (new in c1790, rebuilt 1880 and now Bibendum).
Although the Garibaldi Arms closed in 1909 leaving four public houses, the opening of Bilbo Baggins, now Maxims, in 1974 meant that in 1986 it was the only street to have the same number as in 1883.
At the east end of town there were four pubs from the Archery to the Lodge, both of which have now gone, leaving the Arlington and Alexandra Arms facing each other.
Included in the short histories of several pubs are some examples of the court cases involving the pub.
These include drunkenness and offences against the licensing laws as well as cases of disgruntled clients breaking panes of glass.
Sometimes it is the description of the offender that makes interesting reading, such as ‘a short, sturdy, respectable looking man, who was dressed in a seafaring suit of blue…’, ‘a tall sturdy looking man’, ‘a miserable looking old woman’ and a ‘buxom young woman’.
Another section of the book covers the breweries that once existed.
At one time there were five although one only seems to have lasted a year.
The oldest brewery was in South Street adjoining the New Inn, although this moved to Junction Road before closing in the 1870s.
Many of the buildings of the Lion Brewery, between Pevensey Road and Langney Road still stand.
Another, the Crown Brewery, stood behind the Rose and Crown in Duke Street, the site now being part of the school playground.
Alan Smith, the author of this book, was born and brought up in Eastbourne and worked in the borough surveyor’s eepartment in the 1970s.
A member of the Local History Society since those days, he co-ordinates its research and frequently publishes in the society’s quarterly journal.
Alan’s 330 page book, soft bound and extensively illustrated, can be purchased from the Local History Society via Liz Moloney at firstname.lastname@example.org for £10 plus £2.50 postage and packing, or, shortly, from Waterstones in Terminus Road.