A NATIONAL newspaper has suggested Eastbourne is the most prudish town in Britain after following up on the Herald’s exclusive about police being called to investigate obscene images on the pier.
In last Friday’s Herald we revealed that Ian Donald had been quizzed by police after complaints his Gifts @ Eastbourne Pier shop was selling postcards with naked women on.
The story, which was followed up five days later by The Argus and the Daily Mail, saw a host of readers jump to the businessman’s defence – with almost everyone agreeing that saucy seaside postcards are a much-loved part of life in coastal resorts.
However, it seems that the original complaint by local church minister Ashley Steinschauer has seen Eastbourne labelled as prudish and conservative by the Mail – which seems to have ignored the overwhelmingly good-humoured reaction locally.
Mr Steinschauer argued that the images, which included one of a naked woman sat on a beach with her back to the camera and another showing a lady with one of her breasts on show, make the town look sleazy and was damaging its reputation.
It seems though that rather than make Eastbourne look like a den of iniquity, the story has in fact had the opposite effect – as far as the Mail headline writers were concerned.
However, hundreds of comments were left on the newspaper’s website, with opinion definitely split on both Eastbourne and the suitability of the postcards.
Posting under the name Justin Cred-Bull, one reader wrote, “Poor old Eastbourne just can’t win can it?
“Many years ago the town ‘enjoyed’ a reputation where according to the wits of the day its ageing inhabitants looked in The Times obituary column and if they were not in it, they got up.
“Now back in those days these postcards were sent in their thousands, laughed at, pinned up in the office and eventually binned. Where did it all go wrong?”
Another, writing from Rome, said, “I see foolish puritans are still at it in dear old Eastbourne. I must buy my postcards in that shop next time,” while a fellow foreign reader, calling themselves Sunset View from Canberra in Australia, said, “Those cards are graphic but the Brits love that Benny Hill type sexist smut.”
Dolly from the north west asked, “Haven’t some people got better things to do than complain about something that has been around for years? I think these people need to get a life,” and shazamm, who has holidayed in Eastbourne from their home in Detroit, America, said, “I have been to the shop at the pier and have cards hanging up at work. Males and females find them hilarious. Keep selling them. Will be back next year for more cards.”
Eastbourne local bigtam agreed, saying, “Saucy postcards on sale in a seaside town. Whatever next?
“They will be selling ice-cream soon if we let them get away with it,” and fellow local Just me added, “Eastbourne isn’t a prudish town and there are far more younger people than years ago. This is one person. Classic seaside tongue in cheek stuff – harmless fun.”
However, not everyone was so enthusiastic about the cards. Stu, from Laholm in Sweden, said, “I thought Eastbourne was supposed to be a family resort. These sort of images should not be on display where there are children.”
The head of tourism at Eastbourne Borough Council though was quick to defend the local traders. Councillor Neil Stanley said, “Visitors to Eastbourne expect wholesome good fun and the saucy postcard is a vital part of our seaside heritage.”
• See pages 12-13 for a follow-up to last week’s saucy postcard story.