Sit back and enjoy some past views of Pier Road’s changing fortunes since the early 1900s. (As will all pictures on the Diaries, just click on them to expand)
This wonderful picture of Pier Road was taken sometime between 1900 and 1909. The Post Office Date Stamp on the rear of the postcard was June 1909 and was sent to a Miss Violet Houghdon in Balham and reads:
We are having a lovely time, the weather has turned out to be very good after all.
The above picture is particularly interesting as it shows Pier Road as having very little retail/cafe premises as the area at this time was largely concerned with the business of fishing. You can see that a number of the buildings in Pier Road are single storey.
Above view as it is today. (prior to the current sea defence works starting).
Another view of Pier Road as it was with single storey buildings.
This postcard is date marked the 25th September 1911.
As you can see the area in front of the buildings was used by the working fishermen as a hard standing area to mend nets and attend to boats when the tide was out.
The above picture, which is regrettably undated, shows fishermen working on their nets in Pier Road. The buildings behind them are (from the left) Coastal Cycles and the long building is today owned by the Ministry of Defence and is home to Sussex Army Cadets. I’m not too sure what the buildings were being used for at the time the above picture was taken. If anyone has ideas, please let me know.
Here you can see a motor car in the background and the river has been separated by a wall. If you look at the bicycle in the background it gives an idea as to the height of the wall from the roadside, which doesn’t appear to be very high.
The above is a splendid view of the harbour and Pier Road right up to the harbour entrance. The spot where this picture was taken from is where the new Riverside Walkway and residential development is located.
The postcard is date stamped 25th June 1925 and reads:
Dear Mother, Dad and all
So many thanks for the letter I received this morning, which was sent from London. So sorry dad was worse. I expect to be returning tomorrow and will be visiting in the evening.
My love to all,
your loving son.
Of note in the above picture is you can see the Windmill in the distance and the picture was taken prior to Harbour Park (or Butlins as it previously was) had been built.
The rear of the card is undated and blank but you can see the picture pre-dates the building of Billy Butlins Funfair, today known as Harbour Park. Doesn’t the original windmill make an eye catching feature, and what about those beautiful coastguard cottages? This area was later cleared to make way for Billy Bultin’s development. A previous era’s Littlehampton regeneration programme.
The house in the picture was known as ‘Miss Streeter’s Bungalow’.
Then everything changed when Billy Bultin opened his seafront amusement park today known as Harbour Park. Out went the coastguard cottages and the Windmill. Billy Bultin’s development wasn’t without controversy and it’s said that many in the town labelled the new development as ‘candy floss hell’.
However, this was Littlehampton in its heyday and it’s easy to see why many wanted a seafront amusement park. It certainly was hugely successful. Visitors flocked to Littlehampton for either day trips or holidays and the tourist trade grew rapidly.
Pier Road benefited enormously from the shift from fishing to tourism as the properties, previously fishermen’s cottage were turned into restaurants and shops all aimed at the increasing number of tourists who came to Littlehampton. Many of them by rail.
Sadly it wasn’t to last. The package holiday with the allure of guaranteed sunshine on far flung shores, and at a comparably low cost was just around the corner, which would prove to have devastating consequences for Littlehampton’s seasonal tourist trade.
The card is actually postmarked 21st May 1966. The previously rough shingle beach area has now been concreted over and the wall tidied up. There’s a notable absence of working fishing boats and the change from Pier Road from a small working fishing area to a holiday destination is now very much apparent.
The above picture shows the Littlehampton ferry with Pier Road in the background. I’ve always been told that the ferry was rowed across the river, however, I can’t help but noticing that this particular picture depicts an outboard engine on the rear and not an oar in sight…..
This card is postmarked 22nd May 1967.
Interesting that the boat scrubbing grid to the right of the picture is still pretty much as it appears today. However, the walkway that everyone is standing on was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair than when the ferry was reinstated a couple of years ago, a new landing had to be created.
This was the original Littlehampton Ferry, a chain ferry, which operated between the East and West Bank. The ferry ran from outside the Steampacket public house and predated the construction of the first bridge.
In a future post, I’ll upload more pictures of Littlehampton harbour and it’s changing fortunes over the years and then look at Littlehampton seafront.
But for now, thanks for joining me.
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