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TQ3701 :: Undercliff Walk

Taken 3 years ago by Simon Carey near Rottingdean, City of Brighton and Hove, England

Undercliff Walk by Simon Carey
Undercliff Walk

A view from beneath the sea defences that werte built in 1934 to protect the coastline from Brighton to Saltdean. Below are some remnants of the former cliffs long since eroded.
Saltdean is a suburb that was developed from the 1920s onwards by entrepreneur Charles Neville who was also responsible for the construction of neighbouring Peacehaven. Prior to this the land between Rottingdean and Newhaven was an empty place filled with sheep and the odd farm. Saltdean itself was named after a gap in the cliffs that allowed access to the beach and had acquired that name by the 17th century. Needless to say this access and its isolated nature made it hugely popular with local smugglers who often landed their cargoes here then used the local tracks, droveways and bridleways that crisscross the Downs to spirit their wares northwards. As a consequence the first dwellings built here were a set of coastguard cottages in 1834 on a site now occupied by Teynham House on the A259. A chance drive from Eastbourne to Brighton introduced Charles Neville to the area and the man who made his fortune by building towns in Australia and Canada had a vision of one large settlement occupying the empty Downs between Rottingdean and Newhaven. he acquired his first area of land in 1915 which ironically has since reverted to agricultural use, then added to it over the next decade. Neville was foiled in his grand vision by Ambrose Gorham, a landowner in Telscombe, who bequeathed what is now Telscombe Tye to Brighton council with the stipulation that it was to remain undeveloped in perpetuity. Saltdean itself developed piecemeal during the 1920s and only began accelerating when Brighton council extended its boundaries in the 1930s. However, the new borough boundary did not include all of Saltdean, its eastern portion remained outside the border, first as part of Newhaven then Chailey Rural District and today as part of Telscombe town council, which in turn affected development as the part in Brighton was linked to utilities quicker than the poorer rural councils. Talks to amalgamate began in the 1930s and have continued ever since with no resolution. The dividing line between the two halves runs along Longridge Avenue. Saltdean also seems to have been regulated better than neighbouring Peacehaven, wooden shacks were banned from the outset and some of the early buildings followed the then fashionable Bauhaus, Cubist and Art Deco designs of the period, both the Lido and former Ocean Hotel are particularly prominent landmarks. Furthermore, unlike Peacehaven, Neville utilised the contours when marking out the roads giving the suburb a more aesthetic appearance when viewed from higher ground either side of the valley. Development progressed after the Second World War with much of the remaining open land built upon and the suburb remains a popular place to live today.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   ©Copyright Simon Carey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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Subject Grid Square TQ3701
Subject Lat/Long 50.800730,-0.046581 (click to view more nearby images)
Near Rottingdean, City of Brighton and Hove, England
Photographer Simon Carey
Taken 20160116 201601 2016 (about 3 years ago)
Submitted 2016-01-18
Snippet Saltdean ·

View full page at geograph.org.uk/photo/4796600