Saturday, 4 June 2011

PEACEHAVEN AND NEWHAVEN

It is one of life’s ironies that the serene-sounding name of Peacehaven came about as a result of a wartime campaign. The settlement, begun in 1914 by Charles Neville, was originally named New Anzac-On-Sea following a competition in the Daily Express to come up with a name. However, the Gallipoli campaign got underway soon after, and this traumatic event forced a rethink, leading to the renaming of the town as Peacehaven. A glance at the map of the town calls to mind a typical American urban space, being laid out in a grid pattern. Some of the original dwellings were decidedly makeshift, making use of railway carriages and army huts. In the early 1920s there was a attempt to inject some glamour into the town with the building of the Peacehaven Hotel, an ornate affair with an opening party whose guests included minor royalty. Sadly, this has since been demolished.

Just to the east of Peacehaven, and at the mouth of the River Ouse, the port of Newhaven boasts ferry connections to Le Havre and Dieppe in France. A more belligerent crossing to Dieppe took place in 1942 involving a number of ports including Newhaven when a largely Canadian force mounted a raid on Dieppe. The raid exacted a heavy toll on the Canadian contingent, leaving 907 dead. The port at Newhaven also played a vital role in the transport of men and supplies during the First World War. Further back in time, in 1848 Newhaven was the landing-place of Louis Philippe, the exiled French king, who crossed the channel in a fishing boat with his queen, travelling under the pseudonym Mr and Mrs Smith. Newhaven Fort, one of a series of forts known as the Palmerston Forts, is open to visitors as a museum.

For a list of events in the area, see here.

Map of the area.

Wallflowers at Peacehavenphoto © 2008 alanlpriest | more info (via: Wylio)

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