The History of Peacehaven
Mr Charles W Neville was born in Darlington, 1881. His
grandfather's distinguished claim to fame was hanging out with Napoleon
Bonaparte on a journey to the Isle of Elba... cool eh? His father was
an exhibition promoter. He changed his name from Ussher because the family
"disapproved" of his marriage. Oops!
Due to sad circumstances early in his life, Neville moved
to Canada, later on attending University in Toronto. He soon tired of
this sprawling city, which he called "bigoted and churchified", and buggered
off to the more cosmopolitan colony of Australia.
Having duly fallen in love, he bought a schooner named The
Snark (not Shark as previously stated, thanks to Mr Neville's grandson for pointing this out!) and sailed to New Guinea. Here he bought the rights to minerals and
copper from a tribal chief. Returning to Canada a happier and wealthier man,
he bought some land which, dividing into plots, he sold to British and European
settlers - a trick he was later to reverse!
At the end of 1912 he returned to England, married his sweetheart
Dorothy Rochard, had sprogs and popped his clogs in Rottingdean in 1960, just
as music and culture were starting to get interesting.
The Growth of Peacehaven
This is how Peacehaven looked
in the early 1920s
Originally christened Anzac-on-Sea, Peacehaven began
its life in 1914. The roads were just flinty tracks - no change there
then. Starting at Telscombe Cliffs, plots were sold cheaply (avg. size
25ft X 100ft). Peacehaven was a very isolated place to consider as home
but it was born and it was determined to grow.
After the tragedy at Gallipoli, the name Anzac-on-Sea was felt
to be unusable. Peacehaven was born - an appropriate name for a post-war town.
In 1920 the estate evolved.... Pylons sprang up all over Peacehaven. It was
a telegraph road. Cue Dire
Straits. Also, a bus with solid rubber tyres carried people around the town.
It kept breaking down. Could this be the first Number
Most of the electric cable and road materials were transported
from Seaford. Peacehaven had roads and electricity! Then the cats
moved in and took over!!
The Peacehaven Hotel, onetime cultural center of Peacehaven
Thanks to Peacehaven ex-pat Mike Player, we now have a memorial to the Peacehaven hotel:- These two milk jugs, given as a memento to his father when he emigrated. The jugs, Mike, and indeed his father, are all nicely polished and residing in Sydney, Australia.
the war, there simply wasn't the will, money or time to put a great deal
of thought into the architecture... For the first houses in Peacehaven,
materials were in short supply, but after the war ended the building of
Peacehaven resumed at a great pace.
In 1924 the town formed its own electricity board. The first few
hundred residents were catching up with the '20s technology of Brighton and
Eastbourne. On 10th October 1924 the beautiful Peacehaven hotel was finally
constructed. The ornamental stonework fireplaces, doorways and statues were
Italian works of art and on the very grand opening of the hotel, there was quite
a party organised by Neville's wife, Dorothy. Lords, Ladies and minor royalty
attended. Maybe the grandeur and splendour encourages and inspired Mr Neville
to continue the building of Peacehaven in the same regal spirit: a "garden city
by the sea".
What a great shame it never happened. The pioneers passed on and
only a small residential sprawl of a town remains. Neville's dream remains a
Researched and written by Melissa
Telscombe Cliffs Primary School, 1961
Cycling Proficiency Extravaganza!
priceless hysterical - sorry, historical - nugget, was provided
to us by the intrepid Aussie Mike Player. He's second from left
on the front row, a proud winner about to set sail for the Colonies to make his fortune.
||For details of the Peacehaven-Telscombe
Historical Society check Peacehaven Library (in the Meridian Centre)
or check out the Forum. (Please show decorum in the forum.)
To read a personal account of one family's move to Peacehaven shortly after
World War II, click here.