Photograph c1920

On the beach at Rottingdean | From a private collection
On the beach at Rottingdean
From a private collection

This postcard was loaned to me by an enthusiastic photo collector. It shows old Rottingdean seafront in the 1920s before the underwalk was constructed in the 1930s by ‘out of work’ Welsh miners. The walls and steps to the High Street still exist in their original state of the late 1800’s.

Thriving fishing industry
There was a thriving fishing industry and in the photograph can be seen an old hand wheel for pulling boats up the beach. People hired the bathing tents by the hour for them to change in. The tops of the cliffs have altered considerably – from cottages, to restaurants and shops, to a 1967 block of flats.

Smuggling rackets
A thriving smuggling racket was built up in the village over generations. Our village itself has possibly changed least of all since then, with its Saxon pond opposite the church.

Comments about this page

  • I remember that, up to around 20 years ago, there was a pleasant open-air swimming pool in this part of the seafront. Shame it had to be demolished!

    By Jan Hill (28/11/2004)
  • In 1978 I was one of the lifeguards in the pool. It was a lovely location and a fun job!

    By Martin Scrace (10/08/2005)
  • I spent many a day out from Roedean in the lovely village of Rottingdean. We had many wonderful walks along the front and I recall many happy hours browsing in the bookstore there. We also attended services on occasion in the church. Since I have not been back to England since 1977 for a visit, I am sure it has changed considerably.

    By Sue Young (24/01/2006)
  • I was the head lifeguard at this pool in the late 1960s. In the plantroom below ground level we caught eels and crabs in the strainers. One of my lifeguards applied for a job. I said get in the pool and show me some life saving skills. He got in the shallow end and went to the deep end. Being 6ft 4ins and the deep end was 4ft 4ins he got the job! He just walked about all day – we are still good friends today.

    By Michael Morris (02/01/2007)

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