In Love with Shoreham-by-Sea

Valentine Blog

By Teresa Martin


Stephanie from #EnjoyShorehamBySea, asked me to add a blog to go along with the old photos we have recently unearthed of Shoreham, and we start with a baby born on Shoreham High Street in 1928.

No-one was more passionate about Shoreham-by-Sea than my Mum, Denise, seen below in the arms of her grandfather standing, we think, on the corner of Church Street.

Mum’s dad’s family lived at Star Gap by Coronation Green. Sadly she went on to have a challenging childhood. Very early in their marriage, her husband left my Nan, to bring up 3 wee girls on her own at the age of 21. They struggled to get by but Nan was determined to keep them all together somehow, moving to Portslade in order to survive nearer her own family.

The paternal grandparents were kind, though frustrated about their son’s antics. They loved the girls to visit them by the slipway whilst they were very young, when they could afford to. Latterly the only contact was with her Aunt, Lilly Davis, who was the Cubs Mistress in Shoreham for eons and many readers may remember this lovely, resourceful lady.

Visiting Shoreham Beach was a fun release. But it wasn’t till 16 year old Denise met, and was swept off her feet by Maurice, my dad, that she really felt safe and happy. They moved into their enduring home in 1955, having watched their chalet bungalow being built by Joe Grover in Feversham Close, Shoreham Beach. Denise told everybody she met how marvelous Shoreham was. Here she felt permanently on holiday. She couldn’t understand how anyone could ask for more in life than the Sea and the Downs and the local people in between.

They both worked at Beves, the timber company, on Western Wharf along Harbour Way, where Hancock Way now sits. On a couple of dramatic occasions the big sawdust silo caught fire and dad had to sort the resulting damage out. When small, my sister, Gill, and I used to walk up the alley to meet dad and bring him home for lunch, wearing whatever fancy dress clothing we were in at the time. On special occasions we were allowed to go into his office, usually when the works cat had given birth to another litter of kittens in the stationery cupboard. My idea of bliss.

Ball room fans, especially the more senior dancers of Shoreham, will remember cha- chaing and waltzing round the floors of many local venues to the music of “The Mauritones”, their 5 piece dance band. Do check with your parents if they lived locally!  All my family members were musicians. I was the only member to enter into the Visual Arts instead, (people who have heard me attempt the drums, piano, violin were much relieved). Mum was a soft alto singer and Maurice played the keyboard and he kept her singing till he passed away in 1999. She stopped singing altogether after that, in her grief. She still loved walking and talking her way into Shoreham town over the footbridge (took an age) and always had a smile for every passerby.

Denise passed away on Valentine’s day in 2012, finally together again with her much beloved husband.

Valentine’s Day this year is the due date for her 3rd great grandchild to be born. Most of her family continue to live in Shoreham-by-Sea.

Having been a sculpture tutor in Steyning, City College, and Northbrook College for over 30 years, I now run workshops and exhibit works at Shoreham Gallery, in Brunswick Street. Many artists there have been inspired by our fabulous town.

Working on larger pieces with my daughter, Abby, (a new generation of artists), we created the “Adur Portals” on Coronation Green. It was a community project financed with Tesco’s development funding. Metaphorically we feel they open  doors to many fantastic memories. And they encourage people to enjoy our local history, which has been so carefully archived at the Marlipins Museum. The Portals also allow sad thoughts to have an exit, so as not to despoil the present. There is even a cat flap in them, to allow all those feline spirits to flow in and out.

Who could be in love more than my mum was, with our unique seaside town? She worked hard, always brimming with gratitude for her life in this town, giving us the childhood she would have wanted for herself.

We are so lucky to have been born in Shoreham-by-Sea.

 


Are you a local to Shoreham-By-Sea and have a story to tell about our wonderful town? Then get your story online! #EnjoyShorehamBySea are looking for contributors to celebrate all the wonderful things to do, find and discover of our past, present and future. So if you wanna get published online please contact us today.

 

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