On the 27th January members of the public joined Eddie Start on a guided tour around Shoreham Harbour in aid of The Argus Appeal. The urban, coastal walk paid tribute to the artistic genius JMW Turner and his landscape painting of Shoreham in 1830. Turner was most famous for his romantic and atmospheric oil paintings which often featured the coast and the sea. In a poll organised by the BBC in 2005 his painting ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ of a British warship was voted ‘Britain’s greatest painting’.
Whilst the harbour has changed greatly over the years, the essential geography of the harbour entrance and the sea-borne trading activity within the area are much the same now as they have always been.
Eddie Start commented “We had a good number of people on the walk who were keen to engage with the Turner painting of Shoreham Harbour, which is on display at Petworth House until mid March. We enjoyed picking out the landscape features that still exist, the timber imports, the boat building and maintenance areas, Copperas Gap, the Roman trackway to the harbour and the St. Mary de Haura church in New Shoreham.”
Eddie continued “The lock gates are always an interesting and exciting feature to cross over; more so when a ship is passing through and water levels are being equalised. Our return walk along the beach side, with distant views to the Seven Sisters cliffs and stories of gas works, power stations, timber importers and steel depots completed an interesting circuit. One of our walkers remembered getting the rowing boat ferry from Copperas Gap in the fifties, as a shortcut to the beach. Turner would probably still recognise some of the landscape he sketched in 1826.”
Tony Parker, Director of Engineering at Shoreham Port added “The Harbour at Shoreham has a remarkable quality of light that seems to give occasionally breath-takingly beautiful skies. It’s wonderful to think that Turner appreciated Shoreham Harbour’s romantic and artistic atmosphere as much as we all do today.”
Katie Orchin, Communications Assistant at Shoreham Port commented “We would love to hear more stories and memories of the Port from local people. The history and community spirit associated with the Port dates back over centuries and it is always fascinating to hear personal reports and descriptions of how the Port has changed and developed.” If you would like to share your experiences please write to Katie Orchin at Shoreham Port Authority, Nautilus House, 90-100 Albion Street, Southwick, BN42 4ED or email firstname.lastname@example.org.