2 August 2013

Shoreham Port has a rich history dating back over many centuries, but particularly the past 250 years. The Port has an extensive archive collection of photos, paintings, drawings and minute books from the Shoreham Harbour Act 1760 onwards. These include wonderful works of art and fascinating accounts of the everyday workings of the Port, recorded diligently by staff of the time. 

A selection of these archives was neatly presented in the book “Shoreham Harbour Insights” edited by Professor Fred Gray, assisted by the Port’s longest serving employee Keith Wadey, for the 250th Anniversary celebrations. Many of them are stored in Nautilus House and are referred to from time to time for historical and operational reasons.

In the past couple of years the Port’s engineering team has been making an effort to organise and preserve some of the more interesting archives, for future generations and also to be able to locate relevant information quickly and reliably.

Whilst continuing this work Deputy Port Engineer, Brian Rousell, recently uncovered a set of drawings of proposed extensions to the tramline network in Brighton and Hove dated 1903. He realised these were of little use to the Port, but were likely to be of interest to others. Brian Rousell commented “The drawings show plans and details of a number of branch extensions to the tram network around the city, some of which were executed but others did not progress for whatever reasons”.

Following an internet search on Brighton Trams, Brian discovered that a local volunteer society are currently attempting to restore what is believed to be the last surviving Brighton Tram – No.53. Brian continued “After contacting the group, I met with Guy Hall to hand over the drawings in order for them to present and preserve them as part of their bid to gain charitable status”.  

Guy Hall, Brighton Tram 53 Society commented “The maps are very interesting and show the proposed route down Montpelier road. I assume this was not built because a lot of houses were either to be demolished or gardens clipped! The extension from Seven Dials to Brighton station was also listed, but no connection to the Station/North Road route which was interesting. These are very rare plans and will help us to understand more about the history of our local transport. We are very grateful to Brian and Shoreham Port for these very unusual maps”.

If you would like further information on the Brighton Tram 53 Society please visit http://www.brightontram53.org.uk.