Interesting Facts and Trivia About Eastbourne, East Sussex

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- The Guinness World Record for firewalking was smashed in Eastbourne in 2012 (April 28th) when Lindsay Morrison became the 351st person to consecutively walk across two metres of hot coals. Her technique: To bounce herself over the coals like a person juggling a hot loaf of bread straight from the oven, she explained.

- The Carpet Gardens in Eastbourne were dug up during the Second World War so that they could be used to grow onions.

- Eastbourne lifeboat station is one of the busiest in the country, responding to an average of 100 call-outs per year.

- During the war, Eastbourne was the most bombed seaside town in England. Bombers, returning from raids on London and Coventry, would drop any leftover bombs on Eastbourne, using Beachy Head as their landmark.

- A group of 28 gym girls from Eastbourne, East Sussex broke the record for being the most people crammed in a modern Mini, completing the feat in 18 minutes at Potters Field in central London, 2012, and with four people in the boot they broke their own previous world record by one person - the previous record being 27 people, set in Eastbourne November 2011.

- If the main lamp on the Royal Sovereign Light Tower fails (the lighthouse 5 miles off the Eastbourne Coast) then an automatic lamp-changer will bring a second lamp into operation.

- Beachy Head has been an incredibly popular spot for suicide attempts since the 1600's. We use the word “attempts” as not all jumpers are successful in their attempt to take their own lives. The survival figure of jumpers is 5%.

- A telephone box was installed at Beachy Head in 1976, providing the telephone numbers for the Samaritans and the national helpline.

- It is said that the Black Monk of Beachy Head took refuge in the South Downs, avoiding capture by Henry VIII’s soldiers during the ethnic cleansing of the kingdom. He was later captured, shackled and thrown off the cliff where his ghost is said to prowl.

- Artefacts from the practice of witchcraft have been found at Beachy Head - a pewter candlestick with the witchcraft symbol "XIII" roman numerals for the number 13 and old spoons which bear the same symbol.

- The buses that runs from Eastbourne to the top of Beachy Head have the numbers 12a and 13, both numbers being associated with to witchcraft and superstition.

- History shows us that that there were 13 steps leading up to the gallows. Out of the 15 national parks in the UK, the south downs (Beachy Head) is number 13.

- Harry Ward, the lone ranger, served for 13 years at Beachy Head patrolling the cliffs for suicide jumpers.

- A NAZI film (The Hiding Place, 1975) was the horror movie of the year and told the story of Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp. Extras were paid £5 per day and some scenes in the film were shot at Hobbs Barracks in Eastbourne Road. The auditions were held at the Felbridge Hotel.

- The RAF were based at the Grand Hotel during the war.

- Beachy head was declared an area of outstanding natural beauty in June 1965, and became South Downs National Park on the 12 Nov 2009.

- The pinnacle to the east of the light house is named devil's chimney. The Victorian occultist and mountaineer Aleister Crowley either cursed or predicted that if the chimney ever fell, Eastbourne would perish

- Crowley began publishing the secrets of the golden dawn. These were buried with his temple banners and personal magical instruments in a cliff top garden at Beachy Head. In the autumn on 1966 the cliffs crumbled away and the box containing these ‘magical artefacts’ fell into the sea, and was discovered by tourists who were strolling along the beach.

In 2001 the devils chimney came crashing down. Those that knew of crowleys prediction feared what would happen to Eastbourne. A coven of local witches descended on Beachy Head in June of that year to ritually cleanse the area.

- In 2007 62% of all suicides verdicts returned for the whole of Sussex were in fact at Beachy Head

- Hitler ordered that The Grand Hotel was not to be bombed, thinking he may wish to stay there after conquering the town.

- One area of grass is worn down atop Beachy Head, where visitors look over the edge, a popular spot amongst suicide jumpers. This patch of ground is known as the launch pad.

- During world war 2, planes came in over Beachy Head, switched off their engines and dropped their bombs before the Cuckoo warning could be given.

- Whitbread hollow was nicknamed Frenchman's hole - the burial place of invading French sailors during the battle of Beachy Head in 1690.

- During the war, the seafront was closed and barbed wire along with tank traps were laid.

- There have been over 70 recorded ship wrecks around Beachy Head but this figure is most probably underestimated, as many ships did not need to be registered as small vessels. Not all of the boats that were owned by smugglers, illegally laden with booty, were registered either.

- By 1236 ship owners had protested against the British ruling that any goods washed up would belong to the realm when washed up on shores. A charter was passed by king Henry III that allowed the owners to reclaim their bounty as long the claim was made within 3 months of the ship running aground. There was of course a clause, that if any man or beast escaped the wreck alive the ship would not be classed as a wreck. This clause was created to stop the ships being deliberately seized and destroyed by locals.

This had implications that were devastating and the legal loophole became a licence to murder. Any sailors that were waged up alive we're either left to die or murdered so locals could claim the spoils legally.

- Bourne Street was a no-go area during the war.

- Politically, Eastbourne is a local government district. It was made a municipal borough in 1883, and gained county borough status in 1911. Since 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972 it has formed a district of East Sussex.

- The Eastbourne Monoplane was produced in 1913 by the Eastbourne Aviation Co., Ltd., England.

- What is the dialling code for Eastbourne? Its 01323

- The tank regiment were stationed in the Meads area during the World War 2.

- Eastbourne's earliest claim as a seaside resort came about following a summer holiday visit by four of King George III's children in 1780, Princes Edward and Octavius, and Princesses Elizabeth and Sophia.

- In February 2004, four bodies were discovered at the foot of Beachy Head, in just five days!

- In June 1965, Beachy Head was named an area of "Outstanding Natural Beauty".

- On the 12th December 2009, Beachy Head became "South Downs National Park".

- Local MP Mad Jack Fuller (1757-1834) raised money to erect a lighthouse. In 1828 he commissioned a small wooden hut with a single light to be built as a temporary beacon whilst the Belle Tout lighthouse was being built. Belle Tout was completed in 1832.

- In 1967, a tenant of the Belle Tout lighthouse committed suicide by hanging himself from the spiral staircase.

- There is a naturist/nudist beach sanctuary at base of Beachy Head cliffs just above the tide line. Holywell has reportedly also been a naturist area since 1979.

Whether you are a visitor to England or not, you might appreciate this English Trivia. Did you know the Queen does not require a passport to travel internationally, nor a drivers licence to drive a car in England.  The Queen also has two birthdays: Firstly, her publically celebrated birthday which we all celebrate on a Saturday in June, plus her true birthday which is on April 21st.