PETT LEVEL IN OLD PHOTOS
Cliff End, Toot Rock & Pett Level aerial view from the south. Date? 1930s; although there are sea defences in front of the houses, the sea wall eastwards has not yet been built. At the eastern end of the groynes is a feature that intrigues me: a pale area that looks like a wash of shingle left by flooding – in fact here it looks as if the (recently installed?) groynes had directed the tide around that end. In another photo (immediately below) there appears to be a new wall plugging the breach perhaps constructed with stone quarried from Toot Rock, from which a clear track runs alongside the canal. In the full-size photo, quite a few caravans can be seen scattered across the marsh.
Dave Rowlands has forwarded me some old photographs kindly lent to him by Peter Woodruffe. I have a few postcards of my own which I’ll scan (once I find them) and I’m sure there are many others around.
If anyone can furnish information about these images, please write in the comments box, I’ll append it to the photo, credited of course.
Toot Rock & Cliff End aerial photo from the north. 1931. A new wall has been constructed across the fan of shingle. The sea-front houses stop pretty much where they do today. The canal is full of reeds. Tamarisk has not been built nor has The Smuggler and Toot Rock is of course free of defensive structures. Just one house on Canal Bank below Toot Rock must be Whispering Reeds, but there’s a small cabin set well back on the Tawny Pipit plot.
Cliff End & Toot Rock from the south. Date? 70s? The sea defences west of the Old Coastguards have not been built but the caravan site is installed. The whole area is more vegetated then before, with trees along the Canal Bank and thorn thickets on the PLPT land.
All right, it’s not a photo but a drawing from Battery Hill dated 1880. Identifiable features from left to right: Marsham Barn, Martello Towers (distant), Marsham Fm, Stonelink Fm (foreground), Stumblets Wood, possibly the mysterious Jack Straw’s Castle (on cliff-top), Haddocks Coastguard stn.
A similar view from Battery Hill, Fairlight. Date? Early30s? Some houses on the Cliff End estate are in place. Battery Hill has recently been widened. What strikes me about photos from this era is how low and neat the hedgerows are, how few the tall trees.
Cliff End estate. 2 pages from “The Studio” magazine. 1930s
Cliff End from Chick Hill. Date? Later 30s?
Toot Rock. Date? 1920s?
View from Toot Rock looking west, Canal Bank, Old Coastguards, Cliff End. Date? 1920s? (No houses on Canal Bank below the Rock
January 1981: Christmas Cottage & Tawny Pipit from Toot Rock
Toot Rock, Canal Bank & New Coastguards. Date 1930s? (Toot Rock being quarried; water tank on top; Whispering Reeds – looking much as it does today – Christmas Cottage & Tawny Pipit on Canal Bank.
Toot Rock: New Coastguards. Date? All the windows, all the dormers, are identical.
Cliff End showing the Boat House, the White House and the westernmost extension of the R M Canal, now hidden in the caravan site.
Three postcards from Ken Brooks, showing encampments on the now-vanished landslip at Cliff End, sequenced in chronological order deduced from the sophistication of the structures.
Cliff End: Stonewalls. 1935. Sea defences under construction. Tong House on cliff-top and some of the “camps” in the background.
Female Great Bustard shot on Pett Level by Charles Cooke 6th January 1891. Photo by G W Bradshaw of The Memorial, Hastings (his gallery is still there) (but unfortunately Great Bustards are not.)