West Sussex Unwrapped – Shoreham’s Harbour

This month West Sussex Unwrapped looks at the life and work of the county’s largest maritime port – Shoreham – the county’s major gateway to the high seas and the world!

In total contrast to the usual pastoral images of a bucolic West Sussex, we and our partners at the West Sussex Record Office have selected films, photos and archival documents that look at the history of Shoreham’s industrial port.  Screen Archive South East’s particular contribution is an extract from Paul Plumb’s epic feature length ‘A River Runs Through Our Town’ – a film which captures the everyday, or more specifically, the every ‘work-a-day’ side to life in this coastal community. Enjoy the full-length version of Paul Plumb’s masterpiece here: A River Runs Through Our Town  and access the WSRO blog.

Paul Plumb was the founder and chairman of the Shoreham Cine and Miniature Camera Club. His film, ‘A River Runs Through Our Town’, dates from 1962 and is a good example of the type of film produced by club members. It features a number of vignettes of Shoreham life including a Rotary Club lunch, pre-fab houses, the fire station’s control room and, of course, the busy dockside.

Plumb also recorded on film the naming ceremony of Shoreham-by-Sea’s new lifeboat RNLB Dorothy and Philip Constant on 18th July 1963.  The lifeboat was named in person by Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent who is President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.  The film can be see here: Let Her Go

The work of the Shoreham’s Lifeboat station and it’s 1940s lifeboat “Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn”can also be seen in this RNLI production Shipshape  from 1947.

Another cine-club production made about Shoreham harbour is: Wandering Round the Harbour  This charming film made by members of the Albany Cine Club features nostalgic views of a bustling Shoreham harbour in the 1950 – with steam-driven tugboats, salt-caked coasters and looming bulk carriers negotiating the port’s system of locks.

Other films in our collection which explore dockland activity across the wider south east region are:

Dover Docks and Ashford Station  The major trading port of Dover is the venue for this film from Alan Stingemore. Dating from the 1970s this film captures the workings of the Kent port before competition arrived in the shape of the Channel Tunnel.

Victorian Story at Dover Docks  This film features rushes from an educational programme made by the Kent Educational Television Centre in the 1980s. It features more bustling activity at Dover Docks and the Hoverport in the days before the Channel Tunnel.

MV Ben Varrey at Littlehampton Harbour  This recent film from 2015 features the departure of the MV Ben Varrey, since renamed the Logimar I, from the port of Littlehampton, at the mouth of the River Arun, to her next port of call.

For our next presentation…

Do you remember going to the pictures? To the Rialto, the Ambassador or the Essoldo? If you recall sitting grandly in the circle, smooching in the flea-pit or running riot at Saturday Morning Pictures then next month’s instalment of West Sussex Unwrapped will be LIVE – a nostalgia-fest that you won’t want to miss.

This will be an on-line ‘live event’ – taking place on the 14th of September, and featuring film clips and a choice selection from the WSRO archives. So don’t forget your Kia-Ora, Butterkist and Paynes Poppets and enjoy an evening in the company of Screen Archive South East and the West Sussex Record Office.  Information about the screening and how to book will feature on the WSRO what’s on page or telephone 01243 753602.