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Sep 2018

ēast east + burna Old English (a) stream.

Population - 103,054.

Wetherspoon™s - Cornfield Garage : Former car showroom (2/5).

East Sussex Coat of Arms

Just a quick visit, this, since there's already been a sense of the place from up a height on Beachy Head but that's another story.

Eastbourne - From Beachy Head

Besides, this pair like to be all locked in with their jimjams on by 8 PM and, after a cocoa, it's lights out by nine having checked all the plugs, again.

That's a joke[1], of course, and an excuse for the lack of time lingering but enough to cement some international relations before a reminder of a golden age and no, it's not all about Eastbourne.

[1] Give it ten years.

Some random, town-centre parking has caused some disorientation so it's not quite sure which way it is to the sea. You could try and follow the sun or, even better, a group of overseas young 'uns, most of them sporting attire that looks beach-worthy.

Good to see they're not spending the rest of the afternoon in  Wetherspoon™s, tempting as it may be, but, get this, two 'Spoons here to serve the 100,000+ people in the surrounding area.

Eastbourne - The Cornfield Garage

This one occupies a former car showroom, which spent time during World War II as a naval training base, and the other is an  old bank. Now, Eastbourne has a reputation for an ageing population[1] so it's a surprise to find neither are called the  Pain in the Ar*e.

[1] Forty-three, actually, and just three years above the national average, double actually.

Turns out the youths are German so the opening Buongiorno! was a bit of a blunder even though they've nearly got a border.

Eastbourne - Mansion Lions Hotel

That explains them picking up the pace as they're followed down Devonshire Place where there's a reminder of the heyday that began when, just like everywhere else in the UK, the Victorians came with the railway.

Eastbourne might have a reputation for an average age well into the seventies but guaranteed temperatures up and above that, Fahrenheit-wise, and cheap flights in the 1970s were the reasons these seaside towns were shunned during that decade.

Eastbourne - Chatsworth Hotel

An old friend, as he is now, the Duke of Devonshire's family had a hand in developing Eastbourne as a seaside resort and they weren't shy about  advertising the fact.

There's more old-skool evidence down on Grand Parade with, get this, the busiest bandstand in the UK. Superlative work there by the people in PR since they can't claim the largest or the oldest and it's more of a concert venue, really,

Eastbourne Bandstand Eastbourne Bandstand

This 1935, Neo-Grec domed roof provides cover for cover bands, mainly, although there's more your traditional brass on a Sunday, when in season.

What's now known to be called a colonnade can accommodate 1600 bums on temporary seats although that's less than half of the original number. That's all thanks to the pen-pushers at City Hall, probably, and it's Health & Safety gone mad, right kids?

The serviceable, shingle beach is now home to the entire German, year-eleven student population, or fifth year as it should still really be called.

Eastbourne - Beach and Pier

That's not strictly true, there's still a big bunch of them up on Beachy Head on a field trip, probably, and while our teachers would call it a 'Geology Jolly', it's suspected the Teutonic tutors are taking this Erdgeschichteschulefeldausflug very seriously indeed.

The beach leads to the  pier and of course it's had a fire one says tapping one's nose. More than one, actually, and the latest as recent as 2014, which just about destroyed the not quite so big bit near the middle.

Eastbourne Pier

That left it out of contention for  Pier of the Year until 2016 when it fully reopened with a new owner, a shy, retiring type called Sheikh Abid Gulzar.

The local hotelier's plans to ban fishing and picnics, paint it all gold and then charge you at least a quid to walk along it had the traditionalists in a right tizzy.

Eastbourne - On the Pier

The objections resulted in the restoration reverting to an awful lot of the original, blue gloss, which it's suspected he must have picked up a job lot of.

What other reason than a depot full of Dulux™ for him to then go on and purchase Hastings Pier? That news, too, turned the air blue and expect their pier to go the same colour sometime soon, possibly.

Eastbourne - Under the Pier Eastbourne - Victorian Tea Rooms

Enough of the  old-skool remains to retain the charm but there's no sign of of his "Thank you for visiting Sheikh’s Pier" sign, seriously.

In case you hadn't figured, he's not a real Sheikh and is best described as an, erm, 'character' and what's wrong with just collecting football stickers or stamps?

Head away from the front to leave the, really rather marvellous, Carpet Gardens behind and if they're not already, they should be up for some annual, blooming prize or other.

Eastbourne - Carpet Gardens

There's another visual treat and much more imagination has gone into the buildings on Seaside Road than the naming of it.

Funded by the Duke of Devonshire, this mid-Victorian[1] development delivers more of a feast than the snack bars and takeaways, this time for the eyes.

Eastbourne - Seaside Road Eastbourne - Seaside Pie and Mash Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Seaside Road

If you squint a bit, this could be London's West End, say, and Eastbourne's East End is home to the pick of their theatres, probably. More Italianate in style, it's thought you'll agree, the  Royal Hippodrome dates from 1883 and provided the Summer Season entertainment usually found at the end of a pier when it's not on fire.

[1] It can be a bit tricky this architecture lark. If it's old but you know it's not that old and it's covered in fiddly bits, it's 1850-1900 Victorian, probably.

Passing the  Duke of Devonshire pub, this one isn't the other Wetherspoon™s but only because they beat them to it with the name, probably.

Eastbourne - The Duke Of Devonshire

The contents of neither can be commented on because it's just the odd glass of stout when this one's a bit backed up and a sherry at New Years, these days.

A random bit of Portland Stone, acting as an obelisk, is the main attraction in the pedestrianised shopping area that, sorry Eastbourne, could just about be anyway.

Eastbourne - Terminus Road

There's no real hint of the seaside here and, perhaps it's an age thing, but a hankering for the heyday of the holidaymaker and the Hippodrome's variety shows.

A little Krankie? Maybe just a bit. It's been a long day but I'll be fine after some chips and a nap.