East Sussex Information

East Sussex Information


The Wealden area was transferred from the eastern to the western division of the county, and a new quarter sessions established at Horsham in 1891, Brighton Town Press (brightontownpress.co.uk). From 1828 to 1891 there were separate county councils for the eastern and western divisions, with their respective headquarters at Lewes and Horsham. In 1892 the county was divided into seven local government districts, centred on Horsham, East Grinstead, Lewes, Preston, Brighton, Chichester and Hastings. Six years later six of these were merged to form districts of East and West Sussex (rural districts), Brighton having been made a city in 1893.

The division of Sussex into north and south was made for administrative purposes by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, based on the ancient hundred names, Brighton Town Press (brightontownpress.co.uk). The eastern division was administered from Lewes, and the western from Hastings. The counties were directed by separate county councils from 1888, each continuing to be administered separately under a chief constable. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, northern Sussex became a non-metropolitan, non-county borough, while the southern part continued as a county under a chief officer.

Following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, the administrative county of Sussex contained fourteen rural sanitary districts: East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Lewes, Mid Sussex, North Horsham, Petworth, Rotherfield, St. Leonard's-on-Sea, Steyning and Shoreham, Southwark and Bermondsey, Brighton, Chichester Municipal Borough (from 1835), Crawley (from 1837), Horsham (from 1839), Mid Sussex Rural Sanitary District (from 1873), New Shoreham (from 1875). ____ Taxation. Sussex has few major companies, exploiting the county's low-tax environment. Poor transport infrastructure—a lack of major trunk roads and the proximity of London to the south of England's capitalised industries—meant that Sussex has become an expensive location for many businesses.

This, combined with the low resident population in comparison to its large tourist industry, has contributed to the high cost of living in Sussex. In 1873 the administrative county of Sussex was divided into five districts locally termed "hundreds" using the rapes as their bases, with the eastern three becoming the Lewes, Cuckfield and Pevensey districts and the western two the Chichester and Arundel districts. In 1888 the six rapes within the remaining county were grouped into three rape wards.

Economy And Demography

Mining industry. East Sussex is the largest coal mining area in the UK, with two deep pits at Hookwood and one at Bodiam. There is also a lignite mine at Foulness which is linked by rail to a power station at Tilbury in Essex. The other major deep mines have closed (Wartling, Herstmonceux and Kilndown). Until recently gold was mined from Little Oakley Wood near Pippingford Park, but this mining has now ceased. Production of other metals, notably copper, tin and iron continues from a number of sites.

Economy and demography. The economy is largely dependent on tourism agglomerating around Brighton, Eastbourne and the south coast. Tourism accounted for 39 per cent of all economic activity in 2009, compared to 21 per cent for agriculture, forestry and fishing. Intensive farming predominates within the County's boundaries. Proximity to London has made Brighton an attractive business location. Economic output in East Sussex is dominated by service industries providing public sector employment, as well as the main area of Brighton and Hove, in the most eastern part of the county.


The Newhaven Fort is but one of the fortifications built in the 19th century to protect the UK from Napoleonic invasion. The original fort was a D-shape, which was extended around 1856 and again in 1895 with another battery. These were protected by a curtain wall that was 262 metres (860 ft) long. A review of the defences in 1860 concluded that it did not offer adequate protection for Newhaven and so a new scheme was put forward.

The existing fort was abandoned in favour of a new design which featured, an outer work on higher ground to create interlocking fields of fire at higher elevations. This consisted of two circular batteries capable of holding a total of 10 guns, covered by another two gun batteries built into the. For more than three thousand years, the south coast region has been populated by a greater variety of animals and plants than almost any other part of Britain.

It remains one of the most important areas in all England for wildlife. Birds include grey and red-legged partridge, golden plover, eagles (especially the white-tailed sea eagle), ospreys (the only regular breeding colony in England being at Selborne), goshawks, peregrine falcons, kestrels and various species of lapwing. The Conservative Party currently holds all of the available elected public offices at local government level. The leader of the council is Cllr Chris Williams. The main political parties that run for election in Brighton are: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and Green.

The Seven Sisters is a coastal area of Sussex centred around eastern end of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs. It is from here that the White Cliffs of Dover can most easily be seen, which gave the cliffs their name. Tourism is the dominant sector with tourist revenue accounting for revenues. The economy and demography of East Sussex can be found on a statistical page for each non-metropolitan district with the exception of Lewes. Distance between Birmingham and Brighton is 220 kilometers.


There are two other National Parks in the county (the New Forest and The South Downs) as well as one Geopark (Salisbury) and several areas of natural beauty. The historic county town of Winchester is a gateway to the New Forest National Park, which includes the Hampshire village of Totton next to the Redbridge railway line that bisects Winchester and relieves traffic congestion by accommodating most trains from Southampton Central. This line is scheduled for electrification; raising speeds and shortening journey times between Basingstoke and Gosport from May 2017.

South of Winchester, A33 trunk road bridges the Meon Valley. South Downs National Park was created as England’s first national park on 16 May 2011. South Downs is England’s only national park which does not include either coast or the sea. The 80 miles (130 km) stretch of land in the south-east is the remains of the Weald-Artois Anticline, a major geological structure formed by earth movements between. This region of outstanding natural beauty and historical importance is rich in biodiversity and home to several rare species.

Landmarks in Beachy Head include Beachy Head Lighthouse and Beachy Head Fort, as well as the view from the cliffs, which attract 300,000 visitors a year. The 1,115-foot cliff is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, and one of the highest in Europe. Beachy Head is one of the most famed local attractions, along with the flats along Normans Bay. These two beaches are located in the Seven Sisters Country Park, and there’s an area of shingle between them called Freya’s Flow.


The A21 is an east–west road from Maidstone to Tunbridge Wells then Hastings; the section between East Grinstead and Forest Row closely follows the route of Stane Street, from Roman times the principal road from coast to coast across southern England. Most of this section of road has been de-trunked, with responsibility for it divided between local authorities. The A22 begins at Godstone, as a trunk road it goes through Crawley, Horley and hires its name to the town of Haywards Heath before entering East Sussex close to Rye.

The A23 begins at Gatwick Airport before passing through Crawley and Burgess Hill then turns south east through east Brighton ending just above Seaford. The A27 begins in Keymer,. There are no motorways in East Sussex, but there are two main trunk roads. The A27(M) connects Eastbourne with Lewes and Brighton in West Sussex, and with the A2 at Faversham in Kent. The other trunk road is the A22 from London to Portsmouth that enters East Sussex just south of Petworth.

It then runs through Polegate and Hailsham before entering West Sussex near Henfield. Both those roads have recently been upgraded to dual carriageway standard. There are however many rural A-class roads, most of which are single carriageways. Beachy Head is a chalk cliff near Eastbourne, East Sussex, England. It is located close to the seaside town of Eastbourne and forms part of the area known as the South Downs. Hastings is a headland town with a seafront surrounded by the English Channel and its foreshore, home to around 90,000 residents.


Education in East Sussex is mostly provided by a partnership of the state run schools, independent schools and further education colleges. There are four state run secondary schools; Varndean School in Brighton, Eastbourne College, and Bexhill College and Hastings Technology School. Eastbourne college, which is a specialist Technology college, serves as one of only two such colleges for the whole of the South East Region. \\ \. The University of Brighton was formerly a polytechnic called the Polytechnic of the South Coast until 1992 and gained full university status when it merged with several other educational institutions.

The University of Sussex began as a department of the University of London known as the Extramural Studies Department, then became an independent polytechnic in 1969. An international survey by The Times newspaper put the University of Sussex in the top 20 UK universities, and entries in the 300s for world rankings. International business school SRM is based in Hastings. Grammar school education has been available since the fourteenth century. There are a number of schools and Colleges in East Sussex, including primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.


East Sussex can be roughly divided into three areas. In the north-east is the fertile coastal strip, bounded approximately by the South Downs to the south and the low escarpment of the Weald to the north. The coastline itself is mostly wide and sandy, interrupted by the more rugged cliffs of Beachy Head and other headlands such as Dungeness and Camber. This area is known locally as "the Plaice" (a particular fish commonly caught off this coast).

Eastbourne, Bexhill-on-Sea, Worthing and Hastings are all major seaside resorts in this part of Sussex. The main river flowing through this part is the Ouse. To the south of this coastal strip is a. The County has three state-funded grammar schools – Brighton College, St Mary's Ascot Vale School for Girls, and St Wilfrid's School. East Sussex County Council has 34 secondary schools, 26 primary schools and 6 special schools, however there are also many independent schools in the area.


All of the major trunk routes have bypasses or junctions with motorway, mostly constructed since the early 1970s. The A21 has a short section of dual carriageway northwards from the Kent border, and the road between Hooley and Godstone is dual carriageway. A21 London Road has a short dual-carriageway section dedicated to bus and cycle traffic (the M23 forms its other carriageway) in Croydon, and the most easterly stretch of this uses satellite navigation systems due to reconstruction work in 2006/07 under London's Congestion Charge zone.


Railways were the only public transport available to some towns until the early 1960s. The first passenger railway opened between Shoreham and Newhaven in 1845, and locals who used it modified their coaches with flanged wheels to allow them to use the track. A similar branch from Henfield reached Horsham in 1849, extended to Chichester (City station) in 1861 and Eastbourne in 1884. Until 1890 it was possible for passengers joining and alighting at intermediate stations not only to buy their tickets on the train but to board at intermediate stations where there was no booking office.

Some branch lines were worked by steam traction as late as 1940: the Crowborough Beacon Branch and the Lewes–Uckfield line were among them. Today, the East Sussex Railway operates heritage railway services between the coastal town of Hastings and the inland village of Bodiam. The only currently operational railway route in East Sussex is the Ouse Valley Viaduct–Doncaster diversion section of the East Coastway line linking Hastings with the South Coast, which is used by freight trains accessing the south coast ports as well as certain passenger services to London via Redhill.

The disused platforms at Newhaven station (actually located in neighbouring Brighton and Hove) still exist (although overgrown) and are the only examples of a Great Western Railway terminus in Sussex. East Sussex County Council is the highways authority in the non-metropolitan county, but several major and trunk roads fall under the responsibility of other authorities, including the Highways Agency for sections of the M23 (until its temporary abolition in 2015) and M25. The A22, which is located entirely within the county, is the longest classified A road in England and has sections which are dual carriageway.

The district formerly had a significant number of railway lines, both mainline and branch, serving various towns and alignments.  Many of these lines were closed under the Beeching Axe in the 1960s and 70s, including the so-called Mid-Sussex Line from Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells West which was closed to passengers in 1963 one year before the abandonment of the entire Lewes-Uckfield branch line. The railways serve the main towns in a similar fashion to the roads.

Until the closures of many branch railways in the 20th century, rural East Sussex was well-served by rail: few such branch lines escaped the Beeching cuts so that today only main-line services remain. The railway to Eastbourne is now operated by Southern (formerly South Eastern) and runs services between Lewes and Hastings. Otherwise the road through Croydon is pedestrianised, as is much of East Grinstead High Street, after which. The Chichester College of Higher Education has a campus at Amberley.

Relief And Drainage

The large scale features of the county are determined by the underlying geology. The Tees Lowland in the north-east and east of the county is occupied by the Whin Sill, a downfaulted limb of hard volcanic rock covered with glacial drift and contains numerous small lakes. The underlying Yorkshire Coalfield also contributes to the flat landscape, particularly in the south of the county where it has been most intensively exploited. The Pennine uplands in the south and west of the county are characterised by rolling hills, shallow valleys and gritstone outcrops with fast flowing streams such as Windle Beck running through them.

Brunwick Fell is a piece of high ground that rises steeply from around 400 ft. The relief of the county reflects the geology. The eastern half of the county is largely flat, though there are some low hills on the Suffolk-Norfolk border such as Bawdeswell Heath. This part has an altitude of between 20 and 80 ft (6 and 24 m) above sea level. The western half of the county is more varied.

History Of East Sussex County Council

From the time of the Local Government Act in 1888 East Sussex County Council controlled a number of public services including education, poor law, highways and public health. The main offices were in Lewes (home of the Quarter Sessions before 1889), but from 1934 new offices were built at Mountfield, near Haywards Heath. In addition to the Town Hall, the County Hall next to it was built in 1936 and housed the Public Health Departments.

The Local Government Act of 1929 directed that Local Authorities should be elected by universal suffrage throughout England and Wales. Prior to this the administrative staff were subject to control by elected members but in reality this independence was illusory. On 15 December 1936 the County was reconstituted as an administrative county and the areas of East Grinstead, Burgess Hill, Cuckfield and Eastbourne were detached to form their own urban districts. Hastings and Rye remained independent county boroughs.

On 1 April 1974 nearly all local government functions were transferred to seven new district councils. At that time six of these districts were within the boundary of the County. (Wikipedia). The Act provided for the election of a county council to run secular affairs. The Council was composed of thirty-five councillors elected by Urban and Rural District Councils, and by the Court Leet of the Cinque Ports (New Romney, Lydd and Hastings). The first elections took place on 8 December 1889 when a third of the councillors were elected with one-third being elected each year thereafter.

The Local Government Act of 1894, which came into operation on 1 April 1895, saw further rearrangements. In Hasting's place a new county borough of Brighton was established. This left Eastbourne, Hastings and East Grinstead — three thriving commercial centres — to constitute the rural area of the new East Sussex county council. At the time of the Local Government Act 1972 East Sussex County Council was abolished on 1 April 1974. The act provided for seven districts in East Sussex, Bexhill and Battle, Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Rother and Wealden.

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Eva Cloud

Author at Brighton Town Press

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