New book on Southwick history launched

Ted Heasman on his first day of work as a window cleaner, at the age of 14
Ted Heasman on his first day of work as a window cleaner, at the age of 14

A NEW book featuring more of historian Ted Heasman’s memories is being published by the Southwick Society.

Ted, who wrote many Bygones articles in the Herald between 2002 and 2013, is well known for his knowledge and research about Southwick

The book, More Memories of Southwick, will be launched at Manor Cottage Heritage Centre, Southwick Street, Southwick, on Saturday, March 15, from 10am to midday.

During his working life in Southwick, Ted was well-known as a window cleaner and the front cover of the new book appropriately carries a picture of him on his first day at work.

This latest book delves into the fascinating stories of The Green, Victoria and Albert Road, S.P.B. Mais, Southwick Fire Brigade, St Michael and All Angels Church, and Southwick Urban District Council.

Society chairman Mary Candy said: “Everybody in Southwick should have this book and it costs just £5. Ted Heasman will be at the launch in the Manor Cottage and will have some of his fascinating pictures of old Southwick with him. What better time to come and meet him and buy your copy?”

The Green is common land which probably originates in the Saxon settlement of Southwick more than 1,000 years ago. It once had a stream and a pond, and was used for grazing animals and holding fairs.

It once had a forge, a barn, schools and a wheelwright’s shop and still has several ancient houses. Cricket has been played there for 200 years and it has even been used a camp for Royal Marines.

S.P.B. Mais was a flamboyant journalist and travel writer who lived on the Green in the 1930s. He achieved local and national fame when he campaigned to keep cricket on the Green in the face of a possible ban.

During the first half of the 20th century, Southwick had its own fire brigade, which served valiantly in the Second World War both in Southwick and in the Blitz on Portsmouth.

St Michael’s Church, although heavily altered over the years, has been part of Southwick since Saxon times. Despite the attentions of restorers, 19th century fire and wartime bombing, it is out oldest building.

From 1899 to 1974, Southwick was governed by its own Urban District Council. These were the years when Southwick was transformed from a rural and maritime village to a small town and it was the Southwick UDC which guided and influenced much of this development. They saved the Green from development and bought land for Southwick Community Centre.