Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Today was our last full day in Eastbourne, as you can tell by the imaginative title of this post.
We had thought of going to Battle to see some of the 1066 history, but we both felt sight-seen out and history fatigued, so we decided to continue the family history trail. I went to the library to track down the old street directories that would tell us the street number of the butcher shop in Seaside, where our father had said his family had either lived above or next door to when he was born. (Seaside, incidentally, is the name of a road that begins life as Seaside Road, and then becomes simply Seaside, a strange name, as my father said, for a road with no title and not by the seaside by at least a couple of blocks.)
The butcher was at 338 Seaside, but there was no record of Dad’s family having lived there, or anywhere else in Eastbourne in 1932. I was confused, but the library man told me their name would only come up in the directory if they had owned the property. If they’d been lodgers, the name of the owner would have been shown. OK so that solved that mystery.
The next step was to find the place. That was pretty easy. It was on the same bus route as the route to our Aunt’s place so as, that’s where we were intending to go, we headed off in that direction. We found the address, duly took photos and then went off to find another street they’d lived in.
This was Ecmod Road, which was a new street that had been built by the bus company our grandfather had worked for (Eastbourne Corporation Motor Omnibus Department – Ecmod).
We also found one of Dad’s early schools, and the staff there were lovely, invited us in and offered to look through their old admissions books to see if they could find his records. Unfortunately they couldn’t because a lot of their old records had been destroyed by a flood, but we appreciated them taking the time to look for us.
We met our Aunt and cousin on their way into town. They took us on a bit of a tour of the area, including showing us the house our Dad was born in. Not the same one as he’d said. We think we believe our Aunt’s account simply because she was older when he was born and ought to know where she’d lived.
We had a lovely afternoon with her and our cousin in town, and then met up with another cousin and his wife, before waiting half an hour for a bus that was running very late because ‘we’re busy and the timetable is ****’.
It was great to see our Aunt for the first time in almost 20 years and it was sad to have to leave. There’s so much more I’d like to have asked about my Dad. And I’d love to get to know her better – she’s the only sibling either of our parents have.
She was quite adamant that Lil Sis looked like Dad and I didn’t look like anyone. I was kicking myself on the way back for forgetting to show Bear to her. I’d love to know if she had any stories about him, or if she even remembered him.
I must remember to send her a fridge magnet from home. She has a collection that rivals mine. (I’ve added to mine quite a lot this last couple of weeks.)