Worthing
Communications

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Victoria County History

Publication

Author

T P Hudson (Editor), A P Baggs, C R J Currie, C R Elrington, S M Keeling, A M Rowland

Year published

1980

Supporting documents

Pages

103-105

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'Worthing: Communications', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1: Bramber Rape (Southern Part) (1980), pp. 103-105. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18224 Date accessed: 23 July 2014.


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Communications.

The hamlet of Worthing before c. 1800 was linked to Broadwater by a road following the line of the modern road, and by a footpath leading north from the north end of the modern High Street. The line of the latter was still followed by roads and a footpath in 1978. The Worthing-Broadwater road led to London via Findon and Steyning, and another road to Steyning lay through Sompting. A road following the line of Montague Street led towards Heene, and another following that of Teville Road and Tarring Road led to West Tarring. (fn. 56) Communication with London was greatly improved after 1802 when a direct turnpike road was opened from West Grinstead by way of Washington, avoiding the steep ascent of the downs at Steyning. (fn. 57) A turnpike gate was erected near the Teville pond at the north end of the town, (fn. 58) but was removed after protests in 1823, when the road between Worthing, Offington corner, and Broadwater was disturnpiked. (fn. 59)

The coast road between Worthing and South Lancing recorded in 1622 (fn. 60) was later washed away. (fn. 61) A new road was laid out between 1806 and 1808 by the Worthing town commissioners. (fn. 62) It was damaged by frost (fn. 63) and by the encroachment of the sea, and when it was turnpiked in 1826 the trustees were also made responsible for the sea defence of the adjoining land. (fn. 64) In the 1840s the trustees built an embankment to replace the Sea Mills bridge over the Teville stream east of the town. (fn. 65) The road was in good condition in 1840 (fn. 66) but by 1850 its tolls had fallen more heavily than those of any other Sussex turnpike; the trustees' financial plight (fn. 67) made them unable to resist damage by the sea which in 1868-9 washed away several hundred yards of the road. (fn. 68) In 1869 the trustees' functions were transferred to the Worthing local board, (fn. 69) which needed to maintain the road as a sea defence. (fn. 70) Damage in 1879 caused the road to be impassable for several years until it was repaired in the early 1890s.

In 1800 coaches (fn. 72) arrived from London three times a week; (fn. 73) four years later the London- Worthing coaches ran daily during the season, (fn. 74) and by 1811 besides two daily coaches there was a nightly coach during the season, (fn. 75) which by 1817 had been replaced by an early morning coach providing a return service within the day. (fn. 76) Later there were sometimes as many as ten coaches a day during the season. (fn. 77) One of the two regular London coaches ceased to run in 1843, (fn. 78) when there were coaches and omnibuses to Shoreham station, (fn. 79) and the second in 1845, shortly before the railway reached Worthing. (fn. 80) In 1791 (fn. 81) and 1812 (fn. 82) the Brighton-Portsmouth coach passed through Worthing, and the Brighton-Southampton coach passed daily in 1814. (fn. 83) Later services included those to Bath and Bristol c. 1832, and to Bognor c. 1839, (fn. 84) but all east-west coaches through the town had ceased by 1851. (fn. 85) The coaching centre of Worthing was South Street; (fn. 86) the adjacent area served a similar rôle in 1978 when much land between South Street and the Steyne was occupied by the bus company.

Carriers provided a regular wagon service to London by 1800, and later there were also regular services to Portsmouth and various Sussex towns. (fn. 87)

The railway line from Shoreham to Worthing was opened in 1845, and was extended to Arundel in 1846. (fn. 88) The poor service to London caused many complaints, (fn. 89) but was improved after the opening of the Cliftonville curve in Brighton in 1879 (fn. 90) allowed through trains to be run. Meanwhile there had been two unsuccessful attempts to obtain a direct line to London in 1865 and 1866. (fn. 91) The service was further improved during the early 20th century, (fn. 92) and in 1929 the journey took just over 1 hour 20 minutes. (fn. 93) After the line between West Worthing and London was electrified in 1933 (fn. 94) trains ran more often; six trains an hour from London were advertised in that year, (fn. 95) and in 1934 and 1938 fast trains in the morning and evening served the needs of commuters. (fn. 96)

Worthing's first railway station, which survived in 1978, was a small flint and brick building south of the railway line, the original eastbound platform lying east of the westbound platform, as at other early stations. (fn. 97) A larger station west of the original one was built in 1869 (fn. 98) and rebuilt between 1908 and 1911. (fn. 99) Ham Bridge, later East Worthing, halt was opened in 1906, and Durrington-on-Sea station in 1937. (fn. 1) Goods services were withdrawn from Worthing in 1970. (fn. 2) Carriage-cleaning sheds built at West Worthing as part of the electrification programme in the early 1930s (fn. 3) remained in use in 1976. (fn. 4)

There were a number of horse bus services within the town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, (fn. 5) and a service of steam (later motor) buses between Worthing and Pulborough from 1904, besides motor buses to Brighton from the same year. After 1924 one operator ran a service of 'Tramocars', small single-deck buses specially designed for the elderly. Motor coach services to London began in 1919. (fn. 6)

There was a weekly packet-boat from Worthing to Dieppe in 1814, (fn. 7) and steam boats from Brighton to the Isle of Wight called at Worthing c. 1826 and perhaps c. 1843. (fn. 8) Newcastle colliers unloaded on the beach in 1804, (fn. 9) and there were coastal freight services from London in the 1820s and 1830s. (fn. 10)

Footnotes

56 Gardner, Suss. Map (1778-83); Evans, Worthing (1814), plan; Topographer, iv (1791), 146-7; cf. Sompting, Introduction.
57 Worthing Rd. Act, 42 Geo. III, c. 62 (Local and Personal); Evans, Worthing (1805), 77-8; ibid. (1814), i. 32, 127.
58 Evans, Worthing (1814), plan.
59 Smail, Worthing Rd. 13, 16; Worthing Rd. Amendment Act, 4 Geo. IV, c. 27 (Local and Personal).
60 W.S.R.O., PHA 3263.
61 Gardner, Suss. Map (1795).
62 MPL 21(2); W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 460; W.C.A. Blew, Brighton and its Coaches (1893), 278; Smail, Map Story, 79.
63 Blew, Brighton and its Coaches, 278.
64 Worthing and Lancing Rd. Act, 7 Geo. IV, c. 10 (Local and Personal); W.S.R.O., QDP/W 58; Smail, Map Story, 81.
65 W.S.R.O., Par. 29/13/1; I.R. 30/35/46; M.H. 13/213, 11 Mar. 1869.
66 Rep. Com. Rds. [280], App. p. 447, H.C. (1840), xxvii.
67 Co. Reps. relating to Turnpike Trusts, iii, Suss. [1459], pp. 6, 11, 24-7, H.C. (1852), xliv; M.H. 13/213, 29 Jan. 1869.
68 M.H. 13/213, 16 Oct. 1868; 29 Jan. 1869; Suss. Daily News, 2 Feb. 1869.
69 Local Govt. Suppl. Act, 1869, 32 & 33 Vic. c. 124 (Local and Personal).
70 M.H. 13/213, 11 Mar. 1869.
71 Smail, Map Story, 83; L.G.B. Prov. Orders Conf. Act, 1876, 39 & 40 Vic. c. 201 (Local); ibid. 1891, 54 & 55 Vic. c. 211 (Local); cf. above, Lancing.
72 For Worthing's coaching hist. see Smail, Worthing Rd. and Coaching Times, passim.
73 Smith's Surv. of Rds. from Lond. to Brighton (1800), 3.
74 Evans, Worthing (1805), 117-18.
75 Mackcoull's Worthing (1811), 31.
76 Ibid. (1817), 67; Smail, Worthing Rd. 32.
77 Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1823-4 and later edns.).
78 Smail, Worthing Rd. 39.
79 Wallis's Worthing (1843), 26.
80 Smail, Coaching Times, 71; Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1845).
81 Blew, Brighton and its Coaches, 279.
82 Smail, Worthing Rd. 40-1.
83 Evans, Worthing (1814), i. 79.
84 Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1832-4), 1056; ibid. (1839), 718.
85 Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1851).
86 Mackcoull's Worthing (1811), 31; ibid. (1817), 67; Evans, Worthing (1814), i. 78; Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1823-4 and later edns.); Smail, Map Story, 88.
87 Smith's Surv. of Rds. from Lond. to Brighton (1800), 3; Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1823-4 and later edns.); Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1845 and later edns.); Smail, Worthing Rd. 55; Smail, Coaching Times, 96; Snewin & Smail, Glimpses, 108, 133-5.
88 Southern Region Rec. comp. R. H. Clark (1964), 51.
89 Suss. Express, 16 Aug. 1851; The Times, 25 Aug. 1879; 7, 17 Sept. 1895; W.R.L., rlys. cuttings file.
90 Southern Region Rec. comp. Clark, 51.
91 W.S.R.O., QDP/W 152, 154.
92 Worthing Herald, 9 Dec. 1955; C. H. Ellis, Lond. Brighton and S. Coast Rly. (1960), 171-2.
93 Clunn, S. Coast Resorts, 347.
94 The Times, 2 Jan. 1933; C. F. D. Marshall, Hist. Southern Rly. ii. 515.
95 Worthing Herald, special suppl. 31 Dec. 1932; C. F. Klapper, Sir Herbert Walker's Southern Rly. (1973), 202, 219; The Times, 11 May 1933.
96 Marshall, Southern Rly. ii. 489; Bradshaw's Railway Guide (July 1938), 218-60.
97 Smail, Map Story, 131; Snewin & Smail, Glimpses, 78; I.R. 30/35/46.
98 Worthing Herald, 22 July 1965; O.S. Map 6", Suss. LXIV (1879 edn.).
99 Worthing Herald, 9 Dec. 1955.
1 Marshall, Southern Rly. ii. 524, 527.
2 Ex inf. Public Relations and Publicity Officer, B.R. (Southern Region).
3 Worthing Herald, special suppl. 31 Dec. 1932; Klapper, Southern Rly. 198-200.
4 Ex inf. B.R. (Southern Region).
5 Breads's Guide Worthing (1859), 25; Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1874 and later edns.); Smail, Coaching Times, 147, 151, 160-3.
6 Worthing Surv. 211-16; Smail, Coaching Times, 155-67, 176-8, 215; Kelly's Dir. Worthing (1905 and later edns.).
7 Evans, Worthing (1814), i. 80.
8 Wallis's Worthing (1826), 34-5; ibid. (1843), 25.
9 Evans, Worthing (1805), 32.
10 Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1823-4 and later edns.), s.v. Lond.