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|A Straight Line Walk Across Brighton
by Paul K Lyons
33 - From a fishy Kemble to a capsized Sally Jane not via Millionaires' Row beach
At the west end of the esplanade, on the beach side, I find the strange premises of Hove Deep Sea Anglers Club. Most of the club hut is a low white-painted building with a flat roof, but its eastern extension is a small circular brick structure with a couple of windows. The hut itself was built in 1922, but the extra bit dates from the early 1980s. Designed by Christopher Dodd, the extension is supposed to replicate the look of a martello tower. It won a best new building award sponsored by Hove Council and Hove Civic Society. Ted Kemble is one of the club's members. He was a taxi driver for 15 years, but is now a Brighton and Hove City Councillor. He also acts as environment spokesperson for the Conservative group. Moreover, Kemble is a freemason. A fact which leads me to a fishy inconsistency. In 2002, the Brighton Argus ran a story about the registered interests of City councillors. It read as follows: 'Anyone who thinks city councillors are a masonic mafia will be disappointed this week. All 77 members of Brighton and Hove City Council - there is one vacancy - have signed a register of interests. There is only one freemason, Labour councillor Andy Durr, who has written a masonic history.' But, as far as I can tell, Kemble was a councillor then too.
Beyond the anglers club house is a metalled car park for about 40 vehicles encroaching on the beach, and then - very much blocking my 450 northing route - is a fence stretching from the east end of some houses down to the low water mark. A notice says: 'Private - strictly residents only'. These properties are special: originally called Hove Seaside Villas and built around 1910 with concrete blocks and railway sleepers, they own their own (not very private) stretches of beach. The Paget Baxters lived in number 1, which once had a tennis court and rose garden; and the theatre and film producer Oscar Lewenstein, who grew up in number 9, returned later in life to live at number 11. Nowadays, the villas are collectively known as Millionaire's Row, for Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) and Zoe Ball have two or three of them joined together making one grand residence - called HMS House. Other villas are also owned by celebrities, such as Nick Berry, one time star of 'Eastenders' and 'Heartbeat', and Paul McCartney. I can only look through the fencing, but a Guardian interview with Norman Cook in September 2004 reveals quite a lot about living in Millionaires' Row.
Approximately at this point, the 450 northing is already crossing sea water, especially at high tide, and won't hit land again until several miles west in Shoreham. However, since, for a good part of my walk, my route has taken me north and south of the exact line, I feel I've a certain amount of leeway as to when and where I finish the walk, and decide to continue for a short while. Because of the private beaches, I have to go round to the north of Millionaire's Row. This takes me along Basin Road South, past an older-looking building of brick and wood panels, and close by the wharves of Aldrington Basin, the east end of which is less than 100 metres from Hove lagoon. Aldrington Basin, constructed in 1850s, is considered a section of Shoreham Harbour but, nevertheless, is administered as part of Hove. The whole area around the harbour and wharves is fenced off, but an opening leads to customer parking for Brighton & Newhaven Fish Sales - 'a family run business supplying fresh fish and shellfish direct from our own boats and local fish fleet'. At the quayside, I can see two fishing boats. One is the Sara Lena, built in 1990 and based at Brixham.
The other vessel I can see is the Sally Jane, based here in Shoreham. Eight years ago, right here, at this spot, she capsized. An inspector's report on the accident concluded as follows: 'A twin beam trawler of 11m registered length, capsized at about 13:00 on 27 July 1998 while alongside in the Aldrington Basin of Shoreham harbour. At the time, the crew were repairing both sets of fishing gear which had been hauled up to the derrick heads. The crew of three abandoned the vessel when they saw it was going to capsize. Weather conditions were good and were not a factor in the accident. No one was injured. The vessel capsized because it had inadequate transverse stability for the operation in hand. There was insufficient data on the condition of the vessel before she capsized, to determine why the stability was deficient.'
by Paul K Lyons
A Straight Line Walk Across Brighton - along the 450 northing
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