Seaford, East Sussex

Seaford, East Sussex

Infobox UK place
region=South East England

static_image_caption=Seaford bay viewed from the Head, with Newhaven visible in the distance. Taken by Janet Richardson, 2006
area_footnotes=cite web |url= |title=East Sussex in Figures |accessdate=2008-04-26 |publisher=East Sussex County Council]
area_total_km2 =17.2
population=23161 (Parish-2007)
population_density= Pop density mi2 to km2|3480|precision=0|abbr=yes
london_distance=convert|67|mi N
shire_county=East Sussex

Seaford is a coastal town in the county of East Sussex, England, on the south coast, east of Newhaven, Brighton and west of Eastbourne. It has a population of about 22,000.

In the Middle Ages, Seaford was one of the main ports serving Southern England, but the town's fortunes declined due to coastal sedimentation silting up its harbour and persistent raids by French pirates. Between 1350 and 1550, the French burned down the town several times. In the 1500s the people of Seaford were known as the "cormorants" or "shags" because of their enthusiasm for looting ships wrecked in the bay. Local legend has it that Seaford residents would, on occasion, help ships run aground by placing fake harbour lights on the cliffs [ [ Lewes District Council website: History of Seaford] ] [Village Net : [ Seaford] ]

"The wily locals exploited their rights to flotsam and jetsam to the full, even to the extent of luring ships into the beach by lighting fires. Scores of vessels fell prey to the wreckers of Seaford shags. Grounded in the bay they were stripped of their cargos" - Lewes DC local history of Seaford

However, Seaford's fortunes revived in the nineteenth century with the arrival of the railway connecting the town to Lewes and London. It became a small seaside resort town, and more recently a dormitory town for the nearby larger settlements of Eastbourne and Brighton, as well as for London.

The traditional Sussex dialect pronunciation of the name is with both syllables equal (IPA|/ˈsiːˈfɔrd/, "sea ford"), but it is now widely pronounced in the Standard English manner with emphasis only on the first syllable (IPA|/ˈsiːfəd/, "seaf'd").


The town is at the mouth of the valley of the River Ouse, and lies on the hillside forming the eastern side of the valley. This valley was a wide tidal estuary with its mouth nearly closed by a shingle bar, but the tidal mudflats and saltmarshes have been "inned" (protected from the tidal river by dikes) to form grassy freshwater marshes (grazing marsh). To the east and north the town is surrounded by the chalk downland of the South Downs, and along the coast to the east are Seaford Head, the Cuckmere valley, the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, and Beachy Head. This stretch of coast is notified for its geological and ecological features as Seaford to Beachy Head Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The River Ouse used to run parallel to the shore behind the shingle bar, entering the sea close to Seaford. However, a major storm in the sixteenth century broke through the bar at its western end, creating a new river mouth close to the village then called Meeching but renamed Newhaven. Part of the former channel of the river remains as a brackish lagoon.

The town formerly had excellent beaches which were supplied by longshore drift constantly moving sand along the coast from west to east. However, in the early twentieth century a large breakwater was constructed at Newhaven harbour and the harbour entrance was regularly dredged. These works cut off the supply of fresh sand to the beach. By the 1980s the beach at Seaford had all but vanished, the shoreline becoming steep, narrow and largely composed of small boulders. This made Seaford attractive to watersports enthusiasts (since water visibility was good and there was a rapid drop-off into deep water), but it discouraged more general seaside visitors. So in 1987 a massive beach replenishment operation was carried out in which around 1 million tonnes of material was dredged from sandbanks out to sea and deposited on the shore. During a severe storm in October of the same year a substantial amount of the deposited material on the upper part of the beach was washed out past low tide level, leading to questions in the House of Commons. The beach has been topped up several times since then, giving the town a broad beach of sand and shingle.

The town's publicity website [ [ Welcome to Seaford publicity website] ] includes the following statement:

For many, the main attraction in Seaford is the beach. This has an obvious attraction in the summer, when the sea reaches temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius.
That is true, but many visitors do not realise that the beach is largely artificial.


Crime Rates In Seaford [ [ Crime Figures] ]

Politics and administration

From 1894 to 1974 Seaford was an urban district run by an authority known as Seaford Urban District Council. In the local government reorganisation of 1974 it became an unparished area which was part of Lewes District Council. This loss of independence was unpopular with Seaford residents and in 1999 the town became a civil parish within Lewes run by an authority known as Seaford Town Council. [ [ Seaford Town Council website] ] Municipal services within Seaford are now provided by three tiers of local government - the County Council, the District Council and the Town Council. Seaford Town Council is the only town council in the Lewes District which has a "Quality" mark of approval, a certificate system devised by the Government which praises the best run local councils in the country.

The Town Council has twenty members (four elected by each of five wards). The Seaford Community Partnership is a body incorporating representatives drawn from all three of the local authorities having jurisdiction within Seaford and from local civic groups. The Partnership seeks to advise on long term development strategy for the town. The parliamentary constituency of Seaford was a notorious rotten borough until its disenfranchisement in the Reform Act 1832 when representation was incorporated into the Lewes constituency. Seaford returned three Members of Parliament who went on to become Prime Minister. Henry Pelham (represented the town from 1717 to 1722), William Pitt the Elder from 1747 to 1754 and George Canning in 1827.

Seaford currently falls within the Lewes Parliamentary constituency. In the 2005 general election, Mr Norman Baker (Liberal Democrat) was returned as MP for Lewes. [ [ Norman Baker MP personal website] ] Baker was first elected as MP in 1997 and in 2005 he was re-elected with a majority of over 8,000. Prior to entering Parliament, Baker was a political activist who had been a member of a number of local authorities including Lewes District Council.

Seaford has been twinned with the town of Bönningstedt, Germany, since 1986. Seaford has one of the longest serving Town Criers in England and Wales —Peter White— who was appointed to this honorary position in 1977 by Lewes District Council.

Seaford boasts the westernmost of the South Coast Martello Towers, now a local history museum.

St Leonard's Parish Church dates from the 11th century.

Seaford railway station which serves the town is the terminus of the line from Brighton via Lewes and Newhaven.

Seaford Lifeguards patrol the Coast line of Seaford in the summer months to keep locals and visitors to Seaford safe while in and around the sea and beach.

Seaford rugby football club play in the county rugby union league, and play at the town's Salts Recreation Ground.

Seaford Town, the local football club, plays at the Crouch playing field. They play in the Sussex County League Division Two.


A local circular bus service is provided by Renown Coaches but also operate a service from Seaford calling at Alfriston then Eastbourne known as their 126 service.

Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company and Stagecoach Group operate the commuter bus services that mainly travel along the A259 through Seaford (although some services do travel through the Chyngton Estate on the east side of Seaford) which take commuters to either Brighton or Eastbourne both of which are effectively bus hubs where you can travel onwards virtually anywhere in Sussex.

The local train services are operated by Southern Railways, Seaford has one railway station in the town centre which is a terminus.

Famous residents

* Sir Anthony Blunt former keeper of the Queen's paintings who was revealed to be a Soviet spy, went to school in Seaford
* Comedian Dickie Henderson went to school in Seaford
* Val McCalla who was recently voted as one of the top 100 black Britons of all time and founder of The Voice (newspaper) lived in Seaford until his premature death in 2002.
* The astronaut Piers Sellers attended Tyttenhanger Lodge preparatory school, Seaford
* Twin sisters Connie and Cassie Powney, who played Mel and Sophie Burton in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, grew up in Seaford
* Paul Garred, drummer of the band The Kooks, grew up in Seaford
* Colin Wells, ex-professional cricketer for Sussex and Derbyshire, lives in Seaford
* Pete Thomas, world famous drummer was brought up in Seaford. Recently inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Pete is best known for his 30 year association with Elvis Costello.
* Tennessee Thomas, girl drummer of The Like and fashion model lived a while in Seaford before moving to California.
* Michael Olowokandi, former NBA basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves from Nigeria (most recently the Boston Celtics 2006–2007) went to school for a short time at Newlands prep school, Seaford.


Between the late 19th century and the 1950s Seaford was renowned as a "school town". The many preparatory schools and other independent schools were the main employers in the town.

Offering many "primary" schools (Chyngton, Cradle Hill, Annecy, Seaford County primary), from the nursery to the "sixth year" of education, the town of Seaford has only one state-run comprehensive secondary school Seaford Head Community College. Seaford is also home to a well known independent school (Newlands Preparatory and Manor) which includes a specialist unit for pupils with specific learning difficulties. [Newlands School : [ website] ]

The town is also home to a special needs boarding school called Bowden House which is run by Tower Hamlets Council.


The Romans are known to have had a camp in Seaford. In 1806–1808 a Martello Tower was built at the eastern end of Seaford Bay. It is the most westerly of the Towers, numbered Tower 74. During the First and Second World Wars there were large Military Camps in the town.

Seaford has seven Victoria Cross holders associated with the town:
* William George Walker — Lived and died in Seaford
* Cuthbert Bromley — Lived in Seaford
* William Frederick McFadzean — Trained at the North Camp, Seaford
* Geoffrey Charles Tasker Keyes — Attended Kingsmead School, Seaford
* David Auldjo Jamieson — Attended Ladycross School, Seaford
* Claud Raymond — Lived in Seaford
* H. Jones — Attended St Peters School, Seaford

See also

* Seaford Museum
* Seaford railway station
* Bishopstone
* Bishopstone railway station
* East Blatchington
* Alfriston


External links

* [ Seaford Museum and Heritage Society]
* [ Photographs of Seaford]
* [ Seaford Town Council]
* [ Seahaven FM community radio station based in Seaford]
* [ Seaford Lifeguards]
* [ Seaford Town Website, tides, trains, weather etc]
* [ Seaford Community Partnership]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Seaford (East Sussex) — Seaford ist eine Küstenstadt in der englischen Grafschaft East Sussex und liegt an der Südküste östlich von Newhaven und westlich von Eastbourne. Die Einwohnerzahl beträgt circa 22.000. In Seaford befindet sich das Seaford Head Community College …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • East Sussex — (Sussex del este) es un condado en el sureste de Inglaterra, en el Reino Unido. Limita con los condados de Kent, Surrey y West Sussex y al sur con el canal de la Mancha. El antiguo reino de Sussex se dividió en las regiones administrativas este y …   Enciclopedia Universal

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