The derelict mill race sluice, from the seaward side
|OS grid reference|
|• London||50 miles (80 km) N|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Tide Mills is a derelict village in East Sussex, England. It lies about two kilometres (1.2 miles) south-east of Newhaven and four kilometres (2.5 miles) north-west of Seaford and is near both Bishopstone and East Blatchington. The village was condemned as unfit for habitation in 1936 and abandoned in 1939.
Thomas Pelham, the politician and prime minister who also held the title Duke of Newcastle, owned land at Bishopstone, and obtained an Act of Parliament which allowed him to use the foreshore of this land for the site of a tide mill.Construction began in 1761, but Pelham died in 1768, and it was not completed until 1788. Three years later, it was advertised for sale in the Sussex Weekly Advertiser , and at the time contained five pairs of mill stones, which could produce 130 quarters (1.65 tonnes) of wheat each week. The exposed location was often a problem, and in 1792 large quantities of flour and wheat were destroyed when the site was hit by a violent storm.
Thomas Barton bought the mill site, and embarked on a series of improvements to make the mill more efficient. He constructed a new three-storey mill building, to house 16 pairs of stones, with which he was able to produce 1,500 sacks (190 tonnes) of flour per week. Ownership changed as a series of partnerships were created and then dissolved. Barton was in partnership with Edmund Catt just prior to 1800, but the London Gazette in 1801 announced that the agreement was no longer in place. Catt then entered into an agreement with his cousin William Catt (1770–1853), but William dissolved this in 1807. William Catt was part of a family who had many farming and milling interests in Robertsbridge and Buxted, and was a keen businessman. He managed the mill well, and it became very profitable, despite the occasional storm damage, such as that in 1820 which damaged the mill building, and washed away some of the mill dam.
According to the census data from 1851, there were 60 men working at the mill, and most of them lived in cottages which Catt had built around the site. He also built a school to educate the children, and although the conditions were rather rudimentary, a thriving community developed. The workers appreciated the facilities provided for their families, at a time when such provision was not common. After the railway line from Newhaven to Seaford was opened, a siding was constructed, which ran between the cottages, enabling large quantities of flour to be transported to Newhaven, from where much of it was shipped to London by sea.
The mill stopped in around 1900 and the village was condemned as unfit for habitation in 1936, with the last residents forcibly removed in 1939.The area was in part cleared to give fields of fire and also used for street fighting training. The site was not used for target practice by Newhaven Fort Artillery, though this story is common locally. The area accommodated vast numbers of Canadian troops during the Second World War.
There are the remains of a stationon the Newhaven to Seaford line at grid reference . It started life as either Bishopstone Station (the Victorian OS map of 1874 shows it as this together with a short branch line to the mills) or Tide Mills Halt, but became Bishopstone Beach Halt in 1939 before its closure in 1942. This is different from today's Bishopstone railway station at grid reference .
The Sussex Archaeological Societystarted a long-term project in April 2006 to record the entire East Beach site: Mills, Railway Station, Nurses Home, Hospital, RNAS Station and the later holiday homes and the Marconi Radio station (1904). Apart from the dig, it will evolve into a large collection of film, video, recollections and photographs logging the decline of the area.
Old photographs and paintings, together with a poem, show that the tide mill complex included a windmill.
Access is via either Mill Drove, an insignificant single-track road that runs south-west from the Newhaven and Seaford roads at approximately the point where one changes into the other grid reference(very limited parking, and access is via a pedestrian railway crossing at Bishopstone Beach Halt); or along the beach to the east of Newhaven Harbour.
The Tide Mills features in the 2007 novel A Kind of Vanishingby crime-writer Lesley Thomson. Two girls are playing hide-and-seek in the summer of 1968. Eleanor is hiding from Alice, who never comes looking for her. Alice disappears and more than thirty years later she is still missing. Much of the "action" takes place around the Tide Mills. The cover photograph for the UK edition published by Myriad Editions shows a shot of the Tide Mills.
It also features in a novel of 2018. Set in 1963-4 Change at Tide Millsuses a version of the Mill and village that is still standing. In practice it was demolished in 1940. A family from London revitalises the Mill's fortunes and the main storylines use local landmarks and contemporary values. The Author also offers a talk using contemporary images to flesh out the actual site and surroundings.
The Ouse is a river in the English counties of West and East Sussex. It rises near Lower Beeding in West Sussex, and flows eastwards and then southwards to reach the sea at Newhaven. It skirts Haywards Heath and passes through Lewes. It forms the main spine of an extensive network of smaller streams, of which the River Uck is the main tributary. As it nears the coast it passes through the Lewes and Laughton Levels, an area of flat, low-lying land that borders the river and another tributary, the Glynde Reach. It was a large tidal inlet at the time of the Domesday book in 1086, but over the following centuries, some attempts were made to reclaim some of the valley floor for agriculture, by building embankments, but the drainage was hampered by the buildup of a large shingle bar which formed across the mouth of the river by longshore drift.
Seaford is a coastal town in East Sussex, on the south coast of England, lying east of Newhaven and Brighton and west of Eastbourne.
Newhaven is a channel ferry port in East Sussex in England, with regular passenger services to Dieppe.
The Sussex Archaeological Society, founded in 1846, is one of the oldest county-based archaeological societies in the UK. A registered self-funding charity whose charitable aims are to enable people to enjoy, learn about and have access to the heritage of Sussex. This is done by opening six historic sites in Sussex to visitors, providing research facilities in its library, running excavations, providing a finds identification service and offering a variety of walks, talks and conferences on the archaeology and history of Sussex. Its headquarters are at Bull House, High Street, Lewes, Sussex. The current chief executive of the society is Tristan Bareham.
The Darent is a Kentish tributary of the River Thames and takes the waters of the River Cray as a tributary in the tidal portion of the Darent near Crayford, as illustrated by the adjacent photograph, snapped at high tide. 'Darenth' is frequently found in the spelling of the river's name in older books and maps, Bartholomew's "Canal's and River of England" being one example. Bartholomew's Gazetteer (1954) demonstrates that Darent means "clear water" and separately explains the other name. Considering the River Darent runs on a bed of chalk and its springs rise through chalk, this is not surprising. The original purity of the water was a major reason for the development of paper and pharmaceuticals in the area.
The East Coastway line is a railway line along the south coast of Sussex to the east of Brighton, England. Trains to the West of Brighton operate on the West Coastway line. Together with the West Coastway and the Marshlink line to the east, the line forms part of a continuous route from Havant to Ashford. The Brighton Main Line route to Eastbourne and Hastings, via Plumpton and Cooksbridge, shares the East Coastway line east of Lewes station.
Bishopstone railway station is on the western side of the town of Seaford, East Sussex, England. It is situated close to the coast, and about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the hamlet of Bishopstone after which it is named. Train services from the station are provided by Southern, and the station is on the Seaford Branch of the East Coastway Line, 58 miles 3 chains (93.4 km) measured from London Bridge.
Newhaven Harbour railway station is one of two stations serving Newhaven in East Sussex, England, the other being Newhaven Town. The station was opened by London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1886, although the line had opened in 1847. A third station in Newhaven, Newhaven Marine, operated passenger services until 2006 and formally closed in October 2020.
The Vanguard Way is a long-distance walk of 66.2 mi (106.5 km) from East Croydon station in outer London, travelling from the north, to Newhaven, on the south coast of England. It passes through the counties of Surrey, Kent and East Sussex, between Croydon and Newhaven, East Sussex. It connects the London suburbs to the south coast, via the North Downs, Ashdown Forest, South Downs National Park and the Cuckmere valley.
The ruins of the Chailey Heritage Marine Hospital stand to the seaward side of Tide Mills, east of Newhaven, Sussex, in England.
Newhaven Seaplane Base is today the derelict site of an experimental seaplane base at the head of the beach east of Newhaven Harbour, seaward of Tide Mills, East Sussex, England
Bishopstone is a village with a population of about 200 people, with the nearby village of Norton, located along a dead-end road west of Seaford, East Sussex, in East Sussex, England.
East Blatchington is a coastal village in East Sussex which has merged into the western part of Seaford. East Blatchington is associated with Tide Mills, and is sometimes given as an alternate name for the Tide Mills area.
The Seaford branch line is a rural railway line in East Sussex constructed in 1864 primarily to serve the port of Newhaven and the town of Seaford. It now sees fairly regular trains across the line except for the Newhaven Marine branch, which is still technically open but is fenced off from the public and not on any timetables.
The River Bourne rises in the parish of Ightham, Kent and flows in a generally south easterly direction through the parishes of Borough Green, Platt, Plaxtol, West Peckham, Hadlow, and East Peckham where it joins the River Medway. In the 18th century the river was known as the Busty or Buster, the Shode or Sheet, but is not known by these names nowadays. A bourne is a type of stream, while shode means a branch of a river.
The Loose Stream sometimes called the River Loose or Langley Stream is a tributary of the River Medway notable for the number of watermills that it powered in its short length. It rises in Langley, flows through Boughton Monchelsea, Loose and enters the Medway at Tovil. The river valley is deep sided, and there is much evidence of the paper and wool trades which once flourished here: the stream has been dammed in many places, resulting in many mill ponds.
The Medway and its tributaries and sub-tributaries have been used for over 1,150 years as a source of power. There are over two hundred sites where the use of water power is known. These uses included corn milling, fulling, paper making, iron smelting, pumping water, making gunpowder, vegetable oil extraction, and electricity generation. Today, there is just one watermill working for trade. Those that remain have mostly been converted. Such conversions include a garage, dwellings, restaurants, museums and a wedding venue. Some watermills are mere derelict shells, lower walls or lesser remains. Of the majority, there is nothing to be seen.
Bishopstone Beach Halt was a railway station in East Sussex, England that was opened on 1 June 1864 and closed on 1 January 1942. The station was built on the Seaford Branch Line for residents of the Bishopstone and Tide Mills villages and located on the west side of Mill Drove. The company that operated the trains on opening was the London Brighton & South Coast Railway, later merged into the Southern Railway.
Tenterden St. Michael's was a railway station on the Kent and East Sussex Railway which served the Tenterden suburb of St Michaels in Kent, England. The station was situated on the southern side of a level crossing to the south of St. Michael's tunnel, one of the line's main civil engineering features. Closed in 1954, nothing remains of St. Michael's today: a footpath and cycleway runs through the site.
Many watermills lined the banks of the River Wey, England, from the 17th century due to the river's ability to provide a reliable, year-round flow of water. These mills chiefly ground wheat, often referred to as corn, for flour and oats for animal feed though many were used in the production of other goods such as paper, cloth, leather, wire and gunpowder. The river was home to more mills per mile than anywhere else in Great Britain. The mill situated at Coxes Lock near Addlestone, Surrey, is the largest. There are many mills on the river's principal tributaries, such as the Tillingbourne, the Ock and some mills on the Whitmore Vale stream, Cranleigh Waters and Hodge Brook. The last commercial mill on the Tillingbourne, Botting's Mill at Albury, closed in 1991. Headley Water Mill, on the Wey South branch is still in business. Town Mill, Guildford still has a water turbine driven generator producing electricity for the town.
Media related to Tide Mills, East Sussex at Wikimedia Commons