Friday, 16 July 2010

Shoreham Port Open Day

Hello and welcome to my blog. Nice to see you again and I hope you've had a good week.

It's been glorious for weeks on our shingle spit but now the wind's picked, up the kite-surfers are back and seem to be having a wail of a time.

Talking of wind, did you know that one of the consequences of the prevailing south-westerly wind profoundly affected the fortunes of the port and town for centuries?

Shoreham has long been a notable port, yet until relatively recently, struggled with the effects of longshore drift. Basically longshore drift occurs where waves hit the shore at an angle, (due to the prevailing wind), moving beach material up and along the beach in a zig-zag pattern. Where there's a break in the coastline, for instance at a river mouth, the waves deposit the material, forming ridge or islands which can develop into a Spit. The actual size and shape of the Spit will be determined by nature and can change dramatically over time. In our case, the waves moved the beach material eastward until it reached the mouth of the River Adur, and dumped it there. This created an obstacle at the river mouth, forcing the Adur to change direction and find another exit to the sea.

This effected Shoreham Port in two ways; the Harbour entrance moved with the river mouth and shingle deposits were created around its' approaches. Indeed in 1698, when shipbuilding was Shorehams' main industry, the Navy Board commented, "whether you go in or out, you meet with great difficulties and hazard." Five years later, this problem was exacerbated by two major storms, the debris from which choked the Harbour. Subsequently a new Harbour entrance was cut through at New Shoreham in 1703. Unfortunately, the natural process of longshore drift continued unchecked, so fifty years later that entrance had moved almost 4 miles east.

This situation caused local merchants enough concern to petition Parliament, and in 1760 an Act was passed to construct a new Harbour entrance protected by piers. Sadly, due to inadequate workmanship, the piers were undermined during a storm. Hence, the Harbour entrance began to creep eastward again and by 1815, was 1.5 miles east of its' 1760 position. Thus in 1816, a further Act of Parliament was passed declaring that the entrance should be re-built. Work commenced on a position immediately south of Kingston Church, and the new Harbour entrance was opened five years later. It's remained there ever since and Shoreham is now a busy and vibrant commercial port and England's number one port for scallop landings.

This Sunday, 18th July, Shoreham Port has an open day to celebrate 250 years as "part of the local community." Co-incidentally, it's also 250 years since the passing of the 1760 Act.

The event starts at 10am, ends at 4pm and includes:

an air-sea rescue demonstration,
catamaran trips along the canal,
nautical and diving displays,
live entertainment,
display of various ships, such as the steamship Shieldhall and RN Mine
Countermeasures Vessel,
exhibition shed,
and children's activities.

All proceeds from car-parking charges and programmes will go to selected local charities.

I regularly hear the sound of ships horns in the garden, so I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at the port. I hope you can join us, but if you can't, I'll show you what you missed next week.

Have a great weekend and see you next week. Ta-ra.

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