Thursday 11 August 2022

Eastbourne Exclusion Epistle (2)

Spread-Out Southdown

Yesterday, fbb explored some of the background to public transport in Eastbourne. He looked at (briefly) the railway station and Terminus Road (BLUE), traditional home of the Corporation buses, and, round the corner, the "Central Coach Station" (ORANGE), presumably well used in the past but less so today. He also looked at the two Corporation bus depots, the original on Churchdale Road, later replaced by Birch Road. These are depots., however, with no passenger facilities.

We now move to Southdown (GREEN) which had THREE sites in the town.

Now, fbb is no Southdown expert (shame on him) except as a great admirer of the Company's "panache", so much of what you read below will the the best than can be extracted from a huge amount of "stuff" on line. Sadly the majority of bus enthusiasts are really only interested in the vehicles thus there are very few who indulge in the minutiae of depots and bus stations. (shame on them!)

Royal Parade (map, top right) was the most difficult to resolve. But this photo ...
... of a Maidstone and District coach is captioned as turning out of Beach Road, having been despatched to the Royal Parade depot because the coach station and Southdown's other locations would be too busy for a motor "laying over" on a day trip. The depot, affirms the caption, is on Royal Parade immediately to the driver's left.

Well, here is the beach end of Beach Road, which looks right ...
... and, obediently, just round the corner ...
... is a block of flats which doesn't match the rest of the houses.

Ergo, the site of Royal Parade Southdown depot!
There are pictures of buses inside the depot ...
... but nothing that clearly show the frontage.


Then we move to Cavendish Place. The name is, of course, the family name of the Dukehood of Devonshire, his dukeship being seated at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire ...
There are posh Cavendish Places in Bath and London but whether the Eastbourne one has any link to the aristocracy is debatable. It was probably so named to sound posh!

Anyway, were you (back then) to drive north along Cavendish Place from the seafront you would soon espy this beauty, seen in pictures after its closure/
Behind the elegant art-deco booking and office block, lay a plain inelegant tin fronted bus shed ...
... still visible below despite the builders' blue barriers.
The depot was entered from the rear on Susans Road, where now we find a very boring block of flats with and a hole leading to its car parking area.
From the Google Earth view on Cavendish Place, you can get some idea if how the site worked.
Tragically, and in a disgraceful act of architectural vandalism, the art deco block was demolished ...
Weep, weep; snivel snivel!

fbb guesses that this was Southdown's exclusive coach station, used for long distance express and excursion coach departures. In the picture of coaches (above) there are folk waiting under a rudimentary shelter for their steed,  joint working with Midland Red back to Brum - or similar!

Hence the booking office!

fbb does not know whether Southdown also called at the "official" coach station.
Then, just close by, on Pevensey Road, was the Southdown bus station. Back in "the good old days", when companies were proud of their total service to their customers (they even provided printed timetable books, unbelievably!), most towns would boast a bus station, often on the forecourt of the bus garage.

Here is Southdown on Pevensey Road ...
... proud and grand!

Buses entered from the parallel Langney Road, but fbb has failed totally to work out how they did it as there is no obvious gap!
Something has clearly filled the historic entrance gap - possibly the frontage of the "Cameo" "nite spot". The dome bongs to a (closed?) cinema.

But if we return to Pevensey Road ...
...  back in the happy halcyon days of the gorgeous Southdown - and then take a similar sighting via Streetview today ...
... the wonderful bus station structure is still there. The holes have been filled in and the distinguished entrance leading to the upstairs offices has been obliterated - but the basic building remains.

fbb wonders how many Eastbournites, trudging along Pevensey Road with their bags of shopping, would ever know that they are passing a formerly busy bus station - now lost for ever in favour of impersonal streetside shelters elsewhere in the town.

But it is the current arrangements that have aroused the ire of Rodney as he sees increasing difficulty in accessing public transport in the town.
Is he right?

We shall see tomorrow.

Yellow Coaches Snippet
To complete the saga, the name Yellow Coaches has been bought by Xelabus and will not be part of the National Express deal.

Ugly - Or What?
The vehicle is specified in the second half of the the paragraph below.
More succinctly, the bus was described by a combination of Twitterers as

"An ugly pregnant tadpole on Botox!

 Next Eastbourne blog : Friday 12th August 


  1. Unfortunately we will have to get used to ugly bus fronts (one might say we have already with the latest offerings from Wrights) as the Metrocity boasts the TfL specified front which is safer for pedestrians.

  2. The South Eastern traffic commissioners office was in Eastbourne in Ivy Terrace

  3. According to an internet source:
    The 7th Duke of Devonshire inherited a considerable amount of property in Eastbourne from his grandfather, and from his wife Elizabeth Compton of Compton Place. He saw through the development of Eastbourne in the 19th century with its parks, baths and squares and is commemorated by a statue at the top of Devonshire Place.