Thursday, 31 July 2014

Any more for the Skylark?

Eastbourne lies a little more than 20 miles along the coast from here.  Once best known as a genteel resort favoured by geriatrics, it does seem to have become more popular with younger people in recent years.

Seeing the pictures of the fire reminded me how these (mostly) Victorian structures are so peculiarly English - and I think that English rather than British is the correct adjective here.  I can't recall seeing pleasure piers like these anywhere else in the world - not that I have travelled that much of it.  My thoughts then wandered off to recall one of the pleasures of seaside holidays when I was a lad, a pleasure which I doubt can be found nowadays - the boat trip round the bay.

The boats used for those trips were built of wood, completely open to the weather and seated about a dozen people.  There would be a landing stage with large wheels at the seaward end, nothing inshore.  This stage could be pushed up and down the beach according to the state of the tide and it enabled the passengers to reach the boat for embarkation.  One man would collect the fares on the landing stage while a second boatman would help people off the stage and into the boat.  For some strange reason, these boats always seemed to be named Skylark, hence the cry, "Any more for the Skylark?"


Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Lovely nostalgic post; not what it used to be, is it? I don't know about overseas, but piers were certainly not uniquely English and there are survivors throughout the UK.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Thanks, Mike. I suppose I should have known about piers in Wales and Scotland... but I've never been to Northern Ireland.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I can think of one here in California that used to jut out over the water.
In most cases though boardwalks that paralleled the shore were built.
The one at Santa Cruz is still going strong, probably because it is at the shore.