Worthing's Historical Features
Arms of the Borough of Worthing
The coat of arms of Worthing includes three fishes, a Horn of Plenty overflowing with corn & fruit on a cloth of gold, and the figure of Hygieia, the Goddess of Health holding a snake. They represent the health given from the seas, the fullness and riches gained from the earth and the power of healing.
The civic motto is 'Ex terra copiam e mari salutem' translated as 'From the land plenty and from the sea health'. (A floor mosaic of this is in the entrance hall of the Town Hall). Postcards are available from Worthing Museum.
Blue Plaques in Worthing
Basque 1937 – Situated at Beach House, Brighton Road – to mark the 70th Anniversary of a group of children coming to Worthing to escape the Spanish Civil War, know as the 1937 Basque Refugees
Edward Knoblock (1874 -1945) Playwright of ‘Kismet’ Lived in Beach House 1917 -1923.
Shelley - Situated at 23 Warwick Street - Poet & Radical Thinker Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 - 1822. Two of his earliest works were printed here.
King Edward VII - Situated at Beach House, Brighton Road - 1841 - 1910. Stayed in Beach House 1907-1908-1909 & 1910
Oscar Wilde - Situated at Esplanade Court, The Esplanade - In a house on this site Oscar Wilde 1854 - 1900 wrote 'The Importance of Being Earnest' in 1894.
Private William Cooper - who fought in the Boer War at Rorke’s Drift in 1879 against the Zulus. The plaque is located at 6 Cranmore Road, West Worthing (near St Dunstan’s Road).
Warnes Hotel – Marine Parade – On this site in 1899 George Warne 1864 – 1916 founded his hotel in part of York Terrace. Warnes was Worthing’s premier hotel. Famous visitors included King Edward VII, King George V, Emperor Haile Selassie and his family, Winston Churchill, General Montgomery, General Eisenhower and John Philip Sousa. Warnes closed in 1985 and burned down in 1987.
George Warne – 1864 -1916 – An early Motoring Enthusiast Promoted his new hotel as ‘The Motorists Mecca’ – Establishing the first hotel garage, or engine house in England. On this site of York Road (Marine Parade) in 1900. The garage was demolished in 1947.
Worthing’s Soup Kitchen - fine replacement plaque was erected on Provident House in Grafton Road. The Soup Kitchen has played a significant role in the town’s social history.
Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008) – Situated in Ambrose Place, one of the town’s architectural treasures. The playwright, actor and director lived in the historic Regency townhouse during 1962 - 1964 where he wrote one of his best known plays ‘The Homecoming’.
W H Hudson 1841 - 1922 - Situated at Huntington House, 8 Bedford Row - The well known writer on countryside matters stayed here and at No 14 on various occasions from June 1918. He started to write 'Nature in Downland' in 1899 in the house at Goring-by-Sea where Richard Jefferies, another naturalist with West Sussex connections, had died. Both are buried in Broadwater Cemetery.
Richard Jefferies 1848-1887 - Situated at Jefferies House, Jefferies Lane, Goring. The son of a Wiltshire farmer, he spent much of his childhood in Sydenham with his aunt. At 17 he became a provincial journalist and developed an interest in the economics of agricultural labour and poaching and from there began to publish successful essays about nature, from an overview rather than the specific. His finest and most stimulating work was written during his last five years in Worthing. He died at only 38 from tuberculosis at 'Sea View', Jefferies Lane in Goring (now 'Jefferies House'). As he disliked Goring Churchyard, he was buried in Broadwater Cemetery. In May 1939 the novelist Sheila Kaye-Smith unveiled a plaque in his memory at the house.
Leonard Hussey OBE (6 June 1891 – 25 February 1964) was an English meteorologist, archeologist, explorer and member of Ernest Shackletons Imperial Trans-Antartic and Shackleton-Rowett Expeditions. Lived at St Aubins Road, Worthing.
Worthing Station, Railway Approach, Worthing. This building was opened by The London & South Coast Railway as the first Worthing station on November 25th 1845. Threatened with demolition in 1971. Later restored by Frank Sandell & Sons (Worthing) Limited in 1988.
A plaque to honour six members of the 49 squadron who died in 1944 after crash landing on Worthing Beach was unveiled in December 2002. The plaque is situated on the 9th column of the pier facing west. The names of the crew killed were: Sgt H Varey, Sgt L B Bourne, Sgt F B Rees, Sgt J W Moore, F/O J A Thomson and Sgt G F Callon.
Worthing Pier. Site of the first Moving Picture Show in Worthing 31st August 1896.
Some Notable Inhabitants of Worthing
Edward William Lane, the Arabic Scholar who translated the 'Thousand and one nights' lived in 4 Union Place from 1849 until his death in 1876.
Frederick Dixon, the geologist and author of the 'Geology and Fossils of the Tertiary and Cretaceous Formations of Sussex', lived at 3 Union Place. He died in 1849 before he published his book. The first edition was issued in 1850 by his widow after several friends rallied round to help. The book was re-published by Professor Jones in 1878.
James Bateman 1811 - 1897 the famous horticulturist and authority on orchids lived and died at 'Springbank', Victoria Road.
Albert Hartshome, archaeologist, died in 1910 at 7 Heene Terrace.
Some Notable Visitors to Worthing
Jane Austen spent the late summer season of 1805 in the newly fashionable seaside resort of Worthing. Whilst staying at ‘Stanford Cottage’ (now Pizza Express) in Warwick Street, she found inspiration for the many scenes, characters and themes found in her final novel ‘Sanditon’.
On 31st July 1798 Princess Amelia the fifteenth and last child of George III arrived in Worthing at the age of 15 years. Her presence brought fashionable visitors flocking to Worthing.
In 1806 Byron visited Worthing.
In August of 1798 the Prince of Wales visited Worthing to see his sister (Princess Amelia). On the 7th December Amelia went home to Windsor.
Princess Charlotte visited in the summer of 1807 and stayed at Warwick House (now demolished).
War Memorial by Joseph Whitehead near Worthing Town Hall in Chapel Road. Bronze figure in military dress on a stone pedestal.
Memorial to honour pigeons killed in the Second World War. It consists of two boulders on a mound in Beach House Park. One inscription reads 'In memory of the warrior birds who gave their lives on active service 1939-45 and for the use and pleasure of living birds'. Another quotes The Book of Ecclesiastes: 'A bird of the air shall carry the voice and that which hath wings shall tell the matter'.
A Broadwater schoolboy has seen a picture he drew recreated as a mosaic in the town centre. Harry Cloke, 14, of Harvey Road, Goring, won a competition while he was at Broadwater Manor School, to get his design turned into one of the intricate works of art.
After being crafted into a mosaic, on Thursday July 31 2008, it was placed at the junction of Montague Street and the Montague Centre as part of a Worthing Town Centre Initiative to brighten up the area.
Sharon Clarke, Worthing Town Centre Manager, said: "We hope the project will be a catalyst for further public realm improvements in the future."
Bronze sculpture, Desert Quartet (1990) by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1931-1993) on top of the rear colonnade of the Montague Shopping Centre, Liverpool Gardens. Four large sculpted heads.
Stained Glass Window
A stained glass window was unveiled on 19th January 2009 to remind people of the scene in January 2008 when 2,000 tons of wood washed up on Worthing’s beaches, lost cargo from the Ice Prince. The stained glass panel was created by Worthing artist Chris Brown and is housed in the glass partition on Worthing pier.
Parsonage Row Cottages in Tarring High Street are superb examples of late 15th century houses of medieval close timbered construction. As the oldest inhabited dwelling in the Borough they have a unique interest.
Buildings of significance started to appear in the early 19th Century. Ambrose Place is the most famous example, but properties in Montague Place and Bedford Row, although altered over the years, still exist today.
Liverpool Terrace c.1830 was built as an elegant bow-fronted terrace of homes over looking a small park. Beach House along the Brighton Road is another example of a Regency Villa designed c.1820
In 1829, Park Crescent was built; an ambitious scheme, with an entrance in the form of a 'Triumphal Arch' of elegant design. The crescent as it stands today is only part of what was originally intended.
Heene Terrace, built in 1865, marks the western end of Marine Parade.
The Pier, 960ft in length and 18ft wide was designed by Sir Robert Rowlinson and opened in 1862. In 1913 most of it was destroyed by a severe storm but it was rebuilt in 1914 and its width increased to 36ft. The Pier remains a fine example of its kind and for more information see the book 'Worthing Pier - a history' by Dr Sally White. Available from Worthing Museum.
In 1926 the Pavilion was constructed at the shore end of the pier in an Edwardian baroque style. Renovated a few years ago, it is the venue for top class entertainment in Worthing.
The Ritz in Union Place was the original theatre and dates from 1916. It is still in use as an entertainment venue and undergoing restoration to its former Edwardian glory.
The Connaught Theatre was established in 1931 and with its 'Art Deco' facade presents first class plays and musicals throughout the year.
The Dome opened in 1911 and originally called the Kursaal, it offered roller-skating, tearoom, dance hall and billiards. Converted to a cinema in 1921 it has been showing films ever since. It is a listed building and more details of its history can be obtained from the Worthing Dome Preservation Trust.
Salvington Mill (off A24 North of Worthing) is over 200 years old and is a fine example of a post mill, but ceased working as a mill in 1897. Extensive restoration work has been undertaken to bring it back to its former glory and it is now in full working order. The Mill is open to visitors during the summer. Contact the Tourist Information Centre for details.
Shoreham Airport (Lancing) licensed in 1910 it is the oldest municipal airport still in operation, and has a fine 'Art Deco' terminal building. There is an archive collection and guided tours are available.
Broadwater Church is the 'Mother' church of Worthing and is described as the oldest, most interesting and most important in the town. It is cruciform in shape, consisting of nave with north and south aisles, chancel, north and south transepts and a central tower.
St Paul's Church in Chapel Road was completed in 1812 because the Parish Church at Broadwater was found to be too far away and inadequate for the growing population when the town became a 'popular watering place'. The altar is unusually at the western end of the Church.
Christ Church was erected by private subscription in 1843 and is a neat building of split flintwork with white stone in the Gothic Style. A portion of the town of Worthing was formed into an Ecclesiastical Parish and attached to the Church in 1855.
St. Andrew's Church in Church Road, West Tarring was built in the 12th century. The Church was used during the Armada as a signalling station and look-out as the spire stands 137ft from the ground. There are impressive mosaics in the nave and the southerly window will be of interest to poetry-lovers.
Just outside the town's eastern boundary is the Saxon Sompting Church. The tower is the most interesting feature of the building, dating probably from the 11th century. It is a unique English example of a Saxon Church with a Rhenish Helm Tower.
Just north of Worthing, in the village of Findon, the Norman Church of St. John the Baptist is built of flint, like most of the old houses in the village, it is an architectural jumble of various styles and periods with a chimney rising from the roof of the nave.
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Lancing, situated between the South Downs and the sea, has a long history dating back to the Stone Age
Boasting five miles of promenade and beach, the town centre coast road lined with palm trees, and a busy, lively town centre and café society, Worthing ensures there is something for every one.
The western end and northern parts of the parish of Sompting remain mainly rural with an abundance of flint walls, older houses and cottages.