WEALDEN HISTORY A-Z INDEX
The Wealden District is steeped in history that is hardly known in popular terms internationally but let's keep that a secret. Along the coast we have the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and Birling Gap where the coastguard cottages are falling into the sea and will eventually disappear.
Further inland we have Herstmonceux Castle and the Observatory. Then a little further inland and we have a very tall post Windmill and one of the oldest surviving electricity generation stations in the world. Battle Abbey is another site that is worth a look and and the castle at Pevensey.
The author of the Jungle Book lived a bit further north at Batemans and the list goes on ........ We'll feature more historic gems on this website as soon as we have seen them.
THE OBSERVATORY - These are the telescopes situated in the Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex. Research and monitoring is still carried on using these historic assets, famous for being situated on the Greenwich Meridian. This meridian is important for international navigation and timekeeping.
TELESCOPES - This is one of the telescopes inside the domes at Herstmonceux built by Grubb Parsons
HERSTMONCEUX CASTLE - This in another historic asset in the Wealden District that was going to ruin, until a Canadian philanthropist chimed in to save the day and turn some of the grounds into a science centre to help offset the costs of running and maintaining the complex. This is one of the largest brick built castles in Europe, though there are other splendid examples. Click on the picture to read more.
BATEMANS - Rudyard Kipling's house at Burwash in East Sussex was famous because of the writer's classic such as the Jungle Book and also because the author installed a generator powered by a water turbine to provide electricity for up to ten light bulbs. This was at a time when gas lighting had overtaken candles and oil lamps in the more prestigious houses.
WINDMILL HILL - This restored post mill is the tallest in England. Restoration was undertaken and completed with the help of a Heritage Lottery grant of around £500,000 pounds. Thank heavens. We almost lost this valuable reminder of how we ground wheat to feed bread to the nation in the days before electricity.
EARLY ELECTRICAL GENERATING STATION - This is a picture of a 36 horse power National gas engine that powered a DC Crompton generator situated in the village of Herstmonceux. Mounted on substantial concrete bases and secured by large steel bolts, this generator that did the rounds in Sussex, finally ending up powering a tram in Eastbourne in the 1960s, but not before being used to drive machinery for the Eastbourne Aviation Company between 1911 and 1924. This generator set is virtually identical to the one that was situated in Herstmonceux Museum around 1909, identified by the concrete base footprint. The pine match-boarding and electrical controls are also near identical in layout. This was because the electrical engineer who carried out the work was the same man: Charles de Roemer. For Charles, this generating room must have felt just like the one he'd installed where he lived at Lime Park, just on the outskirts of Herstmonceux village.
Map of the Wealden District
BIRLING GAP - These are the coastguard cottages nestled in between the chalk cliffs on the south coast. This part of the English Channel is also good for surfing, with some pretty impressive waves for sporting enthusiasts.