June 7, 2013 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith column published in the Littlehampton Gazette on May 30th. 2103
ONE AFTER another the old LA public houses called time and saw the last customer wobbling safely out onto the street. The Spotted Cow, The Gratwick, The Marine, The Terminus, The Locomotive, The Globe and, before those, there existed a whole line of public houses along LA’s waterfront. The line began with the Arun View and ended at The Nelson close by to the river’s entrance with The White Hart somewhere in between – three still very popular pubs. Dotted between those there were seven other drinking establishments including The Steam Packet, The Albion, The King’s Arms, Ship and Anchor, The Cairo Club, the short lived Mermaid floating bar and The Britannia making it ten in all. Over the years that number had shrunk to four including the new Empress Bar. However that total is about to increase yet again as one of the originals is about to reopen. The Steam Packet has been closed for several years now and appeared to be boarded up and derelict and I surely thought it to be a gonner, but after a long renovation period it is set to reopen this month and I will be there with friends trading stories and memories from back in the day when it really was a very popular haunt for the locals especially those with an interest in, or a boat upon, the river. Really great to see an LA pub opening its doors rather than bolting them shut as seems to be the norm countrywide these days.
THE MOVING FINGER writes and having writ…The beach provides the chalk and the tarmacked surface of the promenade, the blackboard and so the youngsters write, leaving their messages of love and hearts, profanity and some not very accurate realisations of certain body parts. Then, every now and then something a little different, appears. ‘Jesus is famous not.’ Scrawled in a perfect hand in large letters close by the old watchtower, uhmm, puzzling that one, must have been writ by the moving finger of an out-of-towner…
IT HAS been pointed out to me that there were not as many people in the public gallery as mentioned in last week’s column. I replied that the 300 Spartans reference was a metaphor not a head count.