Fort Defiance, memories no bulldozer can destroy…

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September 25, 2014 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette on September 28th. 2014

FORT DEFIANCE would be a good name for the ruins of the old west bank Napoleonic fort. I have a vague schoolboy recollection of tipper lorries, I think they belonged to Mr Page,  loaded with broken bricks and shattered concrete dustily roaring away from the ruins of the  old fort and together with my mates bemoaning the part destruction of one of our favourite playgrounds. Unsafe, they claimed, dangerous they said, not too sure who ‘they’ were back in the day and I do not recall anyone ever being hurt there and I doubt that such destruction of an important historical site on so flimsy a ground would, in these more enlightened times, be tolerated. As the times change a dedicated group of volunteers have come forward and are determined to restore as much as possible of this important military outpost built to preserve us from the French – perhaps we should still think to have one – and currently encrusted with ivy and home to blackbirds, insects, and rabbits. Walking over the West Beach today and only a very short distance from the ruined fort, I got up close and personal to a Kestrel sitting on the sign declaring it to be a conservation area. No camera with me of course…

 CONGRATULATIONS to the owners of The Contented Pig, the new business in the High Street in the former premises of the pasty shop and the noodle bar. Not only for keeping the lovely old iconic gold lettered Home & Colonial store sign but also for matching the design with their new one. A little bit of the old High Street preserved.

MORE good news is that The Arun View will be reopening in October so we look forward to Willie Austen and the smell and taste of some good food and fine company. Great to see the beginning of the end of the flood defence work and the rising from the ashes of one of our sorely missed local business enterprises.

 AND SO to autumn of which Robert Frost wrote: ‘My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.’


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