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On the move
Most people move house a few times during their lives. But in rare cases they take their houses with them.
Belle Tout lighthouse, near Birling Gap, is one of the most famous buildings on the South Downs and has stood there for almost 200 years.
But by the end of the last century, the handsome structure was in danger of slipping into the sea because of continued coastal erosion.
In a remarkable engineering feat, the lighthouse was moved more than 50ft inland by using hydraulic jacks.
Workmen pushed the 850-ton building along four steel-topped concrete beams that were constantly lubricated with grease.
The idea was to make it safe for many years but erosion is taking place faster than expected. However, it has been designed so it could be moved again.
Moving buildings is not a new notion. One sensational example occurred in 1792 with a windmill in Regency Square, Brighton.
A rising tide of new housing forced its removal to a new site a mile away at Millers Road and it was placed on a specially made sledge. This was pulled uphill by 72 oxen in six long lines.
It was a sight to behold and it started a trend. A mill in Clifton Gardens was taken to Queen’s Park, while the East End mill in Sudeley Place was transported twice, firstly to Sussex Street and then to the Race Hill.
Sadly it toppled during the first move when being placed on the sledge, killing a small boy and a workman. The operation was postponed for nine months and the eventual move took three weeks.
Perhaps the longest mill move was from Dyke Road to Clayton Hill, where it was soon joined by another mill. The pair are popularly known as Jack and Jill.
In Rottingdean, the handsome smock mill on Beacon Hill used to stand further inland and was also moved by a team of oxen.
St Stephen’s Church in Montpelier Place, Brighton, had started life in 1767 as the Castle Ballroom near the Royal Pavilion.
It was converted by George IV into a private chapel but when the Pavilion was bought by the town in 1851, the Bishop of Chichester claimed the building and moved it.
The chapel was transported stone by stone and looked exactly the same as it had been. But the decline in churchgoing meant it was turned into an institute for the deaf and dumb after the Second World War.
It was taken over by Brighton Housing Trust and is now the First Base day centre. It has recently been restored to its original splendour.
When new reservoirs were built in the 1960s and 1970s, a number of historic buildings were moved and re-erected but I have been unable to find records of them.
The Rotunda café in Preston Park was moved to Brighton from the 1924 Wembley exhibition in London and opened five years later.
In Hove, the Jaipur Gateway was originally displayed in London at a colonial exhibition of 1886. It was presented to Britain by the Maharajah of Jaipur. In 1926 it was given to Hove by the Imperial Institute and was moved in front of the museum in New Church Road. It has since been moved again and restored.
The biggest collection of moved buildings in Sussex is at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton, north of Chichester.
Several historic buildings such as old tram shelters in Brighton have been moved to Amberley Museum and restored.
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