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An historian writes

Southwards along the Royal Military Canal towards Cliff End

Southwards along the Royal Military Canal towards Cliff End

While writing this post about a recent trip to Rye and the Pett Level, I discovered that the 28 mile Royal Military Canal was constructed at a cost to the public purse of £234,310 which at the time – the early 19th century – was a huge amount of money. The more I read about the Canal, the more it became clear that parallels can be drawn between the construction of the Canal – which was beset by difficulties and overran in terms of both time and money, and was, by its completion, effectively obsolete as the threat of Napoleonic invasion had dwindled – and many construction projects today, proving that the ‘white elephant’ is no modern phenomenon.

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Rambles in Sussex

The cover of Southern Railway's 'Rambles In Sussex' booklet. From http://www.srpublicity.co.uk (click to enlarge)

While internet-researching the (old, pre-nationalisation) Southern Railway for information on Bishopstone Beach station, I came across a site demonstrating that what I’m doing here is entirely unoriginal. Once I’d got over the mock indignation and Captain Scott-like disappointment of knowing that, not surprisingly, someone got there first (although I didn’t eat any ponies on the way), it was great to see that the Southern Railway (and the post-nationalisation Southern Region of BR) was encouraging people to jump on board the train for a day out in the country.

In fact, in the days before television the Southern had a publicity department that issued a staggering amount of written information – not just on tickets or destinations but on pastimes, where to live, which school to send your children to, where to go on holiday; often in the form of wonderful Art Deco posters, many of which can be seen here.

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