From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present


West Sussex
50° 48′ 33.77″ N, 0° 32′ 27.2″ W

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Littlehampton is a small seaside town and resort on the south coast, in the Arun district of West Sussex.

The Littlehampton area has been settled since pre-historic times, and was also settled by the Romans. In the Domesday Book of 1086, it was known as a small hamlet called Hantone. It is thought to have been a small fishing community. In 1100, it was known as Hanton, and was given to the Abbey of St Martin de Seez in Normandy, who owned Littlehampton until the early 15th century when the Earls of Arundel took ownership.

Littlehampton slowly developed as a fishing port, the river Arun kept silting up which made it difficult for boats to utilize the river. A wooden harbour was built in 1735 alongside a new river mouth cut. The large fishing fleets of the 18th century bypassed the harbour, while independent fishing utilized the harbour, this led to the town developing a thriving holiday location, with Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Constable spending time at the port and promoting the town.

The town grew in size, a railway line was built and the small population in the early 19th century grew tenfold by the 20th century. It became known as the childrens paradise in the 1920's.

After World War II, large scale housing was built on the outskirts of town, swallowing surrounding villages. The fishing industry died down, while boat building became a major industry. In 1967, the first Blue Peter lifeboat was housed in Littlehampton.

Today the Port of Littlehampton is home to manly pleasure craft. Along the sea front, the wide promenade is home to Britains longest bench.