For the first three days, Squidgeworth and I were the guests of Jay Dixon, a friend of mine who lives in Eastbourne. She was kind enough to take us around to visit some historical places of interest in the area, including the Redoubt Fortress, a quaint little town called Alfriston, Firle Place, and Chartwell.
Unfortunately, I could not get my laptop to work with her Wifi system, so I had to go cold turkey from the Internet, which was instrumental later on when I arrived in London at my rental flat. It turns out that the previous renters of the flat I was scheduled for had trashed the place, and the company had switched me to another one, but I didn’t get the message because of my Internet blackout. It was a bit harrowing at first, but I was delighted that the flat they switched me to was the one I stayed in last year, near Baker Street, so I already knew the ropes. (I wanted this one, but at the time I was booking, it was already taken. There must have been a cancellation.)
Eastbourne: The Redoubt
The Redoubt is a circular military fortress that was built in 1804 when it was rumored that Napoleon had plans to invade England.
The Village of Alfriston
On Thursday we visited this quaint little village not far from Eastbourne. In addition to the historic buildings, a highlight was St. Andrew’s Church. The Clergy House was the first property purchased by the National Trust. Unfortunately, it was closed, but I did get photos of the outside.
Firle Place is the family seat of the Gages, the current owner being Nicholas Gage, the 8th Viscount Gage. The manor house has been in the family for over 500 years, and the estate includes a village among its 6000 acres of land. Sir John Gage was the executor of Henry VIII’s will. General Thomas Gage was at one time commander-in-chief of the British Army during the American Revolution, but was replaced after the disaster of Bunker Hill.
Chartwell, in Kent, was the principal residence of Winston Churchill, in his adult life. Henry VIII is believed to have stayed here during his courtship of Anne Boleyn, who lived at nearby Hever Castle.
The Churchills extensively renovated the house and gardens. Winston actually became a licensed brick layer and was noted for his wall building.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
A visit to the V & A is a must for every trip to London. On this trip, my focus was Vauxhall, as the Handel statue is here, as well as three of the supper-box paintings. Unfortunately, it was difficult to get good photos of the paintings and other pictures due to the darkness of the room (which is true of many other things I tried to photograph). No doubt the low light is an attempt to preserve the aged items as long as possible. But I did get a good photo of the Handel statue, with Squidgeworth getting in on the action, as usual.
My Vauxhall Gardens board on Pinterest is a work in progress, but you can see there two videos about Vauxhall Gardens, one of which I photographed at the V & A and another I found on YouTube. I’ll be adding more photos as I find the time.