The Cottage – History - Guthrie Cottage Holiday Home

The Cottage – History

From early photos of Eastbourne it appears the cottage would have been built around the 1920’s probably as a seaside holiday cottage.  It was built on the sand dunes right by the beach so that you could have literally stepped out of the front door onto the beach.

Although there are no building records for the cottage, early photos show a large front room or sun porch.  Over the next twenty or so years the beach and sand-hills were eroded by the sea to the point that the front room was either removed or demolished as the main front wall was literally hanging over the sea.  Much of the erosion occurred in severe southerly storms in 1952/53.

Early attempts to protect the dunes with wooden groynes and a rubble seawall were unsuccessful and it became clear that a major seawall would have to be built or many of the cottages along the dunes would be lost to the sea.  The present seawall was constructed in 1956/57.  My parents were one of several owners along the waterfront who had to surrender their ‘blue water right’ of direct access to the beach, however the legal boundary for the cottage section still extends to just beyond the seawall.

Since the seawall was constructed it has been well tested.  I remember during storms at night, waves would hit the seawall with heavy force shaking the house so that the ornaments on the mantelpiece rattled and waves would splash down onto the walkway.

Over the last 20 years the beach has built up to where the waves rarely even reach the seawall.  The groynes have been removed leaving a lovely safe swimming beach.

The cottage was purchased by my parents in 1953, the year they were married.  After the seawall was completed my father built up the front garden on the hard fill and constructed the present sun porch.

The original construction of the cottage was relatively simple.  It had two open fires, one in the lounge and a large one in the kitchen which probably would have been used for cooking in the 1920’s.

My parents lived at the cottage until my mother passed away in 1989 and my father went into a home in 2002 – almost 50 years after they bought the cottage.

In 2007 we renovated the cottage which included re-piling, insulation, rewiring, installation of central heating, new kitchen and bathroom, French doors to the courtyard and landscaping with the outdoor bath overlooking the sea.  We employed an interior designer to assist in recreating the romantic, relaxing interior whilst still retaining the character of the original cottage – gone was the blue and green paisley wallpaper in the kitchen, red and pink paisley wall paper in the bathroom and the 1970’s formica woodgrain panelling in the lounge -which I remember my father proudly showing to friends!  Some of the original features retained include native timber flooring, matched lining in the kitchen and the open fireplace in the lounge.

The first guests were received on 23rd December 2007.  During 2008 the cottage was occupied all but 3 weekends and was fully booked sometimes every day in a month.

From the comments in the visitor’s book, guests appear to love staying at the cottage as much as I did growing up there with my happy childhood memories.

I hope you too take the opportunity to enjoy the magic of Guthrie Cottage.

Warm regards

Bill Guthrie