The story of the Fairlight Residents’ Association
What were its origins and how did it develop
Part 3 – The FRA news sheets and magazines:
This year, 2017, we continue to celebrate the first seventy years of the Fairlight Residents’ Association, the FRA. In part 1 of this story we looked at the FRRA, the earlier incarnation that had represented the residents up until the war years, but had then ceased. In part 2 we looked at the FRA in the year 1947 and the immediate post-war period.
All members of the FRA know and love the quarterly magazine, the Fairlight News. The latest magazine consisted of forty eight pages, plus the cover pages, and is now produced in high quality print with several pages in colour. This was not always the case.
In the FRA archives we hold a large but incomplete collection of the magazines. The earliest we hold is dated January 1983 but is only numbered sixty nine. This means that the first sixty eight magazines are still needed for our collection. If we calculate backwards, assuming four issues per year, then the first Fairlight News was produced in January 1966. (If anyone has any of these first magazines and they are willing to share them, can they contact me on 814154 or anyone from the committee).
Until this month, July 2017, we believed that the FRA started with the magazine in !966. However, I have just been handed two double-sided sheets dated April 1964 under the heading “No.4 News Sheet”. This appears to be the forerunner of the magazine (see attached sheets).
The news sheet was handed over at the Gardening Club Hut by a kind resident who found it in his recently purchased house and noticed the article on the formation of the Fairlight Gardening Club (first meeting held 12th March 1964). We are very grateful.
There are many interesting stories and snippets of information to note. Firstly membership of the FRA is given as half a crown (numerically 12.5 pence). This was already a substantial increase from the original 1947 price of one shilling (5 pence). The AGM was scheduled for 6th May 1964 and on the agenda once again was a proposal to adopt a new Constitution.
It seems that there were many problems to deal with, particularly the “pest” who was stealing daffodils in bud from front gardens at 7.30 in the morning! Driving standards were more casual in 1964 as demonstrated under the heading of “The Circle” where the FRA were appealing to drivers to “keep left” at The Circle as drivers were taking a shortcut to Commanders Walk. It then quotes that “It is certainly contrary to the instructions contained in the Highway Code”! Hopefully this advice does not need repeating today.
On the subject of roads, Waites Lane and Shepherds Way were being reconstructed but the contractors were having problems with streams of water from the hills. The footpaths were yet to be constructed but when complete, East Sussex would be adopting these two roads with a promise that Broadway would follow. Meadow Way was only under construction at this time. Furthermore, motorists heading up Channel Way, Fyrsway and Bramble Way at night were being asked to turn off their headlights as they were dazzling the Coastguards Lookout at the top of the Firehills!
Other interesting articles from 1964 include the Fairlight Players having to cancel their production of ‘Roar like a Dove’ owing to “circumstances beyond their control”. Also, the problems encountered by the collectors of FRA subscriptions, as detailed in the last article were continuing. Often members did not have the money available and they had to be visited two, three or more times. (Speaking as a collector myself, it seems much easier today). The shop previously run by Mr. Rimmington had been taken over by the Misses Graydon and Butterfield and was to be known as the Woolpack. (The building remains today, but is now a private residence).
Finally from the 1964 article we are told that the new Hastings lifeboat, named ‘Fairlight’ was about to be handed over. The vessel was built by William Osborne of Littlehampton, of the type known as ‘Oakley’. The vessel is 37’ long, with 12’ beam, weighs 12 tons and runs up to 9 knots with power from two 43hp diesel engines and will carry up to 40 people.
We hope that the above snippets from the formative years of the FRA give you some insight into those early years. In the final part we will look at the FRA today and in the most recent years.
By Paul Draper.