Being in Worthing

The beach smells of rotting seaweed and dead fish. Flies buzz. A crow picks over the pebbles, looking for rubbish to eat. The amusement arcade is noisy and it smells of adolescent boys and dirty coins and candy floss. Just like funfairs. They make me feel sick. And I don’t like being drunk in the afternoon. Go back to the B&B for a nap. Later, look for a pub with a beer garden. The pier’s all lit up, and there are pretty coloured bulbs strung between the streetlights all along the prom. Jack Jones is on at the Pier Pavilion. Crossing the road is easy.

Extracts from The Worthing Sentinel

1851 Margaret Brown, 15, was convicted of begging and sent to the house of correction for fourteen days. Worthing magistrates said the town was infested with vagrants, and it was their job to assist the police in ridding Worthing of them.

1945 The Mayor of Worthing, JA Mason, said of the south coast railway: ‘We have five stations and we are ashamed of every one of them. The first impression people get of a town is the station, and I could imagine a great many of them going back on the next train.’

1946 Mrs Effie Methold, honorary secretary of Worthing Council for Social Service, said: ‘We have been besieged with elderly people who have lived on small incomes in boarding houses or small hotels and have been asked to get out to make way for the holiday visitors with more money.’

1953 When Worthing Corporation officials travelled to London to discuss with the Government what could be done about the town’s terrible seaweed problem, they took with them a paper bag full of dead flies which had hatched in the dreaded weed.

1977 Worthing Borough Council agreed to purchase a framed photograph of the Queen to mark her Silver Jubilee – but only if it didn’t cost more than £60.

First published in DayFour magazine (2003 and 2004)

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