Queen's Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Eastbourne is a large town and borough in East Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, on the south coast of England between Brighton and Hastings. The town is situated at the eastern end of the chalk South Downs alongside the high cliff at Beachy Head. The modern town emerged in the early 19th century as a seaside resort, assisted by the arrival of the railway in 1849, and developed a spacious, regular layout.
Prior to its Victorian development, the area consisted of the estates of the Duke of Devonshire and others, which had evolved around the village of East Burne. From the Bronze Age onward there were small settlements in and around the "Burne", an ancient stream which ran from what is now Motcombe Gardens down to the sea. During the Middle Ages sheep farming and fishing were the main activities. Eastbourne's earliest claim as a seaside resort was a summer holiday visit by four of King George III's children in 1780. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Wish Tower and the Redoubt were built as defences. In the wake of the fall of France in 1940, the town’s population fell sharply as this part of the south coast was considered a likely invasion zone. The town was badly bombed thus gaining it the dubious reputation of being ‘the most raided town in the southeast’. Thousands of Canadian soldiers were stationed in and around Eastbourne from the summer of 1941 to the run-up to D-Day.
The sheltered position of the main town behind the cliff contributes to Eastbourne's title of sunniest place in Great Britain. The town’s reputation for health and sea breezes was a factor leading to the establishment of many private boarding schools in the 19th century. However, the number of schools started to decline during the inter-war years and today there remain just four. Although Eastbourne has some industrial trading estates, it is essentially a seaside resort and derives its main income from tourism, an element of which includes the provision of English language courses for overseas students. Its facilities include four theatres, numerous parks, a bandstand and museums. The focus of the tourism trade is the four miles (6 km) of shingle beach, lined with a seafront of hotels and guest houses. Eastbourne Pier, built in 1865, is a symbol of Eastbourne and today houses amusement arcades, a nightclub and a public house. It has a rare, working camera obscura. The town has an estimated population of 99,400 as of 2011. The town's climate, quiet charm and elegance have contributed to its popularity as a retirement destination and the number of resident pensioners exceeds the national average.