The following is an extract from the Evening News, April 3, 1903: The proposed Hayling Island Aerial Bridge Today we are enabled to give an illustration of the Traveller Suspension Bridge which it is proposed to construct across the Langstone Harbour channel to Hayling Island. The bridge is a portion of an important scheme for [...]
Hayling Island was a small rural community (population 576 – 1801 census), largely given over to farming and fishing. It was pretty self sufficient with water being drawn from wells and most produce available from the farms. Connections with the mainland were the wadeway to Langstone and the ferry across the Langstone Harbour entrance connecting Hayling Island with Portsmouth. These links were sufficient at the time.
In 1824 the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal cut through the Wadeway and a wooden road bridge was constructed to re-connect Hayling Island with Langstone. A toll was charged to use the bridge. Farm products now had a much improved route to local markets.
The improved access to the Island with the building of the road bridge, kick-started the tourism industry. The Norfolk Crescent (a terrace of lavish town houses) and the Royal Hotel were constructed in 1825. A stage coach connection, using the turnpike roads, was established between London.and the Royal Hotel. With little support for developing this further, the Norfolk Crescent was not completed to create the envisaged grand crescent.
The story continues with the construction of the Hayling Branch line along the original 1860 (modified in 1864) route across Langstone Harbour. In 1864, The South of England Oyster Company leased 300 acres of reclaimed mud lands to create the Oysterbeds to farm oysters.
Other Oysterbeds were already in existence on Hayling Island but the South of England Oyster Company was developed as a direct result of building the railway line.
When the railway line was completed in 1867, the railway was involved in the movement of Oysters.
In 1877 a Gas Works was built next to the station providing gas street lighting for the first time on the Island.
The island population had increased to >1600 in 1901 and tourism continued to grow with the easy access provided by the railway. By the mid 1920’s the population in the summer months had grown to such an extent that the wells were at risk of being unable to supply sufficient water. In 1928 water was pumped to the island to supplement the wells.
In late Victorian times it was generally assumed that Hayling Island was about to become an important suburb of Portsmouth. The narrow but fast-flowing entrance to Langstone Harbour would, it was supposed, be bridged and land values on the Island would rise. There was speculation in land and a branch railway was constructed from Havant [...]
The Hayling Island Gas Company was absorbed by the Portsmouth and Gosport Company. Gas was then supplied from Hilsea and piped onto the island.This article from the Evening News, Aug 6 1937, describes the formal handover and the closure of the Gas Works.
The 1860 Act of Parliament, authorising the construction of the Havant to Hayling Island branch line included the reclamation of 1000 acres of mud land by the construction of the railway embankment in Langstone Harbour. Mr Robert Hume (a prominent supporter of the branch line) bought the mud lands in 1863 from the representatives of [...]
The following article appeared in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc. Portsmouth England), Saturday, July 28, 1877; Issue 4690. Describes how the annual encampment of the 1st Administrative Battalion of the Hampshire Rifle Volunteers were supplied for the first time with gas lighting. The introduction of gas to the island was celebrated on this [...]
When I was a young man, picking up winkles on the muds of Langston and Chichester harbours was a common sight in the winter. My father told me that a local man, Rueben Clark, born about 1853, picked up in South Gutner Lake , or as we know it, Verner Creek, 52 bushels of winkles [...]
Langstonian found this advert in a 19th Century almanac. This is advertising the Royal Hotel, Hayling Island and has much information on travel and fares.
Noel Pycroft was born at Hayling, in 1928. His family is remembered for its brickmaking business. Noel told me that when he was about fifteen he began to supplement his income by gathering winkles from the Mill Rythe area and selling them to the Russell brothers at Langstone. He collected up to 22 gallons per [...]
Back in the late 1940's one of many miniature railways in the Island's railway history, ran immediately in front of the Lifeboat Inn, at pretty much the same location as today's Hayling Seaside Railway's Eastoke Corner terminus. The little pyramid roofed building just left of centre of the picture survived until very recently, and was [...]
At the same location a couple of years ago, the Hayling Seaside Railway's visiting Bagnall 0-4-0 Saddle Tank steam locomotive "Wendy", owned by the Bursledon based Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society, can be seen waiting to leave the present Eastoke Corner station bound for Beachlands.