This once-well-known garage stands on the site of Odessa Lodge which was built in the mid 19th century, when Eastbourne was taking shape as a fashionable ‘watering place’. In 1926, the house and grounds were sold and developed into three shops and a car showroom/garage. During the war, Cornfield Garage was used by the Royal Navy as a shore base, named HMS Marlborough. After the war, the garage continued trading, closing in 1976.
A photograph and text about the history of Cornfield Garage.
The text reads: This building, occupied by J D Wetherspoon, was purpose built in 1926 for local Eastbourne motor company – Cornfield Garage Ltd. The company was founded in 1907 by Robert James and was originally called the Grove Eastbourne Motor Works and Garage Ltd and opened at premises on Grove Road, the current site of the Eastbourne Police Station. It operated as an agent for Singer Cars and sold makes such as Star, Deemster and Brook.
Following the move into Cornfield Road, the company continued to expand in the 1930s and by the early 1970s was also a franchise for Citroen, Lancia and Lotus. Many original sales brochures, dating from between 1949 and 1969, are on display within the cabinet adjacent for the makes that Cornfield Garage Ltd would have sold and serviced including Morris and MG. Original oil cans, gauge valves and car jacks dating from the same era are displayed along with items that would have been seen at the garage. The above image shows the rear entrance leading from the garage onto Bolton Road.
In 1976 the owners of Cornfield Garage Ltd had to sell the premises in Cornfield Road and moved initially to Meads Street and then onto Birch Close in 1984. In 2004 Stephen Visick, the great-grandson of original owner Robert James, moved the company premises to Lottbridge Drive, continuing the long established history that has spanned over 100 years of local service to the motorists of Eastbourne.
The South Downs National Park begins in Eastbourne, at the foot of the iconic Beachy Head. The range of chalk hills extend for about 260 square miles across the south eastern coastal counties of England, from the Itchey Valley of Hampshire in the west, to Beachy Head, England’s highest sea cliff, near Eastbourne. It is one of the four main areas of chalk downland in southern England and boasts country parks, marinas, nature reserves and marine conservation areas among other attractions.
A collection of posters and prints advertising Cornfield Garage.
A diagram showing the features of the Wolseley New Fourteen.
A diagram showing the features of the Morris Ten-Four.
An original skeleton petrol pump.
This original skeleton petrol pump dates from c1910 and is branded with serial number 35063. It was manufactured by Wayne Tank & Pump Company Limited.
Pumps of similar design to this would have been used in the Cornfield Garage.
A photograph of the original Cornfield Garage.
A print of the 8th Duke of Devonshire.
A print of the war memorial, unveiled at the junction of Cornfield Road and Devonshire Place in 1920.
External photograph of the building – main entrance.
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