Plan of Newhaven Harbour

Item author: William Figg of Lewes
Item date: 1824
Grant Value: £750
Item cost: £1,250
Item date acquired: 2014
Item institution: East Sussex Record Office
Town/City: Lewes
County: East Sussex

A splendid map of the environs of Newhaven, drawn by William Figg in 1824 measuring over 6 by 8 feet.

The Figgs were the foremost Lewes surveyors of the day, and the office holds many of their maps and drawings, both worked-up products from the records of their clients, and the substantive business archive of the firm itself: over 7,000 draft maps, books of measurements, auction particulars and notebooks.

The map, drawn at a scale of 100 feet to an inch, is a detailed survey of an extensive area from the mouth of the river Ouse upstream to the town. As well as Newhaven’s commercial importance, the coast was strategically significant, and the map shows the fort and battery west of the river, the predecessor of the grander Palmerstonian construction of 1864, and the battery at East Blatchington. The remains of the old pier marking the former course of the river can be seen, the town of Newhaven is shown in detail, as are the complicated medley of buildings at Tidemills, depicted in its heyday after expansion by William Catt, in partnership with Edmund Cooper in response to the increased demand in grain during the Napoleonic wars.

We are most grateful to the Friends of the National Libraries for enabling us to purchase this highly informative, ambitious and beautiful example of the cartographer’s art.

Plan of Newhaven Harbour by William Figg of Lewes, 1824. Images: East Sussex Record Office.
Plan of Newhaven Harbour by William Figg of Lewes, 1824. Images: East Sussex Record Office.