Eric Ravilious – September

So what has my calendar had to show me this month?

Well to be honest it isn’t a favourite and it features a place I don’t know.

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An unknown lady sits on a park bench. The park is on the edge of Eastbourne and is called Hampden Park. It is a pencil and watercolour piece of work and dates from quite early in Eric Ravilious’s all too short career – he produced this in 1928.

Eric lived in Eastbourne as a lad, and some of the time that was at Hampden Park. He attended school and art college in Eastbourne so this is very much his home.

I said I didn’t know Hampden park, but one bit of it was familiar to me. Guess what? It was the railway station.

Virtually all trains went there twice as they made their way between Lewes and Hastings. Eastbourne was down a short branch and as a major town it needed the express trains from London and the stopping services from Brighton. Hampden Park was on that branch and as a result got a fantastic service of trains to Eastbourne.

There was an avoiding line that allowed a rush hour train to miss Eastbourne and travel direct on to Hastings. It was always a treat to travel this rarely used mile or so of line. The track was not polished by frequent trains and when one did pass, it made awful grating noises. I find it hard to believe that the line was closed. It probably indicates the end of loco hauled goods trains in the area.

Over the month, I have learned to love that Ravilious picture and almost wish I had actually got off a train at the station to visit the park.

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