The Old Forge and Simmons Institute

Opposite the turning is the phone exchange. Hardly an historic or notable building, except in one detail. Above the door (on private land) reached up the driveway is the main door, over which is a rare royal cipher of Edward VIII, whose 11 month reign began and ended in 1937.

Turning down High Street you will come across the Cinque Ports, a well-liked public house which has been in operation since 1855 (called the Rising Sun until about 1859).

Turn right opposite the pub, onto Crouch Lane, past some of the town’s small artisan cottages. A little way up is Blacksmith’s Cottage: note the plaque in the apex of the roof with the forge and the horseshoes. It’s traditional in sussex for horseshoes to be hung with the open side down; it allows all of the good luck, protecctive powers and good fortune to shower upon you and surround the home (or forge).

The Old Forge and the Simmons Institute face each other across the road.  The Forge is one of the few 18th century flint and brick survivals in Seaford. The Berrys who ran it were were blacksmiths of very long standing in the town. 

The Simmons Institute was opened on 27th May 1899 by Henry Simmons, one of the last Bailiffs (Mayors) of Seaford and was run by the trust he set up. It was an early Community Hall, and became the Church Hall for St Leonard’s Church for a number of years before it moved to Church Lane. The Institute building has since been converted into private apartments but the “SI” mongram is still present above the left  of the door with “1898” on the other. 

Head on up the road, turning left at the open triangle of bushes, and across East Street to a gap in the wall.