West House and Parliament Row

At the bottom of West View look to your right to a terrace of houses set back from the road. Parliament Row is a nice example of 18th century cottages. From 1298 until the passing of the Reform Act of 1832, Seaford was a ‘Rotten Borough’ Returning two Members of parliament even though there were few local people eligible to vote. This may be how the terrace gets its name. Prior to “great sea flood of 1875″ Ockenden’s wheelright shop stood in front of part of the terrace nearer to Marine Terrace and in what is now the road.

Ahead of you, on the right hand corner of Pelham Road, is West House. It is one of the oldest buildings in the Town, built in 1700 on earlier foundations. Early paintings show West House is hardly unchanged since 1750, just surviving floods which, prior to the building of the sea wall, constantly inundated this area.

According to the Corporation records the dwelling was let as a house for the summer season, but in reality it was let to persons who sought residential qualifications enabling voting in the elections of the “rotten borough” of Seaford.  It has been used as a school for “young gentlemen”. It suffered badly on the 1875 “great sea flood” as did much of this area of Seaford. It once housed the Seaford Museum, which is now at the Martello Tower.  

A curious old custom relates to West House. Annually on Michelmas Day on the ringing of the church bell, the Freeman of Seaford assembled in the Town Hall, they then walked in procession, led by the Serjeant at Mace, dressed in his official uniform and bearing the Town’s silver mace ornamented with the Arms of Elizabeth 1 to a “certain gate post” near West House where the Freeman elected their Bailiff for the year. This strange procedure seems to be intended to prevent interference with the election process. 

Walk up Pelham Road; the first tall building was once the south wall of the Bay Hotel.