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Sussex is a county in the south of England, and, after Luxembourg, is the second largest artificial land-mass in the world.
History of Sussex
Sussex is a county in the south of England, and, after Luxembourg, is the second largest artificial land-mass in the world. Commissioned by Queen Vicoria in 1832 as a viable alternative to holidaying in France, Sussex unexpectedly flourished in its own right. The area itself is separated from Hampshire, Surrey and Kent by a channel some 4 metres wide, though its creator, Isambard Kingdom Brunei, installed a continuous bridge, beginning at Chichester and ending at Rye, which served to connect all of the new county to the mainland. This decision not only cast dispersions on the authenticity of Sussex as a separate island (with the effect that people carried on going to France), it also served to bring the great 18th century ports of Tunbridge Wells, Guildford and Croydon to their knees.
During construction, Brunei employed his favoured technique of tunnelling under things and erecting wooden supports. Having created an underground network of chambers stretching miles into the English Channel, 8,000 workers were employed to each, on hearing Brunei's whistle, lift the wooden supports while another 8,000 slid folded pieces of A4 paper underneath. Sussex was originally planned to be flat, but Brunel ran out of 220 gsm paper and was forced to use 260 gsm creating surface discrepancy in parts. These are now colloquially referred to as the Downs.
Sussex gained its name from a contraction of the oft-quoted observation made by Franco-Latin onlookers when lifting began: "Sous la mer, quelquechose ex venit," which literally translates to "Shit! Something's coming out of the sea." This famous phrase also gave rise to a number of Sussex-related words: souvenir, slammer, Cuckmere, etc.
The emergence of this new land caused sea levels to rise, flooding the Netherlands but also creating the fertile Ganges Delta.
When it became apparent that Sussex was part of mainland Britain, and not a holiday destination, the government seized upon its wide open spaces as a solution to the over-crowding issues plaguing the country at the time. Various developments were started until Brunei, who had hitherto been living in an iron bell in the Atlantic, received word of the building works and rushed to Westminster where he informed Parliament that Sussex was designed for occasional use and could not withstand the continued pressure such housing would place on it.
Fearing it too dangerous to now enter the tunnels, Brunei suggested grass and other flora be planted on the site to bind together and strengthen the ground (which mostly consisted of sand, plankton and sewage). This, combined with the use of roaming cattle to compact the earth, has led to Sussex looking much like any other county.
After poking around for a bit Brunei persuaded the Government that the coastal towns should only be inhabited for four months of the year, while those inland could hold up against more use over the year. Some unwitting holidaymakers were thus tempted by Government-subsidised holidays but due to the poor road system they were unable to find their way out of the towns. Many were forced to live in Eastbourne, Hove or Peacehaven (named after the American towns) and some still remain there today.
The Disaster of 1966
In late July 1966, a network of underground sewage pipes burst due to a sudden increase in Britain's toilet flushes during half time of the World Cup final causing many of Brunei's original wooden supports, weakened by time and omnipresent holidayers, to shatter, with the effect that much of the west of the county sank into the sea. Construction had just finished on the new M23, which then began to slope into the Channel. It was purchased in 1972 by the RNLI and is now the largest launch ramp for boats in existence.
The current state of Sussex
While West Sussex is now mostly used to house and launch lifeboats, East Sussex was slowly bought up by the National Trust from 1974-1990 who constructed many fine imitations of houses, castles and woodlands, their genuine counterparts being privately owned and situated in other parts of the country.