50 Gems Of Sussex from Amberley Publishing takes the reader on a tour of the county’s most spectacular and appealing points of interest.
Author, tour guide, historian and teacher Kevin Newman has managed to discover where Ghostbusters Bill Murray turned up for some spirits, where people used to put their cock-in-the pot, why Parson Brady’s hole often got lit up and why the US flag flies over a part of this quintessentially-English south-coast county.
“Readers get to discover where Queen Mary ended up in a farmyard, where the French paid for a castle built to keep them out of Sussex and why Hitler refused to bomb an Eastbourne hotel. They learn about a fortress deliberately built with a massive hole in it, the group of immigrants Nigel Farage comes from and how Jane Austen once lived in Pizza Express.”
Amberley chose Kevin to write 50 Gems as his Sussex-based company, All-Inclusive History, takes people on motorised tours across Sussex, whether about the history of the Seagulls, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Hilaire Belloc, Churchill or Jane Austen.
As a GCSE textbook author, Kevin also was used to writing about historic sites as he advises schools on their study of them, so writing about his favourite Sussex sites was a pleasure: “My parents always made sure my brother and I explored the county’s beaches, villages, back roads and visitor spots from an early age,” he explains, “So being asked to write 50 Gems was a gift! I love showing off our unique county.
“It was great trying to find some new places I didn’t know so that even the oldest Sussex resident has somewhere new and exciting to discover. I never knew Sussex had a delightful waterfall near Storrington for example until I went exploring the Downs with my sons over the last few years. I’ve also mentioned hidden churches and chapels, ancient hotels, haunted houses, forgotten villages, terrifying tunnels, booming new breweries as well as sites we all know and love.”
Kevin’s book is his fourth from Amberley, after Brilliant Brighton, Lewes Pubs and Secret Brighton. He is writing next a visitors’ guide to Sussex’s different sites to visit from different periods of time. His aim is to get people out and about exploring the county he loves. Now he too, in turn, gets his children out and about exploring.
“I want everyone to get lost!” says Kevin, “Not in a rude sense! I mean that we should all try and get out and walk down some paths we’ve not explored before, trample over an unfamiliar bit of the Downs, Weald or beaches or drive up some roads you never have before. Getting lost in Sussex always leads to something being found. In my explorations, this led to me finding a World War Two tank up on Kithurst Hill, riddled with bullet holes still from the 1940s.”
The book will be launched on the evening of March 31 at 8pm at the Claremont Hotel, 2nd Avenue, Hove. For further details, contact Coralie or Vicki at the Claremont on 01273 735161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.