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Littlehampton is a seaside resort town and civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England, on the east bank at the mouth of the River Arun. It lies 51.5 miles (83 km) south southwest of London, 17.5 miles (28 km) west of Brighton and 11 miles (18 km) east of the county town of Chichester.

The parish covers an area of 11.35 km2 (4 sq mi) and has a population of 25,593 (2001 census).The Sub-Urban Area of the town has a population of approx 55,000. The conurbation includes other settlements: Wick in the north west; Lyminster to the north; and Rustington to the east. Wick and Toddington became part of the town in 1901. Nearby towns include Bognor Regis west southwest and Worthing to the east. The town is also the westernmost settlement of the 12th largest urban area in the UK, the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation, a region encompassing some 461,181 people (2001 census).

A human settlement at Littlehampton can be traced back to prehistoric and Roman times, while it appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the small hamlet of ‘Hantone’. The settlement is believed to have been a fishing community around this time, appearing on a French map in around 1100 as ‘Hanton’. The settlement is then believed to have been given to the Abbey of St Martin de Seez in Normandy, who owned Littlehampton until around 1400. The area then passed back to the ownership of successive Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk, whose successors still reside in Arundel today. Littlehampton began to develop as a port as a result of constant silting of the River Arun, perhaps leading to the prefix of ‘Little’ being added to ‘Hampton’, in order to distinguish it from the larger Southampton further along the coast. The expansion of port activities led to a new river mouth being cut in 1735, alongside the building of a wooden harbour.

As the eighteenth century progressed, the town developed from a fishing community to a holiday destination, with Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Constable all believed to have spent time there.

The town’s status as both a port and a holiday resort led to economic success in the nineteenth century, with a railway line and a cross-channel ferry to Honfleur in France being introduced. The population of the town grew tenfold over the century, from 584 in 1801 to 5,954 in 1901. Littlehampton remained as a holiday resort in the twentieth century, becoming known as ‘The Children’s Paradise’ in the 1920s.

Post-war Littlehampton saw large scale house building on the outskirts of the town, eventually absorbing the surrounding villages of Wick, Lyminster and Toddington, while the commercial element of the town became increasingly focused on boat building and water sports.

In 1967, the town attracted attention by becoming the base for the first ever Blue Peter lifeboat.

The world headquarters of The Body Shop is situated towards the north of the town, and is a major employer in the area.

Paul Matthew International is a haulage company with headquarters located in the marina.

A local company, Dando Drilling International Ltd, has been exporting drilling rigs from Littlehampton since 1867. Van Heyningen Brothers (VHB) salad growers was a major employer in the town from 1964 to 2003. Much of the local economy comprises smaller companies with fewer than ten employeesalthough Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Greggs, Costa Coffee, Iceland and Lidl are in the town centre and the local authority is actively seeking to promote and expand business opportunities.

Littlehampton has received a great deal of publicity[4] as the home of the East Beach Cafe, a building on the seafront designed by Heatherwick Studio. The building is a fully welded monocoque structure. The building reflects its exposed location with a rough, weathered appearance which Heatherwick describes as being like a piece of weathered flotsam swept up onto the beach. It was built in Littlehampton, with steelwork by Littlehampton Welding Ltd and site work by Langridge Developments, another local firm. The construction of the cafe caused a stir in Littlehampton, with some seeing it as an eyesore and others welcoming it as a world class piece of architecture and a symbol of regeneration.

Littlehampton Longest Bench opened in mid-July 2010. It was created by an award winning company Studio Weave.

At a local government level, Littlehampton is part of Littlehampton Town Council, Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council.

Littlehampton has one secondary school, The Littlehampton Academy, which opened in 2009, replacing the Littlehampton Community School.

For younger children there are three primary schools — Lyminster, River Beach and White Meadows. These schools came into existence in 2011 following a major reorganisation of primary school provision in the town that replaced 6 separate junior and infant schools with 3 primary schools. River Beach Primary was formed from the merging of Connaught Junior with Arun Vale and Elm Grove Infants,[7] whilst the merger of Flora McDonald Junior and Wickbourne Infants brought about the creation of White Meadows.[8] Lyminster existed before the reorganisation as an infant school, and has now begun a phased expansion to become a primary school.[9]

Littlehampton is on the A259, though this bypasses most of the town. Littlehampton is connected to the A27 south coast trunk road by the A284, which also provides the main north-south route out of the town and links to the A29 and A24. The A27 also later links with the M27. The A280 also links Littlehampton to the A24 and is a main route from the north-east.

Littlehampton is served by three railway stations, Littlehampton railway station, Angmering railway station and Ford railway station.

Littlehampton’s port is based around the River Arun and a small stretch of sea 5 miles out to sea and 6 miles wide which is locally known as the “Littlehampton Channel” . Littlehampton started as a fishing port but now is a thriving port for thousands of leisure craft which visit from all over the UK and Europe. In 2009, use of leisure craft at Littlehampton rose to the extent that at least 200 more moorings were required. Littlehampton is also a commercial port, handling around 50-60 ships a year from Ireland, Holland, Germany and France with cargo including marine aggregates, stone, marble chippings and timber.

Attractions include a casino in the town centre. The East Beach Café and the ‘Look and Sea!’ centre which includes the Harbour Lights café and an observation tower. Harbour Park is at the entrance of the River Arun with two restaurants, two arcades, a rollercoaster, log flume and other attractions. Next to harbour park is ActionBoat. Action Boat offers speed boat rides to Worthing Pier, River Arun trips, and sight seeing trips to Brighton, Chichester and Isle Of Wight. Action boat also does special trips to Southampton Power Boat Show, Lymington Power Boat Show and to Cowes and Torquay for the Cowes to Torquay power boat race. Norfolk Gardens, a multi-purpose outdoor site owned by Inspire Leisure, is further along the promenade. The site includes a 9-hole pitch and putt course, 9-hole adventure golf course, tennis and bowls, and the Putting Green Café. The Littlehampton Miniature Railway runs for 800 yards from Norfolk Gardens site to Mewsbrook Park. Littlehampton harbour is on the River Arun at the western side of the town, with yacht moorings, and on the west bank of the river are Littlehampton Redoubt and Climping sand dunes.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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