My hometown of Bognor Regis is known for having more hours of sunshine than anywhere else along the south coast of England – no doubt one of the reasons why it became a seaside resort. Last week, while much of the country had an unusually heavy snowfall for this early in the winter, Bognor and its surrounds remained snow free. Most winters we don’t see any snow at all but of course, there are the exceptions…
A few years ago one chilly morning, I awoke to the news that the roads out of Bognor were blocked. As I pulled back the curtains, l audibly gasped. More snow had fallen in the night than I had ever seen in my life, in this part of the world at least. It soon became clear that I, and no doubt many others, would be taking a day off work.
above: Bognor’s weather station
I felt like a child being told “No school today!” knowing that it meant I could go out and play in the snow.
I rang a few friends and suggested we meet in Hotham Park, just a short walk from my home, and of course, I took my camera.
Originally a small Saxon hamlet, Bognor town was developed by a rich London hatter called Richard Hotham, in the late 18th century when it became fashionable for the wealthy to spend their summer’s by the seaside. Bathing in the sea was thought to cure no end of ills. Hotham built over 30 houses and buildings including his home, Hotham Park House in a beautiful park.
above: Hotham Park, Bognor Regis, below: Hotham House, Hotham Park, Bognor Regis
It wasn’t until 1947 that Hotham Park was opened to the public. I have loved it all my life and it looked especially pretty under a blanket of snow, as did the seafront and the bowling green, with its snow-covered palm trees, in Waterloo Square.
above: Bognor Regis Promenade
above and below: Waterloo Square, Bognor Regis
That morning spent with friends, including my sister, will always be a special memory to me. It was an unexpected treat, ending in a Full English Breakfast and a warming cup of coffee in The Hatter’s Inn, our local Wetherspoon’s pub.
Read more about Hotham Park and see it in Springtime The Mad Hatter returns to Hotham Park.
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