The History of Newhaven

Public art in newhavenNewhaven was founded as the settlement of ‘Meeching’ by the Saxons in the sixth century. The village remained fairly isolated until the River Ouse broke through the shingle bar on the coast in the sixteenth century, creating a new harbour.

The town was of little maritime importance until the opening of the railway line to Lewes in 1847. This provided a catalyst for the growth of the port, with the building of wharves on the east side of the river, and the start of navigational dredging in the river channel. Port facilities also experienced a further upgrade during the First World War when the port area was designated a ‘Special Military Area’.


Newhaven Today


New housing development at West QuayModern day Newhaven is a town of approximately 11,000 inhabitants centred to the west side of the river. There is also another residential area close by at Denton to the east of the river on the slopes of the South Downs.

Newhaven is currently the focus of regeneration efforts, with new housing and a marina development already in place at West Quay, on the west side of the river. This development comprises new maritime style apartments, houses and landscaped green areas.

Further Information

Newhaven Town Council Newhaven Town Council was formed in 1974 when local government was reorganised. It provides a number of facilities for local residents, including social centres and play areas and is responsible for Newhaven Cemetery.
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The Newhaven Historical Society The Newhaven Historical Society was founded on April 26th 1969 and shortly after acquired use of the old Pilot’s store near the Hope Inn for a museum. Several moves later the museuem can now be found at Paradise Park.
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The Newhaven Chamber of Commerce The Newhaven Chamber of Commerce is a business-led membership organisation and business networking group run for members by members. Their aim is to support the local business community and economy and to promote members’ interests. Visit website
Newhaven Fort Newhaven Fort is an award-winning attraction and a fine example of an English fortification, Newhaven Fort has the sights, sounds - even the smells - of the period, all found in a range of exhibitions and audio-visual presentations.
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