West House - one of Seaford's First Schools


BP West House1web  WestHousew


West House on the corner of Steyne Road and Pelham Road is one of the oldest buildings in the Town, built in 1700 on earlier foundations. Early paintings show West House is hardly unchanged since 1750, surviving floods which prior to the building of the sea wall constantly inundated this area. West House, according to the Corporation records was let as house for the summer season, but in reality it was let to persons who sought residential qualifications enabling voting in the elections of the "rotten borough" of Seaford.  It has been used as a school for “young gentlemen” and suffered badly on the 1875 “great sea flood” as did much of this area of Seaford. In 1866 West House  was purchased by a Newhaven Shipping owner, John Henry Bull who turned it into a school. One of the teachers at 'Mr Bull’s Gentleman’s Academy' was a German, Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) who was living at the school on 14th November 1875. This was the date of the Great Flood of Seaford and the teacher complained that he lost his hat, a coat, a pair of boots, some music and 30 shillings in cash. He also narrowly escaped injury when he fell through an open cellar door hidden by flood water. Ebbinghaus returned to Germany where he became a pioneer psychologist and his works, particularly a book on memory, are still studied today. Ebbinghaus is particularly remembered for his studies of memory and was the first person to describe the ‘learning curve’. 


For more information about Ebbinghaus click here

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