Local Information

Local InformationBefore Lee-on-the-Solent came into being, the area was called Ly, Le Breton, or Lee Brittain. Indeed, the oldest building in Lee-on-the-Solent is called Le Breton Farm, and dates from the fourteenth century. Although it is now a private home, further along the ancient track leading north from the coast (now Pier Street and Manor Way) is another ancient farm house, now a pub called The Bun Penny, named after a well known coin of 1860-1894 depicting the head of Queen Victoria.

Lee-on-the-Solent, as a town, was really the vision of one man, Charles Edmund Newton Robinson, who persuaded his father (Sir John Charles Robinson, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum) to create a limited company to buy up largely unused land for the development of a resort, in 1884. The Marine Parade was constructed first, followed by the construction (1885-1888) of a 750ft long Pier, with regular steamer service to Southsea. The (still standing) terrace of shops and balconied apartments on the east side of Pier Street was part of that development. In 1894, a railway connection was built, the terminus of which still stands, now used as an amusement arcade. (Rail service was discontinued in the 1930s.)

Local InformationThe 1930s were a decade of great change for Lee-on-the-Solent, as evidenced by the Art Deco block of flats and shops still standing on the Marine Parade and the row of Art Deco houses on Milvil Road, one of which has been charmingly restored as a stylish B&B. 1935 saw the construction of the Lee Tower complex, a local and regional landmark with a cinema, a ballroom, a restaurant, lounge, and saloon bar – all topped by a striking white tower and clock, with a 120 ft high observation deck, described by Nikolas Pevsner’s architectural guide to Hampshire as “a good piece of second-rate inter-war modernism of the slightly jazzy sort, constructed of concrete when concrete seemed very up-to-date”.

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The Book Shop, 142 High Street Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire PO13 9DD (023) 9255 6592

Loyalty Reward

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Lee-on-the-Solent ‘Local Loyalty Rewards’ scheme.

He described the white tower as looking “rather like an elongated cigarette lighter”. The tower complex was commandeered by the military during WWII. An attempt to revive its sagging fortunes was made in 1964, when the interior was reconfigured (the cinema was turned into a bowling alley). In 1971, the decision was made to demolish the complex. The Pier, too, had a long period of decline. In 1932 a fire destroyed the popular pavilion at the far end of the pier, which was never rebuilt. In 1939, like so many other British piers, it was “breached” by the military in the interest of coastal defence. At war’s end, alas, the damage was never repaired and the remaining pier structure was demolished in 1958.

Recent developments in Lee-on-the-Solent have seen the withering of the remaining tourist infrastructure (the last of the large hotels has now closed, although there are still many fine Guest Houses and B&Bs), the construction of many retirement flats and, more recently, the development of hundreds of new family homes in the Cherque Farm area of east Lee. Although its days as a “resort” may be past, Lee-on-the-Solent continues to attract hundreds of visitors drawn by the pleasant High Street, seaside location, and leisure opportunities.

Local Information

Local Information

Before Lee-on-the-Solent came into being, the area was called Ly, Le Breton, or Lee Brittain. Indeed, the oldest building in Lee-on-the-Solent is called Le Breton Farm, and dates from the fourteenth century. Although it is now a private home, further along the ancient track leading north from the coast (now Pier Street and Manor Way) is another ancient farm house, now a pub called The Bun Penny, named after a well known coin of 1860-1894 depicting the head of Queen Victoria.

Lee-on-the-Solent, as a town, was really the vision of one man, Charles Edmund Newton Robinson, who persuaded his father (Sir John Charles Robinson, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum) to create a limited company to buy up largely unused land for the development of a resort, in 1884. The Marine Parade was constructed first, followed by the construction (1885-1888) of a 750ft long Pier, with regular steamer service to Southsea. The (still standing) terrace of shops and balconied apartments on the east side of Pier Street was part of that development. In 1894, a railway connection was built, the terminus of which still stands, now used as an amusement arcade. (Rail service was discontinued in the 1930s.)

Local Information

The 1930s were a decade of great change for Lee-on-the-Solent, as evidenced by the Art Deco block of flats and shops still standing on the Marine Parade and the row of Art Deco houses on Milvil Road, one of which has been charmingly restored as a stylish B&B. 1935 saw the construction of the Lee Tower complex, a local and regional landmark with a cinema, a ballroom, a restaurant, lounge, and saloon bar – all topped by a striking white tower and clock, with a 120 ft high observation deck, described by Nikolas Pevsner’s architectural guide to Hampshire as “a good piece of second-rate inter-war modernism of the slightly jazzy sort, constructed of concrete when concrete seemed very up-to-date”.

He described the white tower as looking “rather like an elongated cigarette lighter”. The tower complex was commandeered by the military during WWII. An attempt to revive its sagging fortunes was made in 1964, when the interior was reconfigured (the cinema was turned into a bowling alley). In 1971, the decision was made to demolish the complex. The Pier, too, had a long period of decline. In 1932 a fire destroyed the popular pavilion at the far end of the pier, which was never rebuilt. In 1939, like so many other British piers, it was “breached” by the military in the interest of coastal defence. At war’s end, alas, the damage was never repaired and the remaining pier structure was demolished in 1958.

Recent developments in Lee-on-the-Solent have seen the withering of the remaining tourist infrastructure (the last of the large hotels has now closed, although there are still many fine Guest Houses and B&Bs), the construction of many retirement flats and, more recently, the development of hundreds of new family homes in the Cherque Farm area of east Lee. Although its days as a “resort” may be past, Lee-on-the-Solent continues to attract hundreds of visitors drawn by the pleasant High Street, seaside location, and leisure opportunities.

VISIT THE SHOP

The Book Shop, 142 High Street Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire PO13 9DD (023) 9255 6592

Loyalty Reward

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Lee-on-the-Solent ‘Local Loyalty Rewards’ scheme.

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