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(Traction Engine destroys bridge)
Uckfield is a small town lying on the A22 Lewes to London main road.
The name is derived from the river Uck which flows through the
village i.e. the field on the river Uck . It was a small village
until the advent of the railways in the 1850's since when it quickly
grew into the small town it has now become. The village was originally
located at the top of the high street near to the church, but the
railway which was layed alongside the river attracted businesses, and
the houses and shops now spread from one to the other.
The village was famous for its wool and agricultural trade for many years,
lying on a river crossing. A proportion of the produce produced
in the area was transported by barge down the Uck to the Ouse then to Lewes
and finally the coast at Seaford and Newhaven .
On October 11th 1858 Uckfield station was opened with a connection to
the county town of Lewes. The Lewes and Uckfield Railway Company ran
the line for a further 6 years with no significant changes to the
village. In 1864 the line was bought out by the London, Brighton and
South Coast Railway Company, who then opened a line via Eridge to
Tunbridge Wells in 1868. This gave access to London, and Uckfield then
expanded much quicker than expected, to the detriment of villages in
the surrounding area. In 1969 the railway to Lewes was finally closed,
and Uckfield was left with road access and the railway to Croydon .
However part of the old Lewes line can still be seen run by
Lavender Line Preservation Society at nearby Isfield .
On July 4th 1903 the Sussex Express reported that 'The old cast-iron bridge
which spans the Ouse as it flows through the town of Uckfield is no more'.
One of the East Sussex County Council traction engines drove onto the
bridge, and the cast iron span failed, the engine dropped into the river
in an upright position, luckily no-one was killed. The damage cut Uckfield's
link to Lewes, and traffic was redirected via Isfield . The railway brought
in a steam crane, and a temporary bridge was constructed, which was in use
the following day.
The A22 used to run through Uckfield, which made the town centre difficult
to pass through, but a bypass has reduced the traffic, and it is now a much
nicer place to walk around.
The River Uck has always flooded the land on either side, and in October 2000
the town had a major flood, which caused damage to many of the low lying
houses and businesses.
This village is associated with the Sussex Bonfire Societies , who provide
noisy processions, unbelievable outfits and fantastic firework displays throughout
the month of November - a spectacle not to be missed.
| Uckfield has a wide range of services and is the local shopping
centre for the villages surrounding.
It has a train link via Crowborough to Croydon and then London .
Uckfield is a main route for busses which pass through the town
both north to south and east to west.
| Uckfield has an old part of the town by the church, which contains
the older buildings and is quite attractive.
The wide range of shops spreads from the church to the river and
is nice to walk down.
The river also has some nice walks alongside.