Newhaven is a town of 12,000 inhabitants, situated on the south coast of England, Brighton 10 miles to the west, Eastbourne 10 miles east. Steps away from the South Downs National Park, the coast is a UNESCO world biosphere region, and the town’s ferry terminal is one of the UK’s main arrival and departure points for sea travel across the Channel.
The banks of the estuary are a transit point for the components and remains of industry, hosting scrap metal merchants, asphalt and aggregate suppliers and an enormous spaceship shaped waste recycling plant. A memorial statue to Ho Chi Minh can be found on the West Quay to commemorate the Vietnamese president’s time spent as a pastry chef on the ferry after WW1.
The town’s estuary makes it an ideal place to land fish, the maritime industries are an integral part of the fabric of the community and its employment opportunities. The river Ouse, which leads to the historic town of Lewes a few miles to the north, is on course to be the first river in England to be granted legal rights, as part of a movement to bolster protection for nature through the law.
The town has long been a place favoured by makers and artisans, formerly the home of the Parker Pens plant, it now hosts furniture designer Mark Fish, and this project’s fabrication collaborator, modular house manufacturers Boutique Modern. The thriving community of artists and creative practitioners include the directors of a new high-street contemporary art gallery, theatre producers, writers, musicians and festival and event producers.