A brief history of Worthing

Worthing Victorian shelter on the promenade

Some fascinating facts about Worthing

It's thought that Worthing has been inhabited for around 6,000 years and you may not know that it contains Britain's largest concentration of Stone Age flint mines, which are some of the earliest mines known of in Europe. The Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring lies within the Borough and is one of the largest currently known in Britain.

How did Worthing get its name?

Generally, the term "ingas" means "people of" (in modern times, this has been reduced to "ing"). The first part "Worth" means "place of Worth" or "Woro's people", This indicates that someone called Worth or Woro, was once the leader of the area of modern-day Worthing.

More recent history

Worthing was a small mackerel fishing hamlet for many centuries but then in the late 18th century, it became more popular as a Georgian seaside holiday resort, attracting the wealthy and fashionable of the day to its shores. The area remained a popular seaside resort for many years and this is evidenced today by Worthing having three theatres and one of Britain's oldest cinemas.

Worthing officially became a town in 1803. The new town expanded rapidly, giving rise to the well-known developments of Park Crescent and Liverpool Terrace. Oscar Wilde holidayed in the town in 1893 and 1894 and wrote "The Importance of Being Earnest" during his second visit. Nobel prize-winner Harold Pinter also lived in Worthing. The area was also very popular with smugglers in the 1800's and was the site of rioting by the "Skeleton Army" around this time.

Further back

An excavation at Little High Street dates the earliest remains from Worthing town centre to the Bronze Age. There is also an important Bronze Age hill fort on the western fringes of the modern borough at Highdown Hill. During the Iron Age, one of Britain's largest hill forts was built at Cissbury Ring. The area was part of the civitas of the Regni during the Romano-British period. Several of the borough's roads date from this era and lie in a grid layout known as 'centuriation'. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area became part of the kingdom of Sussex. The place-names of the area, including the modern-day name of Worthing, originate from this time.

About Us

When we're not busy researching the history of the places we serve, we're out and about clearing Worthing's rubbish as well as collecting and delivering skips to the local community.

Lead image of the Victorian shelter on the promenade courtesy of 'Ukance' - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0Link.

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