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peopletalk's Podcast

Sep 4, 2012

Smugglers, pirates and villains on the south coast of England in times gone by.

Douglas d'Enno is a local historian and author of some interesting & insightful books on local Sussex history. In our latest conversation, Douglas spent time with me on a glorious sunny October day at the end of Brighton's Victorian pier. There we discussed the activities of smugglers, pirates and villains on the south coast of England in times gone by.

We chatted about excise men patrolling along the top of dangerous cliffs at night on the lookout for smugglers and ship wreckers, and how it sometimes became a life and death struggle between both sides. Smuggling was part of everyday life for some of the small fishing villages along the coast.

We talked about a local vicar, the Reverend Thomas Hooker, a pillar of the community who was nonetheless heavily involved in contraband activities in his village. We also talked about the cat and mouse game played by revenue officers and their quarry the smugglers - who shamelessly continued to ply their trade with the French while England was at war with Napoleon.

Douglas was kind enough in 2006 to take our listeners on an interesting tour of the darker side of life of Brighton’s past. We talked as we walked to some of the locations of the town’s notorious murders. This audio tour, ‘Brighton's Murder Walk’, is still available on our site, click here to hear
Murder Walks

Books by Douglas d'Enno
Brighton Crime & Vice.
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths Around Brighton.
published by Wharncliffe UK.
Here is a link to buy the books above

We would just like to thank the following artists and songwriter's for their kind permission to use their works in the making of this programme.
(All copyrights are retained by artists and songwriters © 08) Please see links to artists web sites.

Track 1: A Smugglers' Song- Arranged and performed by Andrew McKay & by Carole Etherton, words by Rudyard Kipling.  (
Track 2- Paris-White Sail- Paris-Chris Harvey.
Track 3- Ship Keeper- Trim Rig And A Doxy (TRAAD).
Track 4- Leave Her Johnny Leave Her-Trim Rig And A Doxy (TRAAD).
Track 5- Trawling Trade- (John Conolly)- Trim Rig And A Doxy (TRAAD).
Track 6- Paris-White Sail- Paris-Chris Harvey-
Track 7- Scarecrow -Andrew McKay and Carole Etherton, written by © Maria Cunningham.
Track 8- Mary Baker-Andrew McKay and Carole Etherton and written by Carole Etherton
Track 9- Smugglers-Arranged and performed by Andrew McKay & Carole Etherton, words by Rudyard Kipling.
Track 10-Paris-White Sail- Paris-Chris Harvey-