The town and civil parish of Shoreham-by-Sea is in the Adur District of West Sussex and is bordered to its north by the South Downs, to its west by the Adur valley and to its south by the River Adur and Shoreham Beach on the English Channel. It lies approximately 6 miles west of Brighton and 5 miles east of Worthing with a population, according to census of 2001, of 19,200.
Shoreham lies on the left bank of the river Adur where the river enters the English Channel. In the late 11th century a new area was developed by the river’s mouth and called New Shoreham, the borough of which became one of the most important channel ports in the 12th and 13th centuries. Its trade as a harbour and usefulness for shipbuilding were subject to the drifting banks that from time to time blocked the river’s mouth and gradually pushed the entrance eastward. From the late 18th century onwards with improvement of the harbour and the needs of the growing populations of Brighton and Worthing, Shoreham’s trade greatly increased. The expansion and spread of both parishes in the 20th century caused the town to be re-named Shoreham-by-Sea.
Shoreham Airport, located in Lancing to the west of the main town, is now in private ownership and the oldest licensed airport in the country. It is at the forefront of general aviation in the UK and a major base for flying activities on the South Coast. The Art Deco terminal building is listed as of historical interest and has also been used as a setting for films and TV drama. Shoreham Airport offers a friendly stress-free atmosphere plus all the requirements for modern aviation including, executive and business aviation, flight instruction, pleasure flights, as well as providing excellent Conference and Meeting facilities. The two licensed restaurants, Terminal 2 at Wingfield House and the Fly-In Bar and Restaurant are located within the main Terminal Building.
Many fishing boats work from Shoreham catching whitefish and shellfish. Cod and whiting are the main fisheries in winter, with plaice in spring, and sole, turbot, brill, and rays in summer. Lobster and edible crabs are potted and small catches of black bream and bass are also commercially viable fisheries. Grey mullet are also caught and mussels and spider crabs fished for. The incidental fish catches of red mullet and gurnard are often seen on the fishmonger slabs. 1869 saw the height of the Oyster fishing industry. The abundance of oysters resulted in an influx of fishermen from East Anglia bringing much prosperity to the town. 20,000 tons of oysters were sent to London from Shoreham in one year alone. However, by 1913 the oysters had been fished out and the fishing fleet halved. Attempts to regulate the fishing were unsuccessful.
Shoreham, although a quieter location than the nearby larger resorts of Worthing and Brighton, offers good surfing and sailing and excellent shopping facilities, with splendid pubs and restaurants to be found both in the town and surrounding countryside.