Wicked Little Letters - Follow the trail from East Beach Guest House

True story back ground....

In 1918, Rose Gooding, an Irish migrant, relocated to the quaint seaside town of Littlehampton, Sussex. There, she formed an unexpected friendship with her neighbour, Edith Swan, who was known for her sanctimonious and deeply conservative views. The two women initially bonded over household tasks, with Edith sharing chutney recipes and knitting patterns, while Rose lent her a tin bath. However, their camaraderie soured when they clashed over their communal garden.

Edith Swan, harbouring resentment, devised a cunning plan for revenge. Posing as Rose, she sent a series of foul-mouthed postcards filled with obscene language and outrageous accusations. Initially, the insults were relatively mild, but they escalated over time. Edith even wrote to Rose’s fiancé, Bert, who was serving in the British forces in Iraq, falsely claiming that she was pregnant by another man. This caused Bert to call off their wedding plans.

In a surprising twist, it was revealed that Edith herself was responsible for sending the scandalous letters to herself, her family members, and neighbours. The saga culminated in a trial, and Rose faced charges of criminal libel before the Littlehampton magistrates in September 1920. The scandal rocked the town and captured the attention of the press. Now, this real-life story has inspired the comedy film Wicked Little Letters, starring Jessie Buckley as Rose and Olivia Colman as Edith123.

The friendship-turned-feud between Rose Gooding and Edith Swan, marked by obscene letters and a trial, became a notorious chapter in Littlehampton’s history, inspiring the film Wicked Little Letters.

Follow the trail from East Beach Guest House

1.At the bottom of the front steps turn left and walk up along South Terrace.

2.As you walk along South Terrace little has changed since the 1920’s. The public green on your right hand side would have been somewhere Edith & Rose would have known.

3.On your right hand side you will see a semi circular apartment building, this was the location of The Beach Hotel.

4.Continue up along South Terrace and on your left hand side you will see No 45 South Terrace which is named in the story

5.Walk further along South Terrace and where the road goes up to the right towards East Beach Café, turn left onto Norfolk Place.

6.Directly in front of you is a large cream coloured Georgian building which is also mentioned in the story

7.As you walk along Norfolk Road you will see Londis. This was the famous Beach Road Post Office

8.At the small crossroads, cross the road to The New Inn Pub. Turn onto Western Road where Edith and Rose both lived. Watch out for No 45, 47 and 49 where they shared a garden to the rear of the houses.

9.Come back to Norfolk Road and walk along away from the seafront. You will see No 29 Norfolk Road and further along No 57 Norfolk Road which back in 1920 was known as Groombridge House.

10.At the end of Norfolk Road at the mini round about take a left to the next roundabout. Walk over this along Church Street. Follow this road which heads towards the high street. You will see a large white manor house which is where Littlehampton Museum is based.

11.At the bottom of the high street turn right and walk along Beach Road. Just before the mini roundabout on your left hand side you will find the building which housed the Urban District Council Offices named in the story.

12.Walk over the round about and along Beach Road towards the sea. At the end of the road at you will meet South Terrace again and East Beach Guest House is on your right hand side.