Beachy Head, East Sussex - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Beachy Head East Sussex - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Beachy Head is a Chalk headland in East Sussex.
The name Beachy Head appears as 'Beauchef' in 1274, and was 'Beaucheif' in 1317, becoming consistently Beachy Head by 1724, and has nothing to do with beach. Instead it is a corruption of the original French words meaning "beautiful headland" (beau chef).
The prominence of Beachy Head has made it a landmark for sailors in the English Channel. It is noted as such in the sea shanty Spanish Ladies:
The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, off Portsmouth the Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light.
The ashes of German social scientist and philosopher Friedrich Engels, one of the fathers of communism, were scattered off the cliffs at Beachy Head into the Channel, as he had requested.
Human remains discovered in the 1950s were later subjected to forensic reconstruction, carbon dating and radio-isotype analysis, and found to be those of a woman of Sub-Saharan African origin who grew up in the Eastbourne area in about 200-250AD. She has become known as Beachy Head Lady.
There are an estimated 20 deaths by suicide a year at Beachy Head. The Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team conducts regular day and evening patrols of the area in attempts to locate and stop potential jumpers. Workers at the pub and taxi drivers are also on the look-out for people contemplating suicide, and there are posted signs with the telephone number of the Samaritans urging potential jumpers to call them.
Deaths at the site are well-covered by the media, and Ross Hardy, the founder of the chaplaincy team, says that this encourages suicidal people to choose the site. Worldwide, the landmark's suicide rate is surpassed only by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Aokigahara Woods in Japan.