West Hill (Hastings) Local Heritage and Community Festival Project
The one-year long project to research and celebrate the heritage and social history of the West Hill area of Hastings was completed at the end of May 2020.
Hastings & St. Leonards Society received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the project, which included production of an exhibition, publication of a 72-page booklet, recordings of oral history with residents and a community festival (held over the weekend of 20-22 September 2019).
The following is a Brief Evaluation Report of the project, as submitted to National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the End of Grant report:
It was most gratifying to find so much interest and support for the project in the community. The project has enabled and encouraged residents who have done their own research work, or who have in their possession items of interest (such as old photographs and maps), to come together and share these valuable resources. Sussex Mills Group made contact with us, having come across the project details on our website, and gave assistance with the research of the windmills of the West Hill. Our extensive research work has enabled us to correct, or call into question, some local history ‘facts’ that have stood unchallenged for many decades. The community festival was a big success, and served well to draw attention to the project and the substantial local heritage and fascinating social history of the area. We were asked if we could put the festival on each year – we will not be doing so, but the local history walk and exhibition will be put on during Heritage Open Days in future years. (Unfortunately, restrictions due to Covid-19 prevent us holding any HODs events this year.)The exhibition will be displayed at various localities from time to time, and is also being offered to on loan to other organisations in the borough.
Many people in the community said they previously had no idea of the history of the West Hill area of Hastings, and there is a genuine sense of pride in this and the extant local heritage. Hopefully this will help to promote and protect the heritage for future generations. Requests for copies of the free booklet ‘The West Hill of Hastings’, have been considerable. The Society also intends to produce a West Hill (Hastings) Local Heritage Trail leaflet, at our own expense in the near future, and we are working with Hastings Borough Council on installing a local heritage ‘points of interest’ display in the existing information board close to the West Hill ‘Lift’ (upper station) and cafe.
To request a copy of the booklet The West Hill of Hastings e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The booklet is free (limited supply) with donations to Hastings & St. Leonards Society welcome.
A report and photographs for the West Hill Community Festival are available at: