Newsletter No 13

Newsletter: Issue 13 (20 May 2019)

Annual General Meeting Report

The second Annual General Meeting of the Society took place on Monday 29 April at the White Rock Hotel. Notes from the meeting, including the Chair’s Annual Report, have been circulated to all members. Other recipients of our Newsletters may be interested in the main points from the Notes.
All officers and other members of the executive committee were re-elected in accordance with the requirements of the original adopted constitution. It was voted unanimously to make an amendment to Item 6 in the constitution so that officers stand down from their posts (being able to stand for re-election) every two years, instead of every year. The reason for this is that it will ensure some continuity of the committee. Some officers will stand down in one year and the others in the following year. The proposal for amendment was carried unanimously in a vote by all members present.

Last year the Society provided £200 prize money for the National Town Criers Championships, to help keep the event in Hastings. It was voted, without objection, to do so again in 2019. This colourful national heritage event is held in Priory Square during Hastings Week. To raise funds for the prize money we published a booklet, ‘A Bellow of Criers’, giving the history of the Town Crier tradition in Hastings and the National Championships. This is on sale at £4 from the Tourist Information Centre on Hastings seafront, and at Bookbuster on Queen’s Road. Donations towards the prize money are also invited. We will provide details of our bank account if you wish to make a contribution in this way.

Open Meeting

There was to be a H & St. L Society Open Meeting on 13 May, but complications with the room hire at the White Rock Hotel forced a late cancellation of the Meeting. We have now rescheduled the meeting for Monday 10 June, 6 pm start, at White Rock Hotel (seafront meeting room). The main item on the agenda is John Bownas, H & St. L Society committee member and Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) Manager, reporting on the activities of BID and outlining the strategy for the Town Centre’s future. There will also be an update on situations at the St. Leonard’s Church (area) and West Marina former bathing pool site.
Another speaker invited to the meeting is Luciana Haill, to give a presentation on the ‘Apparitions’ art project. ‘Apparitions’ is a new augmented reality app and art project that reveals the ghosts of historic lost landmarks in the Borough, evoking a “nostalgia for lost futures”: for example, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower and St. Leonards Pier. Artist Luciana Haill will demonstrate how AR and digital new media art have the ability to preserve architecture and social memory beyond a site’s physical demise.
We have decided not to include a discussion of the situation at Hastings Pier at the next Open Meeting (this was requested at our Open Meeting in February) as the Pier is now open again and events being held.

West Hill (Hastings) project

Hastings & St. Leonards Society has been awarded a grant of £8,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our West Hill (Hastings) Local Heritage and Community Festival Project. The project runs for one-year (ending in May 2020) and a sub-committee of the Society is now working on the project, which is to research the substantial local history of the West Hill area, and to organise a community festival to promote and celebrate that heritage. The Grant will pay for the production of an exhibition, heritage trail leaflet, booklet (to be distributed free) and the events at the Community Festival.
Oral history recordings will be made as part of the project. We are intending to hold a reminiscences coffee-morning at either Emmanuel Church or West Hill Community Centre, and invite persons who would like to give their reminiscences about the West Hill area to contact us so that we can set a date (end of June or early July) agreeable to the majority of those wishing to attend. We can also arrange to visit you to record your reminiscences for the project. E-mail:
Updates on the programme for the festival and the progress of the research will be maintained on our website (

Coach Trips

The Society ran a coach trip to Standen House and Gardens (National Trust), near East Grinstead, for the tulip festival on 8 April. Although the day started with steady rain, we had some sunshine in the afternoon and a very enjoyable outing.
This ‘Arts and Crafts’ property was most interesting, and the gardens were full of spring colour.
Another venue in the same area that we have been recommended to visit is The Priest House at West Hoathly. So we are organising a coach trip for Sunday 7 July.

Details as follows:
Arrive midday for visit to The Priest House (museum of folklore) with tour of this 15th century timber-framed farmhouse. Also a cottage garden. Then on to Luctons for National Garden Scheme (charity) open day. This is a 2-acre Gertrude Jekyll style garden. Depart 4 pm.

Cost is £20 per person for travel and group rate admission to The Priest House. Additional £5 pay-on-the-gate admission to Luctons.

Teas with homemade cakes on sale at Luctons.

Option to go to Ashdown Forest visitor centre at Wych Cross (free admission, but donations invited) instead of Luctons. Coach will take people to visitor centre and then return to West Hoathly to collect people from Luctons. (Minumum of 5 persons required for this option).

Pick ups at: Ore Village; Hastings Old Town; Hastings Town Centre (seafront); Warrior Square; Silverhill (times to be

Priority booking for Hastings & St. Leonards Society members (and one guest per member) until 27 May. To book e-mail
Payment instructions will be given with confirmation of booking.

Hastings Embroidery

In the past couple of years, many people have contacted us about the ‘Hastings Embroidery’, which has been in specialist storage in London for many years. The ‘Embroidery’ was produced for the 900th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Hastings in 1966, and it is back on display at long last, on selected dates from May until October, in Rye.

The venue is Bridge Point in Rock Channel, which is the site for the proposed new Creative Arts Centre.

Information about the exhibition can be found at Hastings Online Times:

It is understood that the new Arts Centre in Rye could be a long-standing home for the Embroidery. This may disappoint Hastings and St. Leonards people as Hastings was the original home of the Embroidery, and it was hoped it would return here. With the future of the Observer Building frequently in the local news, perhaps a proposal to locate the Hastings Embroidery in the Observer Building could be a funding application opportunity to renovate that iconic building. A topic for discussion at a future H & St. Society Open Meeting?

‘Hastings Hideosities’

We invited submissions for our ‘Hastings Hideosities’ feature on our website early in the year and so far just the Poundstretcher/Snooker Club building at the corner of Albert Road and Wellington Place in Hastings town centre has been put forward for the title of ‘Most Ugly Building in Hastings and St. Leonards’ – thanks to member David Brown for the submission, and to others who have strongly agreed with David. This building replaced the Castle Hotel. Any other candidates for the title of ‘Most Ugly Building in Hastings and St. Leonards’? Send your photographs for our website:

UNESCO World Heritage Site status proposal

The discussions on the proposal to work on an application for UNESCO World Heritage Site status for a location in Hastings or St. Leonards are continuing, with ‘scoping meetings’ having been hosted by Hastings Voluntary Action. At present the group is focussing on Hastings Castle as the most likely site for an application, but much work has to be done to make an application justifiable. If you want to attend scoping group meetings contact Julia Hilton:

Membership Secretary required

Our original Membership Secretary, Abi Callaghan, resigned on the lead up to the AGM in April. This was due to her forthcoming studies at university. We therefore need a new Membership Secretary. The work involved is to maintain a record of membership to the Society, take in membership forms and annual subscriptions, make payments into our bank account (and inform our treasurer) and issue receipts. Oh, and issue renewal subscription reminders as necessary once a year. If you are willing to take up this post please e-mail the secretary at usual address.

Hastings & St. Leonards Society committee

By |2024-02-11T10:33:29+00:00May 24th, 2019|The Society|Comments Off on Newsletter No 13

About the Author: