Newsletter No 15

West Hill Community Festival Update

To correspond with Heritage Open Days and to celebrate the substantial local heritage of the West Hill area of Hastings, we have organised a Community Festival for the weekend of 20 – 22 September. All events are free and we open with a concert at Emmanuel Church on the Friday evening (20 September).
Starting at 7.30pm, the highly-regarded Benyounes Quartet play string quartets by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Debussy. The event is for ticket holders only, and at date of this newsletter we have a small number of tickets still available. To apply for your free ticket e-mail:

Other events at the festival include ‘Happy Harold’ vintage trolleybus rides (Saturday 11am–3pm), Emmanuel Church Open Day (Saturday 12–4pm), and display by Brighton Kite Flyers (Sunday 1.30–3pm, weather permitting).
There are two guided walks during the weekend, both limited to 20 persons and booking recommended. On Saturday, starting at 2.30 pm, there is a Botany Walk, with leaders from Hastings Botany Group. To book e-mail Jacqueline Rose ( or phone Judy Clark (01424 720369). On the Sunday, starting at 11am, there is a local heritage walk with H & St. L Society. To book e-mail the secretary’s address above. Both walks start at the notice board by the West Hill café.
We are very pleased that Hastings Museum is displaying the only known remaining ‘Hastings Town Gun’ (small cannon) on the Saturday (from 11am – 3pm) of the festival. This will be on the recreation grounds if weather fine, or at District Community Centre if weather poor, with two information boards giving the history of the town guns included. And don’t miss the extensive ‘West Hill of Hastings’ local history exhibition at the Community Centre (junction of Croft Road and Bembrook Road) on both Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September, from 10am to 4pm. Latest ‘West Hill Community Festival’ programme details can be found at:

Town Centre Walk

Another event we have arranged for Heritage Open Days is a Town Centre Guided Walk. This will be led by H & St. L Society’s Alan Jeffries and is on Thursday 19 September, 2.30pm start. The meeting place for the guided walk is by the notice board at the lower end of Wellington Square Gardens. The walk will take approximately 90 minutes and we hope to include brief visits to two of the town centre’s historic churches in this event. We have again set a maximum of 20 persons for the walk, so please book either via our website or by e-mailing

Lord Boyce talk for ‘Hastings Week’

For ‘Hastings Week’ this year we have booked Lord Boyce, Warden of the Cinque Ports, to give a talk focusing on the Cinque Ports as “the cradle of the Royal Navy” and the Royal Navy today. This very special event is at Hastings Museum on Sunday 13 October, starting at 2pm. The event is free and booking not required. We are very grateful to Lord Boyce for agreeing to travel to Hastings at his own expense to give this talk, and hope many of our members will attend. Surely an event not to be missed!

Group Visit to Rye in Hastings Week

We had to call off our group visit to Rye Heritage Centre in 2017 due to very bad winter weather. We have now, at last, rescheduled the visit for Tuesday 15 October, which is during ‘Hastings Week’. This is a ‘make your own way’ visit, assembling at Rye Heritage Centre (The Old Sail Loft, Rye Strand Quay) for 11am. A bus (101) departs Hastings rail station at 9.47am, going via Old Town and Ore Village to arrive at Rye (Tillingham Bridge bus stop – for short walk to Rye heritage Centre) at 10.32am. Cost of the visit is £10 per person, set by Rye Heritage Centre to include the visit to the Centre, ‘History of Rye sight-and-sound model-show’ and guided walk with local historian (we are therefore not required to make any donations). There is an additional £1 booking fee for each nonmember of the H & St. L Society. To book e-mail:
Payment instructions will be given with confirmation of your booking.

National Town Criers Championship

Another event we are involved with during ‘Hastings Week’ is the National Town Criers Championship on Saturday 19 October. This is held in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, Queen’s Square, with our fabulous Town Hall in the background. Hastings & St. Leonards Society is providing the prize money for the competition, as we did last year. To raise funds for this we produced a booklet ‘A Bellow Of Criers’, which costs £4 and is on sale at the Tourist Information Centre on the seafront and at ‘Bookbuster’ on Queen’s Road. The booklet gives an overview of the history of the Town Crier tradition, the history of Hastings’ town criers, and of the National Championships (held in Hastings since 1952). Without prize money, Hastings is in danger of losing this colourful (and loud) national heritage event, so thank you to all who have bought the booklet. And to those who haven’t yet purchased a copy…

Letter-boxes success for Local Listing

Due to the considerable interest in local post boxes at the talks ‘Pillar Box Red’ our secretary Steven gave during 2017-18, we submitted applications to have four of the borough’s letter boxes put on the Local List of Heritage Assets. We are pleased that this is progressing favourably. We are advised that the frontage of the former post office in High Street, Old Town, has listed status with Historic England (HE), and HBC requests that we submit request to HE to have this extended to include the Ludlow letter-box (dating to the reign of George V) – which of course we will do. The borough’s two ‘anonymous’ (no royal cipher or other wording) pillar boxes have been recommended by HBC for the Local List: these cylindrical pillar boxes are at the junction of Harold Road with Godwin Road in Hastings; and the junction of Springfield Road with London Road in St. Leonards. These are our oldest extant post boxes. The high posting aperture on both boxes informs us that they were manufactured in the period 1879-1883, before the posting aperture was lowered. The width of the mouth is only 6 inches – standard for pillar boxes at that time. Also recommended by HBC for the Local List is the oval George V pillar box alongside Hastings railway station car park. It is one of the trial models dating to 1932/33, which had a stamp vending machine attached to one side and the posting aperture on the other side. These boxes were made in two sizes. This example at Hastings is one of just eight of the smaller size still in use around the country. The vending machine has long gone, but the lettering and arrow indicator for both the vending machine and posting aperture are clearly evident. HBC has also suggested that H & St. L Society makes an application for national listed status for this letter-box. The Letter-box Study Group (charity) supports this
move, so we will indeed submit an application to HE.

Hastings & St. Leonards Society Committee

By |2024-02-11T10:33:29+00:00September 5th, 2019|The Society|Comments Off on Newsletter No 15

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