HASTINGS & ST. LEONARDS SOCIETY
Promoting Our Heritage and Civic Pride
Newsletter: Issue 10 (14 December 2018)
Seasonal Message from the Chair
Another year is almost at an end, and I am again pleased to wish members and everyone else who has supported, or shown an interest in, the Hastings & St. Leonards Society a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2019.
Hastings & St. Leonards Society has had a busy year, serving as an umbrella organisation for groups and societies in the Borough concerned with heritage and civic matters. Further to this we produced a town centre walk leaflet, which you can pick up from the Tourist Information Centre or download from our website, and we were pleased to be able to provide much-needed prize money for the National Town Criers Championships in ‘Hastings Week’, through sales of our booklet ‘A Bellow of Criers’. We intend to fund the Town Criers competition again next year, so if you if you haven’t bought a copy yet, it is available from the Tourist Information Centre or Hastings Museum for £4.
In our first full year of membership we had almost fifty persons joining the Society. We hope all those persons will renew their membership and that more members will soon be added. Details of membership are on our website, or apply by e-mailing the address above. We currently have low operating costs, so much of the money raised through subscriptions can be invested in projects of benefit to the town. Please spread the word to help us increase our membership.
We also encourage people to subscribe to our website – there is no cost for this and subscribers receive notification of up-dates to the website by e-mail. There is a subscribers box to complete on the website. A diary of events such as Open Meetings, lectures, guided walks and outings, organised by the H & St. L Society and associated organisations, is maintained on the website. We look forward to seeing you at some of our events in 2019.
Dr Deborah Madden (Chair, Hastings & St. Leonards Society)
UNESCO World Heritage Site proposal (update)
A presentation by Julia Hilton (H & St. L Society member) and discussion on the possibility of applying for UNESCO World Heritage Site status for an area of Hastings or St. Leonards was a topic at our Open Meeting in October. Following on from this, a ‘scoping meeting’ was hosted by Hastings Voluntary Action on 20 November. Julia is providing a brief report on this meeting for us, but hasn’t found time to do so as yet. We will circulate the report as an e-bulletin once available.
Pelham Arcade Restoration Project
Pelham Arcade [facing Hastings seafront] is a Grade II* listed shopping arcade, and it is also on the national Heritage ‘At Risk’ Register, which is maintained by Historic England. The Register highlights high status historic buildings that are under threat of irreversible decline, including dereliction, loss or serious neglect. Because of its risk status, Hastings Borough Council and Historic England have formed a partnership, to try to rescue the Arcade, and we are offering substantial grants to owners who are willing to restore their buildings back to their original form, and to a good state of repair. The restoration scheme has been underway since 2010. Pelham Arcade is in multiple ownerships, and this has made achieving the comprehensive repairs to the buildings more challenging, as we need to secure the co-operation of all of the Arcade owners.
Restoration works are already completed or underway at 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, 12 and 12A Pelham Arcade. To be eligible for grant aid, building owners have to fully implement the Council’s agreed scheme to restore the rusticated render arches, traditional timber shop front and shop signage, and also to restore the timber and glazed roof lantern that sits above the centre of the arcade. The scheme design has been shaped by historic analysis and research, by the wish to restore the historic character of the buildings, and the desire to achieve a more unified façade with far greater visual impact on the seafront
In addition to offering grants for the restoration of Pelham Arcade, we [HBC] are also investigating the feasibility of repairing the roof of the Arcade units, which forms the road in Pelham Crescent. The road surface is in a very poor condition and the Arcade units are currently being blighted by on-going water ingress problems from the road above. Each individual owner of the Arcade units owns the roof/road immediately above them in Pelham Crescent. The proposed road improvement scheme at Pelham Arcade/Pelham Crescent aims to resolve some of the current water ingress problems in the Pelham Arcade shop units. New road designs have been developed that will aim to get rid of the sitting water and deal with the consequences of saturation in the road and the arcade below. The Council is now trying to identify partnership funding to help to pay towards the costs of the road repairs.
(H & St. L Society is grateful to HBC’s Conservation Officer, Jane Stephen, for providing this item for the Newsletter. Jane has also provided a couple of images relating to the project, which we intend to post on our website shortly. If you subscribe to the website you will be notified by e-mail when this has been done.)
Our secretary, Steven, has been trying to find out what became of the Town Guns: five miniature cannons that were fired, usually on the West Hill, at ceremonial events such as Coronations and Royal Visits to the Town. A search of the H & St. L Observer newspaper archive suggests that the last official firing was on the occasion of the Prince of Wales’ visit in 1927. So what happened to them after that?
We had hoped all the Guns were in storage at Hastings Museum. Steven’s inquiry revealed that there is no mention of them in the archive records at the Museum; but after a requested search by the staff one of the guns has now been found there. So what has become of the other four cannons? It has been suggested that they were melted down for the ‘war effort’ (WWII). However, one person says she has a vague memory of the Guns (i.e. more than one) being displayed outside the Museum at one time. Does anybody else remember seeing them outside the Museum? It is a shame if they have been lost, as they were such an important part of the Town’s ceremonial heritage. But at least we still have one of them. Perhaps we can put it to use one day? (Matter in hand – news of which in due course.)
Renewal of Subscriptions
Existing members please note that subscription fees for the Society Year 2019 become payable on 1 January, and we hope you will continue your membership. Fees for 2019 are the same as last year: Individual £5; Joint (two persons at same address) £8; Student £4.
You can renew your membership by sending a cheque to:
The Secretary, Hastings & St. Leonards Society
4 Castledown Terrace
Hastings TN34 3RQ
Cheque made payable to ‘Hastings & St. Leonards Society’
Should you prefer, payment can be made direct to our bank account. If you wish to do this please contact us by e-mail and we will provide the account details: email@example.com
New members are of course very welcome, so if you are not yet a member you will find the application form and details of our objectives on the website: www.hastingsandstleonardssociety.org.uk
We also offer group membership and a quote will be given on request. Please state number of members in the organisation.
Hastings & St. Leonards Society committee