Society Newsletter No. 11


Promoting Our Heritage and Civic Pride


Secretary’s e-mail:

Newsletter: Issue 11 (7 February 2019)

Future of St. Leonard’s Church Building Under Discussion

Our next Open Meeting is on Monday 25 February, 6 pm start, at the White Rock Hotel (ground floor meeting room). The main topic is the future of the St. Leonard’s Church building and a presentation will be given by Chris Lewcock of Hastings Urban Design Group. It was recently announced that due to the instability of the land, the building cannot to be used as a church – it has been closed for a considerable time. It is felt, therefore, that a scheme to secure the future of the building is urgently required. Chris will also be considering the church in the context of the wider landscape, calling on key authorities and organisations to play a part in working to save and enhance the building and its surroundings. He says: “No action is not an option”.

At this meeting an update on the ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ for the former bathing pool site will be given by the West Marina Partnership. The group formed last year as the outcome of a discussion about the site at our Open Meeting.

This is a free event. All welcome, but please notify us in advance if you are attending so that we have an idea of numbers and can issue you with the Agenda:

Drinks purchased at the bar may be brought into the meeting – arrive in time to get your drinks before the meeting starts.

Annual General Meeting

The date for the Hastings & St. Leonards Society 2019 Annual General Meeting is Monday 29 April, 6 pm start. This will also be at the White Rock Hotel. We hope we will see many of our members at the meeting – the Agenda for the AGM will be circulated to all members in due course. Please put the date in your diary. If you are not yet a member of the Society, or have yet to pay your 2019 subscriptions, there is plenty of time to rectify this – memberships details are on the website ( with subscriptions rates. The more members we have, the better we can operate for the good of the Town and its community.

UNESCO World Heritage Site status proposal

The following is an extract from the conclusions after two ‘scoping’ meetings, hosted by Hastings Voluntary Action:

That a ‘plausible’ application could be advanced by drawing together different threads of activity to create an over-arching “narrative” which could meet the UNESCO criteria. Hastings is clearly an area which could rightly claim a unique historical place in the nations development as well as having sites of national and international significance. However, the cost of mounting a credible application [would be] considerable (estimated at least £250,000) and the process would need considerable support from the Local Authority at a time when HBC resources in terms of both finance and officer capacity were significantly reduced. Furthermore, it was felt that if a serious dialogue was to be established with UNESCO some work would be needed to create a firmer ‘foundation’ to describe the broad historical narrative which would be at the heart of any application. Based on this it was felt that to advance a formal application at this stage would not be advisable but, rather attention should be focused on undertaking some further preparatory work to increase the presentation of key sites and ideas relating to the history of Hastings. (author, Steve Manwaring, HVA)

Julia Hilton will give a brief update on the scoping group’s work at our Open Meeting on 25 February (see above). Or for further information about the ‘scoping group’ e-mail:

Lord Boyce our Guest Speaker for Hastings Week

Looking much further ahead, the Society is extremely pleased that Lord Boyce, Warden of the Cinque Ports, has agreed to give a talk for us during ‘Hastings Week’. This is at Hastings Museum on Sunday 13 October, starting at 2 pm. Lord Boyce will talk about the Cinque Ports as the Cradle of the Royal Navy, and the Royal Navy today. Free event, so get the date in your diary.

Ancient Town Guns

In the last Newsletter (14 December 2018) it was mentioned that Steven (H & St. L Society secretary) had discovered that one of the Ancient Town Guns (small cannons once fired on special occasions by the Town Gunner) was in storage at Hastings Museum. It is now known that two of the Town Guns are known to be in storage at the Museum – one larger than the other. The Society is negotiating with the Museum to have the Guns on display during Heritage Open Days in September. This will require an official loan of the Guns, under rigid conditions, but we hope this can be achieved.

Local Studies Room at Museum

The Society has also been discussing with the staff at Hastings Museum the opening times of the Local Studies Room. The LSR had been out of operation for a while but re-opened for use by the public in January. However, whereas this popular and much-needed research facility for local historians and students was once open every Wednesday, the opening has been restricted to just one day per month: the third Wednesday. Several persons have contacted the Society saying they feel this is inadequate, and we have passed on these complaints to the Museum. We have also asked Cllr. Margi O’Callaghan (HBC’s ‘Heritage Champion’) to look into the matter.

Submissions invited for 2020 Calendar

The Society intends to produce a calendar for 2020, featuring photographs of locations in the Borough appropriate for each month. Submissions invited. A free calendar will be given to each person with a photograph included in the calendar. Send your submissions to and don’t forget to provide your name and give your photograph a title for inclusion on the calendar. We will contact successful submitters by e-mail for postal addresses to send prizes to, or you can include address with your submission.

Ugliest Buildings’ photos

Keen photographers may also be interested in a feature we are adding to our website. How many ‘ugly’ buildings are there in Hastings and St. Leonards? Ok, so ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. However, if you consider a building to be ugly, please send us a photograph of it for our website feature. Sorry, no prizes, but we’ll hold a vote to determine the ‘Most Ugly Building in the Borough’.

Dates for your 2019 Diary

Dates for the main events in Hastings and St. Leonards during 2019 are as follows:

Jack in the Green Festival: Friday 3 – Monday 6 May (Procession on Monday 6 May)

Old Town Carnival Week: Saturday 3 – Sunday 11 August (Carnival on Saturday 10 August)

Heritage Open Days: Friday 13 – Sunday 22 September (10 days)

Seafood and Wine Festival: Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September

Hastings Week: Saturday 12 – Sunday 20 October (bonfire on Saturday 19 October)

Hastings & St. Leonards Society committee

By |2024-02-11T10:33:48+00:00February 11th, 2019|The Society|Comments Off on Society Newsletter No. 11

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