Victorian Hastings Observer is unearthed from chimney

Jonathan Young found a Hastings and St Leonards Observer from 1896 hidden behind bricks in his chimney at 23 High Street, Hastings Old Town. SUS-151205-133549001
Jonathan Young found a Hastings and St Leonards Observer from 1896 hidden behind bricks in his chimney at 23 High Street, Hastings Old Town. SUS-151205-133549001

A coffee shop owner unearthed a piece of local history while renovating his premises.

Jonathan Young, from No 23 Coffee Bar and Roastery in High Street, found a full intact copy of the Hastings and St Leonards Observer dated August 14, 1897 stuffed behind bricks in his chimney.

As well as that, he discovered pages from old magazines and a copy of the Daily Telegraph, which was dated February 26, 1898.

Fascinated by his discovery, Mr Young decided to mount the old newspapers in frames on the wall, which have attracted the gaze of interested customers.

He said: “While I was removing walls in the building I found a beautiful Victorian fireplace. It had been covered over.

“I was trying to unblock the chimney behind it and wedged in the bricks were lots of newspapers. There were old magazines as well. I pulled out two perfectly intact newspapers from the 1890s, one of which was the Hastings and St Leonards Observer and the other, the Daily Telegraph.”

The building, which makes up Mr Young’s coffee shop and The Laindons B&B, was bought by Uckfield and Sons in 1896.

Outside there is a preserved mosaic sign saying the company was established in 1849.

Mr Young added: “There are some really interesting articles in the Hastings Observer and many public notices. The front page features a lot of adverts, including one for Uckfield and Sons, which was based at 23 High Street.

“The Daily Telegraph’s front page is much the same.

“One public notice is about a military tournament taking place at Horntye fields.

“Pulling out a 120-year-old newspaper is pretty unusual and this is the sort of find you don’t see every day.

“People have been really interested in seeing the newspapers mounted on the wall.”

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