THE Observer reported that signs recently uncovered on two shopfronts in Kings Road might have been the work of Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.
When Tressell arrived in Hastings in late 1901 or early 1902, No 23 had already been a grocery (Fuller and Swatland) for several years, but No 24 had only become a butchers (Rymills) in 1900. So it is likely that after the two shops had been trading successfully alongside each other for a while, they had agreed to have the signs painted together, as part of the same job. Tressell was a signwriter from 1902 until about 1909, and he worked on many buildings in St Leonards.
But there were several painting and decorating firms and self-employed craftsmen in the town at that time, so it can only be said that it is a possibility that Tressell carried out the Kings Road work. More details of Tress-ell’s life and work are in my 2011 book Mugsborough Revisited.