Burtons’ St Leonards Society

ON January 27, local expert André Palfrey-Martin gave a talk to the society on the development of Hollington.

Domesday Book citation was taken as read, and the account began in the 1920s with Homes Fit for Heroes and the building of prefabs. Other houses and amenities followed.

In a detailed analysis of houses and streets, particular attention was given to the Bristol Road, Lewis Road and Oxford Road area. He explained entertainingly the role of Sidney Little, the now nearly-legendary borough engineer of Hastings.

He also explained the different phases of building, and the payment programmes used.

The clear affection for Hollington by André Palfrey-Martin as it developed in the 20th century came across to an appreciative audience.

On Tuesday, March 19, Anne Scott of the Old Hastings Preservation Society spoke on the Hastings Cemetery Project, assisted by Ann Rowley.

Hastings Cemetery, just north of The Ridge, was opened in 1856, on land known as Gateman’s Field, a site sold by Drew Lucas-Shadwell. The first to be buried there was the builder John ‘Yorky’ Smith, who did Martello Towers locally (now gone) - and also 57 Marina for James Burton, the founder of St Leonards-on-Sea.

Many others soon followed, including the Revd John Hatchard, a Commissioner for the St Leonards (and grandson of the Piccadilly bookseller).

George Monger, who won a VC at the Siege of Lucknow, is there. Wallace Butler DCM, is remembered on his parents’ gravestone, but not buried: his name is also on the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Many of whose last resting place is the cemetery had a mixture of local and imperial roots. Whistler’s mother is there too, and other members of that remarkable American family. Among the local families mentioned were the Dunks, and the Robertsons.

The talk – illustrated with many good pictures – was a wonderful history lesson on Hastings and its involvement with the world.