Celebrating the Age of Empire
This week, in his continuing series, Ion Castro takes a look at another section of Queens Road, from Stonefield Place to Nelson Road.
He writes. Following the rapid growth of Hastings in the middle of the 19th century the town expanded up the broad valley to what would become Alexandra Park.
The building of St Andrews Terrace, (later St Andrews Road and now the eastern side of Queens Road) ending at the Fountain and had continued throughout the middle of the 19th century and was probably complete by about 1860. Originally built as dwellings it wasn’t long before all the premises were converted into shops with the shopkeepers and their families living with above the shop. Beyond the Fountain pub the route to St Andrew Arch, (the tunnel under the railway, later replaced with a bridge), took a right turn through what was confusingly known as Prospect Place, (confusing because there was another Prospect Place on the high ground at White Rock so renamed Stonefield Place in the early 20th century) and then left along Stonefield Road.
The 1870’s saw the building of the terrace of a couple of dozen houses from Stonefield Place to the orphan section of Nelson Road that lies between Stonefield Road and Queens Road. With the exception of the Imperial Hotel they were all built as residential dwellings fronting the tree-lined St Andrews Road (the previous name of this part of Queens Road) and remained mainly residential to this day apart from the corner of Stonefield Place which was converted to a shop fairly early on and number 101 which, as early as the first war had the ground floor front room converted to a small shop premises – ‘Queens Steam Sanitary Laundry Receiving Office’.
Further north, following bomb damage to 110 - 113 a petrol filling station was later built the on the bomb site by acquiring and demolishing adjacent buildings, nos 109 and 114.
All illustrations throughout this series are from Ion Castro’s own collection and he can make available copies of many of the historic images used in this series. Ion has had the 1933 Book illustrating the centenary of the gas company reprinted and it can be obtained from him for £7.99 + postage, contact [email protected] or tel 01424 437468 and there’s more local history on Ion’s website, www.historichastings.co.uk
This extract from a map prepared for Hastings Corporation in 1859 shows Queens Road, then St Andrews Road, ending at Prospect Place (Stonefield Place) The gas works had already been built on what was then the outskirts of town.
110-113 Queens Rd.
Together with Nos.155/6/7 on the opposite side of the road, these houses were destroyed by bombing in September 1940. After the war other houses adjoining the bombed site were purchased and demolished, providing a site for a Petrol Station (nos 111-115) The site has now reverted to residential use.
This image from 1891 shows the house on the corner of Stonefield Place, 94 Queens Road, was an early conversion to a shop and, having hosted a large variety of trades and having retained its early appearance until very recently, has now been returned to its original use. Notice the horse-drawn furniture van (without the horses!).
In 1890 no 94 Queens Road was occupied by Chas Coussens as a furniture shop.
The celebration of Empire Day dates from 1898 and was originally celebrated as Queen Victoria’s birthday, 24th May, until her death in 1901. After 1958 it has been known as Commonwealth Day. This postcard from1909 shows local volunteers with the head of the procession passing Stonefield Place on its way to Alexandra Park where commemorative ceremonies would be held. The shopfronts of Nos 80-91 can be seen on the left.
Members of the local branch of the South African War Veterans’ Association marched in the drizzling rain from Waterworks-road to Alexandra Park after pausing outside the Imperial Hotel They were celebrating the coronation of King George VI on the 12th May 1937 when the Hastings Observer published this image of the 30 grey-haired and bemedalled veterans of the Boer or South African War of 1899 - 1902.
This extract from the 1872 Ordnance Survey map shows the terrace almost complete and St Andrews Road, lined with trees on both sides, in place and St Andrews School on Stonefield Road, Nelson Road has not yet been built.
St Andrews School.
Published at the end of 1948 this image shows the former St Andrews School in Stonefield Road. In September 1940 a bomb crashed down on the edge of the playground of the school, and started a steady train of destruction. The great gap in the wall can be seen and in this picture the school wall appears shored up to prevent collapse. Post-war accommodation problems meant that the building continued as a school right up to the late 1950’s when part of the building had become an auction house, then carpet warehouse (which moved round the corner to no 94 Queens Road when the site was redeveloped) and the other part became a church. After a full refurbishment in the 1970’s, the former St Andrews School is now 8 dwellings.
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