Pelham Crescent was witness to some rough weather

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This week, in his continuing series, Ion Castro looks at some stormy seas, as seen from Pelham Crescent.

He writes: The name ‘Pelham’ has its origins in the family name of Thomas Pelham, the Earl of Chichester who owned Hastings Castle and the land along the shore in front of it.

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He was responsible for the building of Pelham Place, a terrace of seven fine houses, west of the end of George Street in 1818. Pelham Crescent followed in 1824-28 and there is a less grand Pelham Street, a service road that runs behind the Carlisle pub to Harold Place.

Directly in front of Pelham Arcade below Pelham Crescent was Beach Terrace, built as the name implies almost on the beach itself. The terrace included boarding houses, residential flats and St Mary in the Castle Churchroom’s Babies’ Welfare Centre, and survived until mid 1931 when it was demolished to make way for Sidney Little’s new seafront.

To the west of Beach Terrace was Caroline Place that ran westward to what is now Albert Road. Caroline Place was named after Caroline of Brunswick, (1768 - 1821) who was married to King George IV, who had been the Prince Regent during his father George III’s health problems (The madness of King George).

Caroline was briefly Queen of the United Kingdom from 1820 until her death the following year and had been Princess of Wales from 1795 to 1820. When George became King in 1820 he vowed she would never be the queen, and insisted on a divorce, which she refused and she asserted her position as queen which was extremely popular with the British populace, who sympathised with her, and who despised the new king for his immoral behaviour.

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In July 1821, Caroline was barred from the coronation on the orders of her husband and fell ill in London where she died three weeks later. Caroline Parade lay between Caroline Place and the sea and was badly damaged during the last war and had finally disappeared with the redevelopment of Castle Street in the late 1950’s. In the meantime the longshore drift was piling shingle against the harbour arm and building up beach almost as far west as Hastings Pier and the whole area is now part of the main A259 Coast Road and Pelham Car Park occupies a large part of the reclaimed beach.

For the majority of images we are indebted to Fred Judge who arrived in Hastings from his native Yorkshire in 1902 after spending a holiday here. By 1903 he was able to indulge his fascination with photography by becoming a professional photographer and buying an existing business from a Mr A. Brooker at 21a Wellington Place and renaming it “Judges’ Photo Stores”.

The first Judge’s postcards were initially produced in 1903 at 1d each (240 pennies to the £) or 13 cards for a shilling (12 pence to the 1/- ) but four years later he was able to double the price. In those early years Fred seems to have specialised in producing cards of special events in Hastings and these cards often reflected snowstorms, wild waves, flooding and so on but, by 1909, card production had moved to subjects of a more perennial nature.

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. There’s more local history on Ion’s website, www.historichastings.co.uk or contact him - ion@1066.net.

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Captions:

11 Storm at Hastings.

Posted on April 2 1909 in Newcastle on Tyne reflecting an event 18 months earlier in Hastings, the storm of September 1st 1908 east of Caroline Place this Judge’s postcard shows the original promenade that was extended around 1910 to provide more protection. Hastings Pier can be seen with its main promenade deck uncluttered and the buildings at the end of Denmark Place can be seen in front of Caroline Place.

72 The Castle Hill Hastings.

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A card from the first decade of the last century and it may have been Fred Judge himself who took this view from Hastings Pier looking east, huge waves are battering Caroline Parade and obscuring the view of Beach Terrace. The Queens Hotel is on the left and Sidney Little is yet to extend the promenade.

243 Rough Sea Hastings.

Although posted in September 1928 this dramatic card from Judges dates from some twenty years earlier and shows Caroline Parade and the end of Denmark Place.

Caroline Place.

An albumen print from an unknown photographer, probably from an upper room in the house at the end of Denmark Place and dating from the end of the nineteenth century the proximity of Caroline Place to the sea can clearly be seen. those houses with basements would have been flooded and often filled with shingle too. In the background, left of the huge wave that’s obscuring Beach Terrace can be seen the entry ramp to Pelham Crescent.

Easter Gale 1913.

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This card from an unknown publisher shows the damage caused in 1913 to the promenade opposite the coastguard Station (1900 – 1927) at Sturdee Place, (west of George Street and named after Admiral Sturdee) The Harbour arm can be seen on the horizon and shingle would eventually build up over the decades preventing this recurring.

Lightning.

This iconic image was originally published by Judges unnumbered but with the caption “Lightning at Hastings. 9.30. p.m. June 6th 1904” and achieved sales of 25,000 in its first year, later the original caption was removed and the postcard, republished as seen here as No 110 and remained a best seller for the next quarter of a century. There have been suggestions that the image has been faked but the general opinion remains that it is genuine.

Rough Sea Hastings.

This unposted card dates from around 1910, the year that Oxo, the meat cube product first appeared and “The Oxo” advertisement was painted on the eastern end of Beach Terrace at this time becoming a popular meeting place – “meet you at the OXO”. It also helps to date the picture because it appears in other, dated, cards. The coastguard flagstaff can be seen in the distance in the centre of the image to the left of the pole that can be seen in other images appearing to support an anemometer.

Rough Sea, Beach Terrace.

This card, posted in March 1913 was produced by W J Willmett, Pier Photographer with his works a matter of yards away in Pelham Crescent shows how close Beach Terrace was to the sea. Beach Terrace was finally demolished in mid 1931 for road-widening. Hastings Pier can be seen in the distance. Note what appears to be an anemometer on top of the pole on the right

Rough Sea, Caroline Parade.

The unnamed photographer of the view of Caroline Parade, (postmarked September 1922, but probably a lot earlier than that) must have been upstairs in the house on the end of Demark Place and has captured the fury of the waves battering the shoreline eastwards and the Harbour arm beyond that. The wooden tresselwork that joined the stonework of the harbour to the shore can be clearly seen indicating that the shingle drift was in its early stages. The mast carrying what appears to be an anemometer (wind speed indicator) can be seen on the left between the two lamp posts and can also be seen in other images.

The Gale at Hastings No 4 & The Gale at Hastings No 5.

Part of a series of probably half a dozen images of the gale by an unknown publisher these scenes at Caroline Parade were captioned ‘The Gale at Hastings’. “R” writes on No 4, posted 28th October 1911 to a Mr Oakley in Ellesmere “I have seen the sea something like this but not so grand. It was a unique sight on Sunday” a few days later, 31 Oct 1911 “R” writes again to the same recipient but no mention of the weather. Notice the anemometer rising above the waves in front of the OXO ad.

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