Book depicts historic local road most travelled...

Hurst Court 1905 - one of the pictures in a book on the Ridge from Hastings History House SUS-150120-121521001
Hurst Court 1905 - one of the pictures in a book on the Ridge from Hastings History House SUS-150120-121521001

A book telling the story of how one of the most historic highway’s in Sussex ‘The Ridge’ evolved has been published by Hastings History House.

Author of

She said: “It would have been used by William the Conqueror and his Norman army on the way to the battlefield of Senlac. The book tells how this ancient highway has evolved into a modern thoroughfare.”

Stephanie said the rural landscape of The Ridge, with a few scattered buildings along the way, changed with the development of grand Victorian villas and mansions in the late 19th century and urbanisation followed.

She added: “Today most of the imposing Victorian architecture has been demolished to make way for modern apartments and blocks of flats. There’s hardly any of the big mansions left and I wanted there to be a record.”

Stephanie is a volunteer for the Hastings History House and said her book grew from public interest in an exhibition on The Ridge that she produced (currently on display in the History House) along with new material that people have given her since the book’s publication.

She said: “So many people were interested in the exhibition and they encouraged me to do a book.

“It’s my first book but I couldn’t have done it without the help of Anne Scott - chairman of the Old Hastings Preservation Society.

“The importance of this road was increased by the building of the Conquest Hospital and the still growing use of the motor car.”

Many unusual photographs illustrate the book and each of the 104 pages either has at least one photograph or a map and offers a succinct account of this important road and its past inhabitants.

Stephanie said along with the historic 1066 link, many local people will have their own memories of The Ridge. “The Ridge is part of many people’s life stories which for many started with their school days.”

Stephanie said the effect the new Hastings to Bexhill Link Road will make to The Ridge has yet to be felt.

Anyone who has a link with this road or is interested in local history will enjoy both the book and the exhibition at Hastings History House, 21 Courthouse Street, Hastings, which is open Thursdays to Sundays, from 11am to 4pm.

Stephanie’s book is being sold on behalf of local registered charity, Old Hastings Preservation Society (OHPS).

The book costs £12.50 and is available at Hastings History House by calling 01424 424744 or Hastings Fishermen’s Museum.