Terrace of historic hotels survived war
This week, in his ongoing series, Ion Castro take another look at Eversfield Place and how it survived the war intact.
He writes: It would appear that Eversfield Place - the part of the seafront that joins Hastings to St.Leonards extending from Hastings Pier westward to Warrior Square - reached the peak of its popularity between the wars when almost every building had become a boarding house, lodging house or hotel.
This seafront terrace escaped wartime damage and subsequent inappropriate infill so that much of the varied examples of Mid-Victorian architecture has survived today but the houses have mostly been divided up and returned to residential use.
Since the early 1930’s Eversfield Place has been fronted, between the houses, road and the sea by Bottle Alley, the covered part of the double-deck promenade that opened in 1934 and provides the eastern end of a lower promenade that extends from Hastings Pier to St.Leonards Pier.
From the 1960’s onward foreign travel, particularly cheap and exotic package holidays to southern Europe, became more popular and a week at the seaside at home in uncertain weather became less and less attractive and the accommodation providers suffered with many of them cutting their losses by converting their properties into flats and apartments for permanent residents.
One large, quality, hotel in the centre of Eversfield place, The Alexandra, named after the then Princess of Wales who had also opened Alexandra Park in 1882, had its impressive frontage considerably remodelled and its sun terrace removed in the 1980’s when it became flats .
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.
This extract from the 1859 map “Published by desire of the Mayor and Corporation of Hastings and under the patronage of the Nobility, Clergy and Resident Gentry” shows a complete Eversfield Place, without the rear extensions when the Alexandra and Eversfield Hotels were formed, Verulam Place was still a short terrace of houses awaiting conversion into the Grand Hotel a couple of decades later followed by demolition and redevelopment and re-emergence as Waverley Court, a block of sheltered housing, a century after that. Further east is the original Infirmary, built in 1839, replaced in 1887 with a larger hospital which, by 1923 had moved to Cambridge Road as the Royal East Sussex Hospital and its site is now occupied by the White Rock Theatre. There is of course no Pier, that would have to wait to be built before opening in 1872. White Rock Villa was the home from 1858 of Lady Frances “Fanny” Jocelyn who became a founding member of Royal Photographic Society and an accomplished photographer, an activity clearly important to her because, in spite being a titled member of the British nobility, she gave her occupation as “photographer” in the 1861 Census. Fanny had been a lady-in-waiting at Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837 and a bridesmaid at Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert. After Fanny’s death in 1880 in France White Rock Villa became an orphanage before being demoted to use as a store by Hastings Corporation and then demolished in the early 1920’s as part of the White Rock redevelopment. Note on the left of the map that houses are only just starting to appear in Warrior Square.
7-9 Eversfield Place. After the war Nos 7 and 8 were transformed into the Randolph Hotel but is now no longer an Hotel but No 9 is now the Zanzibar.
From a promotional postcard franked in 1935, located at 30 & 31 Eversfield Place and right next door to the Alexandra
Eversfield House Hotel.
Postmarked 1st April 1949 10 & 11 Eversfield Place, was it trying to cash in on the Eversfield Hotel’s name?
From a small collection of personal snaps by an unknown photographer in 1934. The young lady poses in front of the newly completed Bottle Alley with the Alexandra Hotel, Drayton etc in the background.
1934 Alexandra Hotel.
A personal photograph by an unknown photographer captures the flavour of the Alexandra Hotel in 1934.
Hastings & St Leonards Covered Promenade by night.
Notice the lighting, Bottle Alley was originally fully lit with the art deco strip lighting a roof level but later, presumably to save on electricity, only alternating sections were lit giving night-time Bottle Alley a dark, dingy and uninviting atmosphere.
Hastings Parade W3381.
Featuring the Alexandra Hotel Nos 32, 33 & 34 Eversfield Place, in the early years of the last century
7 & 8 Eversfield Place, apparently a post-war arrival. This undated promotional postcard, probably from the 1960’s features a BMC 1100 and an iconic 1960’s British car, the original mini. Pre-war Nos 7, 8 and 9 had been the Berwyn Hotel
50 & 51 Eversfield Place.
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