When Hastings was a winter wonderland

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This week, in his ongoing series, Ion Castro takes a look at past times when the town was blanketed in snow.

He writes. Without becoming embroiled in the climate change argument, severe winters and heavy snowfall are not new and, thanks to the advent of photography, we are able to enjoy images reaching back to the first decade of the last century including those produced by award-winning photographer Fred Judge.

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He had arrived in Hastings from Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1902 and was publishing the first Judges postcards the following year. The photos remind us that Fred was an artistic photographer whose skill was reflected in the atmospheric quality of his photographs and popularity of his postcards which were often for sale the day after the picture was taken. Alexandra Park was always a popular subject. 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.

Captions:

Alexandra Park and Blacklands Church.

A Judge’s card posted November 24th 1910 to Paris, the writer says “this is the kind of weather we have been getting in Hastings lately” French postal regulations apparently required the stamp to appear on the face of the card. The view looks across the bandstand to Blacklands Church.

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Alexandra Park, Hastings, at Xmas.

This postcard from “The Sussex Postcard Co., Hastings” was posted on 27th December 1907. ‘May’ writes to her friend in Enfield “Just a postcard from Hastings, such a pretty place”

Hastings Castle - winter.

An early unposted Judge’s card from early last century with Braybrooke Road in the background.

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Hastings Castle in Winter.

Postmarked June 1907 this coloured postcard was also available in sepia and is from an uncredited publisher. Notice the wall above left of the arch, over the years this gap has been filled in to strengthen the tower.

Hastings Pier 2005.

A photograph by Ion Castro taken in January 2005, before the disastrous pier fire.

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Pelham Crescent.

An uncredited postcard from the first decade of the nineteenth century showing Pelham Crescent, this timeless view is little changed apart from loss of the railings that separated the road from the promenade and the shelter.

Queens Hotel.

A Judge card postmarked January 4 1905 quarter of a century before Sidney Little’s new promenade forming the roof of with one of the country’s first underground car parks bypassed the town centre. ‘Will’ writes “This is how it has been but it’s alright now, went up on the East Hill on Monday it was simply grand. The snow was about 4 or 6 inches thick”

The Park Hastings.

A card from an uncredited publisher posted December 28th 1910 showing an aspect of Alexandra Park. This is an example of a seasonal card, postcards were often used before Christmas Cards as we know them today became popular. Mildred writes “To Emily with best wishes for a prosperous new year.”.

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Winter Alexandra Park.

A postcard from an unknown publisher, and posted December 22 1907. The faded overprint ‘Christmas Greetings’ can be seen at the top, it shows one of the many lattice girder bridges still in evidence in the park. ‘Cis’ writes to her friend in Horsham “Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I have got plenty of seaweed down here.”.

Winter’s Morn.

This Judge’s card was posted 22 December 1928 but may have been photographed many years earlier, it shows Lower Park Road.

Winter’s Night.

An unposted atmospheric image from Judges from the early 20th century and shows the junction of Laton Road.

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