A boat to recall the Norman conquest

A RECENT letter from Patricia Stephenson suggested putting a fishing boat in the fountain at Breeds Place as a monument to reflect the history of the town.

If the decision was to go ahead and a fishing boat was put there, I think the fishing boat should be a replica of the RX31 Rosemary Ann.

The reason being that she was used as a pleasure craft in the summer months, and in winter for fishing, made famous by a Londoner.

The pleasure craft was used in the 1940s, leading right up to the mid-1970s.

She was one of five dual-purpose crafts used for pleasure trips around the bay of Hastings.

These were run from what was known in those days as the Woolworths Spot, an area on the beach between Albert Road and Breeds Place.

The RX31 Rosemary Ann was built by Henry James Mitchell, 1909-83, on behalf of his father, John Frederick Mitchell, 1885-1978 (my great-grandfather) at his workshop behind the Fisherman’s Church, where crafts are still repaired today.

This was a 31-ft vessel with two ‘blue eyes of the Mitchells’ painted by a regular Londoner visitor on its bow to attract more passing trade during the summer months.

Our family can trace our family tree back some 923 years or so, after setting ashore in England, from our 30th half-uncle who would eventually be crowned King in December 1066.

So a fishing boat and something to do with William the Conqueror on the fountain would create something very special relating to the history of the town.


Taylor Close

St Leonards