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This is an exciting time for me as I have never thought about a web site before in connection with my books on Hastings & St Leonards, but now that I have established this site I propose to try and guide you through the colourful past of Hastings & St Leonards in old pictures. Many have been taken through a digital enhancing process as some were faded, dark and torn.
The two towns of Hastings & St Leonards have since the invasion of 1066 suffered many downfalls not only by battles fought out to the bitter end but by successive councils too.
Hastings being at one time during the mid to late 1800s was noted for being a top seaside resort along the South Coast beating towns at that time like Brighton, Worthing , Bexhill and Eastbourne in attracting many thousands of visitors from far and wide. But unfortunately, a decline was to set in in the early 1920s when Hastings no longer held the top dog position. The town fell silent as regards visitors as it could no longer offer the attractions it had some 10 years earlier, Brighton now took top place quickly followed by Eastbourne who now spent money in offering the visitors high quality entertainment, whereas poor old Hastings did not have the ready cash to keep up with the modern way of life as it was then.
The boarding houses fell empty all along the seafront with nearly every establishment showing a ‘For Sale’ sign outside; even the locals spoke out as to what it looked like, ‘a terrible sea of boards’.
The London newspapers soon picked up on this downfall and Hastings made headlines again but all for the wrong reasons!
Hastings & St Leonards had really fallen into despair and disrepair! The council had to do something quick to try and regain its position on the table of top resorts.
This is now where I come into the equation, as Hastings is my birth place I naturally love the town and the surrounding areas, so not liking what I saw when I was young and nothing really changed as time drove on, I decided to try and bring Hastings & St Leonards back to life with my books and follow the past bringing it completely up to date more or less as to what ‘book 2’ does (Hastings Old Town Torn Apart).
The first book was a complete labour of love to complete, as when we nearly got to the end the computer decided to crash big time and eat every piece of information stored in it!
Even the computer shop was unable to restore any information on the old gas powered machine, it was a gonner the life flame had now gone out, permanently!!
Now we had to try and rewrite the whole book again from scratch most from memory and articles kept on rough paper, but new visits were made to the reference library/s here and in Lewes weekly.
A long Ten years had now passed since the first words were put down on rough paper, but after losing countless nights of sleep we now had a complete book copied onto 2 computers no less and in paper form too, even though it still had the occasional flaws written into the text. The draft was sent out to proof readers and any corrections were made thereafter.
I have now written and published 2 books, the first being entitled ‘Hastings Looking Back To The Future, a tribute to Sidney Little 1926 – 1950′ which looked in depth at the two towns in question (Hastings & St Leonards) and the poor state that they were in, and how Hastings Council tried to bring Hastings & St Leonards up to date with little to no money. The second book was all about ‘Hastings Old Town torn apart from 1850 -1963’ and to why it had taken some 113+ years to complete in destroying the heart of the Old Town with a major coastal road laid down the middle of it!; a complete synopsis of these books are listed under their own tittles.