Butlers Famed Emporium George Street Hastings

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HAPP1066 … Another photo from my Frank’s Shoebox collection. This is 1978, when you could park in George Street. Frank says about this one : “BUTLERS Emporium of ironmongery, tools, household utensils, George Street Hastings – next to the scene of a fierce fire.” Some years later, Frank added another note : “The land to the left has laid empty for years”.

Peter Houghton… I remember those days!

Graham Sherrington… All those boring photos I use to have of Hastings.. all gone such a loss from the 60’s to the 1980’s

Andy Clarke… Loved that place.

Richard J Porter… I visited a customer in Sydney Australia and he had a photograph on his desk of that shop. I had to remark on it. His name was Butler!

Jacqueline Marsh… Loved Butlers and round the corner up the high street Mitchell’s. They both had distinctive smells when you went inside

Roger Simmonds… His brother also owned a hardware shop in Bohemia Road !

Chris Wood… Absolute time capsule…. proper old school hardware shop…. We don’t got it….you don’t want it.

SinkySnap… always had the imperial size fixings, sad its gone

Peter Ellingworth… Talking of old school shops remember Lappy’s was it, push bike shop at the park end of Queen’s Rd.? Even the floor boards had a paraffin and oily smell about them as you went in the shop!
Or a bit further along the on opposite side, not far from the famed record shop, the old style wood store- my Father being a carpenter and joiner was a frequent visitor there.

Iain Cobby… Lived opposite in the mid sixties in the Burger Bar next to the Hastings Arms. Still remember the petrochemical smells as you went in. Was an amazing time to grow up. To think busses ran both ways up and down George Street!


Old Hastings tramway/trolleybus pole finial.

Supplied by Peter Ellingworth

Peter Ellingworth… a former finial from the old tramway/trolleybus and latterly lamp posts that were, until some years ago, a common sight around Hastings & Bexhill. I believe this particular one came from the start of Bohemia Rd (Silverhill end). There is still one remaining at the top end of the High St. and also a couple in Silverhill bus depot visible from the road. A bit heavy ( around 15-20 kg) for a paper weight ! I bought this off Hastings Corporation for the princely sum of £1 when they had a blitz on their removal, due to an EEC ruling that lamp posts and such had to be impact friendly, which the old standards, some of whom had old tram rail inserted and filled with concrete to strengthen them were most certainly not!

Nigel Kennard… Merv Kennard and I were reminiscing recently about a picture of the Hastings Tramway Company staff from around 1910. It showed all of the employees at the tramways works, including our very young looking Grandfather, Albert Eldridge.

Peter Ellingworth… Nigel, I think I’ve seen the photo, is it in the late, lamented and most respected local historian David Padgham’s book published in 2005 regarding the centenary of the Hastings Tramway system ? ( I will have look when I find my copy). I bought it as a present for my late Mother (nee Boniface), when she was in a nursing home and I think she was related to D P. I remember speaking to him on the ‘phone congratulating him on this book when it first came out, but sadly and most regretfully didn’t take up his offer of visiting him again on one of my Hastings visits before he passed on. When the trolleybuses finished in May-June 1959, I remember David telling me he rescued all the original Hastings Tramways records and documents literally minutes before they were going to be part of a bonfire after a clear out at the depot in Beaufort Road !( He worked for M&D). When he passed on I think they went to the Sussex Records Office in Lewes? , then latterly last I heard some of them at least to the custodians of Hastings Museum. Was your Grandfather also driver of the last trolleybus ceremonial farewell on Monday 1st June ’59? Again when time allows I’ll check as I’ve got the photo from The Observer somewhere. An excellent read including a lot about the Hastings Trams is included in Robert J. Harley’s book “Trams and Trolleybuses in Hastings, St. Leonards and Bexhill.” Another one for a pictorial history of the T-buses is “Hastings Trolleybuses” by Lyndon W Rowe ( Middleton Press). Lyndon was a Hastings man, although he lived away from the town for a lot of his life and worked for London Transport. I’ve often wondered how long the Hastings trolleybus system would have gone on for had M&D decided not to terminate it in 1959. Mid-sixties, maybe. Given that once London finished in 1962 ( the original intention was to keep the Hounslow, Isleworth, Dittons and Kingston routes going until the mid ’70’s as this would have seen the life out of the then newish t-buses) it was no longer viable for the likes of BICC to make components so the other systems remaining carried on until Bradford finished in 1972.

I’ve just found my copy of David Padgham’s excellent Hastings Tramways book, pages 40-47 entitled ‘Staff and Conditions” has some interesting staff photos so your Grandfather may well be among those. My own Grandfather who was a local postman, is on the group photo of them all on a tram after it was either en-route, or had just arrived, at the cemetery for the funeral of a colleague in 1906. All looking very stern in the Victorian way. You should be able to purchase a copy through the normal outlets, I will try to remember and bring mine along at the next coffee meet on 30th June.

Nigel Kennard… Peter thanks for that insight. I am unsure how long Grand dad Albert worked at the Tramway Company, but he had certainly left by 1914 as he went to war in the early months of World War One. After the war he went to work in St Albans for Marconi. So he didnt return to the Tramway Company.

Peter Ellingworth… Nigel, Continuing part two of a sort out earlier today, I came across another most interesting book -this one by ex-Hastings Grammar School pupil and local historian Cilff Mewett, entitled ” The Hastings Tramways Company 1899-1959, An Illustrated Social H⁸istory ” which also includes in considerable depth the legal and council shenanigans during both when trams were proposed for the town, and well during their operation followed latterly by the trolleybuses. Nigel/Merve- one snippet I read on page 72 which may interest you is, and I quote, from the book ” At 8.15pm on March 13th 1929, the last tram clanked its way from the Cemetery round the Ridge, over Harrow Bridge and down Sedlescombe Rd.9 North to the depot, crewed by Motorman Algy Byworth and Conductor Bill Eldridge ” ( Your Grandfather) !

Peter Ellingworth… Nigel, That’s interesting, living now next to St Albans, I well remember Marconi as a major employer of the locality. Quite a few St Albans people can trace their immediate roots back to Hastings, as many migrated there for work, and also some stayed on after WW2 as St. Albans was one of the main places of evacuation including schools from Hastings. According to Cliff Mewit’s book your Grandfather worked the last tram in March 1929, but you say he didn’t return to HTW employment after WW 1 demob, presumably around 1919?

Bucks Fizz – White Rock Pavilion Hastings – 3rd June, 1983?

Matt Thomas… 1983. Same promo picture that was up in the bar for years

Roland Clarke… great publicity shot

Pete Prescott… I think I went to this show. They are amazing live.

Mike Waghorne… 84 ! was when it reopened after the referb we were still working there to the autumn of that year

Steve Kinch… I worked with BF for a couple of weeks in the early 90s when their regular bass player was touring with Cliff Richard. I have to say it was a surprisingly fun, but challenging handful of gigs. Oh, and not too many that can say Cheryl Baker has cooked them breakfast

Colin Bell… Steve, I always wanted Jay Aston to cook me breakfast………sadly it never happened

Dave Nattress… Saw this and very good they were. 37 years ago!! Frightening!! Still got glossy programme.

Andy Ives… 83 I was there

Graham Sherrington… Bloody Hell Britain’s ABBA

What’s your favourite Jimi Hendrix track?

photo: Jimi Hendrix performs for Dutch television show Hoepla in 1967. https://wiki.beeldengeluid.nl/index.php/Gallery:_Hoepla

Mike Waghorne… Little wing !

Andy Qunta… Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).

Glenn Piper… Voodoo Child (slight return) and Machine Gun

Karen Sweatman… Voodoo Chile, but also love Foxy Lady

John Beeching… Third stone from the sun.

Pete Houghton… Cross town traffic and Voodoo Chile

David Edwards… Gotta be the first he brought out when he came here Hey Joe

Jan Warren… Hard to name just one….. but Little Wing, Bold as Love, Red House, Drifting, and 1983 (a merman I should Turn to be) will do for starters!

David Blundell… Still “Hey Joe” for me but there’s so many classics to choose from …

Alan Esdaile… I would probably go with Little Wing.

Paul Richardson… Red House, and Voodoo Chile (long version)

Phil Little… Voodoo Chile (long version)

Merv Kennard… Voodoo Chile

Nash Sunley… All along the watchtower

Phil Thornton… 1983 (A Merman I should turn to be) and Machinegun !!

Clifford Rose… 3rd stone from the sun

Neil Cartwright… Little Wing, Voodoo Chile/Third Stone

Dave Nattress… Gotta be All along the Watchtower. No so often is a cover better than the original but this is. But…there’s gotta be the original to enable the cover to be re-worked.

Mike Vawdrey… 2 1970 entries – the astonishing live Johnny B. Goode from Berkeley and the beautiful ballad Drifting (Cry Of Love)

Clive Richardson… My favourite is All Along The Watchtower.

Chris Meachen… Burning of the midnight lamp does it for me….

Jennie Tocock… Wind Cries Mary

Micky Erends… All along the watchtower

Colin Bell… Are You Experienced’ & ‘Fire’ both on Jimi’s debut album

Graham Bradley… Hey Joe

David Miller… Voodoo Chile (slight return). “Slight” my @r$e…”thunderous, tumultuous, goosebumpifyingly wild return”, more likely – especially when it shifts into high gear at the beginning…! Only other time I can think of being similarly walloped is when “Fly on a windshield” kicks in on the Lamb Lies Down. Brrrr!!!

John Wilde… David, completely agree, my choice also. xx

Malcolm Sharp… Purple haze

Andy Qunta… Tough question! Probably Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)

Jan Warren… Too many to say!

Elizabeth Murby… All along the Watchtower

JS Bythesea… Hey Joe

Bennet Kingston… Machine Gun (Band of Gypsys)

Chris Brunton… Little Wing

Keren Brunton… All along the watchtower