Plane at St Leonards Motors Bexhill Road St Leonards-on-Sea 1974

Shared from Roy Smith

Roy Smith… Who remembers this outside St Leonard’s Motors, Bexhill Rd. Put there 1974 the same year the 131 Mirafiori was released.and the plane for those who don’t know is a Gloster Meteor T7

Merv Kennard… Remember it well. They also had one of the engines on display in reception.

Anne Murray… Yes I remember it. Always looked out for it when going past on the bus!

Romaine Fulton-hart… Like it was yesterday

Stuart Moir… That aircraft was actually flown by the owner of St Leonards motors whilst he was serving as a pilot in the Royal air force, and I was suitably informed, when I worked for a parts supplier by the man himself, that there was still 40 hours left on the air worthy licence and he also had the engines so the plane was complete, I don’t know if it’s correct info’ but I was told that when it was taken down from the site adjacent to Tescos supermarket it was given to the Hastings air cadets to restore, it would be great to see it fly again.

Merv Kennard… I seem to remember that it went to Duxford to be restored

Stuart Moir… It would be nice to see it flying again.

Toker Tokin… Yeah remember it

Wendy Weaver… What a pity that that all changed in this part of town. So many people remembered the town because of that plane and the Fiat showroom. Nothing notable about the site now. What a let down.

Tony Collins… I remember it well, I have this to look at now most days

Edward Adams… I remember those days!

Bennet Kingston… I remember this. Used to bring back memories for my late Dad as he used to be an aircraftsman on Meteors when he did his national service in the 1950s.

Sue Jones… Remember it well, I had a shop opposite at the time and was quite a talking point with my customers,happy days!

Carol Anne… They moved it when they moved site near Tesco, is it stil there. X

Peter Fairless… No, long since gone. Think it’s being restored somewhere down in the west country.

Tim Moose Bruce… One night, a couple of lads had to be rescued by the fire brigade after climbing ip the pedestal and into the cockpit when it was at the other site near the big Tesco.


The Dolphin Jazz Band – thanks to Lloyd Johnson for finding this

some great photos in the video, including …

Lloyd Johnson… Here are The Dolphins Jazz Band that use to play the Caves on Friday nights in the 1950s and 1960s. They also played The Regent Hotel ,The Pier and The Old Town Market Hall…great times and loads of fun!…beatniks galore!….different times!…I remember a chap sitting at the window seat of the public bar in The Anchor with a sousaphone wrapped around him whilst another probably Pete Treger or Bruce Astley played guitar. I Loved that free and easy bohemian/ beatnik period in Hastings in the early 60s….

David Oak… Picture shows trumpet and trombone held by players, very possibly Pete Treger &Brian Towers ???

Elizabeth Woodcock… I remember going to The Railway Hall at Warrior Square and the hall by the church at the top of Pevensey(?) Road.

Tony Court-holmes… my mum loved them

Robin Harris… I worked with Brian Towers in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. It was he who fostered my interest in Traditional Jazz.

Monica Bane… I remember those days! So care free and a happy town!

Dave Bastable… I used to go to the Jazz cub under the Regent Hotel. Life was so free and easy then. My friend Anson Lanes parents owned The Regent On Sunday mornings I would go there and shift all the beer crates and bottles from the night before with Anson. Geoff Coates played with the band I think he became a Lecturer at Crewe and Alsager College. After the Regent the band moved around a bit. Last place I remember was the hall by the. Church in Pevensey Road Some of the nurses from RESH went to The Regent on Jazz night. They also frequented The Fiesta Coffee Bar., as well as The Anchor and The Pump House. It was a time when Hastings was really alive and so much fun to live in. We were lucky to live there in those times

Nigel Livermore… Pete Treger was a prefect when I was in one of the lower years at the Hastings Grammar School. Always had a ‘cool guy’ image…….


Stonefield Gang – Carnival early 60’s

photo © Dave Bastable

Dave Bastable… Some of The Stonefield gang. Ian Maclean, Dave Bastable, Ginger Powel, Osca,r  Steve Cole, Pete Darling, Barbara Winch,  Janice Ward.

Nick Warren… That picture includes Oscar Horton who is band leader of the Fieldstone Boys and Ian MacLean who was our original one string box base player before Danny O’Farrell joined.

Nita Jorge… I remember Steve Cole. Ian MacLean and Ginger Powell

Barry Bassa Newman… Barry Newman in the front

Terry Hopper… I showed Osca this photo today he says it was taken at the fun fair. He is still regularly riding a motorcycle now with other Stone Field boys members

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing David McWilliams: Reaching For The Sun: The Major Minor Anthology 1967-1969, 2CD Digipak


I am going to set my stall out straightaway with this wonderful new release. I have been a music journalist, writing reviews, articles, gig reviews etc for over 50 years now and have always prided myself on being objective when writing about artistes, a lot of whom I know or have worked with over the years, many becoming good friends. Sometimes it’s hard to critique work, especially if it’s a negative word or two given those circumstances. There are a few artistes i confess i find it impossible to be negative about, whatever their musical work, as i love absolutely everything they do and my natural objectivity takes a rare back seat, which may be wrong but is my honest admission. Such is the case with David McWilliams and I make no apologies for waxing lyrical about this entire new compilation of his work for the Major Minor Record label. Sporting 53 tracks spread over 2 CD’s, the compilation covers David’s 3 albums for Major Minor and includes over 12 tracks making their CD debut. What is remarkable (and i can’t think of another artist that has achieved this) is the fact those 3 albums were all recorded and released over a period of just 8 months. This you might think would dilute the quality of the songs, but no that is far from the case. Born in Belfast in July 1945 David Samuel McWilliams starting writing and playing songs as a young teenager and formed his own ‘Showband’ (a popular entity in Ireland of the times), he named it the Coral Showband after the record label of the same name that released songs by his hero Buddy Holly. A demo tape of David singing his songs made it’s way to the desk of Irish music entrepreneur Phil Solomon, then domiciled in London and managing fellow Irish acts The Dubliners, The Bachelors & Them amongst others. A deal was done with CBS and in 1966 David made his debut single appearance with a strong ‘protest’ song ‘God and Country’ which opens this new Grapefruit Records compilation in fine style and given the current state of the world in relation to war is still deeply resonant all these many years later. It didn’t chart. By the end of 1966 Solomon was launching his own Record label in Major Minor. Signing David to this new enterprise in 1967 the label launched David in a blaze of publicity across the music press, on hoardings and London buses etc, not as you might think with a single, but an album entitled David McWilliams Singing Songs by David McWilliams (Vol 1) which sold moderately well in June 1967, However it was to be his second album Vol 2 released just 4 months later that would see David immortalised with the track for which he will always be remembered ‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’. This quirky insistent earworm of a song was a hit across Europe, but NOT as most people remember (wrongly) a hit in the UK. The reason we heard it so much and think it was a hit was down to Pirate stations, particularly Radio Caroline, that has seen it lodged in most peoples memories as a UK hit. It was no co-incidence that Phil Solomon had a financial interest in Caroline which guaranteed his Major Minor releases would be played to death, often to the ire of some of the stations DJ’s. This of course was ‘payola’ which came to light later at the BBC as a scandal but as the Pirates were outside the law they got away with this illegal practice of ‘hyping’ a record into the charts. The success of ‘Pearly Spencer’ saw that the second album again sell well and lead as aforementioned, to his 3rd album release in February 1968. At the time not all the music biz critics were appreciative of David’s output. Major Minor had made such a massive big deal hyping up publicity for this unknown artist, it had the detrimental effect of working against him which would lead to David becoming disillusioned with all the razzamatazz surrounding him in 1967/68 and see him buy a farm and virtually disappear from view for the next 3 years. So to the music contained on these 3 albums. Opening as aforementioned with the strong protest song ‘God and Country’ this is followed by a string of songs covering, social issues, love, repression and all facets of life. The titles tell their own story in many cases, such as ‘Redundancy Blues’ ‘The Silence is Shattered’ ‘Hiroshima’ ‘Time of Trouble’ & ‘In The Early Hours of the Morning’ to name but a few off the debut album. David much like my dear friend the late Peter Sarstedt also had that rare gift that is given to some singer/songwriters of being able to paint cinematic images in your head as you listen and get steadily drawn further into his meaningful lyrics. The 2nd album kicks off with ‘Pearly Spencer’ and it’s interesting to note that many people refer to it as that song using a ‘megaphone’. That famous signature section of the song was in fact not a megaphone but was literally phoned in to the studio from a call box outside to achieve the desired effect! A wonderful slice of music trivia to know. Immediately following ‘Pearly Spencer’ is my all time personal favourite the exquisite ‘Can I Get There By Candlelight’ which may be familiar to some of you as it was also released as a single. ‘For Josephine’ ‘How Can I Be Free’ ‘What’s the Matter With Me’ & ‘Lady Helen of the Laughing Eyes’ are  just some more of the standout tracks to be relished. The 3rd album begins with another wonderful track ‘Three O’Clock Flamingo Street’ followed by ‘Harlem Street’ which was in fact the original Major Minor single release of David’s as the ‘A’ side with ‘Pearly Spencer’ on the ‘B’ side. For reasons best known to Solomon he didn’t spot the more commercial side. Maybe he was influenced by some of the less favourable reviews from some critics. Conversely and Interestingly, several industry luminaries such as my old friend Dave Dee and old bosses Chris Stamp & Kit Lambert at Track Records as well as Roger Daltrey all praised ‘Pearly Spencer’ at the time and Disc & Music Echo singled out David’s work as making you ‘sit up and really take notice’. Of all the 3 albums contained in this compilation I personally think David’s finest work appears on the 3rd album. It contains a wonderful diversity of songs, the romantic, where the songs are often augmented throughout his recording output from his debut album onwards by some lush arrangements by Mike Leander, a guy i got to know well in later years when working with the now disgraced Gary Glitter, Mike was co-writer and arranger of the majority of Glitters hits and worked with a lot of major names over many years. I am also indebted to Alan Esdaile-Johnny Mason the founder of the SMART website where this review appears, for reminding me in a conversation (prior to me writing this piece) of what a dark and wondrous outstanding track ‘The Stranger’ is that appears on this 3rd album. David had the ability to switch from ethereal lightness to dark and brooding without missing a beat. For what is probably the majority of you reading this review throwing all these titles of great songs at you may mean very little, if like the majority, your only experience of David’s catalogue has been ‘Pearly Spencer’. All i can do is urge you to listen to one of the best home grown UK singer/songwriters we ever produced. Don’t take my word for it, no less an icon than David Bowie declared David to be his favourite singer/songwriter. As ever, with a Grapefruit Records release the fold out digipack comes with a insightful essay by label boss David Wells, always an informative and fascinating read. As i said at the beginning i think it’s now apparent my love for David’s work is now thoroughly out there. Sadly David passed away in 2002 at the too early age of 56 at home in his beloved Ireland. After his 60’s success he only made occasional forays back into the industry preferring to live a quiet life, he left us with a musical legacy which is up there with the very best. Enjoy.

for more information go to
Til next time, take care………..Colin

Stephen Moran… Thank you for posting Colin’s review Alan. Beautifully written and informative as always. I had no idea that David McWilliams was so prolific. To be honest I thought he was a one hit wonder (Days of Pearly Spencer), I’m looking forward to listening to more of his recordings.

Paul Sleet… One of my favourite artists

Colin Bell… You’ll find much to enjoy on this release Paul

Mick O’Dowd… Always loved Pearly and the album that it appeared on because of the incessant plugging by Radio Caroline. I thought Pearly was a hit but probably only on the Caroline Chart. Got the album which I rate highly, but never was able to enthuse about his later work.

Leigh Mitchell… Very interesting! Pearly only came to my attention when Marc Almond covered it, but I then heard the original, which I preferred. I can’t say I have ever heard anything else by him, unless unwittingly during Brian Mathews time presenting Sounds of the 60s! Great read, Colin! xx

Colin Bell… Marc’s cover version was good, i liked it, but yes, the original is best, thanks for the kind words! xx

Alan Esdaile… Wonderful singer and writer. I got the album The Days of David McWilliams which I must have played hundreds of times and still sounds excellent.

Here’s the track ‘The Stranger’ if you haven’t heard it…

Rag and Bone Man

supplied by Malcolm McDonald. photographer: unknown

Malcolm McDonald… I remember when I was about 4. Looking out the window when I lived in London and with me nan, a bloke shouting,”Any rags,tin,cloff etc” horse and cart..been about 1969-70ish

Mike Waghorne… Another saying was any old iron !

Steve Cooke… Remember seeing the “Dirty ol’ man” getting off the train at Charing Cross a couple of times in the early 70s. Also remember Rag ‘n’ Bone Man who was a regular in our road.

Paul Knight… Walthamstow London in the fifty’s old guy shouting rag and bone as he went up the road in his horse and cart people would take stuff out to him

John Wilde… Steptoe and Son. Excellent!

Reid McDuffle… I remember rag and bone men in Bexhill in the 60s

Alan Esdaile… Also remember the man that came round and sharpened knives in the street and Winchester’s fruit & veg lorry, who always saved a huge cheap box of seconds for my dad to buy, for a few pence.

Merv Kennard… That was Alf selling the fruit and veg. Him and his brothers and sisters all had houses in North terrace.

Alan Esdaile… Yes it was Alf, I remember now.

Carol Anne… Still have any old iron van driving around our streets here in Suffolk, takes you back.x

Marianne Zargar… Sorry to sound posh but even in Mayfair (London) when I stayed over at my friend’s place after a night out at the discos (her parents didn’t have a curfew!) there was the rag’n’bone man to contend with and  much too early in the morning. I don’t think we even realised he was calling “Any old iron?” We used to say he was yelling “Ah Na Na Naaaa…..” We also had her younger brother with his drums starting at dawn….He did become a well known composer though. Life was not easy just off Park Lane!!!

Terry Hopper… I can remember an man called Jerry who used to push a old pram round Ore in the 1950’s tottering for old metal and rags

Mark Randall… “Raaaa n bo”

Gannymede Hastings Model Village brochure.

Supplied by Richard Samuels

Graham Sherrington… Loved the place worked there as a teen painting, repairing, general dogsbody. It was gone by the time I returned from abroad and elsewhere, Hastings had changed in the 10 odd years I was away. Specially The Old Town! the New Town was just the same.

Harry Randall… Graham, I also worked there briefly as a Model Maker/ Gardener in reality I was just a lacky working with Mr Smith!

Ken Hatch… Trip to Hastings Model Village, mid – sixties I guess

Graham Sherrington… everyone had those great sandals

Fred Marsh… Oh it was so lovely

Chris Baker… When did it get named Gannymede?

Alan Esdaile… I think its always been called that but everyone always referred to it as the model village, Chris?

Di Veness… I remember it as being really good

Gillian Russell… I’ve got a copy of that very booklet, used to adore the model village, when I was really tiny I used to be able to peep in the windows, it was truly magical.

Malt Jones… As in where Dr Who is from?

Alan Esdaile… Malt, Gallifrey but near enough.

Malt Jones… Gotcha 👍 Looked it up, Jupiter Moon & loads of Greek stuff

Dermot Murphy R.I.P. (2020)

photo supplied by Peter Gladwish

Peter Gladwish… RIP Dermot

Linda Day… Oh no bless him x

Terry Drinkwater… Sad news.

Andy Caine… Very sad! X

Mark Harris… How sad

Jon McCallion… Very sad news.

Pete Prescott… Very sad. Lovely guy. X

Phil Gill… Oh that is sad news, he was a nice chap.

Pauline Richards… Oh dear. Have known him years. So sorry for the children

Russell Field… The gentleman bassist. Top man. Funny as hell.Very sad indeed xx

Ken Hatch… Lovely guy and a good bass man, sad news.

James Westlake… He filled in for us when Ken was away, great bassist.

Liane Carroll… Oh no. Very sad. So sorry to hear this xx

Keith Brian Goodall… One of the best

Martyn Baker… Oh what a shame he’s gone now. He was a fabulous bassist, and as lovely a bloke as you could meet.

Mark Pepper… So sorry to hear this sad news , love to Steve, Ben and Sophie xxx

Lloyd Johnson… R.I.P. Dermot….from a fellow Ore Youth club member…

Andy Knight… RIP Dermot, good Bass Player and not bad with a golf club

Jane Hartley… Lovely man and musician. Love to the family xx

Trevor Spears… Good friends since our early teens in Hollington, played lots of gigs together he will be missed, RIP mate!

Kathy Harding… What a shock to see this today, such a lovely man xx

Stuart Moir… Star man with Centre Page, played with us for many years and we even got him into singing lead vocal on one song, always a reliable bass harmony as well as one of the best local players

Chris Howard… So sorry to hear of Dermot’s passing, a great guy he took my place in Centre Page when I left the band. R.I.P.

Barry French… So sad, we have lost a real character of the Hastings music scene. A versatile musician & a lovely guy. Barry & Ness.

John Harper… Very sad news. We’ve lost a kind & so modest a gentleman of the music scene. He always seemed to underestimate his abilities although he was such a talented & versatile bass player. A truly lovely guy.

Jacqui Gibson… So sad to hear

Nigel Livermore… A classmate of mine in the 1950s. Good at team sports (which I wasn’t!). Watched him regularly playing at the Market Hall in the early sixties with the DJ Four. RIP


Petrol/fuel filling stations. Anyone recall when their car was last filled by an attendant and where? asks Dave Nattress

Dave Nattress… We all used to have our vehicles filled by attendants, then increasingly fuel stations became serve yourself, but can you, and SMART readers recall when they were last “attended to” in this way, and if so, when and where was the filling station.  I’ve used a mass of filling stations for a long, long time, but I actually can’t recall the answer to my own question.

Alan Esdaile… I remember some used to clean your front windows as well and always polite.

Dave Nattress… Indeed, the fuel station attendants used to wipe your windscreen even ask about checking tyre pressures and oil.  But, “progress” has stopped all of that.  Also, there are very few petrol stations compared with years ago.  Take the A21 for instance – a good few have gone.

Dave Weeks… Gran Canaria last March

Tim Moose Bruce… Smith and Humpheries in Sidley still do attended fuel.

Lyn Humphrey… I might be wrong here, but I believe the last time my car was filled up and had all the checks done, was in the States, sometime in the 1980s. An attendant rushed out and began cleaning my windscreen almost before I’d stopped! Never had that happen before.

Pat Sleet… Western Road St Leonard’s circa 1990

David Edwards… Certainly common in Spain but Guestling Garage up till 20 odd years ago by a really helpful Welsh fella.

Mike Vawdrey… A filling station on the outskirts of Alsager, South Cheshire just a month or two ago. Still there and still attended service when I drove past the other week having (shame on me ) filled up at Asda…

Dave Nattress… Dave Weeks…are you “The Dave Weeks” used to work in the Cont. a million years ago? Used to play guitar? u used to be in there a lot with various mates and girlfriends – well only one at any one time I mean! If so, good to meet you again, if not apologies….

Dave Weeks… Yes Dave Natress . 1600E too. Still around and still enjoying playing. I trust all is well with you.

Wendy Weaver… In Wareham about 3 years ago.

Barry Newton… Just outside Barcelona about five months ago

Ernest Ballard…  Near St Austell Cornwall 4 years ago by an old man owning an independent garage. His sweet counter stank of parafin too inside and was like going back in timeif you didn’t let him fill the tank up full he wouldn’t serve you at all for wasting his time ha ha

Dave Nattress… Well Mr Weeks – delayed reaction from me as usual, great to make your acquaintance again – sort of – via this website…how did you remember the 1600E!! I was some mug to flog it. I got a company car and my old man was moaning on about me having the 2 cars so I bowed to pressure and sold it.  Duh!!!!   And the company car was a Fiat 131 Mirafiori that Graham Hill used to advertise on TV.  Anyway, I hope you are well and maybe bump into you some time.  The Cont. – a long, long time ago!!

Leigh Weiland-Boys… Along the ridge when it was 37p a gallon!!!

Pauline Richards… If only!!

Dawn Campbell… hi, I remember there was a couple in Hastings. I was with my dad, either in his Vauxhall victor – which by the way was a two tone lilac colour – yuk now, but I loved it then or his vauxhall avenger which was a mint green – what weird taste he had 🙂
Anyway, we used to go to the station either in Queen’s Road, or the one in Ore village – must have been between 1968 and 1978. They were called filling stations back then – good memories