‘Happy Harold’ Silverhill Junction in 1954.

Supplied by Leigh Kennedy

Roger Simmonds… Happy days!

Alan Esdaile… I remember the chemist shop.

Peter Ellingworth… In one of the books I have – when time allows I will look it out- there is a good colour photo of ‘H-H’ having just turned out of Beaufort Rd. from the depot and pulling into the stop by Apps’s former Silverhill shop in spring 1959, if I remember right. Is this one of David Padgham’s photos or possibly that of Robert Mack, the well known bus and train photographer from Leeds ? In another book R M had a very good photo of ‘H-H’ passing by West Marina in 1953. “Modern in 1928” is a bit of a misnomer, as the open top bodywork by Dodsons, the chassis by Guy, was unique to Hastings and considered rather dated even then ! I remember my late mother saying as a fifteen year old catching one of these to Bexhill where she used to work from the bottom of London Rd., and how there was a scrum for the covered lower deck in very wet weather.  The Chemist’s shop was Everards – did a part time after school job for a while. ‘H-H’ is a lucky survivor. It was kept in store at the old Bulverhythe depot after the others were scrapped, and then utilised as an overhead wiring maintenance and de-icing vehicle before being decked out with a myriad of coloured lights for the 1953 Coronation. In this guise it became so popular with the public, as those of us of a certain age remember, hence on was kept running as a summer evening novelty. It also kept one of its working functions as a wiring de-icer : I remember David Padgham telling me how it woke him up sometimes when it passed along in the night by where he lived in Sedlescombe Rd. North with vivid blue flashes ! I remember riding on ‘H-H’ with my cousin when it was still electric, and being fascinated by the goings on with the poles on the overhead wires.
Whether if this was running as such today with 500 plus volts DC in relative close proximity would acceptable to modern H & S requirements is a different matter….

Who remembers Sainsbury’s in Wellington Place Hastings? (store photo is Peckham branch)

photo: Sainsbury Archive

Tony Court-holmes… early 50s? Nationwide is there now i wonder if the tiles are covered up behind the new walls

Jacky Mattelaer… I remember it like this in the 60’s, my Gran used to take me in there. I was fascinated by the way they rolled the butter on the marble counters. Great memories

Pauline Sims… Me too Jacky. I can just about remember the smell too when you walked in, mostly bacon – mouthwatering

Judy Atkinson… Not Wellington Place, that was later. This was the original shop in Castle Street where Nationwide is now. Remember going in there with my mum (early 60s) & buying bacon & butter. Beautiful mosaics & marble counters

Patrick Lewis… Remember it well from late 50’s into the60’s. Gala pie and patted butter.

Jackie Hersee… I remember it

Virginia Davis… I remember it from mid to late 60s like this

Gary Benton… I loved going to Sainsburys as a kid, the wonderful smell of cheese and smoked bacon as you walked in, the professional smart looking staff in their uniforms. Why did we ever loose amazing shops like this? I suppose its what they call progress, its very sad.

Claire Hamill… Oh wow! How could anyone get rid of something so glorious? Just think what the centre of Hastings would look like if we could have held on to those beautiful oldshops? And facades? Criminal decisions!

Bernard Goffredo… Definitely agree on that

Dave Boutwood… Yes, I (Wendy) worked there (Hastings branch) with my friend Kate. Must have been 1965-66. We worked Fri evening, after school for late night shopping and all day Sat. That photo brings back memories, we loved it there and had fun. Also, with our white overall, we had to wear a white headscarf (tied like Hilda Ogden’s), which was a bit embarrassing for us teenage girls!!! 😂😂😂 Great photo. Wendy xxx

Lesley Bowles… Dave, Wen, I remember all the lovely tiles and the great smell in there! Xx

Yvonne Cleland… Oh yes, exactly like my memories. My mum used to take me here when I was a toddler. How lovely to see it again!

Roy Marven formely Syrett… remember going with my nan to order her xmas turkey

Martin Richter… and not a self-serve checkout in sight

Peter Bridger… Oh yes, loved the tiles, and smell of raw meat, strangely!

Read more

Anyone remember Roy Carpenter who used to sing at talent competitions on Hastings Pier?

photo: Chris Roberts

Dave Trodd… Does anyone remember Roy Carpenter singing at the talent competitions on Hastings Pier, late 50’s early 60’s? He always got the biggest cheer of anyone. It would be great if anyone has any photos?

Robert Searle… A great photo

Lloyd Johnson… I remember bumping into Roy Carpenter outside of The Fiesta Coffee Bar in the early 60s. He was a real character. I never heard him sing but he was trying to convince me and others that Frank Sinatra had given him the hat he was wearing which seemed quiet eccentric at the time.I remember thinking he was a bit weird…. if only The Pier was still intact like this photo!…

Chris Baker… I remember Dave Trodd!

Jacqui Gibson… Chris, Yes me too….

Conan Howard… Chris Baker, do you remember the basement in George Street? Len, Bass guitarist friend of Allen Watts ? 1970s


Who remembers the Coach Park and Uncle Tom’s Cabin – The Stade Hastings early 50’s

supplied by Keith Hayes Facebook Hastings & St Leonards Pictures & Videos 

Peter Houghton… Yes it was nice to see all the coaches down there and Uncle Tom’s Cabin was always busy in the summer

Tony Court-holmes… happy days then the bastards took away the coach park

Virginia Davis… I remember the fair being there during Old Town week every year in the 70s

Wendy Weaver… The usual mismanagement.

Jack Apps… The Wishing Well aaaaah

Merv Kennard… the mine.

Peter Higgs… my nan owned Toms Cabin in the early 70s . Margaret Cook Galloway

Eric Harmer… was a gas apprentice then and put the gas pipes in there with old towner Jimmy Curtis

Glen Aylard… The Day’s When you could park in Hastings Old Town

Mick O’Dowd… The days when the Council used to ENCOURAGE visitors especially in coaches!

Alan Esdaile… look how many coaches!

Mick O’Dowd… What’s the word for a lot of coaches? A cluster maybe?

Stuart Moir… Exactly, the decision to stop coach and bus parking on the Stade was the killer for all the old town businesses.

David Kent… Are you sure all those coaches weren’t there because they had broken down?

Mary Cooke (Tippins)… I served the rock and ice creams 1968.

Peter Ellingworth… Does anybody remember the old 10 & 1/4″ (26 cm gauge ) miniature railway at The Stade run by Jim “JBH” Hughes, on behalf of the owners Ian Allan the well known transport publishers of Shepperton ? There were originally three steamers: ‘Firefly’ which was sold on to Kerr’s miniature railway in Scotland ( recently closed), ‘Hampton Court’ sold on to Lord Gretton’s miniature railway which is open to the public in Northamptonshire, and the ‘Royal Scot’ sold on privately ( now replaced with another new identical). ‘JBH’ lived exactly five miles from the town centre at an aptly named bungalow called “Five Miles”. Myself and a school friend had a look at his extensive workshop once, as we used to help out on the railway school holidays early ‘sixties.

Eric Harmer… I was a gas board apprentice With old towner jimmy ? We put the gas pipes in Uncle Toms Cabin in the early 70s

Reid McDuffie… I mostly remember the reek of diesel fumes

Schools class locomotive, hauling a Ashford Hastings train late 50’s

shared from Andy Jefferies. https://www.facebook.com/groups/HastingsAreaStations

Andy Jefferies… Schools class Locomotive Hauling a Ashford-Hastings service crossing St Andrew’s Bridge, Queens Road Hastings circa late 1950’s

Peter Ellingworth… Certainly most likely post 1957, note the British Railways newer type motif on the tender which replaced the lion over the wheel from early BR days. Pity we can’t see the locomotive number : from that we could locate the shed it was allocated to at the time (Brighton/Tonbridge/Ashford ?), and possibly the train working itself, as after June 1958 with the full dieselisation of the Hastings – Charing Cross route, the remaining five or so St. Leonards based ‘Schools’ were moved away for work elsewhere. Steam working still existed on the Hastings – Tonbridge and Ashford routes after that, with both freight and some passenger working. One such was the very early morning London Bridge to Hastings via Tonbridge working, which was ‘Schools’ worked I think. This then worked up to Ashford at 08.35 from Hastings, across to Tonbridge and back then to Ashford – Hastings, working the 6.25 or 35 pm parcels train to Tonbridge. I remember seeing this train in March 1962, after being alerted to it by a school friend whose father manned the old West Marina signal box. At that time it was a Brighton or Tonbridge based ‘Schools’- the two I remember were ‘Ardingly’ and ‘Malvern’ and possibly a third ‘Bradfield’, which retained its original single chimney like the one in the photo. I also remember the early morning 1961 newspaper trains- can’t remember though if this was ‘Schools’ worked but I do remember it once with one of Wainright’ s ‘H’ class- presumably as a balance or return to shed -Tonbridge or Ashford ? working. Through trains from the Midlands were still steam worked to Hastings as late as Autumn 1965, being serviced along at Eastbourne. The ‘Schools’ were a highly successful design, and could put up performances which would be good even by today’s modern traction standards. Debate continues as to if they were designed specifically for the Tonbridge – Hastings road, with its well known restricted clearances only ironed out with electrification in the 1980’s, but general opinion is they were built with the Hastings route in mind, but also for other lines that had restricted axle loadings.
I believe the Hastings- Tonbridge route was first mooted for electrification by the South East & Chatham Railway as early as 1903, then again just before WW2 by the Southern Railway. The first fell through because of financial issues, the second because of the international situation and again cost outlay against return benefit. New coaching stock originally intended to be locomotive (steam/diesel) hauled to replace life expired stock was sanctioned in the fifties, then made into the self contained diesel sets that we knew from 1957 onwards. It was also looked at for single tracking before WW2 at the pinch points such as Mountfield tunnel, to bring the route into line with other non width restricted routes, but ruled out because the amount of freight traffic then in use would interfere with passenger workings and timings.

Peter Ellingworth… Remember Lappy’s bike shop just out of the bottom left hand side of the photo? Re. the date again: unless shaded out of the photo, the trolleybus wires were still in place until late 1960 at this point if I remember right . We went to Ashford and Canterbury for the day on the train in summer 1960, and I remember seeing the wiring still in place then when looking down from the train as it crossed the bridge in Queens Rd. So possibly 1961?

Pauline Richards… Yes I remember Lappys. Right next to the gents toilet!

Peter Ellingworth… Andy, that `HastingsAreaStations` Facebook site you refer to certainly has some interesting and detailed info. from both industry insiders and the likes of us. I must admit I had either forgotten, or was not aware, of its existence. It would be interesting to pin down the date of the photo more- some points narrowing it down are the loco itself- original single chimney, as some of the class were later fitted with the wider squat Bulleid one. The livery and tender motif points to post 1956-1957, as this is the later BR one seen on the photo and was applied from then on when the locos were repainted from the BR mixed traffic black into BR brunswick green following overhauls. The nameplate over the wheel arch appears to be a short one: maybe `Stowe`? ( now preserved), which I believe was a visitor to Hastings. Also note although not that clear, what appears to be the AWS box just in front of the cab and behined the rear driving wheel arch. Some of the `School`s were fitted with this kit quite late in their life ( all were withdrawn thanks to an accounting cull by Dec 1962 ). Does anybody else remember seeing `Malvern` `Ardingly` and possibly `Bradfield` `Schools` class swansong on the Hastings line around March-April 1962 ? The absence of the trolleybus wiring, unless brushed out from the photo, is obviously post June 1959, although as mentioned previously I remember seeing it still in place at this location in the summer of 1960, if memory serves me right. The former overhead wiring horizontal supporting arms, dating from tramway days, still then being used to carry the street lights, were in place until well into the late sixties (and seventies?) and can be seen in the photo.

Peter Ellingworth… I have just consulted ‘Locomotives of The Southern Railway’ part 1 by D. C. Bradley, published by the RCTS in Oct 1975 entitled ‘The Schools Class’ . On page 40 he details the last workings of these legendary machines on the Hastings line : ” They consisted of the 5.45 a.m. London Bridge to Hastings (from Tonbridge), 8.34 a.m. from Hastings to Ashford, the 9.30 a.m. Ashford – Tonbridge, 1.16 p.m. vans to Hastings, and the 6.28 p.m home to Tonbridge.” So this fits in with my recollections. This was in March-April 1962, when nos. 30917 ‘Ardingly,’ 30923 ‘Bradfield’ and 30929 ‘Malvern’ were sent to Tonbridge for both these workings, and also for the Uckfield line services to Brighton. I believe however from what I can see their designated ‘home’ depot at the time was Brighton.
An excellent and well researched read if interested is Derek Winkworth’s ‘The Schools 4-4-0s’. Hastings library may have or can obtain a copy, or it can still be obtained through the usual on line channels. When first constructed, despite much pressure to bring them into service, the ‘Schools’ were held back from the Hastings-Tonbridge route until the line had been bought up to scratch by strengthening several bridges, track relaid between Wadhurst and Battle, and alterations to the platforms at Tonbridge Wells Central (source : Bradley’s publication). They looked good, performed good, with only minor modifications made during their life, and extremely popular with both railway folk and the public alike. Regarding the livery I mentioned of earlier, the first to be outshopped from black to green was 30907 ‘Dulwich’ in July-Aug? 1956.( Again from Bradley’s publication). Three are preserved ; ‘Stowe’ at the Bluebell Railway, ‘Cheltenham’ at the NRM, and ‘Repton’ at the North York Moors. ‘Wellington’ was close to being saved I believe, by one of the staff at the school,but fell through due to disagreements on the then conditions of sale. ‘King’s Canterbury’ was also close, and after being kept back for a year at Ashford by BR complete with the offer of an overhaul and repaint, Canterbury City Council reluctantly had to let it go as it could not find any suitable covered accommodation within the city boundary !

Peter Ellingworth… On further perusal of Winkworth’s excellent book, various other sources, and more examination of the photo which although not clear, does I think show the AWS and speedometer apparatus fitted just in front of the ‘Schools’ loco cab above the rear driving wheel, plus the single chimney and short nameplate, narrows it down to 30926 ‘Repton’, 30927 ‘Clifton’ or 30928 ‘Stowe’. The shed allocations around this time were no. 26 to Bricklayers Arms, then Stuarts Lane, no. 27 Feltham then Nine Elms, and no. 28 Bricklayers Arms, then Brighton. So my guess it is Brighton based ‘Stowe’ which was fitted with the AWS gear in May-July 1959 and also repainted in BR Green. It was loaned to Tonbridge shed in August 1961, finally going to Brighton in Oct. that year before being withdrawn in Nov 1962. It is now undergoing overhaul in its preserved state at the Bluebell Railway. Anybody any comments ?

Peter Ellingworth… More interesting reading if so inclined is O. S. Nock’s “4000 miles on the footplate,” published by Ian Allan in 1952 which on pages 27-35 he waxes lyrical about the ‘Schools’ class : ” In turning to the “Schools” there are times when becomes almost at a loss to describe their astonishing feats of weight-haulage and speed ,” and goes on to both tabulate and describe their performances on the Hastings -Tonbridge line with its many steep gradients and sharp curves. Back to the photo : If the loco is either ‘Clifton’, ‘Stowe’ or ‘Repton’ (going by the short nameplate and original chimney) then it would post July ’59 to post Oct ’60, as this is when the AWS kit, which although not clear on the photo, can just be seen in front of the cab below the safety valves was fitted. So 1961-62 ? The coaches look like Maunsell ex-Southern Railway stock, and it would be interesting to pin down that particular train working. After regular Hastings- Charing Cross via Tonbridge steam working finished in June 1958, the St. Leonards West Marina) code ref. 74E depot which was situated opposite the old station, still I think was capable of servicing steam up until 1967. If this included still being able to turn a loco I’m not sure, as the depot had I think one of the shorter fifty-foot turntables. The inter-regional trains from the Midlands that were steam worked through to Hastings until summer ’65 may have had to work light engine on to Eastbourne and turn there either at the shed, or on the former Hamden Park triangle before returning to Hastings. Anybody any ideas ?

Peter Ellingworth… Another clue are the shadows : judging by being to the right ( west to east) this would make it afternoon ?

Chris Baker… My grandma lived in a flat above the shop on the far right. I think the shop below sold sewing machines, which was appropriate as she was a dressmaker.


Who remembers Theaker Chemist?

Fiona Evans… I remember the one at York Buildings.

Martin Richter… medicinal countdown ? one from the top, please Carol ?

Malcolm McDonald… yep, remember it well…

Jim Breeds… The Ore branch was where Laycocks now is. I still think of it as Theakers sometimes!

Andy Qunta… I think I remember the Ore branch too.

Mick Turner… Was there a Theaker’s at the bottom on the corner of Mount Road just below the Post Office back in the fifties?

Nigel Ford… Used the Hollington one at times rather than the local Battle chemists for gentleman’s needs…..and not just the weekend either!

Tracy Birrell… I used to shop there sometimes. They had lovely old fashioned remedies and beautiful glass chemist bottles in the window filled with colourful liquid.

Alan Esdaile… I remember the glass chemist bottles. We had Boots and Timothy Whites and others but always thought of Theaker as a real chemist.


Do you remember Penny for The Guy?

Betty Austin… Oh yes good clean honest fun !! X

Dennis Torrance… Remember I was done up as a guy as a kid, sat in Queens Road and went boo to passers by thanks for the memories

Malcolm Sharp… Dennis was that you yer bugar lol

Linda Crane… Good fun

Tony May…  Would LOVE to see kids taking part in that now. These days they are either on their phones or getting up to no good!

Julie Findlay-jones… Does anyone still do this, it was such fun , the anticipation of wondering how the guys going to turn out and how many penny’s your going to get.

Jane Hartley… We were in the Observer with our guy one year!

Pat Fears… Probably not safe these days !!

Janine Anne Scott… Happy days

Jeff Belton… Remember when I was growing up, used to love making a GUY for bonfire night. Great fun !

Alan Esdaile… If you wanted fireworks, you had to go out and earn some money from your guy. Not a cheap football as a head, as people did in later years. Old clothes stuffed with newspapers, our pitch used to the Whitefriars Pub, Priory Road, as did well when people got of the bus.

Read more

Hop pickers in Kent/Sussex in the 50’s

supplied by Lloyd Johnson. Photographer: unknown

Lloyd Johnson… Good Old Hop picking days in the 50s

Stuart Moir… My wife’s family were regularly visitors to the hop fields

John Wilde… 1967 we had a great time

Jacqueline Marsh… Loved it it was the highlight of our holidays with our Aunty Mary, my dads sister.

Chris Meachen… I just about recall staying in one of those tin shacks.. The lady by the doorway could easily be my mum..

Mick Mepham… Tee I ay, tee I ay, tee I ee I ay

Dave Reece… used to go when I was a nipper. A tanner a bushell.

Tony Court-holmes… that was my mums idea of a summer holiday when i was a youngen

Regal Theatre St Leonards-On-Sea – 17th September 1951

I expect this is Hylda Baker spelt wrong? Have you seen this in the programme… Professional gentlemen expecting telephone calls or messages are requested to leave particulars at the Box Office.

Jim Breeds… HSLO 15th September 1951, Same newspaper, review of the show in the following week’s paper. “Hilda” in all of them.

cuttings supplied by Jim Breeds