St Leonards road to close for World Car Free Day on Sunday 22nd September 2019

photo © Hastings Observer

A stretch of St Leonards seafront will be closed to traffic next month to mark World Car Free Day.

The road will be turned into a pedestrianised community space on Sunday, September 22 with entertainment and activities devised to encourage people to take sustainable transport alternatives.

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Pete Fairless… That’s the A259, right?

Wendy Weaver… Pity the people living on the alternative roads.

Brian Adams… no need for this enough roads closed around hastings for roadworks

Els Wilcox… It’s not for roadworks it for world free car day.

Glenn Piper… I hope that includes bicycles

Richard J Porter… Yep, the A259, South Coast Trunk Road, Folkestone – Honiton Trunk Road. The only East – West way to cross the country south of the M25/M20. A road that leads to the Channel Ports from the West. Won’t cause any issues for all that through traffic, HGVs, coaches holiday makers and so on making their way to The Channel Tunnel and Dover. What will they do? Send them up Harley Shute to Sedlescombe Road and the Ridge? Or maybe the Link Road and the Ridge?

Paul Chenery… Yet another mega-cock up from a ‘department of f* stupid ideas’. Maybe the same type of idiot that put the bus lanes along Bexhill Road, pushing traffic passing the bus stop at glyne gap into the path of oncoming traffic.

Pete Brazier… Great idea but where and how are we going to Park the Car?

Paul Morfey… Few people seem to realise how nice life would be with far fewer cars!!?!

Read moreSt Leonards road to close for World Car Free Day on Sunday 22nd September 2019

White Rock Theatre Hastings – major refurbishment in 2019

The White Rock Theatre will undergo a major refurbishment in 2019. This year will see a full refurbishment of the original wooden auditorium flooring, changing the seating configuration and giving the venue greater flexibility to present standing concerts in the main house for the first time since 1985.

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Alan Esdaile… Hopefully this will mean bigger names coming to the White Rock Theatre.

Matt Thomas… I’ve been to two 80’s music acts last year,Paul Young & Kim Wilde both packed houses they took seating out for Kim’s show and the place was buzzing.A step in the right direction

Jim Hobbs… Doubt it!

Rolling Stones – Hastings Caves?

The Hastings Observer printed this in 2011. Can anyone confirm this?

ROCK legends The Rolling Stones played one of their earliest gigs right here in Hastings.

However, it was not as you might expect in the pier’s ballroom or the now closed Crypt. Oh no, perhaps the biggest band to ever play in 1066 Country made their bow on stage at a debutante’s ball in the depths of the town’s network of caves.

Wildman guitarist Keith Richards has recently released an autobiography in which the iconic axeman reveals the band visited Hastings back in July 1963 for a gig in what is now Smugglers’ Adventure.

This would have been less than a year after the band’s first concert and just weeks after they were signed by their now infamous long-time manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

News of the subterranean performance came as a complete shock to the caves’ current custodian Trevor White, who is manager of The Smugglers’ Adventure.

He told the Observer: “We knew the caves had been used for a variety of musical performances over the centuries ranging from dances in the 18th century to regular jazz evenings in the fifties and sixties

“However, none of us realised that the great Rolling Stones had played here and now we’re desperately trying to find out more about it and see if we can trace anyone who may have been here to watch them play.

“The details are a little sketchy, and Keith may not have the best of memories for everything that happened to him in the sixties, but there’s definitely enough information in the book to prove that it did take place.”

In fact, any memories Richards does have of the event are far from glowing. In his book the guitarist – famed for his hedonistic rock and roll lifestyle, says the gig had taken place the night before a performance at the Wisbech Corn Exchange in Cambridgeshire.

He wrote: “By the greatest contrast known to rock-and-roll audiences, the previous night we’d played a debutante’s ball at Hastings caves, for somebody called Lady Lampson, all via Andrew Oldham, an awfully super-duper, upper crusty affair doing a lowlife bash in Hastings caves, which are quite big.”

And, according to his book, Life, the concert didn’t end well after someone asked the former Stones’ keyboardist, Ian Stewart, to play Moon River and a fight broke out.

“It’s extraordinary to think that one of the biggest bands in the world played here in Hastings and none of us were aware of it,” said Mr White – who was delighted with the revelation despite the less than glowing reference Richards gave the town.

“I’ve been working in the caves for more than 10 years now and I’m always discovering fascinating new information about them.”

n Did you attend Lady Lampson’s ball? Perhaps you saw another top band play in a strange local location? Email

Peter Fairless….Oh, yeah, if it was in Keith’s book, it was probably true. He’s the one, bizarrely, with the good memory!

Andre Palfrey-martin….Now I have read this, I do recall that about this time, there was a rumour that somebody from the Rolling Stones had been taken to A&E at the RESH after playing at a private function in the Caves.

Mick O’Dowd….The rumour was originally featured in “The Face” column of one liner bits of news in NME I think but it said that it was St.Clements Hall for a debutante’s “coming out” party but it could easily have been St Clement’s Caves.

Peter Fairless…. Nice to see this come up again! As an additional bit of information, not that it actually confirms the gig taking place but does add more support… Lady Lampson, later Lady Killearn, who is supposed to have organised the ball lived at Etchingham, so it’s going to have been Hastings, not Chislehurst, if it happened!

Andre Martin…. That was a rumour about the Stones, we think that the caves they were referring to back in the 1960s were at Chistlehurst .

Steve Turner… The deb ball was for Roxana ‘Bunty’ Lampson. I spoke to a photographer who was there. In his book Rolling With the Stones Bill Wyman says that they couldn’t play because Brian Jones was sick on the way down in their van. The photographer said it was because the electric supply wasn’t powerful enough. I’d like to find out more. It seems definite that the Stones came down though.

Well done to Sarah Harvey on Planet Rock


Well done to Sarah Harvey who appears in this weeks Hastings Observer (6th May 2016) on the success of her show on Planet Rock. Pity they did not mention her very good Hastings Rock show every Thursday between 7.00pm and 9.00pm with Tony Davis on 87.7 FM playing music of bands that played Hastings in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s

Neil Steadman… Great stuff

Danielle Steel… Well done. Fame at last xxx

Keith Tooke talking about Twinkle, Don Partridge, John Martyn and Nick Drake.

Here’s Keith Tooke’s letter from Hastings Observer a couple of weeks ago. Talking about Twinkle, Don Partridge, John Martyn and Nick Drake.


Andy Qunta.. Excellent.

John Wilde…  Its NICK DRAKE

Colin Norton… Met Don Partridge in Bern, Switzerland about 25 years ago, talked about the old days and drank a couple of beers together. He was a really nice bloke!

Geoff Peckham… I played in a pick-up band with Don Partridge for a wedding reception in Haywards Heath about 12 years ago. He still enjoyed a few beers and was good company. He spent his twilight years in Seaford.

Chris Meachen… Not the real story behind ‘over the hill’ either.. that was about the walk from a young lady’s flat in hughenden road…

Yvonne Cleland… Well I’m blowed, Jaffa! I’d forgotten all about Don Partridge! He was excellent! You say ‘twilight years’? You mean he’s not with us now?

Colin Norton… Don died from a heart attack in September, 2010 in Seaford, Sussex.


Beez Neez – 1978


Chris Pook…..I wish I had that much hair now (second from left back row!)

Mark Harris……You’ve hardly changed Chris!!! I only look about 12

Chris Pook……Must see what else is lurking in the archives mate!

Mick O’Dowd……I think you were about 12 then Mark!

Ghoulz… Is it possible this band played The Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline in Fife, three times 1976-1977?

Mick O’Dowd…  No they didn’t form until 1977

Chris Pook… And we wouldn’t have even known where Dunfermline was back then!!! But we did go all the way to RAF St Athan in South Wales for one gig though!

Phil Gill… Are there actually any Hastings bands that played The Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline in Fife?

Tracy Ratnarajah Weatherley Harris… Ha ha look at Geoff and Mark you look like you have really long hair x

Ghoulz… Many thanks for your swift replies. I’m trying to trace such a band and you guys almost fitted the bill! Cheers.

John Storer… Phil … can see where there is possible confusion. Have discovered that the Kinema Ballroom, Dunfermline has a dedicated website which includes a list of every single band that played there. A band named Beez Neez did play there three times in 76-77 and a band called Stallion played there in 1971.