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Hastings, St Leonards,
Rye & Lewes



The Hearts of Oak was a beer house and lodging house in what is now 116 Bohemia Road. It was tied to Breeds Brewery of the Old Town and in the 1860s it was run by Samuel Brown.

By 1875 it was known as the Barleycorn, until about 1881 when Mary Waghorn had the licence. She presumably changed the name. In the 1890s Thomas Player was the landlord and during the hard times of those years he worked as an undertaker during the day. A threat arose to the Hearts of Oak in 1892 when a grocer’s shop opposite started selling draught and bottled beer and spirits. Thomas Player opposed the licence of the shop after sending one of his customers in for some bacon, cheese and tea. The customer reported back that all he could buy was beer and spirits. The shop licence was not renewed.

John Standen (who lived at 35 St Paul’s Road) was landlord from 1907 until 1924 and organised the Hearts of Oak Slate Club, a benefit society which had an impressive membership of 80. A typical Christmas payout in 1910 allocated £1.7s to each member, in today’s terms about £102. John’s father, James Standen, had briefly been landlord in 1871 after he moved from the Bricklayer’s Arms at 132 Bohemia Road. In 1922 John Standen was summonsed for giving a glass of beer ‘during prohibited hours’, to a thirsty coal merchant who was delivering the coal. For this offence he was fined 40s. Standen regarded his beer house as a workingmen’s club. “It was a man’s pub”, he said, “and I never admitted women”. However, this policy changed in 1925 when a naval pensioner, called P G Edwards, took the licence. When the police made a number of visits in 1926 to establish the custom, they counted nine females among the drinkers.

The police described the tap room as indifferently lit and there were no windows. Daylight passed into the room through the glass door panels and the electric light was on all day.

The Bohemia community considered the Hearts of Oak cellar to be the finest in Hastings. “In summer the beer just comes up beautiful and cool”, said Edwards. On the advice of the chief constable the magistrates declared the pub redundant in 1926 and in 1927 it was closed and the landlord compensated.

Hole in the Wall, Claremont

In 1866 John Drayton, occupier of the Hole in the Wall was summonsed for ‘harbouring bad characters in his house’. The police said that on one occasion, six prostitutes were found drinking there and on another occasion, 10. He said: “I admit it. I was not aware that I was doing wrong, so long as there was quietness. I have not been here long and I am making alterations to make the house respectable.” The Mayor asked: “Who does the house belong to? A complaint of this house has been made to the Watch Committee. It seems a most improper place for a beer shop”, said the Clerk. “It is impossible for a respectable man to get a living there.” He was fined 5s [25p] and promised there would be no repetition of the offence. However, nothing more was heard of this beer house.

Hope, Lennox Street/North Terrace, Halton

Lennox Street was known as Halton Fields in 1835, when the Hope first opened under landlord William Winter. George Reeves Winter, a builder, was licensee in 1865 and 1866. The South England and Stag Benefit Society held a dinner here in 1875. Tommy Reade, who played hornpipes and country-dances on his violin was hired as the entertainer.

In 1915, under wartime restrictions, the licensee was charged with allowing a soldier’s wife with a baby to get drunk. Old Mother Vidler, who had once been the pub cleaner but had been sacked and was looking for revenge, called out the police. “Here comes old mother Vidler with the police”, said the publican. In court he was asked if the soldier’s wife was sober. “She was more sober than usual for Halton”, he replied. “What do you mean, are the people of Halton not generally sober?” asked the magistrate. “They all like a drop at times”, he said. In the event the licensee was fined 40s [£2], the soldier’s wife 5s [25p] and Mrs Vidler was awarded half a crown [12½p].

In 1889 the Salvation Army were marching past the pub in procession when somebody from the public bar threw a handful of gravel at them. In court this was corroborated by some of the ‘soldiers’. The Hope was next door to the local Salvation Army headquarters.

By the turn of the last century the Hope had become a centre of Halton Liberalism. Regular Liberal ‘Smokers’ took place here with hearty dinners of ‘radical beef pudding’ followed by speeches and music. Both the pub and the Salvation Army were bombed in the Second World War.

Hope BH, 32 West Street/East parade

Mrs Frances Hope was licensee from around 1862 to at least 1871. During these years it was known as the Foresters but in 1876 it appears to have become the Hope again when James Roper, the Coxswain of Hastings Life Boat, applied for the licence.

It was reported that ‘this beer house had been closed for some time’, and there was opposition to it being reopened on the grounds that there were 20 inhabited houses in West Street and seven of them sold beer. Although it had formerly been conducted very badly the licence was agreed. The new licensee was an employee of the Coast Guard at Government House.

Hundreds Inn, The Ridge

The original Hundreds Inn stood near the lodge of Beaufort Park. It seems to have closed in the 1920s when the road through the park was diverted. A former occupant with a colonial association with Ireland had the Red Hand of Ulster displayed on the front of the house.

International Navy, Barley Lane

Until 1986 these premises were the International Navy Club. In that year the licensee applied for change of use to a pub and restaurant. An extension was built in 1989 providing 10 bedrooms and a swimming pool. There were objections by local archaeologists HARC who claimed that Roman coins had been found in the area.

Kentish Arms, 9 East Street

This pub may have been known as the Kentish Man of Arms in 1860 and from at least 1871 to 1886 this pub was in the hands of the Brigden family. In 1881 the landlord died and his widow, Ann Brigden, continued until at least 1886. In that year she was summonsed for allowing cards to be played for beer in lieu of money, in a small room on the first floor. In another room she allowed card playing for money. She was fined 5s. The Kentish Arms beer house had the appearance of an ordinary residential house. There was no bar or counter and the customers were mainly fishermen, hawkers and labourers. It closed in 1912.

Kicking Donkey, Hill Street
See the Pubs of Hastings & St Leonards for full history.

King’s Head, Courthouse Street

There has been a pub on this site since Tudor times and a plaque inside stated that until 1825 the King’s Head, known as the George, was ‘next door to the gaol in Courthouse Street’ (today the A259).

In 1849 the Victoria Lodge of the Odd Fellows held their annual ball here and in 1856 it was reported that ‘the smallest man in the world’ was on show at the King’s Head, for a small charge.

But this attraction paled into insignificance when the peace of Hastings was suddenly thrown into a state of painful excitement when the Hastings gaol keeper was murdered by a prisoner. At about 7am one morning, in March 1856, those living next to the King’s Arms were distracted by loud cries of “help” and “police”, coming from the gaol and from the bedroom windows of the King’s Head. Several people rushed to the gaol to be told by the landlord that a prisoner had just made his escape over the prison wall. “My wife heard a scream”, he said, “ran to the window and started screaming herself”.

When the prisoner was recaptured, Hastings followed the subsequent trial with great interest. The murderer was found guilty and ‘hung by the neck until dead’ in Lewes Gaol. The hanging was observed by 1,000 people and became a major talking point in the bar of the King‘s Head. The pub closed in 2009.

Kings Head 2009

New Found Out, Breeds Yard

One of four beer houses attached to the Breeds brewery in the Bourne. The New Found Out was actually in the yard itself. Breeds Brewery probably owned the site from about 1800. In 1867 and again in 1871 customers were fined 10s each for out of hours drinking on a Sunday. In the same year licensee Simeon Shaw, was cautioned by the magistrates for being drunk in public – outside his pub, not in it. It closed in 1874.

New Inn, Mercatoria

An early beer house in Lavatoria Square (now part of North Street) St Leonards. In 1869 its licence was revoked because the landlord, Stephen Fisher, had ‘allowed boys to gamble on the premises’.

New Moon, 45–46 All Saint’s Street

It was formerly the Ball beer house from 1855 to 1866 and the Hope of Freedom from 1872. From 1878 to 1891 the Moon family ran it as a lodging house and bar. There was a brutal assault case here in 1879. In 1905 it had six beds in one room. It closed in 1908.

Norfolk Hotel, Marine  Parade

James Barry opened this building, previously known as the Library House, in 1791, as the Marine Library and Billiard Room. Formerly a large boarding house called the Belle Vue, it was first licensed in 1867. It had 13 bedrooms, a coffee room, restaurant, refreshment room, drawing room and sitting room. ‘The nearest licensed house was the Cutter which was a different class of property.’

In 1877 a half-day beano by local drapery workers started and finished at the Belle Vue. They were members of the Early Closing Movement (ie the early day closing campaign, which advocated closing of shops at 1pm on one day a week). Five, four horse carriages and several two horse waggonetts transported 80 members from here to the Saxon Hotel, St Leonards, then to the Harrow on the Ridge and finally to the White Hart, Guestling, before returning to the Belle Vue. The Belle Vue was probably the meeting place of the Hastings branch of the Early Closing Movement.

In 1893 the landlord was summonsed for selling whisky 27 per cent under proof and in 1895 another landlord was a member of the Ancient Order of Druids when ‘large attendances of Druid brothers in their regalia’ were recorded meeting here.

The pub changed its name to the Norfolk Hotel in 1896 and is now the Ambassador fish and chip restaurant.

Norman, 1 Norman Road

Closed in 2013. See the The Pubs of Hastings & St Leonards for full history.

Oddfellows, Caves Road

A beer house from 1860s–1953.

In the 1870s there were complaints of “a great noise from music, dancing, quarrelling and disorderly crowds” from the Oddfellows which put it under threat of closure. But by 1905 the Oddfellows was reputed to have “the best beer in St Leonards” and was selling 5½ barrels a week.

About this time the Oddfellows was a target for the ‘bright farthing trick’, where a customer paid for beer with a sovereign which meant that usually there would be a half sovereign in the change. A half sovereign was similar in size to a (polished) farthing or bright farthing, which by sleight of hand was substituted for the half sovereign and the change queried.

Its customers were described as ‘respectable working class’. A master blacksmith from the nearby stable yards said it ‘was a nice place for chaps to have their dinner in’.

In 1912 the chief constable was still opposing the licences of the pubs in Caves Road. That year 140 people signed a petition in support of the Oddfellows. These included carpenters, tailors, cabmen and the secretary of the local branch of the Association of Railway Servants, which held branch meetings at the pub.

In 1912 the pub was still doing well. That year it sold 231 barrels of beer (slightly down on 1905), 642 dozen bottles of beer, numerous bread and cheese lunches and ran a slate club where customers saved for Christmas. Its licence was reprieved but challenged again by the chief constable in 1913. However, it survived another 40 years until 1953.

Oddfellows Arms, 397 Old London Road

Market Tap, George Street

This beer house was located at the Market in George Street and was frequented by fish buyers in the 1860s. Jane Piper was licensee in 1862 and an application for a full licence was refused in 1869. In 1870 the landlord, William Piper, was summonsed under the licensing laws and appeared before the bench, drunk.

Clerk:  “Do you keep the Market Tap?”
Piper:  “Yes I do, that don’t keep me.”
Clerk:  “Do you understand what I say?”
Piper:  “Well I baint no scholar.”
Clerk:  “Are you sober?”
Piper:  “Well I don’t know whether I’m sober.”
Clerk:  “Fined 5s.”
Piper:  “I should like to pay and get out of this mess. I’ve got a lot of money that’s no good to me.”
Piper threw down the 5s. “That’s for them gentlemen to get a glass of grog with.”

Jane Piper was listed as the licensee of another beer house in Commercial Road in 1866. However, due to the vagaries of street names and numbering, both licensed premises might have been the same premises at different dates.

Market Tavern, 14 East Parade

Of the 20 households on East Parade, five were licensed premises from 1871 until 1876. They were the Foresters, the Cutter, the Market Tavern, the Lugger and the Rising Sun. Only the Cutter remains.

The Market Tavern was sandwiched between the Cutter and the Lugger. It is now the Ocean Fish and Chip shop. William James applied for a licence in 1868/9 but was refused.

By 1894 the landlord was Harry Bell and the pub was known as The Market Tavern and Oyster Saloon.

Marina Inn, Caves Road, 1852–1996                             See photographic exhibition in Gallery by Noel Bucknole

This seems quite a small building so it is surprising to learn that in 1864 dances were held in the Marina Parlour. In 1885 a Coroner’s Inquest was held here into the death of a 10 year old boy who had ‘suffocated accidentally on a piece of meat fixed in his windpipe’, and in the 1888 Directory it is referred to as the West Marina Inn.

Before the First World War the chief constable tried to get the Marina closed down because ‘trade was not being conducted to his satisfaction’, although he didn’t elaborate.

In 1911 the landlady, Nelly Carey, became bankrupt. She blamed it all on a fall-off in trade and bad beer from the brewers. However, two years later a new landlord claimed he had customers further afield in West Hill and did a good ‘bottle and jug’ trade on ‘the frontline’. West Hill is located on the cliff top and the customers must have used Sussex Steps, which ran down the cliff face into Sussex Street. These steps are now closed due to cliff falls.

In 1913 it sold 171 barrels of beer which, added to the sales of the Oddfellows down the road, was a not inconsiderable amount of beer for a street of only 100 people! We don’t know the Fountain’s sales but we suspect the chief constable couldn’t understand where it all went and was suspicious! One customer at this time, was a chimney sweep who drank in the tap in his work clothes. When asked by another customer if his ‘wife dusted him down when he got home’, he replied: “Come outside and I’ll dust you down”.

Apart from the chief constable, another enemy was the temperance lobby. Landlady Ada Bell was secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary League (the women’s section of the License Victuallers Association) in the 1920s, an organisation set up to oppose the ‘pussyfoots, killjoys and fanatics’ of the temperance lobby. She was apparently an excellent speaker.

The Marina ran a slate club but was also the home of a tontine club, a type of savings club with a fixed number of members who each received an annuity at Christmas. The tontine operated for several years and was run by secretary Isaac Pattenden. He collected members’ weekly subs, kept an account and handed the total to the landlord. The money was then banked with the brewers, who took charge of it as an investment. The size of the annuity paid out increased as the number of members decreased through death. The remaining capital was ‘scooped’ by the last living member, who, in this case, died in the 1940s. The only other tontine club was at the Hare and Hounds.

In 1939 just before the outbreak of war, excessive rain led to a collapse of the cliffs, and boulders and earth crashed down against the pub in a landslide. “We used to have eight to 10 cars outside at weekends. Now you cannot find one. The ladies are nervous of coming”, said the landlord. But Hastings’s Corporation denied any responsibility saying it didn’t own the cliffs.

Cliff falls remained a serious problem particularly in the 1970s and for insurance reasons the pub was forced to close in the 1990s.

In 1950 the pub sign showing a ‘gent’ in a bowler hat and a mermaid sitting back to back on a bench on the Marina, was included in the Whitbread miniature inn sign series.

In the 1880s this pub was the headquarters of the Ore Independent Beanfeast Club. Apart from providing the usual functions as a savings and social club, this club was a particularly conservative and patriotic working class stronghold. At their annual dinner they toasted the Queen, the Royal Family and the Army and Navy. They sang John Bull’s Dream, The Old Water Mill, Rule Britannia, Old Lang Syne and the National Anthem.

The building shown above was the original Oddfellows Arms and stood near to the new Ore clinic. It sold Style and Winch Maidstone Ales and was demolished after a new public house bearing the same name was built along the road towards the Hare and Hounds. The present building was built in the early 1900s though its mock Tudor style makes it look much earlier. It was the second ‘Mock Tudor’ public house in Hastings, the other being Ye Olde Pump House.  

It closed in 2012.

Oddfellows Arms 2011

Foresters Arms, Pinders Road

This building was erected as a public house in 1877 by a former ‘Good Templar’ James Hoell. He first applied for a licence in 1878 ‘for a house about to be built on the Clive Vale Estate to be called the Foresters Arms’. This was refused, as were further applications up to 1883 when it became an off-licence. Run by James and Florence Standen (relatives of Ron Fellows) from 1949 when it was still an off-licence.

Gaiety, Queens Road

This public house was a part of the Gaiety Theatre complex formerly the Gaiety Theatre and Opera House and then the Odeon Cinema from 1932. It was built in 1880–1881 and opened in 1882. There is a drawing of the corner entrance to the building in an advert in the 1895 Directory (p566).

In the early 1960s it was a popular venue for sportsmen and women thanks to its manager Gordon Hobson, who with his wife Jean ran the pub from 1960 to 1964. A cricket and rugby fan – he played for Hastings and Bexhill rugby club – and attracted a number of famous cricketers to the pub, including several of the Australian side, as well as England’s Peter Loader and David Halfyard.

“The Gaiety was a tremendous pub”, he recalled. “You wouldn’t get in without a tie. The local bus drivers and their crews used the public bar.” Maidstone & District bus depot was situated opposite on the edge of the cricket ground. “They were always beautifully dressed.”

A charity event was held in the pub in July 1963, attended by celebrities David Jacobs, actor Bill Pertwee and the Mayor CIIr D W Wilshin, who had all just played a charity match between an All Stars XI and a Mayor’s XI at the Central Cricket Ground. A huge pile of pennies in the shape of a lighthouse, in aid of the Spastics Society, was knocked over by David Jacobs.

The last landlord was George Balsam, 1967-1971 when it closed.

George Inn, 120 All Saint’s Street. Probably opened in 1744.

In 1892 the George ran one of the Old Town harmonic societies where every Saturday, night members ‘smoked a pipe, drank a glass or two’ and had a good sing-song. The Hastings Lifeboat crew was among its members.

In 1927 an extension for a women’s supper party until 11pm was refused on the grounds that “many women have children at home and husbands who would like them to be at home looking after them, not spending more money than they can afford” in the pub. “However”, said the chief constable, “when women are organised into a women’s organisation I would see the question differently. But many publicans do not serve or encourage women.”

It closed in 1952 and the licence was transferred to the Hole in the Wall, Hill Street.

There was a second George Inn in Courthouse Street dating from 1500 until 1825 when it became the recently closed King’s Head. And yet another George – see below.

George Inn, George Street

Open until 1828 but was refused a licence in 1794. The Sussex Weekly Advertiser reported in 1799 that: ‘Gentlemen volunteers were recruited at the George, Hastings for a privateer called The Roebuck’.

Globe Hotel, Meadow Road (now Queens Road)

Opened as Beaton’s Beer House between 1845 and 1848 and was granted a full licence in 1852.

The Gaiety Theatre, built in 1880 and opened in 1881, boosted trade. The Queen’s Arcade separated the two premises and the Albert Temperance Hotel was two doors away. The Albert went into liquidation in 1884, renounced temperance and applied for a licence. The Globe opposed the licence on the grounds that it was not a normal hotel  and was run as an ordinary pub.

In 1888 the Globe was one of the first Hastings pubs to be prosecuted for allowing gambling on horse racing. In the Leicestershire Handicap, customers studied ‘form’ in the racing papers provided by the pub, filled in betting slips and handed the slips and money to the landlord, who recorded all bets in a book. Periodically throughout the day a bookies runner called in to collect bets and pay out winnings. The bookmaker was fined a massive £15, which he paid in court from a wad of notes in his pocket.

In 1893 the landlord became bankrupt ‘because of the competition’ and two years later a lithographer from London committed suicide, possibly because of gambling, by shooting himself in the adjoining Queen’s Arcade.

In 1899 the Globe was refurbished making ‘this handsome saloon one of the finest rendezvous in Hastings’. Landlord Robert Redman, known as Old Bob, was prosecuted in 1900 for serving after time. Nine customers were also fined for late drinking.

In 1905 the Globe was said to be a haunt of gamblers during the day and of ‘boys and girls between 16 and 22-years of age in the evening’. The magistrates noted that ‘the landlord was an ex-convict although he kept a horse and carriage’. The pub was closed in 1907.

Granville, St Georges Road

Headquarters of the Royal Engineers Association.

Gritti Palace, Hastings Pier

A bar situated on the apron of Hastings Pier and named after the luxury Gritti Palace Hotel, Venice. The Gritti Palace closed when the pier was declared unsafe in October 2006. An unsuccessful application was made to reopen it in July 2008.

Halton Tavern, Old London Road, Halton

Formerly known as Fuller’s Beer House, in 1854 Henry Fuller was summoned for being open at midnight. He admitted the charge saying he had a few friends in for a dance. He ‘had kept a house for 14 years and had never been complained of before’. The case was dismissed.

In 1936 the licensee left the pavement flaps open at night when he was unloading some oak logs and an elderly customer fell into the cellar. The customer’s wounds were so serious that he later died. The magistrate criticised the licensee for his ‘imprudence’ and fined him 40s [£2] plus 10s costs.

The Halton Tavern was closed and demolished in 1961 when the area was cleared in the Halton redevelopment scheme.

Harbour Bar, 77 All Saints Street. Another Old Town beer house open in 1872.

In 1906 the chief constable described the customers as ‘hawkers and fishermen’ and claimed the pub was redundant as there were 37 other pubs within a quarter mile radius and also that the licence had been transferred nine times since 1899. The Harbour Bar was referred for compensation and closed in 1906. It was one of the first five Hastings pubs to be closed in 1906 under the 1905 Act. The last landlord was a tram conductor.

Hare & Hounds, Old London Road

See the Pubs of Hastings & St Leonards for full history.

Hastings Castle, 12 Portland Place

This property was purchased by John Cheal in 1847 and fitted up as the Castle Brewery. The brewery tap was known as the Hastings Castle. On his death in 1864 both brewery and beer house passed to his widow Harriet Cheal who was landlady until 1878. On her death in 1881 the beer house was sold for £870. It was sold again by auction in 1899 for £1,400.

In 1905 the police claimed its customers were ‘prostitutes, hawkers, boy and girls’. In its final five years it had six landlords. It was closed in 1905 under the 1904 Act.

Hearts of Oak, 116 Bohemia Road

Sussex Weekly Advertiser 20/09/1876

In 1898 the licensee, Ellis Stone, had a problem with gambling in the pub and with keeping bookmakers and their ‘runners’, out. It closed in 1906.

Malvern, Malvern Way

Opened in 1970 as the New Broom. Closed in 2008. The licensees were:

1970                           John Smee (New Broom)
1970                           Roy Phipps
1970‒1971                 Bernard Davenport & Roy Burroughs (Malvern)
1975                           Adrian & Margaret Pritchett
2008                           (Closed)

Manor, St Mary’s Road

Opened in 1878. By the turn of the century an assembly room and Shades was situated at the rear of the pub. Closed in 2009.

Lugger, East Parade/West Street

The Lugger was next door to the Cutter Inn on East Parade. It was formerly the New Inn, sometime before 1861. Robert Kent was the licensee in 1862 and by 1871 the premises had became known as the Lugger, under licensee Edward Wood. There was access to the Lugger from both East Parade and West Street at the rear.

The Lugger was one of five pubs in the 20 buildings, which then comprised East Parade. Three of them: The Cutter, the Market Tavern and the Lugger were next door to each other. The other two were the Foresters and the Rising Sun.

Fox, 33 North Street

See the Pubs of Hastings & St Leonards for full history.

Frank’s Front Room, 32 Station Road

See the Pubs of Hastings & St Leonards for full history.

Free Trader, Fish Market

In 1883 a railway traveller left his carpet bag in the third class waiting room at Hastings station. When he returned it had been stolen. It contained a nightshirt, slippers, a scotch cap, a flannel shirt, a cigar case, a flask, a pair of kid gloves, a neck cloth and a hairbrush. The thief deposited the bag with the landlady of the Jolly Fisherman and sold some items to a fisherman in the Free Trader. When he was caught he was wearing the flannel shirt and the neck cloth.

In 1905 the landlord supplemented his living as a fisherman catching sprats. In the winter he worked as a house painter and told the magistrates that he was ‘just knocking along’ with work and takings. Free Trader was a common name for a smuggling vessel. This pub was one of the first casualties of the 1905 Licensing Act.

Freemason’s Tavern, 19 Wellington Place, 1852–1958

This pub was licensed in 1852 as the York Tavern. In 1853 a second York Tavern situated opposite, was also licensed. Following the renaming of York Place to Wellington Place in 1854, the first York Tavern was renamed the Freemason’s Tavern and the second York Tavern became Haytor’s York Hotel.

In 1856 the licence was granted to James Nabbs who took over the pub that year after it ‘had been closed for a long time’. He was previously licensee of the St Leonards Arms, London Road. The Derwent Lodge of Freemasons was formed here (nd).

In 1887 the potman Alfred Turner was offered a book called ‘Harry Knowles’ and some cards by a customer. He bought them for 2s [10p] and exchanged the book the same evening for a Meerschaum pipe.

In the 1897 Directory this pub is listed at Wellington Place and Pelham Street. It consisted of a saloon and separate back bar with an entrance through a passage in Pelham Street. In 1917 the landlady was charged with contravening the ‘treating order’ of the DORA regulations and fined £5 for serving a bottle of Guinness.

It closed on 15th January 1958 when the site was sold to Messrs Walton & Co. It then became part of H J Samuels. The site is now a Jempson’s café and bakery.

Langham, 16 Elphinstone Road

Open between 1874 and 2009.

Mason’s Arms, High Street

In 1875 during a fracas, a fisherman drinking in the bar was struck on the head by a quart pot. There was no gaslight only candles so he was unsure if the pot was aimed at him or not.

In 1878 the magistrates described the pub as a “tramps lodging house next door to the Roebuck”, and said the landlord was often absent at sea for months at a time.

James Colvin, beer-shop keeper, on the Barrack Ground, was summoned ...

   Sergeant Brasier said—At a quarter to four on Sunday, 20th Jan., I visited defendant’s house and found three young men in front of the counter, upon which there was a pot containing a pint of beer, and two empty glasses. I called Mrs. Colvin’s attention to the beer, and she said it did not belong to the young men, and they had come in for some apples. I did not see any apples served while I was there. There did not appear to have been any beer in the glasses. Defendant took the pot and put it on the other side of the counter. The beer appeared to be fresh drawn.

   Inspector Battersby said the house in question was the worse conducted in Hastings; it was a very diffi­cult matter to detect defendant, as he set parties to watch for the police.

   Defendant denied drawing the beer for the men. It was drawn for some other parties about a quarter past two, and in consequence of its being thick was left on the counter. The men came in for some apples, as he kept a general shop. There were half-a-dozen to a dozen and a half pots and glasses on the counter altogether. He called James Beale, who deposed—1 live at Guestling, at a place called Batchelor’s Bump. I was in the house at the time, and I never called for any beer, nor was any had. I only knew one of the other men; his name is Page. He called me in and bought some apples—either one pennyworth or two pennyworth.

   By the Bench—I did not buy any. The other man was there when we went in. I had been with Page all the afternoon, and went from the house together, leaving the other man there.

Defendant’s other witness, who had been ordered out of court by the direction of the Bench during the last witness’s statement, was now called in and sworn. He stated his name was Rayman Page, and that he lived in Hastings. He was present on the Sunday afternoon, but did not see any beer drawn, nor was any ordered.

   By the Bench—He met both the men at Hood's Room, and they all went into the house together. They had a pennyworth of apples each, and paid for them. Beale paid for his pennyworth. There was no person in the house when they went in, nor did they leave anyone there when they came out.

   The Chairman, without making any comment upon the case, ordered defendant to pay 20s fine and costs. Defendant was about to apply for time for payment, when some stout elderly lady came forward in no small rage, and threw the necessary sum upon the table at the same time declaring she was the Mrs. Colvin and that the police were no use except to eat and drink and if the fine had been £4, instead of not so many shillings she had the power to pay it.


 Masons Arms, The Barrack Ground, Halton

James Colvin was licensee in 1855 when the police described the premises as the ‘worst beer house in Hastings’. Mrs Colvin claimed the beer house was also an apple shop and that after hours drinkers ‘were only buying apples’.

The following article appeared in the Hastings & St Leonards Chronicle 18.02.1856.


Marina Inn from the cliffs 1980 - photo by Noel Bucknole

Mason’s Arms, Norman Road East

Information to follow.

Mitre, High Street

In 1894 the landlord was summonsed for encouraging gambling. He lent a hawker money ‘to provide for his children, to pay his rates and for a Christmas dinner’, but admitted under questioning that several amounts lent were for playing ‘nap’ in the bar.

In 1899 the Mitre Social and Musical Club held a ladies night. Oddly, a Mr Bosher was the Master of Ceremonies and Mr A Turner was the pianist. Mrs Claire Daniels sang Flight of Ages (encore), Mr A Turner sang A Tar of the Queen’s, Mrs Edwards sang While all the World is Sleeping and Mr Vivian Fisher ‘convulsed the company’ with the popular song The Curate.

The Mitre closed in 1930 when its licence was transferred to the Swan opposite. Some time later it regained its licence as the Mitre Restaurant. It is now Porters Wine Bar.

Mitre 1920-1923. Photo contributed by Kerry Callaghan

Old House at Home, All Saint’s Street

Formerly the Ball beer house from 1862 to 1866. Richard Ball applied for a full licence in 1861 but was refused. Sometime after this it acquired the name: The Old House at Home. ‘Ye’ was added in 1907.

It was described as located ‘nearly opposite the Cinque Ports Arms on the high pavement and in bad weather its customers did not like crossing over the road’ to the Cinque Ports Arms which as a fully licensed pub, closed later in the evening. In 1872 the licensee was summonsed for opening after 11pm. It closed in 1911.

Original Good Woman, Fishmarket

In 1854 the landlord, Tilden Tolhurst, was fined for serving beer after 11pm on a Saturday. The pub sign, which portrayed a woman carrying her severed head under her arm, created a lot of protest in the 1850s.

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Forbidden Fruit, 119 Queens Road

This pub was formerly known as the Imperial and was built on one of 78 plots of land put up for sale in the locality of Queen’s Road in the 1860s. It was granted its first licence in 1869 and the first licensee was William Halloway. Among the first customers were the thirsty workers from the gasworks across the road and also the employees of the nearby slaughter houses, for the area was still semi rural. In its first year a public meeting was held at the pub by local residents, to discuss the possible removal of the slaughter houses. It was thought that they were a great nuisance and an annoyance to ladies and invalids going to St Andrew’s Pleasure Ground (now Alexander Park). Cattle on the roads, the boiling of offal, pig keeping and slaughtering affected property values. The Hastings Corporation was lobbied.

Today the pub is situated opposite Morrison’s supermarket, once the site of St Andrew’s church, where a century ago Robert Tressell, the socialist author, decorated the chancel. It has been claimed that he also decorated the saloon bar of the Imperial which at one time had a display of local historic photographs including one of Tressell’s murals in St Andrew’s church now restored in Hastings Museum.

The licensee in 1926, Captain Vincent Norris(?), moved to the then fashionable Palace Hotel at White Rock.

In 2014 the Imperial changed its name to ‘Forbidden Fruit’. In 2015 The Forbidden Fruit closed.

The Forbidden Fruit 2015

Freemasons Hotel on left, late 19th century

Freemasons Hotel on left - photo by David Witcombe 2012

Len and Joan Bryan were licensees between 1961 and 1981.

Little Brown Jug, 6 St Mary’s Terrace

The Little Brown Jug was a beer house in a converted dwelling house in St Mary’s Terrace, West Hill from at least 1872. The public bar, the only bar, was a one storey room at the front of the house.

In 1903 the magistrates referred to it as a ‘queer little shop and bar’. But by 1919 it was doing a very good bottle and jug trade and in1923 it was described as a  respectable, clean house run by a widow called Edith Anne White. It ran a slate club of 30 members and let out accommodation in the summer.

It closed in 1923/4. The window of this ‘queer little bar’ is currently the location for a display of pub memorabilia.

Little Brown Jug 2009

The Manor - photo by Terry Huggins c2011

The Manor statue

Pub sign

Marina Inn in 2012 - photo by David Witcombe