Hastings & St Leonards
The original Old Golden Cross on left-
Crowleys Bar in Havelock Road first opened in 1857 as the Old Golden Cross. In 1899 the pub was demolished and rebuilt ‘as the best Hastings has to offer’. We re-
‘Everyone who has had occasion now and then to pass the corner where the humble front of the original Old Golden Cross reared itself, a few months ago, to gaze over the desolation of the station yard, must have watched with interest and–as the hoardings and scaffolding grew too small to hide its growing beauty–with admiration the splendid structure which has risen upon the site of that historic hostelry–a structure worthy of its position and of the best of its surroundings, and worthy, too, of the important aspect which that corner will receive when, as must eventually happen, the station buildings are brought right out to the top of Havelock-
Old Golden Cross 1957 Hodges
‘Into the external details of the palatial hostelry which was opened on Wednesday last we need not enter at very great length —they are sufficiently well known to every pedestrian in the borough; and, further than that, no amount of descriptive eulogy can do justice to their genuine artistic beauty and satisfying effect. The style is a modern modification of the Renaissance and its chief feature, apart from the cupola with the dazzling cross on top, is the series of handsome columns which outline the windows. The cross, by the way, is said to have acquired for the house the reputation, with people viewing it from a distance, of being a new and important monastery or other religious edifice, but this rumour is unconfirmed by direct evidence. The sign at the corner, a handsome wrought-
‘A PLACE OF LUXURY
After interviewing Mr Jones as much as his conscience, in view of the obvious distractions to which that gentleman was subject, would allow, the representative of the ‘Observer’ secured a cicerone, and proceeded on a tour of inspection of the entire premises, beginning at the top and at the kitchen and scullery which he found replete with every feature of modern domestic appliances. A cursory examination of the upper part of the house, which is admirably laid out and free from the skimpy little attics common to that style of architecture, brought him to the public rooms on the first floor, which comprise the billiard-
Old Golden Cross 1912–1915 Hodges
Next to the billiard-
‘From the billiard-
the fixtures being not too prominent, and the whole effect is most satisfactory. In the centre of the square within the bar stands Mr Jones’ office, an airy, spacious apartment, from which he can command all things, like a General, surrounded by his staff. Mr Jones’ staff, by the way, consists of a bevy of damsels as charming and dexterous as ever was the celebrated Hebe, who waited on the assembled gods of Olympus, who, however delicious and unapproachable was the nectar they drank, certainly never took their liquid refreshment in a maple-
‘But we have omitted to make any mention of the electric lighting, the lamp brackets of which are one of the most striking features of the decorative scheme, especially in the downstairs bars. The whole installation has been carried out by the Southern Electrical Engineering Company on their free-
In the years before the First World War the Lodge room on the first floor became licensed for cinematographic performances. From 1911 the Lodge was one of Hastings first cinemas showing occasional early films.
In 2003 it was renamed Hero's Venue Bar; in 2008 it was renamed Laila; in 2011 Flairz and in 2018 it became Crowley’s Bar.
Hero’s Venue Bar
Aleister Crowley’s portrait can be seen in the ground floor bar. He was an occultist, Satanist, magician and mystic, who lived in Hastings from 1945 until his death in 1947. He practised sex magic and black magic and gained a notorious reputation. His detractors believed that he was the secret grandfather of George Bush and that he was responsible for putting the ‘curse on Hastings’.
The Robert De Mortain pub, on the Ridge, became redundant and was closed in its 70th year. From 1947 it was inhabited by Aleister Crowley’s ghost. After the building was demolished in 2017, Crowley’s ghost, now homeless, moved into the town centre. The ghost now resides in Crowley’s Bar. The first and only Hastings ghost to have a pub named after him!