Our next meeting is on Wednesday, 27 June. Click here for details.
WE HOPE that members will feel inspired to contribute some local history items that they have discovered. To get them published here, please contact us.
From left to right: Glebe Cottage (where the Dennetts lived), Dennetts Stores, stable for ponies (for delivering Dennett’s goods), Delphine’s cafe and Arthur Raylor butcher’s shop.
The house in the background is ‘Little Hill’ and on the right is Darby’s cottage.
From a photograph taken in the 1950s or 60s. The scene is much the same today, with a delicatessen and a Thai restaurant replacing the shops. A sign of changing times and tastes.

At our April meeting we welcomed David Lester as our newly elected chairman, Esther Worsfold having resigned from the post. It was in 2000 that Esther and five others began the history group which grew and grew until its present membership of around 160. Thank you for all you have done Esther.

Cathy Walling, curator at Hastings Museum, gave a splendid account of the work of Decimus Burton (yes, he was the 10th child of James Burton, a speculative builder and architect). Decimus, born in 1800, was responsible for the Hyde Park Improvement Scheme, Hyde Park Corner, the Athanaeum Club, the Main Entrance and Palm House at Kew Gardens, and the list goes on. It includes buildings in Fleetwood, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and the Holy Trinity Church in Eastbourne.

However it is the development at, or rather of, St Leonards that probably is most familiar to us. The wooded dell in the cliffs, pleasure gardens and lakes, villas and terraced houses, a school and church, a masonic hall, a large hotel on the seafront and colonnade.

And, just down the road, the oldest pub in St Leonards, The Horse and Groom.

Mary Brunt

From the Black and White Budget weekly magazine, published Feb 23, 1901. Photo by J Coster.
SENSATIONALISED FRONT COVER from the TRUE DECTECTIVE, March 1984. (The scantily clad woman with a gun has nothing to do with it.) Inside, the magazine tells the story of Dr John Bodkin Adams; a doctor with surgeries in Eastbourne and East Dean. Accused of "easing the passing" of his patients, he stood trial at the Old Bailey for murder. You can read the real, but none the less sensational story in booklet 48, written by Dr John Surtees. Decide for yourself whether he was a murder or man of mercy - it is not a clear-cut decision.
Ever wondered about the unlikely story of the tunnel running from the Lamb Inn in Eastbourne to the old Parsonage? Sometimes referred to as a smugglers or monks tunnel, it now seems certain that it was a cesspit. Not as romantic a tale but archeologist Jo Seaman finds the truth more exciting and unusual. Watch his investigation report from the cellars of the Lamb here.
This photograph, from the 1950s, appears to show Donald Swann (of Flanders and Swann fame) seated at a harmonium on the village green. We would really like to know more about it so, if you remember the occasion or can identify anyone in it, please contact us.
The Clock House ‒ Grade II* listed building in St Leonards-on-sea by Decimus Burton.
Here is a post card showing the forge at East Dean with blacksmith Luther Hills, and another unidentified man, standing outside. It was sent in 1949 to Mrs Gardner of St George's Square in London SW1. Mr Richardson wrote on it:

"The weather has been rather sunny & foggy in turns & the temperatures enervating."
This dramatic post card was published by A E Marchant, a wholesale newsagent based in Seaford. It shows rough seas pounding Seaford beach before it was raised and re-inforced in 1987 to prevent flooding in the town. The salt spray is drifting over some parked cars of early 1960s vintage and a loan crane on the beach (left) struggles, Canute-like, to turn back the tide!

In the photo Martello Tower no. 74 still has the additions put on top to make it into a cafe, and described by Dirk Bogarde as "a very curious and dampish place" where they took tea after swimming. These alterations have now been removed and it has become the town's museum.