1980 onwards

1980 Early Jan - Pickets were in force around the FJ Parsons building in Cambridge Road following the closure of the Sussex Engraving Company. All 22 employees of the company, which made the Observer's photo blocks, had received redundancy notices on 21 December. In January negotiations took place with the management, and in early February the Parsons managing director Brian Nicklin offered a compromise deal, but the unions turned it down, so the dispute continued. It intensified in March, climaxing with the loss of five issues of the Observer (15 March - 12 April). A mid-April compromise resulted in publication resuming on 19 April, but the early 1980s were to see many industrial disputes at FJ Parsons.


Inside the Observer building - but what is he reading?

1980 Late Jan - The county council gave the go-ahead for a shopping complex to be built on the site of the old gasworks off Queens Road. Eventually Safeways (now called Morrisons) was built there.

1980 Early Feb - Rumours swept the town that Hastings Pier had been sold, but the pier company chairman John Lester said the rumours were not true. However it eventually changed hands in April 1983.

1980 Feb 6 - It was revealed that there were major design faults on the big Tile Kiln housing estate in Hollington, part of the GLC development deal. It would cost £100,000 to solve the problems of cracked walls, severe damp and vandalism.

1980 March 5 - Winifred Wagner, who was born in Hastings, and had been tipped to marry Adolf Hitler, died aged 82. She was born as Winifred Marjorie Williams on 23 June 1897 to John Williams, a journalist who lived in Castledown Terrace, Hastings. She lost both parents before the age of two, and was eventually adopted by a distant German relative who was a friend of composer Richard Wagner. In 1915 she married Wagner's bisexual son Siegfried. In 1923 she met Hitler, who greatly admired Wagner's music, and they were close friends through the 1920s and '30s, with rumours in 1933 that they were going to marry, although it never came about. She retained her support for his far-right politics until her death in Uberlingen.

1980 April 13 - About ten acres of gorse and undergrowth in Warren Glen were destroyed by fire.

1980 May - Work began on a four-month £300,000 scheme to save the 80-year old harbour. The main problem was a large gap in the wall, and in 1976 Hastings Council carried out stage one of the first-aid treatment. A 14-ton concrete grill was placed in the gap, and then 120 seven-ton stabits (giant-size triangular concrete links) were placed against it. Stage two in 1980 involved more complex work, with a Bailey bridge placed across the gap for a 60-ton crawler crane to place new units in position.


Downloading a stabit.

1980 May 10 - The Hastings Observer appeared for the first time in a new tabloid format, following a nationwide print union dispute which had resulted in the loss of the 3 May edition. The 10 May publication was produced by a management team, and was called an 'Emergency Edition'. However, the tabloid format was found to be much more popular than the old large size, receiving many supporting letters, so it was retained from then onwards.

1980 Late May - About a thousand people, including 100 from Hastings, in a mammoth demonstration at Dungeness nuclear power station. They were protesting against the government's plans to build another ten nuclear power stations in the UK.

1980 June - The 1876 Central Methodist Church on the corner of Cambridge Road and Cornwallis Gardens was demolished and later replaced by flats. Its farewell service had been held in May 1974 and since then it had been vandalised and used as a doss-house.

1980 Early July - 'Happy Harold', the unique open-topped Hastings trolleybus, returned to the town after a 12-year absence. He had started service in 1928, one of a group of eight built specially for Hastings. The other seven had been broken up. The M&D Bus Company presented Harold to the Council, which said he would be used on special occasions.

1980 Mid-July - A new Hastings Rights Centre was set up by the Hastings Anarchist Group and the Association of Single Parents who felt the Citizens Advice Bureau did not do enough people.

1980 Late July - Hastings Council received a cheque for £1,231,000 from the Greater London Council (GLC) for pulling out of the Hastings development scheme. The GLC had reversed its many overspill development plans to turn attention to revitalising Inner London. Hastings could continue to expand as it now had the capital. The compensation deal had taken 18 months to negotiate.

1980 Early Aug - Fairlight Glen stream was found to be heavily polluted by slurry from Fairlight Place Farm, which was owned by Hastings Council. This had first been noticed in 1977 but the tenant farmer, Richard Ashworth, an influential member of the local Tory party, had not moved the silage tank, as rgw Council had ordered. Following much media criticism in August 1980, Ashworth was again instructed by the Council to do something about it. But in July 1981 the Observer reported that he had done nothing, and the pollution was three times worse. In mid-August 1981 the Council gave Ashworth six months notice to restore the septic tank and other improvements or he would be evicted. The Council would spend on £42,000 on works at the source. In 1984 it was still badly polluted and this problem of irresponsibility by the tenant, persisted until he was bought out in 2001. Ashworth was, and is, an influential member of the Conservative Party, and became an MEP in 2004.


The 'Tea Chalet' in Fairlight Glen in the 1920s. Now gone.

1980 Aug 18 - The new £1.7 million Hastings Sports Centre at Summerfields was opened to the public, after the Queen Mother unveiled a plaque on July 9. It had a 33.3 metre swimming pool, replacing the White Rock Baths, which closed on August 16. In its first two weeks the Sports Centre was used by 20,000 swimmers, it was claimed. In January 1981 the smaller of the White Rock Baths re-opened as an ice rink, run by skating expert Colin Bosley. The Council advertised the larger bath for development and in September 1981 Bosley proposed making it a bigger ice rink.

1980 Sept 19 - The Framco factory on the Castleham estate, making small electric motors, made 33 of its 240 workers redundant, with immediate effect, because of the national recession.

1980 Late Sept - The Amoco Exploration Company began a series of tests under roads to the east and north of Hastings in an unsuccessful search for oil and gas.

1980 Oct - The southern half of Queensway - from Napier Road to Crowhurst Road - was completed. The northern half - from the Ridge, across Battle Road on a bridge, to Napier Road - had been opened in 1977, but had been little used. Queensway had initially been called the 'Spine Road'. Construction of phase one of the 'Spur Road', from Crowhurst Road to a roundabout at the junction of Harley Shute Road and Ironlatch Avenue, had been agreed by the county council in May 1980 and preliminary work had begun by October 1980, with construction planned for late 1981. Phase two of the spur road would link the roundabout with Sedlescombe Road South via Gillsmans Hill, but after many years of planning blight the scheme was scrapped.

1980 Late Oct - A total of 2,496 people were reported to be unemployed, over eight per cent of the town's working population. At this time in 1979 it was 1,651. On 30 November jam manufacturers Newtime Foods, in Ivyhouse Lane, made more than a quarter of its 280 staff redundant - 49 full-time and 26 evening workers. By late November the jobless total had risen to 2,840, then 2,923 in December and 3,279 in January, post-war records for Hastings.

1980 Nov 25 - The new Tesco superstore, in Churchwood Drive, Hollington, opened at 9am, creating 350 jobs. Its supermarket in Wellington Square, on the site of the Castle Hotel, closed in October 1982. The Hollington Tesco closed in January 2008 and was rebuilt on a larger scale on the same site over the following months.

1980 Late Nov - The Shearbarn Farm Caravan Park in Barley Lane was taken over by the owners of the Combe Haven Holiday Centre.

1980 Early Dec - The Bathing Pool Holiday Camp at West St Leonards changed hands. When it was built in 1933 it was said to be the largest bathing pool in the UK. It was very popular, but was not financially viable, and it closed in 1959. In 1960 it passed into the hands of Alderman Sidney Withers, who converted it into a down-market holiday camp. In 1980 it was acquired by Arthur Carrington and his wife Margaret who had been running the cafe in the bathing pool. Their low-quality business kept going till it closed in 1986 and the bathing pool was demolished in 1993.


1981 Early Jan - Sir Neill Cooper-Key, Tory MP for Hastings from 1945-70, died at his home in the south of France, aged 73. In 1941 he had married Lorna Harmsworth, sister of the current Lord Rothermere in 1981. Cooper-Key became a director and vice-chairman of Associated Newspapers, the Harmsworth-owned publishers of the Daily Mail. He became an amiable country gentleman, living in the countryside near Battle, and interested in farming and hunting.

1981 Mid-Feb - It was announced that Holmshurst St Mary's School on the Ridge, Baldslow, would close at the end of the summer term because of financial problems. Twenty teachers would be made redundant and 200 pupils would have to go elsewhere. The school began as a boarding school in 1913. During the Second World War it accepted day girls and continued as a boarding and day school until July 1977 when the boarding school was closed. One of its pupils had been the famous actress Joanna Lumley. It was run by the Community of the Holy Family, which had already sold 40 of its acres for the planned Conquest Hospital. This included the St Anne's building, which housed the junior school, which is now part of the hospital. St Mary's School is now 731 The Ridge.

1981 Late March - More than 140 FJ Parsons employees - 45% of the workforce - were told they were being made redundant at the end of June because of heavy financial losses of the Observer publisher. A deficit of £750,000 was feared for 1981 because of years of general printing losses and industrial disputes, said the management, and 120 of the lost jobs would be in the general printing department, which would be closed. The department produced many journals and magazines. The Hastings and Bexhill Observers, plus the Sussex Express, would not be affected. A Parsons employee blamed combined poor management and a loss of all sense of pride and responsibility, together producing many industrial disputes which resulted in the loss of printing contracts. On 4 April the price of the Observer went up from 10p to 12p because of the rising costs.

1981 Late March - The 73-year old family-run car sellers Hollingsworths opened their premises in Bohemia Road, on the corner of Chapel Park Road. It was named after the family that still ran it, and had been in Havelock Road.

1981 March 28 - The first Robert Tressell Memorial Lecture took place, in the Queens Hotel. It was a big step forward in a campaign to win greater recognition for the author of the highly influential novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, who lived and worked in Edwardian Hastings.


Robert Tressell's manuscript of his book.

1981 April - The Photogallery in Shepherd Street reopened after undergoing major improvements. It was the first significant arts gallery in central St Leonards. Its owner, Morris Newcombe, had bought the Foresters Arms pub in 1977 and converted it to the gallery which proved so successful that he obtained backing from the Arts Council and South East Arts to carry out the upgrading in 1981.

1981 April - One of the town's best known old people's homes, in High Street, was bought by one of the town's oldest charities. The Magdalen and Lasher Charity, who bought the home from the Hastings Community Services Council, carried on running it in the same way, and carried out much upgrading.

1981 Mid-April - Plans for the two-and-a half-year old scheme to build a shopping centre on the Central Cricket Ground were published. The Derby-based Viking Group proposed a multi-million pound development, with three large stores, a supermarket, about 40 small shops and parking for about 500 cars. The cricket ground would be moved to Horntye, off Bohemia Road. But the Queens Road ground was owned by a charity, and the Charity Commissioners had already refused permission to sell the ground. In June 1981 it was announced that an alternative development was being proposed, by the London-based Heron Corporation, and by September another three developers had expressed interest,so the Council decided to hold a public consulation exercise in the first months of 1982.

1981 April 20 - A rampaging mob of 300 skinheads stoned the Carlisle pub on the seafront, a favourite with bikers, and caused other serious disruption around the town on Easter Monday. Police herded the crowd to the Oval, where they cooled off. There were 18 arrests. On Bank Holiday Monday 25 May nearly 100 skinheads in the town centre tried to attack bikers again, but were surrounded by police and herded up to the Oval, where they were gradually allowed to disperse. On 11 July fighting broke out in the Old Town between 70 and 100 youths, many of them skinheads. Windows of the Cutter hotel and neighbouring cafes were broken.

1981 April 26-28 - The last sea-going passenger-carrying paddle steamer in the world, the Waverley, tried to make what turned out to be the last attempts by such a vessel to take passengers from Hastings Pier.

1981 Late May - The town’s first sex shop opened, at 149 Queens Road, part of a national chain owned by multi-millionaire David Sullivan. It was widely criticised, and the following February it was fined for selling obscene material. In April 1981 plans by a local businessman to convict an antiques shop in George Street to a sex shop were abandoned after protests by local Old Towners.

1981 Mid-June - The Hastings Model Village in White Rock Gardens would be closed forever in the autumn because of repeated vandalism, announced its owner Mr Stan Deboo. He had created it in the mid-1950s, and had restored it many times after being damaged, but it had been wrecked three times in two months, and for Mr Deboo that was the final straw. For several years there had been widespread and increasing vandalism, crime and delinquency around the town. But, nevertheless, Mr Deboo kept the Village open through the 1980s, despite more vandalism, closing in the 1990s.

1981 Late June - The figures were released for the 1981 ten-yearly population survey, showing there were 74,803 people in the town, an increase of 3.3% on 1971, when there were 72,410. In 1961 there were 66,478.

1981 July - Official figures obtained by the housing charity Shelter showed that almost 30% of the town's houses were sub-standard or needed major repairs. Of the total number of 31,600, Shelter said 2,800 were unfit, 2,915 lacked basic amenities and 3,500 were not sub-standard but needed major repairs.

1981 Mid-July - New Scientist magazine said Hastings had been blacklisted as a bathing spot because of untreated sewage flowing into the sea at Rock-a-Nore. Hastings health officers said that a new system was planned for 1986, involving a pipe running two miles out to sea at Bulverhythe.

1981 Mid-Aug - Twenty-eight semi-detached houses were to be built on the former Grammar School site in Nelson Road. It had been cleared and unused since the school moved to Parker Road in 1964, blighted by the possible inner-town ring road. This long-term project had been abandoned a earlier this year because of the cost, and site-owners Hastings Council had now sold it to a private developer. 

1981 Late Nov - One of the town's oldest firms announced it was closing down before Christmas. Upfield and Sons Ltd, heating, ventilating and mechanical engineers of High Street, had gone into liquidation and about 30 people were to lose their jobs. It was founded in 1849.


A 1973 advert for Upfield.


1981 Dec 12 - The new £39,000 Broomgrove community centre opened.

1981 Late Dec - The men-only East Sussex Club closed after over a century of supplying gentlemen with an exclusive luxury club, with its own billiard room. It was the magnificent five-floor building on the corner of Warrior Square and the seafront.

1982 - The Broomgrove Power Station was closed down and put on mothballs by the Central Electricity Generating Board. Part of the national grid, it was a gas turbine station powered by two Rolls Royce Avon engines. But they briefly re-opened it late in 1984 during the year-long 1984-85 miners’ strike.

1982 Jan 4 - Work started on building the spur road that now connects the Wishing Tree roundabout and the Queensway/Crowhurst Road junction.

1982 Jan 18 - The Hastings Unemployed and Claimants Advice Centre (HUCAC) opened, upstairs in Central Hall, Bank Buildings, as tenants of Hastings Council. It had been organised by the Hastings Trades Council and the Hastings Claimants Union. Hollington Labour councillor Ray Marchant was condemned by the party because he had questioned the legality of the Centre's constitution. With manager Mike Bloxham, the Centre became a base for radical social movements.

1982 Feb 26 - The lease of the dilapidated Queens Hotel, which closed in December 1981, was sold to Francisco Moya. Much of the top floor was unusable because of leaks in the roof.

1982 March - Westminster Press, owners of the Hastings Observer, bought Woods House on the corner of Telford Road and Battle Road. In 1984 this became the main Observer building, replacing 53 Cambridge Road.

1982 April - Fairlight Coastguard Station was downgraded, from being constantly manned to having just two officers.

1982 May - The tall wooden lookout tower at North’s Seat was demolished because of constant vandalism. It was built about 1930, and used by the military for lookout during the war.


The lookout tower in the 1930s.

1982 June 1 - Staff on three local newspapers were given the shock news that 44 jobs were to go. The job losses were on the Hastings Observer, Bexhill Observer and Sussex Express, all owned by FJ Parons Ltd, part of the Westminster Press group.

1982 July - Hastings Council received government permission to compulsorily purchase Royal Terrace, Warrior Square. This meant they could buy the adjoining old Elite Cinema site and build flats for elderly people.

1982 July - There was much angry protest amongst conservationists at the way Coastal Amusements had got away with demolishing listed Regency shop fronts without being prosecuted. Owner Harry Symonds had been expanding his cash-generating entertainments centre at the De Luxe and adjoining properties in Pelham Place. Councillors and council officers, especially planning chief Tony Fry, were accused of being in his pocket.

1982 July 21 - Hastings Council voted for a shopping centre to be built on the cricket ground, which would move to Summerfields, ending a four-year debate on the issue. An alternative proposal for the centre to be on the gasworks site was defeated.

1982 Late July - One of the town's biggest employers, WM Still and Sons, was found guilty of unfair trading. The Office of Fair Trading said that the manufacturer of catering equipment, with 400-employees and based off Parker Road, had not been supplying spare parts to rival catering companies.

1982 July 27 - The shop Aarquebus Antiques in Norman Road was destroyed in a blast and fire, believed to have been deliberately caused by at least one criminal.

1982 Aug 1 - Fairlight Coastguard Station was downgraded, to become a secondary station with only two staff (plus volunteer Auxiliaries) and with the lookout only manned during bad weather and searches. Fairlight was further downgraded in 1990 when a new Station was built at Rock-a-Nore, taking over the role of sector HQ from Fairlight.

1982 Sept 21 - The mayor opened two industrial units at the new Roebuck Centre, off Roebuck Street in the Old Town, the site of the old Breeds brewery.

1982 Oct - Local electronics firm Derritron went into receivership, making 110 of the 160 staff redundant.

1982 Oct - The Tesco supermarket in Wellington Square closed, losing 75 jobs.

1982 Nov - Amoco Exploration carried out a seismic survey of the Fairlight area, looking for oil and gas. A survey in 1980 has produced some positive results at Fairlight, so they were extending the survey area, but this was to prove unsuccessful.

1983 March 15 - A month-long public inquiry into the long-running proposal by the local establishment to build a shopping centre on the Central Cricket Ground was held at the Queens Hotel.

1983 March 27 - The 40-bedroom Warrior Hotel, at 16-24 Warrior Square, closed down.

1983 April - Hastings Pier was sold for £200,000 to a company, Hamberglow Ltd, which was owned by the pier’s two largest concessionaires: John Shrive, who had two amusement arcades, and Peter Fisher, who ran the bingo sessions.

1983 April 11 - The Unemployment Benefit Office moved from its base since 1932, in Priory Street on the corner of Cornwallis Terrace, to Ashdown House, at the Harrow.

1983 May - The Hastings-based firm Exchange Travel made 18 people redundant.

1983 Oct - The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) came into existence, taking in the Country Park.

1984 Jan - The Hastings Observer group of newspapers was sold by Westminster Press to Senews, a company owned by Robert Breare. In July 1984 the business’s long-running move out of 53 Cambridge Road to Woods House in Battle Road was completed and the first Observer (July 26) was produced using photo composition rather than hot metal - modern press technology. Senews bought its rival newspaper group, the Hastings News, in November 1985. No 53 Cambridge Road remained empty for three decades.


The empty Observer building in 1994.

1984 Feb - Judges, the famous local postcard publisher, in the hands of the receiver, was placed on the market.

1984 May - Following the 1983 inquiry into building a shopping centre on the Central Cricket Ground, the government refused planning permission because of unsatisfactory roads, parking and drainage.

1984 June - A residential gypsy site was set up near Pebsham rubbish tip, with 12 places available. Over the following years it caused much controversy and ill-feeling.

1984 Autumn - The White Rock Theatre closed for eight months for nearly £1 million of improvements. At the same time, the Classic Cinema was converted from two screens to three.

1984 Nov - Freak storms cause at least £430,000 worth of damage, with winds exceeding 70mph. The Pier and Hastings Holiday Centre (the old Bathing Pool) were badly hit, and the Marina Pavilion was wrecked.

1985 Jan - Twenty five acres of St Helens Wood was bought for £51,000 by the St Helens Park Preservation Society.

1985 Jan - The Big Freeze produced the worst cold temperatures in Hastings since 1947.

1985 Jan 7 - Work started on building 154 flats for elderly people in a £4 million scheme on the site of the Elite Cinema in Warrior Gardens.

1985 Jan 8 - The post office at 20 George Street was closed down because it was too close to other ones. This left the High Street post office as the only one in the Old Town.

1985 Feb 9 - The famous and popular Dimarco’s café in Wellington Place closed. It had been run by the Dimarco family since it opened in 1919. It was later demolished and replaced by McDonalds.


Dimarco's in Wellington Place.

1985 March - The family grocer GB Britt and Sons, in the heart of Ore Village, was forced to close after 63 years due to supermarket competition.

1985 March 11 - The co-operatively owned and run Trinity Wholefoods shop opened in Trinity Street (and is still there). It was created by a disparate group of local people involved in the Hastings peace movement.

1985 April - The proposed redevelopment of Little Ridge Farm as a new district hospital met opposition from the Hastings and St. Leonard’s First Association. Experts said an alternative site would be cheaper.

1985 April - The scheme for 46 sheltered flats at Denmark Place, opposite the Queens Hotel, then a car park which had been a vacant site for four decades, was given the go ahead by Hastings Council. Work started in June 1985.

1985 Early May - A housing development scheme in Barley Lane, above Barley Avenue, was scrapped following the collapse of part of the lane.

1985 May 11 - A professional boxing match was televised for ITV’s World of Sport from Hastings Pier. Local man Paul Huggins was the hero.

1985 May 19 - After £1 million was spent refurbishing the White Rock Theatre, it re-opened with an all-star gala evening. The stars included Little and Large, and Frankie Vaughan.

1985 Late May - Lifeboat cox Joe Martin received an RNLI bronze medal for his bravery in rescuing an injured seaman from a container ship seven miles off Hastings in November 1984.

1985 June 6 - The Hastings United Football Club closed after a ten-year battle for financial survival. The club, formed in 1948, had had poor attendances for many years, and never recovered from the cost of opening a new clubhouse and squash complex in 1980. Rival club Hastings Town refused to consider a merger and they took over the Pilot Field from United.

1985 Mid-June - The derelict listed Castledown House, in Castledown Avenue next to Ladies Parlour, could be demolished and replaced by houses, Hastings Council decided.


Castledown House shortly before demolition.

1985 July - Plans to create a World War Two museum in St Mary-in-the-Castle Church were turned down by Hastings Council, which feared it would attract ‘Sieg Heil nutcases’ and offend continental visitors. The Council then decided to buy the church.

1985 July - MFI was given planning permission to build a massive new store, 380 feet long and 33 feet high, on the St Leonards Motors site in Bexhill Road.

1985 July 7 - Local fireman Roger Cragg beat the official world record for the length of time for staying underwater; he managed 112 hours 32 minutes.

1985 Sept 30 - Work began on creating the Shipwreck Heritage Centre in Rock-a-Nore Road from the former Hastings Council stables. They were to be gutted, and the former courtyard roofed over.

1985 Oct 31 - The former gas works site off Queens Road, which had been unused for 11 years, was likely to be sold for development, said the Hastings Observer.

1985 Nov 2 - The new Baldslow Memorial Hall was opened.

1985 Dec 3 - The foundation stone of St Michael’s Hospice was laid by the Bishop of Lewes. Half the £1.5 million cost of the hospice, in Upper Maze Hill, had already been raised.

1985 Dec - The former Curzon Cinema in Norman Road, which closed in 1977, could be partly demolished and used as a shop, Hastings Council told Brookers, the builders’ merchants. In 1986 they opened a large shop fronting onto Norman Road and used the cinema hall for storage (and it’s still there).

1986 early - The Hastings Pier Company sold the Triodome which had been on the pier since 1966. It was dismantled and taken away in May, and later reappeared on the sea end of Brighton Pier as the Dome, a multi-purpose amusement arcade, where it is today.

1986 Feb - The first ten days of the month saw some of the coldest weather since 1947.

1986 Feb 1 - Butlers Emporium, the famous multi-purpose shop at the east end of George Street, was sold to Tony Hodgson by David Butler, whose grandfather started it in 1888.

1986 Feb 12 - The former school in Mercatoria could be used as a mosque, a Hastings Council meeting decided.

1986 April 2 - American oil giant Amoco was refused permission by the county council to drill for oil in Martineau Lane. Eventually, in November 1989, the environment secretary gave permission for drilling in Rock Lane, but this proved unsuccessful after a month, and Amoco pulled out of the area.

1986 April 9 - Hastings Council agreed to spend £240,000 on replacing the underground toilets at Harold Place with a ‘superloo’ resembling a Roman temple.

1986 May - The replacement of the attractive ‘traditional’ red telephone boxes by unattractive yellow and silver booths began at the Post Office in Cambridge Road.

1986 May - The Liberals became the majority group on Hastings Council for the first time in many years. Cllr Pam Brown was the leader.

1986 May 6 - The Queen Mother opened the newly-electrified Hastings-Tunbridge Wells railway line. Specially designed narrow diesel trains were no longer needed because of the singling of the line through the narrow tunnels from Mountfield northwards. The train depot at Ore railway station closed shortly after, adding to the decline of Ore Valley.

1986 June - The Central Cricket Ground Committee voted in favour of selling up and moving out to Summerfields, on the casting vote of chairman Lord Cornwallis. This resulted in a planning application for the cricket ground scheme being published in December 1986.

1986 July 25 - The new £5.5 million sewage pumping station at Rock-a-Nore opened. It had taken three years to build the sewage mincing plant and lay a new main pipe along the seafront to Bulverhythe, where the sewage is pumped two miles out to sea. Another new pumping station opened in October 1988, at Galley Hill, Bexhill, costing £3.6 million.


Work under way in 1984 on building the new sewage pumping station at Rock-a-Nore.

1986 July 29 - The new Shipwreck Heritage Centre in Rock-a-Nore Road was opened by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, chairman of English Heritage. It had been created by Peter Marsden.

1986 Aug 3 - The Royal Victoria Hotel closed after going into receivership in May, owing over half a million pounds. It was the town’s second biggest hotel, after the Queens, with 67 bedrooms; 35 jobs were lost.

1986 Sept - Probably the oldest shop in St Leonards, the milliners Philpots, at 37-40 Marina, closed at the end of September. The shop had opened in 1836 but was now shutting because of the decline of St Leonards. Hampdens Furniture Store opened there on December 27.

1986 Sept 18 - The car sellers St Leonards Motors opened its big new premises at Churchwood Drive, having moved from Bexhill Road (along with its Meteor aircraft standing beside the showroom) to make way for the MFI warehouse.

1986 Oct 22 - The Bathing Pool Holiday Camp closed. Leaseholder Cllr Dennis Carrington sold the last two years of his lease back to the Council because they said they wanted to build a marina there. But they did not. The pool was demolished several years later and most of the site was left vacant.

1986 Dec - The Queen Mother, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, made an appeal to save St Mary-in-the-Castle Church from demolition. The owners had failed to carry out the necessary repairs this month, so Hastings Council had to step in.

1986 Dec 1 - British Gas announced they had appointed a contractor to negotiate with Hastings and Rother Councils the construction on the site of the gas works at Glyne Gap of the largest shopping centre in the area. There would initially be eight stores and some form of sports centre on the 17 acres. A roundabout would be built on the A259.

1987 Jan - The second week of January saw the heaviest snowfall since the winter of 1962/3.

1987 Jan - The owner of the Queens Hotel was fined £1,000 in late January for ten food hygiene offences.

1987 Feb 26 - The MFI ‘Furniture Superstore’ in Bexhill Road was opened. There had already been complaints about its appearance.

1987 March - Rother Council gave planning permission for Coghurst Woods to be turned into a holiday centre, with 250 chalets.

1987 March - Hastings Council announced that a massive three-year programme to restore all sea defences from White Rock to West Marina would start in June 1987. Following the severe storms of November 1984, the £5.4 million scheme would include replacing almost all the groynes, plus renewing the ‘bullnosing’ along the edge of the promenade from Warrior Square to the Bathing Pool. The Bathing Pool was the contractor’s headquarters.

1987 April - Hastings Council in early April voted in favour of building a shopping centre on the cricket ground, and on April 14 East Sussex County Council gave approval for the roads scheme it was proposed to build around it.

1987 April 24 - The Duchess of Kent opened St Michael’s Hospice in Upper Maze Hill, in the grounds of the former St Augustine’s Nursing Home. Its foundation stone was laid on December 3 1985 by the Bishop of Lewes. The Duchess also that day opened the Royal Terrace block of 154 flats built behind Warrior Square by Hastings Council for retired people.

1987 April 25 - The newly-pedestrianised George Street was declared open by actor Bernard Bresslaw.


George Street on 19 October 1986, the last day traffic could use.

1987 June - The Brassey Institute in Claremont - the tall Victorian Gothic home of Hastings Library - was made a Grade II listed building by the Secretary of State for the Environment. Also listed were the adjoining former Observer print works which were part of the same structure, erected in 1877/8.

1987 June - The first McDonald’s Restaurant in the Hastings area opened, in Wellington Place, on the site of the Dimarco café.

1987 June 20 - The crematorium on the Ridge was re-opened having been refurbished.

1987 Early July - The large new car park on the beach opposite Pelham Crescent opened to the public. It cost £360,000 but there had been a delay in obtaining the Act of Parliament that allowed the Council to charge people for the use of the beach, so for the first few weeks there was free parking. The Act also legalised the charging of people to use Rock-a-Nore car park, which the Council had been running illegally since the late 1940s.

1987 Late July - Rother Council decided not to pay for work to stop cliff erosion at Fairlight Cove, where houses were falling over the edge.

1987 Mid-Aug - Work got under way on clearing the 6.5 acre site of the former gas works off Queens Road. The first piles for the Safeways (now Morrisons) supermarket were driven on April 13 1988.

1987 Late Aug - Part of the old Bathing Pool was demolished to provide a base site for the large scale sea defence works.

1987 Oct 5 - Hastings Council agreed to compulsorily purchase the cricket ground, meaning the scheme would definitely go-ahead. Plans were published early in November.

1987 Oct 8 - The Observer reported that BT had recently opened a new digital telephone exchange in Havelock Road.

1987 Oct 16 - In the early hours, the worst storm since 1703, with hurricane-force winds, claimed two lives in Hastings and caused millions of pounds of damage. Fisherman Jimmy Read was killed when the roof of a shed on the Stade was blown onto him, and Queens Hotel guest Ronald Davies was crushed by a fall of bricks.


Broken glass at Bejam.

1987 Nov 2 - Rother Council gave the go-ahead for the shopping complex at Glyne Gap, on the site of the old gas works.

1987 Dec 7 - The town’s two leading historic tourist attractions should be privatised, Hastings Council decided. The tourism committee agreed St Clements Caves could be leased to a London company who would spend £350,000 turning it into the ‘Smugglers Adventure’, due to open Easter 1989. And the same company would take over Hastings Castle and install an ‘interpretive centre’ in a mock siege tent.

1987 Dec 10 - The former White Rock Baths would re-open as a world-class ice skating rink in a few weeks, reported the Observer. Top-ranking instructor Colin Bosley had spent £3 million on converting the bigger of the two baths over the last nine months. The smaller one would be converted into a roller disco. They had closed as swimming pools when the Summerfields sports centre and pool opened in mid-August 1980.

1988 Jan - The government gave the go-ahead for the long-term dredging of large quantities of shingle from the seabed five miles south of Hastings. The Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society had strongly opposed this because of its affects on fish stocks. Some conservation measures were agreed over the following months before dredging started.

1988 Late Jan - The spire of the St Leonards Congregational Church, at the junction of Pevensey Road and London Road, was removed because of the damage caused by the October 1987 storm. It was not replaced.

1988 Late Jan - Two local companies, Hastings Coaches and Davie’s Coaches of Rye, announced they were merging to form the largest coach business in the Hastings area, with 50 vehicles.

1988 Feb - A protective canopy was put over the roof of St Mary-in-the-Castle Church, Pelham Crescent, which Hastings Council had acquired in November 1987. Its future was still uncertain.

1988 Mid-Feb - Work started on a major expansion of the 1969-built YMCA building in St Pauls Road.

1988 Feb 15 - Squatters moved into the old Observer building in Cambridge Road and stayed several weeks.

1988 Feb 26 - A Hastings fisherman, Darren Fox, aged 23, drowned after falling overboard from the boat on which he was working, Grace Georgina RX 150, four miles off Hastings.

1988 Late Feb - Barclays Bank took over Arbuthnot Factors, employer of 180 people at its Breeds Place headquarters office block.

1988 March 9 - The foundation stone of the new Christ Church School was laid in Tower Road.

1988 March 12 - The new 250-seat Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Churchwood Drive was declared open.

1988 March 25 - The well-known army surplus store Malcolm Mitchell’s, in the High Street, closed. It had opened in 1946.

1988 March/April - There were two landslips in a fortnight in West Hill Road, St Leonards, as the cliff gave way, taking gardens with them.

1988 Early April - The town’s first quads were born.

1988 April 15 - Animal rights protestors tipped bags of rubbish inside the McDonalds restaurant in Wellington Place.

1988 April 21 - Anti-nuclear campaigner Lorna Vahey, aged 42, was jailed for 14 days for refusing to pay a £50 fine imposed in September 1987 for cutting wire at Dungeness nuclear power station.

1988 April 26 - Thirty four print workers were made redundant because of the closure of Contract Pre-Print, producers of the Hastings Observer. Parent company IT Matters set up another company, non-union, to do the work. A year later, an industrial tribunal ruled that they were unfairly dismissed.

1988 Early May - The town’s biggest hotel, the Royal Victoria, re-opened after spending £2.2 million on renovations. In early August 1989 it was bought by Universal Leisure Investments plc, who put it up for sale for £4 million six months later.


St Helens Hospital in the 1940s.

1988 Mid-June - Building of the first phase of the Conquest Hospital on a 42-acre site on the Ridge began. It was hoped to open to patients in May 1992, at a cost of £45 million. It would become the district’s main general hospital, replacing the Royal East Sussex Hospital in Cambridge Road and some of St Helens Hospital in Frederick Road. The foundation stone was unveiled by health minister Kenneth Clarke on November 30. The second phase would replace the rest of St Helens, plus the Buchanan Hospital in London Road.

1988 July 19 - The 400th anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada was celebrated. A beacon was erected permanently on the East Hill.

1988 Late July - Outspoken welfare rights campaigner Mike Bloxham announced he would be leaving Hastings at the end of August. For many years he had played a leading role in radical political movements in the town; his departure was welcomed by the Labour Party.

1988 Aug 3 - Vandals caused major damage to the model village in White Rock Gardens. Owner Stan DeBoo said that this was the final straw, and he was thinking of closing what had been a popular tourist attraction for many years. But he stayed open. There was more vandalism in late October 1990.

1988 Aug 8 - The first metal-hulled Hastings fishing boat was given trials in the sea. Mark Anthony RX 4 was assembled on Hastings beach by Tony Shipley, landlord of the Lord Nelson pub, for his fisherman son Mark, 22. All other boats at Hastings were wood until this point, apart from one made of fibre-glass.


The first metal-hulled Hastings boat.

1988 Sept 8 - Work started on building the new shopping and leisure centre at Glyne Gap, on the gas works site. The 17 acre, £7 million complex would be called Ravenside. Meanwhile, it was expected that the Safeways supermarket in Queens Road would open in April 1989.

1988 Nov 18 - Hastings Council finally granted planning permission for the massive new shopping centre on the Central Cricket Ground, despite opposition to the loss of what many regarded as publicly-owned open land.

1988 Dec 14 - The town’s first new hotel for many decades opened in Bohemia Road. The 40-bed Cinque Ports Hotel cost £1.5 million, including a £375,000 grant from Hastings Council for a publicly-available conference centre.

1988 Dec 30 - The large Brewers Builders Merchants warehouse at the top of White Rock Road was destroyed by fire.

1989 Early Jan - The Congregational Church Hall in London Road became a hostel for up to 15 homeless people a night for six weeks, but without planning permission, sparking some local complaints.

1989 Jan 30 - The new 26,000 sq ft Payless DIY superstore at the top of Sedlescombe Road North, near the Harrow Bridge, opened.

1989 Feb 5 - The new commercial radio station Southern Sound, based in Eastbourne, went on air for the first time, on 102.4 FM.

1989 Early Feb - The annual carnival organised by the Round Table was being scrapped, the group announced. The first was held in 1895, and July 1988 was to be the last; they would concentrate on the Beer Festival instead. Critics said the carnival was boring compared with the annual Old Town carnival.

1989 Feb 14 - The town’s new Mersey class lifeboat, the 18 knot Sealink Endeavour, was officially launched. Its predecessor, the Fairlight, saved 156 lives in its 24 years service.


The Fairlight, with her launching carriage and tractor.

1989 Feb 26 - Hastings Council set up a working party to consider putting up some form of memorial in the town centre, in place of the Albert Memorial clocktower that the Council demolished unnecessarily in 1973. But this working party, like several others set up in coming years, achieved very little. Eventually two clocks were put up on the north-west corner of the town hall as a token.

1989 March 27 - The revamped St Clements Caves re-opened as the Smugglers Centre. The publicly-owned caves had been leased to a private company, Hastings Heritage, which spent £350,000 on them. The company had also taken over Hastings Castle, and at Easter 1990 it opened there a £100,000 imitation 11th century siege tent housing a film show called ‘The 1066 Story’. Local historians criticised the way both venues had been trivialised in search of a bigger market.

1989 April 4 - The new Safeways Superstore (now Morrisons) opened in Queens Road, on the site of the former gasworks.

1989 Mid-May - Two metal detector enthusiasts discovered a hoard of about 150 early Roman coins on the Fairview building site in Elphinstone Road. An inquest decided the coins were probably buried by their owner, and they were therefore declared as being treasure trove, making them Crown property. Some went to Hastings Museum, and the finders were rewarded.

1989 May 27 - A 21-year old biker, Patrick Boyle, shot dead 40-year old Bruno Tessaro, leader of the Birmingham Cycle Tramps, on the seafront outside the Carlisle pub, a popular bikers’ venue. He was jailed for life for the murder.

1989 Early July - Over 600 people signed a petition demanding an inquiry into the Cricket Ground re-development.

1989 Early July - One of the town’s oldest shops - the gentlemen’s outfitters Apps & Sons, at Silverhill - closed after 100 years in trade.

1989 Mid-July - Hastings Council gave the go-ahead for the conversion of the neglected cemetery in Wallingers Walk, off Castle Hill Road, into a conservation garden.

1989 July 17 - The new Christ Church School in Woodland Vale Road was opened by the Bishop of Chichester.

1989 July 19 - American oil giant Amoco started work on an oil-drilling site in a field off Rock Lane. Since April 1986 there had been much opposition to Amoco being given official permission for any tests in the Hastings area. The county council refused permission, but in January 1989 environment secretary Nicholas Ridley gave the go-ahead. A massive drilling machine started 24-hour exploration on November 2 1989. This was unsuccessful, however, and a month later Amoco announced it was pulling out.

1989 Aug 11 - The agreement between Hastings Council and speculators Speyhawk Ltd over the highly controversial re-development of the Cricket Ground was signed - in Jersey! Speyhawk flew Hastings Council officers there because it saved the company £400,000 in stamp duty. This infuriated opponents to the scheme even more, sparking many accusations of Council incompetence, deceit and corruption.

1989 Late Aug - The first shops opened at the new Glyne Gap shopping centre - Ravenside - on the bank holiday weekend. The official opening ceremony took place on Saturday November 4, by when Tesco, B&Q, Iceland, Halfords, Perrings and ELS were open, and Carpetright was about to start. Coming soon were the McDonalds Drive-Thru Restaurant, a bowling alley and a swimming pool.

1989 Aug 27 - Middlesex beat Sussex in the last Sunday League match held on the Central Cricket Ground, prior to development. The symbolic ‘last match’ was held on Sunday October 1, when Sussex beat Kent in front of 1,000 people, the final chapter in the 125-year history of the town’s most controversial open space. But the money for the ground had still not changed hands, so future matches remained possible.


A match on the popular cricket ground in 1950.

1989 Sept 21 - The Duke of Kent officially names the new Hastings lifeboat Sealink Endeavour.

1989 Sept 28 - TV celebrity Floella Benjamin opened the new Little Ridge Primary School, costing £835,000.

1989 Oct 2 - Work started on demolishing buildings in Queens Road, Middle Street and Russell Street, in preparation for the altered traffic system needed as part of the new shopping centre.

1989 Early Oct - Tory councillor Graeme White resigned from the borough and county councils because of threatened legal action over his failure to report his co-ownership of property in De Cham Road for which he was seeking planning permission. Eventually no action was taken and Mr White, a solicitor, accused rival Lib Dem councillors of mounting a witchhunt against him.

1989 Oct 19 - Iceland - ‘Britain’s No 1 Frozen Food Store’ - opened in Castle Street.

1989 Early Nov - Fractional HP Motors announced they were to close their foundry in Gresley Road in three months time, with the loss of nine jobs.

1989 Nov 11 - A slick of small oil globules hits all beaches in the borough. Council workers cleaned up the slick, the origins of which were unknown.

1989 Nov 13 - The 1.3 miles Robertsbridge bypass on the A21 was declared open. It took 18 months to build.

1989 Dec 8 - The Hastings and District Bus Service is taken over by Stagecoach.

1990 Jan 12 - The first patients moved into the new £2.2 million St Anne’s Centre for the elderly mentally ill, next to the Conquest Hospital. They were transferred from Hellingly Hospital.

1990 Jan 12 - MK Electric announced it was to close its large Hastings factory on the Ponswood Estate at the end of May, with the loss of almost 200 jobs. The business had been in the town for 23 years, and had already laid off 36 people in June 1989. The management blamed the slump in the housing trade and the general recession in the UK.

1990 Jan 25 - A storm, with winds up to 95 mph, killed a man and damaged many properties, including 1,000 council houses. There were several severe gales in following weeks, including one on February 26 that coincided with high tides and caused damage to the seafront and pier.

1990 Early Feb - The town’s biggest (and only 4-star) hotel, the Royal Victoria, went into receivership two months after being put on the market for £4 million, and two years after being renovated for £2.2 million.

1990 Feb 15 - A severe fire in the Queens Avenue arcade in the town centre wrecked eight shops and caused £1 million damage. The arcade was built in 1882 and is owned by the Went Tree Trust, which uses its surplus income to buy exhibits for Hastings Museum. After major restoration, the arcade re-opened on November 5 1990.

1990 Late March - The large Newtime jam and pickle factory on the Ridge, by Ivyhouse Lane, was to close, with the loss of 200 jobs, announced the management. Its four large buildings were put up for sale, forming what was believed to be the largest single industrial complex ever to have been offered for sale in the Hastings area. Newtime, which came to Hastings in the early 1970s, was moving to Cambridge.

1990 March 31 - The town centre was almost brought to a standstill by what the Hastings Observer thought was the borough’s largest-ever political demonstration. Several thousand people marched from Alexandra Park to a rally in Wellington Square in protest against the poll tax, with which the Tory government was about to replace local rates. The poll tax was widely opposed because it was said to favour the rich at the expense of the poor, and many people stated they would not pay it. There were placards saying “Can’t pay, won’t pay”. The demo was peaceful, with no arrests.

1990 Late March - The Combe Haven Holiday Resort, off Harley Shute Road, completed a five-month redevelopment programme, including the rebuilding of the entertainment complex and creating a new 700-seater club. The 30-year old camp had spent over £3 million on upgrading facilities since 1986. There were 850 caravans on site.

1990 Early April - Motor-biker Patrick Boyce is given a life sentence for the murder of rival gang leader Bruno Tessaro outside the Carlisle pub on the seafront on Whit Monday 1989.

1990 Mid-April - The Leisure Pool and the McDonalds restaurant opened at the new Ravenside shopping centre, Glyne Gap.


The gas works at Glyne Gap in 1960, on the site of the Ravenside shopping centre.

1990 April 14 - Harold Place nightclub owner and chairman of Hastings Licensed Victuallers Association Joe Riordan, 49, was caught drink driving in Rock Lane. A fortnight later he was banned from driving for a year. In mid-July 1990 he was declared bankrupt, with debts of £5,846.

1990 April 17 - A new bus company, Hastings Buses, was formed by the merger of the existing Top Line and Hastings & District companies, as a subsidiary of Southdown Motor Services.

1990 May - Hastings Council created a new department - Hastings Contract Services - to take over the running of several council services, including refuse collection, street sweeping, catering and street lighting. This followed government legislation in recent years forcing local authorities to tender for certain services in competition with private contractors. The Council was successful in its tendering, and 350 people initially worked for HCS, based in Waterworks Road.

1990 May 11 - The £5 million waste-derived fuel plant at Pebsham was officially opened by environment minister David Trippier - and was immediately put up for sale. The hi-tech, computer-controlled plant was designed and built by East Sussex Enterprises Ltd, a company formed by the county council in 1984. It planned to recover its investment by allowing the buyer to charge for depositing waste, which had been free. It was believed that about 30,000 tonnes of fuel pellets could be produced from 85,000 tonnes of waste a year.

1990 May 25 - The new £750,000 postal sorting office, in Drury Lane on the Ponswood Estate, was opened by Hastings MP Ken Warren.

1990 May 26 - The new Sea Life Centre aquarium in Rock-a-Nore Road opened its doors for the first time. It cost £1.15 million and had 270 fish from 31 species. It was officially declared open on June 8.


Laying the paving stones beside the Sea Life Centre, shortly before it opened.

1990 Late May - British Gypsum announced that it was to close its 100-year old Mountfield mine. Twenty jobs would be lost, while 16 workers would be transferred to the neighbouring Brightling mine. The big Mountfield gypsum factory would remain in operation.

1990 Early June - The Colorwave photographic processing laboratory on the Churchfield industrial estate closed, losing 21 jobs.

1990 June 2 - A six-week operation to pump ½ million tonnes of shingle onto the town’s beaches began. This was the last stage in the three-year £6.3 million sea defence works Hastings Council had been co-ordinating. A large dredger sucked up the shingle from a dredging bed off Littlehampton and pumped it ashore through huge pipes at high tide to rebuild the beaches.

1990 Late June - Three routes for a proposed Hastings eastern by-pass were unveiled. On September 2 1990 the county council chose the ‘blue route’, from the A21 north of Westfield Lane, then between Westfield and Three Oaks to join the A259 at Guestling Thorn. But over coming years the scheme met increasing opposition and eventually it was scrapped, although plans pressed ahead for a western by-pass (later renamed the ‘link road’).

1990 July 3 - The first four poll tax rebels appeared before magistrates. Liability orders were made against them for not paying fines after failing to fill in and return their poll tax registration forms. On August 31 the first 250 were in court for not actually paying the tax, and another 600 appeared in the following week. Protestors outside had placards saying “Break the law, not the poor”. A fisherman said his rates had been £400 and now he had to pay £2,000.

1990 July 9 - About ¾ of the thousand civil servants at Ashdown House held a one-day strike in protest at the government’s plans to privatise the Property Services Agency.

1990 Mid-July - The battle to save the cliffs, and the houses on top of them, at Fairlight Cove began. A massive barge, with loads of 9,000 tonnes, started dropping granite 20 metres in front of the cliffs to form a 500-metre long breakwater parallel with the shore. Over the coming four months a total of 120,000 tonnes were deposited. Local residents began their fight to save 47 threatened homes in 1979, but only obtained official support and funding recently.


The barge dropping granite at Fairlight Cove on 14 July.

1990 July 23 - A home for young pregnant girls and new single mothers opened at Turner House in Pevensey Road. The Christian Alliance Housing Association raised the £220,000 funding and ran the home.

1990 Late Aug - As part of the road scheme for the new town centre shopping centre, work begins on widening the seafront between the Queens Hotel and the roundabout.

1990 Sept 18 - The well-known local travel firm Exchange Travel, based in Parker Road, went bust, making 75 people redundant.

1990 Late Sept - A new £55,000 Bowls Pavilion opened in Alexandra Park. It replaced the 80-year old wooden pavilion that had stood on the same site.

1990 Oct 2 - The key to what was thought at the time to be the last house to be built by Hastings Council was handed over ceremoniously to its tenant. Central government restrictions on building by local authorities had ended the Council’s construction plans and housing associations were taking over the role, where possible. The house was in Beckley Close, Mayfield, the tenant Ms Julie Lievesley.

1990 Oct 26 - A new £140,000 Coastguard station was opened at Rock-a-Nore by the mayor. It was the headquarters for much of East Sussex, and replaced the former Hastings station (a small shed by the Lifeboat house) and the Fairlight station.

1990 Oct 29 - Hastings Library in Claremont closed for a fortnight for a £571,000 refurbishment.

 1990 Nov - A new pressure group, the Pier Preservation Society, was started, aiming to restore Hastings Pier’s 1930s art-deco frontage. In June 1992 the society was offered a European Commission grant of £28,000 towards the £110,000 which was needed, but it could not raise big enough extra grants because the pier was privately owned. The society was wound up in late 1993.

1990 Early Nov - There was much controversy and uncertainty over the future of the Cricket Ground as developers Speyhawk failed to raise funding for the £43 million scheme because of the poor economic climate. They said they were looking for backing for a smaller project, but the Council also looked for other developers. A poll in the Hastings Observer showed 88% of people wanted to save the Cricket Ground.

1990 Late Nov - The pickle and jam factory Newtime Foods, in Ivyhouse Lane, is put up for sale. It was the largest single industrial complex to have been offered for sale in Hastings. It had been there since the early 1970s, but was moving to Cambridge.

1991 Jan 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: Bailiffs seized goods belonging to Poll Tax defaulters. Hastings Council had withdrawn sponsorship of the annual national Town Criers Championships. A grant to restore Hastings oldest church, St Helens, Ore, was discussed by the Council; £45,000 was needed. A scheme to build a ski slope at Harley Shute Road was scrapped. The Council was to replace plaques stolen from Alexandra Park War Memorial.


Town criers at a Hastings championship competition.

1991 Jan 11 - The Observer of this date reported that: A scheme to build a ski slope at Harley Shute Road had been abandoned. A trust was being set up to try and build a replica of the Albert Memorial clocktower in the town centre. The town's first recycling centre was running in Safeway's car park; ten more to be set up in 1991.

1991 Jan 18 - The Observer of this date reported that: Clevedon Court Hotel, the first hotel in the country to be run by a co-operative, had gone into liquidation; it had started in 1987. The Speyhawk shop developers had been given a deadline of November 1991 to produce financial backing for the new cricket ground scheme. The Queen Mother backed the members of the public opposed to Council's plan to scrap the annual town criers championship.

1991 Jan 25 - The Observer of this date reported that: WM Still, the big makers of catering and beverage equipment, would be closing their large factory in Fellows Road, off Parker Road; 160 jobs to go. Solicitor Percy Walker, died, aged 89. Well known builder Charles Stone died.

1991 Feb 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: Unemployment has risen 70% in the last year. Hastings holds its first duathlon. Very cold week, with heavy snow.

1991 Feb 22 - The Observer of this date reports that: Southern Water had raised prices by 14.7%.

1991 March 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Computing Devices had got £1.7 billion contract for an aircraft reconnaisance system in Gulf War.

1991 March 15 - The Observer of this date reported that: Funeral of soldier, Stephen Satchell, killed in the Gulf war. £414 Poll Tax agreed. Boundaries Sports Centre was compulsorily closed.

1991 March 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: The £414 Poll Tax had been cut to £274 because of widespread public opposition. 500 jobs were to be saved as a new Child Protection Agency at Ashdown House would be created; this partly compensated for the privatisation of the Property Services Agency at Ashdown House, scheduled for 1992, although 700 jobs would be lost.

1991 Jan 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Jane Amstad was to stage the Town Criers Championship after the Council withdrew backing.

1991 April 5 - The Observer of this date reported that: A home for single parents, run by the Fellowship of St Nicholas, was opened by the Bishop of Lewes. Plans for a ski slope at Beauport Park Hotel awee being studied by the Council.

1991 April 12 - The Observer of this date reported that: Queens Hotel is sold. Hotel ski slope planned for 1992.

1991 May 17 - The Observer of this date reports that: Hastings was the only town in the county to have single sex schools.

1991 May 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: Outline planning permission had been given for a new Fishmarket. Hastings Sealife Centre celebrated first birthday. The first cement tennis courts in the county were opened in Hastings. The first game of cricket was played at Horntye Park, the cricket ground built to replace the Central Cricket ground which would become a shopping centre.


Preparing the ground at Horntye cricket club.

1991 May 31 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Council withdrew from a deal with Speyhawk Development Company to build the new town centre shopping centre.

1991 June 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: Majorie Beckh celebrated her 106th birthday. Coastguard Bud White received a medal at new £150,000 Coastguard Station at Rock a Nore. Planning permission was granted for a ski slope at Beauport Park Hotel. The route of the Hastings/Bexhill bypass was approved.

1991 June 21 - The Observer of this date reported that: First Phase of £7.2 million Town centre roadworks to be opened on 4 July. Old Town Carnival route to be extended to Town Centre. All Souls Church celebrated 100th anniversary. Computing Devices opened a new £5 million division.

1991 June 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: Plans of proposed A259 Eastern bypass route. A Wimpy restaurant opened in the Old Town.

1991 July 5 - The Observer of this date reported that: Torrential rain caused flooding. There were 78 Neighbourhood Watch schemes in Hastings. Lifeboatman David Curtis was honoured for bravery.

1991 July 12 - The Observer of this date reported that: Wettest June of this century recorded. New VAT office opened at Ashdown House. New £1.3 million Town centre link road, Albert Road, opened. Building of a dry ski slope behind Beauport Park Hotel delayed.

1991 July 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: Unemployment rose to 5,481. The town centre was flooded for the second time in three weeks. £1.1 million Phase 1 restoration work of St Mary in the Castle Church was completed.

1991 Aug 2 - The Observer of this date reported that: A wartime mine exploded off the coast after getting caught in a trawler net. Peter Overy was jailed for murdering Bob Walker. A Dutch dredger started work on a £3.4 million sea defence contract.

1991 Aug 9 - The Observer of this date reported that: Queens Hotel for sale. Rainfall during July was the highest recorded since 1903. Roundabout to be built at Park Gates junction.

1991 Sept 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: £72,600 new Fishmarket to be built at the Stade.

1991 Oct 11 - The Observer of this date reported that: Report on new Conquest Hospital. New £9 million school planned at South Saxons. Recent census figures found 4,000 fewer residents than estimated.

1991 Oct 25 - The Observer of this date reported that: Newtime Foods closed. Unemployment rose to 6,067.

1991 Nov 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Sainsburys plans for a superstore at Tilekiln Playing Fields were rejected. There was major opposition to the proposed route of the by-pass. Support from locals to save old Christ Church School for community use.

1991 Nov 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: Residents complained about Pebsham Fuel Plant affecting their children’s health.

1991 Nov 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: Protest at nuclear waste being transported through the town. Death rate of children born in Hastings twice as high as those born in Brighton or Eastbourne. Ridge West Action Group formed to fight proposed route of by-pass.

1991 Dec 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: A £2 million campaign was launched to restore Pelham Crescent.


Pelham Crescent in the early 1900s.

1991 Dec 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: £460,000 pedestrianisation of Wellington Place and Castle Street was completed.

1991 Dec 27 - The Observer of this date reported that: Phase 2 of Conquest Hospital plans agreed. The 67th Hastings International Chess Congress to be opened by Patrick Moore. Pets Corner in Alexandra Park to stay open.

1992 Jan 17 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Friends of St Mary in the Castle supported the proposal for the church to be a multi-purpose cultural centre.

1992 Jan 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Royal Victoria Hotel was purchased.

1992 Feb 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: The last guest at the Queens Hotel had left prior to a £3 million facelift. Report on start of the public inquiry into proposed by-pass route. A new group started for battered women.

1992 Feb 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: Builders had handed over £50 million Conquest Hospital. Cyclists had requested a cycle path for the seafront.

1992 March 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: A £10 million school was to be built at South Saxons. Hastings Library reopened after £480,000 refurbishment.

1992 March 27 - The Observer of this date reported that: Council needed money from the Pebsham tip contract to fund shopping centre. Hastings Buses launched £1 million fleet of single decker buses. Britain’s longest drought since 1745 recorded.

1992 April 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: Shirt Factory, Michelsons, closed. Animal rights protesters attacked Sea Life Centre in Rock-a-Nore Road. Sainsburys applied for planning permission to build on old Derritron site in Sedlescombe Road North. A group was launched to renovate St Leonards Gardens.

1992 May 15 - The Observer of this date reported that: Report by Jaqui Lait, the new Tory MP for Hastings.

1992 May 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: BMX bike ramps at White Rock, recently declared unsafe, were demolished by the Council.

1992 July 3 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Convent of Our Lady, Filsham Road, closed after 88 years.

1992 July 10 - The Observer of this date reported that: The £47 million Conquest Hospital opened. Conservatives held a leaving party for MP Ken Warren, Hastings & Rye MP for 21 years. Fishermen clashed with MP against Seafish Conservation Bill. Council backed plans to build cable-car link between East Hill and West Hill.

1992 July 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: Local painter and writer, John Bratby, died. The Royal East Sussex Hospital closed as the new hospital opened. Town centre flooded for the second time in six weeks.

1992 Oct 9 - The Observer of this date reported that: Lifeboatmen launched £100,000 appeal towards new boathouse. Dyer & Overton, estate agents, closed after 100 years in business.

1992 Oct 16 - The Observer of this date reported that: First time a patient was airlifted to new hospital. An estimated £1.76 million needed to turn St Mary in the Castle Church into a multi-purpose cultural centre.

1992 Nov 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: Sainsburys to build a new Superstore. Queens Hotel in receivership.

1993 Jan 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: Baby Billie-Jade Talbot murdered. Famous local novelist Catherine Cookson made a Dame.

1993 Jan 15 - The Observer of this date reported that: 28 community policemen appointed. Church of the Latter Day Saints, new chapel dedicated.

1993 Jan 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: The towns oldest sports club, Hastings Rowing Club, had been rebuilt and refurbished after storms in 1990 wrecked storage sailing and social facilities.

1993 Feb 5 - The Observer of this date reported that: Gun siege at St Leonards pub. Wreckage of a Cessna aircraft recovered by fishing boat.

1993 Feb 11 - Princess Anne officially opened the new Conquest Hospital. After 102 years of service the chassis of the West Hill cliff railway had been renewed.


The reception area at the Conquest in 1993.

1993 Feb 19 - The Observer of this date reported that: Arsonists torched William Parker School Hall. Labour Mayor elected after 20 years of Tories.

1993 Feb 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: A net shop was moved by crane to make way for new Fishmarket. Unemployment figures 8,917.

1993 Narch 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: Bomb threat closed part of Town. Article on arson attacks on schools. New £5 million Waterworks at Brede, which supplied one third of Hastings needs, opened.

1993 April 9 - The Observer of this date reported that: Jean Daddow found guilty of murdering her husband Terry. The bathing pool Holiday Camp at West St Leonards demolished. Hastings Sea Scouts moved into new HQ. Corben Construction celebrated 150th anniversary. Vandals set fire to Elphinstone School; Grove and William Parker had been fired in the recent past.

1993 April 16 - The Observer of this date reported that: Animal rights protesters demonstrated outside Boots. 18 feet, three ton dead basking shark caught in fishermen’s nets and towed ashore.

1993 July 30 - The Observer of this date reported that: Report on Hastings being given Assisted Area Status. Stag Pub in All Saints Street voted Sussex Best Pub of the Year by CAMRA.

1993 Aug 13 - The Observer of this date reports that: Test cricket stars protested at the proposed shopping centre on Cricket Ground; supplement special on the new £50 million centre, due to open by Christmas 1996.

1993 Sept 3 - The Observer of this date reported that: Aluminium caravans to be replaced by log cabins at Shearbarn Holiday Park. £1 million Fishmarket opened.

1993 Oct 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Four magistrates courts - Battle, Bexhill, Rye and Hastings - merged to become one court at Hastings.

1993 Oct 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: Planning permission was granted to Boots for the new Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

1993 Nov 19 - The Observer of this date reported that: A 1,000 ton coaster beached at Glyne Gap. The new Sainsbury Superstore was opened.

1993 Dec 3 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Co-op supermarket opened in Sainsburys old store in Cambridge Road. Topping out ceremony at Filsham Valley School.


Sainsbury in Cambridge Road, now ESK.

1994 Jan 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: Thomas Holl left £90,000 to plant trees around the Old Town. Former Hastings MP Ken Warren was knighted. Wettest December since 1934 was recorded.

1994 Jan 21 - The Observer of this date reported that: William Parker School’s new £20,000 Sixth Form Centre opened. Report on inaugural Hastings 10K Race.

1994 Jan 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: Report on public inquiry re proposed shopping centre. One of the rarest trees in the county, a black poplar, found growing in the grounds of William Parker School.

1994 Feb 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Co-op store on Sainsburys old site was closing. British Rail manager, Kevin Boorman, made history by walking through the Channel Tunnel with others to raise money for charity.

1994 March 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Hastings fishing boat Little Paul was chosen as the centre piece of the new Fishing Museum at Brighton, thanks to help by Steve Peak.

1994 April 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: The last patient at St Helens Hospital was moved to Conquest Hospital. The former Stills factory off Parker Road for sale.

1994 April 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: Tom Mitchell, owner of the Army and Navy surplus store Malcolm Mitchells in the High Street, died. New £1 million centre for elderly, New Morton Resource Centre, opened.

1994 April 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: Hastings Labour Party opened new HQ at a former pub in Bohemia Road left to them by Ellen Draper.

1994 April 29 - The Observer of this date reported that: Former Lifeboat Coxswain, Joe Martin, had committed suicide.


Joe Martin on the right.

1994 May 20 - The Observer of this date reported that: Joanne Martin made history as the first woman crew member of the Hastings Lifeboat.

1994 June 17 - The Observer of this date reported that: Labour MP Tony Benn launched the Robert Tressell Foundation. 5,000 homes in Hastings unfit to be lived in. 40 metre high chimney at Pebsham Plant caused complaints. Council planned cycle track on the prom. Planning permission granted for old church at the bottom of Harley Shute Road to be used as a car spares and MoT centre.

1994 July 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Perrings Furnishing Store went into receivership. Barges to bring 4,000 tonnes of rock to save the rail line at Bulverhythe.

1994 July 15 - The Observer of this date reported that: Computing Devices won £20 million contract. Adams Language School closed after 31 years. £1 million extension to Castledown Primary School opened.

1994 Aug 12 - The Observer of this date reported that: Railway line footbridge for new school put into place at night in Harley Shute Road.

1994 Aug 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: £9.5 million Filsham Valley Secondary School opened.

1994 Sept 2 - The Observer of this date reported that: Outspoken Liberal councillor Jane Amstad resigned from the Council. The last event, a Festival of Sport and Leisure, was held at the Central Cricket Ground, before bulldozers took over. New 'Welcome to 1066 Country' road signs erected in the area.

1994 Sept 23 - The Observer of this date reported that: St Leonards Gardens, created for the blind 40 years ago, had been restored. Draft orders by the Department of Transport for the proposed Eastern and Western by-passes were published.

1994 Oct 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: Nicholas Soane was charged with the murder of Archibald Boots, his grandfather. New Phoenix Art Centre and School Hall opened at William Parker School, 18 months after arsonist torched hall. Plans to enlarge Darwell Reservoir abandoned.

1994 Nov 25 - The Observer of this date reported that: Stuart Williamson was charged with the murder of his mother, Audrey Fisher. Biker Electrical Engineers go into voluntary liquidation, after trading since 1947.

1994 Dec 16 - The Observer of this date reported that: The cafe at the Cricket Ground closed for the last time before work started on the new shopping centre. Bells re-hung at Blacklands Church after restoration work. TV hypnotist Paul McKenna was barred from appearing at the White Rock Theatre.

1994 Dec 30 - The Observer of this date reported that: Work costing half million pounds underway to revamp Broomgrove Estate. 600 players from 26 countries met at 70th Hastings Chess Congress.

1995 Jan 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: Ancient gravestones were smashed at Hollington Church-in-the-Wood. The long-established Len Butlers Emporium in George Street closed after a family feud.

1995 Jan 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: Hastings power station at Broomgrove was sold. The old RNLI boathouse had been demolished.

1995 Jan 27 - The Observer of this date reported that: Work started on building the new shopping centre. The Convent of Our Lady in Filsham Road was demolished.

1995 March 3 - The Observer of this date reported that: Sunlight Laundry factory was gutted by fire. Robert Tressell Workshops in Devonshire Road were hit by financial problems.

1995 March 10 - The Observer of this date reported that: Warrior Square bandstand was to be demolished. Hastings was recorded as the wettest place in the country with one inch of rain.

1995 March 31 - The Observer of this date reported that: Hastings barman John Miller shot himself. Deal sealed on new shopping centre. Lord Attenborough was guest of honour at Hastings Museum where he opened new galleries on the native American and Canadian conservationist, Grey Owl.

1995 April 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: R P Thunders, wholesale newspaper business, closed after trading for 95 years. Stuart Williamson denied murdering his mother, Audrey Fisher. Oldest resident, Kate Self 105 years old, died.

1995 June 16 - The Observer of this date reported that: Local men Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison won £22 million in the National Lottery. Young soldier Sean Benton, of the Old Town, was found shot dead at the Deepcut Army training camp. The Westminster Press Training Centre in Cambridge Road was for sale. Flower seller Polly O’Keefe, moved from her cricket ground site due to shopping centre building, was to have a stand on the corner of Albert Square, after a long battle with the Council.

1995 June 23 - The Observer of this date reported that: Some complaints were received by the Council over the size of the new lifeboat house, which was considerably bigger than its plans suggested.

1995 July 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: Lifeboatman Chris Cooper died on a diving trip. Old buildings were demolished on cricket ground site ready for new shopping centre.


The cricket ground is cleared, ready to build on.

1995 July 21 - The Observer of this date reported that: £1.3 million National Lottery money for St Mary in the Castle restoration work. Arson attack on Clive Vale cricket pavilion on the East Hill. Work started on £13 million Phase 2 of the Conquest Hospital.

1995 July 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: The old Cooper Barnes scrap yard in George Street had been turned into a public square, called Butlers Gap.

1995 Aug 11 - The Observer of this date reported that: The first CCTV spy camera erected in town centre.

1995 Oct 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: £2.35 million sea defence work started.

1995 Nov 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: Ancient Smugglers tunnel found under seafront hotel. Broomgrove Power Station for sale.

1995 Dec 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: Snow caused chaos. 1930’s Art Deco Sunlight Laundry in Elphinstone Road was demolished, despite public opposition. [See March 1937].

1995 Dec 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: Solicitor Graham Durnford-Ford was jailed for ten years for stealing £5 million from his clients.

1995 Dec 29 - The Observer of this date reported that: Brion Purdey retired as the Hastings principal librarian.

1996 Jan 5 - The Observer of this date reported that: East and West Hill lifts both in need of repair.

1996 Jan 12 - The Observer of this date reported that: Hastings Post Office target of biggest ever Sussex robbery, worth £5 million.

1996 Feb 2 - The Observer of this date reports that: Rebuilding of South Terrace Bridge started.

1996 March 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: John Rooks jailed for life for murder of Ronnie Mellor. Four men arrested in connection with the murder of Bobby Jones. A £4 million private patients wing to be built at the Conquest Hospital.

1996 March 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: 1066 Housing Association had taken control of 4,500 council homes.


Preparing the ground for cricket at Horntye.

1996 March 15 - The Observer of this date reported that: Article on new cricket ground at Horntye. 70% of shops in new shopping centre had been let.

1996 May 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: Conservatives lost all five local election seats.

1996 May 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: Countess Mountbatten opened the new lifeboat house. Gillian Shephard, Education Minister, opened new Filsham Valley School.

1996 May 31 - The Observer of this date reported that: Former Tory Councillor John Evans charged with theft. CCTV spy cameras switched on in town centre.

1996 June 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: The old Eldridge & Cruttenden building company had gone bust, owing creditors £2 million. Hoax bombers caused mass excavation.

1996 July 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Hastings historic Net Shops were being repaired. An inquiry into the proposed by-pass closed.


Some net shops needed some painting.

1996 Aug 9 - The Observer of this date reported that: A proposed £20 million White Rock improvement scheme was scrapped. Arsonist attacked disused St Helens Hospital in Frederick Road.

1996 Aug 16 - The Observer of this date reported that: The town centre was flooded for the fifth time in 11 years. Hoax bomb blown up by Army.

1996 Sept 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: Hastings Pier was for sale. The PDSA at Silverhill to close.

1996 Oct 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: A commemorative panel to Robert Tressell was unveiled in the Library. The traffic improvements in the town centre were completed.

1996 Oct 18 - The Observer of this date reported that: Topping-out ceremony at new shopping centre on Hastings Day, 14 October.

1996 Nov 15 - The Observer of this date reported that: Royal Victoria Hotel sold. The disused St Helens Hospital was dangerous.

1996 Dec 27 - The Observer of this date reported that: The £1.2 million new bridge at South Terrace was opened.

1997 Jan 10 - The Observer of this date reported that: Below freezing temperatures lead to flooding throughout the town. Barry Funnell, local historian, died.

1997 Feb 21 - The Observer of this date reported that: Murder of school-girl Billie-Jo Jenkins at her home in Lower Park Road.

1997 Feb 28 - The Observer of this date reported that: Sion Jenkins, foster father of Billie-Jo Jenkins, was charged with her murder.

1997 March 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: Lottery millionaire, Mark Gardiner, opened his new Croft Lodge Sports Centre on the Ridge.

1997 March 14 - The Observer of this date reported that: Plaque marking first TV pictures in 1923, by inventor John Logie Baird, was unveiled.

1997 March 21 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, built on the cricket ground, had opened. Landslips threatened St Leonards Parish Church.


Playing cricket in the chopping centre.

1997 April 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Government had abandoned by-pass plans.

1997 May 9 - The Observer of this date reported that: In the general election, local solicitor Michael Foster was elected as the first Hastings Labour MP. ESK Warehouse had bought the old Co-op supermarket in Cambridge Road, built for Sainsbury.

1997 June 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Queen visited the town, primarily to open the new shopping centre. Southern Water commenced £50 million drainage scheme.

1997 June 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Buchanan Maternity Hospital in London Road held closing party.

1997 July 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: June was the wettest in Hastings since records began in 1875.

1997 July 11 - The Observer of this date reported that: Last babies born at the Buchanan Hospital before move to Conquest Hospital, where phase two had opened.

1997 July 25 - The Observer of this date reported that: Work had started on massive underground drainage works at Alexandra Park, digging a tunnel through to Warrior Square. Broomgrove Power Station described as an extremely hazardous site.

1997 Aug 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: New arts centre at St Mary in the Castle opened to the people of Hastings.

1997 Aug 8 - The Observer of this date reported that: Protest meeting held to hear objections to waste plant at Pebsham.

1997 Sept 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Buchanan Maternity Hospital closed after 116 years.



The much-loved Buchanan Hospital in London Road.

1997 Nov 7 - The Observer of this date reported that: The first concert at the nearly-restored St Mary in the Castle Church was held.

1998 Jan 16 - The Observer of this date reported that: A man, John Ashley, was shot dead by police. A tunnel boring machine installed at Southern Water’s project in Alexandra Park. Geologist Mark Border unearthed a fossil of a dinosaur bone in Hollington.

1998 Jan 23 - The Observer of this date reported that: Report on shooting of James Ashley. £5 million BUPA private hospital opened. The Hastings Embroidery moved from Town Hall to Lower White Rock Theatre.

1998 Jan 30 - The Observer of this date reported that: Mark Gardiner’s sports club, Croft Lodge, shut down.

1998 Feb 6 - The Observer of this date reported that: 13 year old boy arrested in connection with two murders. Asda lodged formal planning application for supermarket on Bexhill Road.

1998 Feb 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: 10,000 fish died in Alexandra Park pollution incident.

1998 Feb 20 - The Observer of this date reported that: Hottest February Day for 38 years recorded. Eversfield Hospital closed.

1998 Feb 27 - The Observer of this date reported that: Police Officer suspended after shooting of James Ashley. Library closed to install computers. A third of the Old Town boating lake to be filled in to make way for new rides.

1998 March 13 - The Observer of this date reported that: A 580 ton tunnel-boring machine arrived by sea. It was landed at Rock-a-Nore car park and then taken to Alexandra Park for Southern Water.


Some of the tunnel-boring machinery delivered by barge to Rock-a-Nore.

1998 March 27 - The Observer of this date reported that: Car parking charges at Conquest Hospital to start in May - £1 per day. Roy Mawford appointed as Hastings Council’s new chief executive following the retirement of Roger Carrier who had master-minded the new shopping centre.

1998 April 10 - The Observer of this date reported that: Arrow FM, the first licensed independent Hastings radio station, went on air. It was based in the Priory Meadow shopping centre.

1998 April 17 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Conservative Club and Tory Party HQ, at 12 Carlisle Parade, closed down after massive funds went 'missing'.

1998 May 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Southern Water to demolish houses that would collapse over tunnel. 66 homes to be built on old hospital site.

1998 May 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: Labour and Liberal ousted Conservative councillors from County and Hastings Council seats. Tunnel boring machine lowered into 18 metre shaft in Alexandra Park for Southern Water. £560,000 work on William Parker athletic track, almost completed.

1998 Jun 5 - The Observer of this date reported that: Report on murder trial of Sion Jenkins. Alexandra Park chosen by English Heritage to be on National Register of Historic Parks.

1998 June 19 - The Observer of this date reported that: Five storey block of flats collapsed. Obituary of Catherine Cookson.

1998 June 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: 100-year old West St Leonards School demolished.

1998 July 3 - The Observer of this date reported that: Sion Jenkins, deputy head teacher at the William Parker school, jailed for life for the murder of his foster daughter. New factory opened by Marshall Tufflex. Former grammar school teacher Tom Cookson, husband of Catherine, died only three weeks after her death. £100,000 new look to Smugglers Caves, opened.


Catherine and Tom Cookson, late in life.

1998 June 17 - The Observer of this date reported that: Princess Royal opened Phase 2 of Conquest Hospital.

1998 July 31 - The Observer of this date reported that: Jason Colson convicted of the manslaughter of his son. Nos 11-19 Braybrooke Terrace demolished as part of Southern Water’s £50 million project.

1998 Oct 23 - The Observer of this date reported that: Asda's plans for a supermarket on the site of the West St leonards School were rejected.

1999 Jan 8 - The Observer of this date reports that: Plans for a link road between Robertson Street and Cambridge Road were scrapped. A Pagan ritual was held at Hastings Crematorium.

1999 Jan 22 - The Observer of this date reported that: New owners have acquired the Sea Life Centre in Rock-a-Nore Road.

1999 Jan 29 - The Observer of this date reported that: National newspapers 'slander' Hastings. Work on Hornntye Park Multi-purpose Cricket Pavilion Complex has started.

1999 Feb 5 - The Observer of this date reported that: Beauport Park Roman Baths may be re-buried due to lack of funds to restore them. More delay in the results of an inquiry into the shooting by the police of James Ashley.

1999 Feb 12 - The Observer of this date reported that: The £700,000 Warrior Square Station facelift had started.

1999 Feb 26 - The Observer of this date reported that: Deputy Chief Constable, Mark Jordan, was suspended over police fatal shooting of James Ashley.

1999 April 23 - The Observer of this date reported that: The film Hostile Fortunes was filmed in Hastings. Official opening of William Parker Athletic Track. Man jailed for holding woman and children hostage.

1999 June 4 - The Observer of this date reported that: Alan Hopkinson received nine life sentences for kidnapping and assaulting two schoolgirls. 200 attended events commemorating the writer Robert Tressell whose plaque was unveiled by the MP.

1999 June 18 - The Observer of this date reported that: Protest March held against pay parking. Low turn out at Euro elections. Blocked sewer caused pollution in Alexandra Park.

1999 June 25- The Observer of this date reported that: Article on Hastings resident Screaming Lord Sutch, founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party, who had just committed suicide.

1999 Sept 10 - The Observer of this date reported that: Riot police quelled fight at refugee hotel.

1999 Oct 1 - The Observer of this date reported that: Seafront cycle track from Bexhill to Hastings agreed. Body found on beach. Hospital surgeon suspended.

1999 Dec 3 - The Observer of this date reported that: Wellington Square Baptist Church re-opened after renovations. 1066 people walked through mile-long stormwater tunnel, from Alexandra Park to Warrior Square.


Making the roof of the stern of the Golden Sovereign watertight.

1999 Dec 17 - The Observer of this date reported that: The Fishermen's Museum had transformed an old fishing boat, the Golden Sovereign RX 40, by cutting it in half amd making two new net shop attractions. Plus existing net shops were to be restored. Controversial plans to build a Mosque are opposed by local residents.

1999 Dec 24 - The Observer of this date reported that: Sion Jenkins lost his appeal against his murder conviction.


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