James Burton

James & Decimus Burtons' St Leonards
Summer Newsletter 2000

Decimus Burton

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This year has seen the Society's 30th anniversary. Although conservation activity in Burtons' St Leonards pre-dates 1970 much of it centred on the disastrous development of the Archery Ground - it is from this year that our existence as a formally constituted body dates. We have decided therefore, with the 21st century before us, that the time is ripe to re-visit our constitution and to ensure that we are in good shape to interpret the founding objects of the Society for new and changing times. Many members who thought the Society was principally concerned with conservation issues - and solely in the Burtons' conservation area - may be surprised to read these objects for the first time. They are

It is easy to see that our founders exercised forethought in allowing us scope to grow and to respond to whatever changing situations the future might bring

When we took on our premises at 36 Marina we made a commitment to 

We have made some headway with these but there is still a long way to go. And this was intended only as a start! The time has come when we now need -to review what we are doing - what we' are doing well, not so well, what we should be doing but are not doing at all, and maybe even what we are doing but should not be doing!

To help us with our strategic review we are lucky to have the services of two new members of the Council of Management, Ken Davis and Stuart Rumsey, both architects with a strong interest in conservation and regeneration issues. We will also have the valuable input of Ken's wife Cheryl, who has worked very successfully with the Hastings Trust in enthusing young people locally to take up volunteering opportunities. Additionally, a keen supporter, Chris Davidson of the Civic Trust Regeneration Unit, has agreed to come on board. The 1066 Enterprise Council have offered us a small grant to help us secure the services of experienced local consultant, Colin Faulkner, who played a key role in developing the plan which saved St Mary-in-the-Castle from disaster. Colin would work alongside local fund-raising expert, Andrew Coutts. SO, it's ...


Wbere are we now?
Where do we want to go? 
How shall we get there?

These are some of the questions we shall be asking. You can help us answer them. You are probably tired of hearing us say we would like to see new faces and that we would like more members to volunteer to help with Society activities. Enclosed with this newsletter is a brief questionnaire. We would be grateful if you would complete this and return it (details at the foot of the form). This will help us to understand what you like and what you don't like about the Society, where you think we could do better, what you would like to see us doing more of and what you think we should be doing to attract new members.

After all, the Society exists for you and for the wider community of St Leonards - not for the sake of the Management Council!


Speaking of fund-raising ... local cycling enthusiast and Society member Stan Mounsey will be undertaking a sponsored cycle ride from Sanderstead in Surrey to St Leonards on Sunday 10th September. He will avoid the traffic dangers and congestion of London but will come bearing greetings from our friends and colleagues in Bloomsbury (see below). All proceeds will go towards supporting the Society. Sponsorship forms are available at 36 Marina. Please be as generous as you can. Events

Readers may recall (Autumn Newsletter 1999 - ) that we enjoyed a visit last year from members of the Conservation Area Advisory Committee for Bloomsbury. The area under their care includes a wide range of listed 18th and early 19th century architecture including the British Museum, Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn and the great Bloomsbury squares. james Burton carried out notable work in the Bedford estate in the heart of Bloomsbury.  


Previous Newsletters have mentioned a link between Fleetwood in Lancashire and our own St Leonards. Decimus Burton made a major contribution to the architecture of Fleetwood for reasons which will be familiar to visitors to our recent exhibition and which can become familiar to anyone who comes to hear lecturer Dick Gillingham, a Heritage Trail Organiser in Fleetwood, who will be visiting us on the morning of Wednesday 9th August. His illustrated lecture, at 36 Marina, starts at 11 O'clock. We hope members and friends will welcome him warmly to Burtons' St Leonards.


Some of our members will recall the very enjoyable social evening organised by our Membership Secretary, Michela Morley, at 36 Marina in May of this year. A glutton for punishment, Michela will soon be putting on another event, again with wine and food and some light entertainment. Events

Date: Friday 15th September Time: 7 pm Price: £2.50

Guests are welcome. Would anyone wishing to attend please be kind enough to send a brief note of confirmation to Michela, at 36 Marina, TN38 OBU.


In this issue you will see a poster for our Buildings Advisory Service offered by architect Ken Davis. Ken and Stuart Rumsey, with advice from Historic Buildings Consultant, Paul Reed, are also planning a seminar to be held at our premises on a Sunday (Probably in late September or early October) for people who would like advice and ideas about the pleasures and pit-falls of restoring a period home, large or small, town or country: anything pre-1920s. There will be a modest charge for the day which will include tea, coffee and a light lunch. The day will deal with a range of topics from planning permission to building preservation. We will announce more details as soon as possible, but if you think you would like to come, please feel free to ring Ken on the numbers shown.


We are glad to have developed links with the neighbouring West Marina Society. If you would like to join and receive their excellent Newsletter, we have membership forms at the office (they just ask for a minimum annual subscription of £l) or you can e-mail the Membership Secretary, Graham Thorley at gthorley@clara.net 


We are delighted to welcome back Dr Fred Gray from Sussex University who gave a very well received talk on seaside piers during our first series of Walter Ison Memorial Lectures. Fred Gray is the archivist of the Brighton West Pier Trust and author of the history of the West Pier, Walking on Water. This time he will be speaking on Seaside Architecture but may have some ideas for us on how we can help to save Hastings Pier. Date for your diary: Events

Thursday 2 November 2000

Roy Austen,, Chairman of the South Eastern Tramways Society, will give an illustrated talk on Hastings Trams and Trolleybuses: Past and Future.

You may have seen, a while back, the display in the Hastings Trust windows in Robertson Street which -showed a scheme for the revival of a local tram system. Roy and his colleagues have long argued the case for this. Following the success of modern tramways in such places as Sheffield and Croydon and the upsurge of Government interest and support for such schemes, who knows that we may not see the trams once more running in Hastings and St Leonards? They will probably be less elegant than the vehicles of yesteryear but they may still form an attractive and effective part of a better and more integrated public transport network.

Tramways Company started its operations in 1905, a few days before the Queen Mother.'s fifth birthday. In this nostalgic picture (picture to follow soon) we see tram no. 26 arriving from Ore at the Market Cross at the junction of Old London Road and Harold Road (Barley Lane). Here, passengers wishng to continue their journey into Hastings would transfer to the waiting horse bus. The ladies at the shelter are awaiting the return journey to Ore. The locality, very close to All Saints church, suffered piecemeal demolitions over the decades that followed but its character was finally and irrevocably changed by the construction of the new road through the Bourne in the 1950's,which split . Hastings Old Town into the two parts that we know today.

Date for your diary: 23 November 2000

Our third speaker will be Councillor Anne Scott MBE. Anne probably needs little introduction to local people. She has been a great champion of Hastings & St Leonards' historic heritage and a tireless campaigner for conservation-led regeneration in our town. Many will think of Anne as the key player in the rescue and regeneration of  St-Mary-in-the-Castle - the phoenix that rose from the ashes. But Anne is also - among other things! - the Chair of the old Hastings Preservation Society, Chair of the Management Committee of the Fishermen's Museum, and President of HAARG (the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group). Her award in the New Year's Honours was richly deserved and overdue. Events

Anne became a local councillor or Old Hastings) in the recent elections and we are glad that her influence can now be felt inside the Council chamber as well as outside it. Anne will talk on Changing Hastings.

Date for your diary: 7 December 2000

All the talks will take place at 36 Marina and will begin at 7.30. The charge will be £2 and will include a glass of wine or a coffee. Events

If you have an e-mail address, we would be very pleased to know it. You can e-mail your details or a message to our Chairman, Dr Chris Joyce at: christopher.joyce@btinternet.com  or you can contact Ken and Cheryl Davis at: ken.davis1@virgin.net  and Stuart Rurnsey at: stuart@rdparchitects.co.uk or the webmaster, Ion Castro at:  webmaster@1066.net

More to follow, we hope, as we edge our way into the 21st century!

We have mentioned before that we hope to introduce some computer technology (long overdue) into our operations soon. We are still looking at ways of funding this but we will get there ... Please bear with us. New systems will help us with such things as membership records, correspondence, e-mail (and the Newsletter!) This web site should help us reach a wider public and create new links.

A tale of two piers. 

First the St Leonards Pier. It was opened  by Lord and Lady Brassey in 1891, suffered damage during the Second War and was alas demolished in 1951 Second, the Hastings Pier (at present closed). This fine architecture, by the greatest of Victorian pier designers, Eugenius Birch (1818-84), was constructed between 1869 and 1872. (Birch is most famous for Brighton's now Grade 1 listed West Pier, awaiting restoration). Hastings Council is currently conducting a feasibility study into repair options for the pier. Though much reduced from its former glory days, and latterly ill-used, it is surely a part of Hastings' superb Victorian heritage that we cannot think of losing 

Pictures, refer to the map for locations. Pictures are being added as fast as we can!

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