‘Then, before then, before that and now’

Four phases of ‘The Memorial’

Ion Castro looks into his archive

Many of us, especially older ones like me, still refer to the town centre as ‘The Memorial’, no, not the Shopping centre but the place, partially pedestrianised, where Havelock Road meets Cambridge Road, Robertson Street, Harold Place, Wellington Place and York Buildings, Queens Road and Station Road, where, in 1863 a memorial to Albert the Good, Queen Victoria’s husband was erected to commemorate the untimely death in 1861 of the Queen’s consort. The Memorial lasted until 1973 and gave its name to the area but what was there before that?

The area I’m talking about started to develop around 1860 after the Priory Stream had been culverted. While the stream was open to the elements there was a bridge to cross should you want to go to head westward to the America Ground, White Rock and after 1828 St.Leonards. When the stream was covered up the site of the bridge was marked with an elaborate lamp (pic 1) The Priory Stream still flows underground until it pours into the sea through the outfall pipe The lamp was in turn replaced with ‘The Memorial’ opposite Harold Place. The lamp was in turn replaced with ‘The Memorial’, pic 2.


Hayters York Hotel in the background of pic 2 was demolished in the late 1870’s and rebuilt further back to widen the bottom of Queens Road (Meadow Road at that time) – Pics 3 and 4.

Pic 5 shows the area as it is today, The ‘new’ York Hotel, dating from 1880 and numbered 1a Queens Road, oddly enough not being included in York Buildings. The York survived for 100 years before being replaced, along with the chemist next door by a shoe shop which in turn became a coffee shop. No 1 Queens Road was the Post Office – see Pic 4 – before it relocated to the bottom of Cambridge Road to be replaced by Wards Outfitters and now the Halifax Building Society.

. Millets’ shop, formerly ‘Seeboard’ and before that the Hastings Corporation Electricity Department Headquarters is the most visible constant, appearing without much alteration in all four pictures. ‘The York’ lives on because it names ‘York Buildings’, this street being very unusual because the left hand side of the road (looking east) is York Buildings and the opposite side of the road is Wellington Place and York Gardens, not a garden at all, is the little street that runs behind York Buildings between Queens Road and Wellington Square.

There are more pictures of Hastings Memorial at www.historichastings.co.uk

From the February 2014

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