Hastings Battleaxe visits Hastings Town Hall

Well, from the ‘Mother’ of Parliaments to our own local little piece of municipal heritage – Hastings Battleaxe visits Hastings Town Hall.  They had an open day along with some sort of wedding fair there last Sunday, so we popped in to have a look.

Hastings Town Hall

A while ago Battleaxe went to the current council offices, Muriel Matters House on the seafront, to harangue the Council about the threatened closure of Ore toilets. A more uninspiring low-rent beige corporate environment would be hard to find, so it was nice to see round the original Victorian Town Hall, built in 1881.
The old Council Chamber is now the Registry office for weddings. The photo is from the internet, because when we went the place was full of rather tacky-looking purveyors of wedding frippery… Pity they couldn’t get chairs to match the carpet better.  The former Mayor’s Parlour has also been done up as a ceremony room – very kitsch.

Council Chamber as Registry Office
Mayor’s Parlour – very kitsch
Firepalce in the old Council Chamber

We saw the only two panels on show from the Hastings Embroidery made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1966. The whole work, designed to be a modern equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry, is in storage somewhere – what a shame it can’t be put on display. We spoke to the Mayor, Nigel Sindon about it – he said that efforts are still being made to find a home for the Embroidery.  Here are two photos from the internet plus one from teh Town Hall. You can see it is a very fine piece of work.

As could be expected, there were many paintings of stiffly robed local dignitaries, but on the stairs, this, by Francis Grant, of Lady Annie Brassey as a young woman. The animals were painted by Landseer.

   We also saw this piece of needlework on display, produced in 1995 by the Co-operative Women’s Guild.  I was surprised to see there were no WI groups included…

   Then, long lists of Mayors and pictures of Mayors, and War Memorials. This is just a part of the sad list of locals killed in WW1. Sunday this week is an important day – the 100th anniversary of the end of the War in 1918.  I will be laying a wreath at the War Memorial in Ore Village on behalf of the WI – the wreath has been made from hand-knitted poppies produced by the members.

   Finally, this rather worn-looking chap stands outside the side door of the Town Hall. Prince Albert, who formerly stood proudly in his Memorial Clock Tower in the centre of town, was made homeless when the tower was sadly demolished in 1973.  He spent years stuck forlornly in a derelict greenhouse in Alexandra Park. He was recently restored and installed in his new position.
Battleaxe has just realised that this is the third recent blog post in which Prince Albert has featured…. see last post on the Houses of Parliament.

Abandoned in a derelict greenhouse.

Here is the Clock Tower soon after it was built in 1863. Some older locals still refer to the centre of town as ‘The Memorial’. It is quite confusing for us newcomers.


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