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West Street party A6

Launch of The West Street Chronicle

This weekend, a street party will be held in West Street in Hastings Old Town, to celebrate the launch of The West Street Chronicle: a free printed publication which aims to detail and memorialise the scarcely mentioned history of West Street. HOT’s Jordan Dixon writes.

On Sunday 29 July, 2-5pm, West Street will be closed off to traffic and there will be a whole host of activities, open studios, refreshments and games on offer – all free of charge. The street will be alive with the sound of live music from American singer/song-writer/musician, Thomas Truax, he of the self-made instruments and   disarming delivery. The celebration is part of a bid to keep West Street’s memories alive – and all in thanks to the work of the West Street Community Group.

Recounting history

Formed in 2017, the West Street Community Group consists of local residents, businesses and artists. In October of the same year, the group was awarded a grant of £10,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HTF) to support their upcoming publication, The West Street Chronicle. Alongside volunteers and fellow West Street enthusiasts, the group has spent the past year researching the forgotten history of West Street through conducting interviews and hosting local events.

Outside Incurva Studio in West Street

Outside Incurva Studio in West Street

According to the group, The West Street Chronicle will not serve as a concise account or a potted history. Only a small amount of their research will be presented in the publication, which they hope will capture the spirit of the street and disprove the idea that little has happened there. Their full findings will be archived at the Hastings History House from this autumn.

A dark, yet vibrant tale

Official archives show few accounts and local interest/historical books barely mention West Street. Yet, by searching through old records, street directories, newspaper archives and speaking to those with a personal connection, the group have unearthed a very checkered past. From crime and smuggling to desperate tales of infanticide, bankruptcy and suicide during the slum clearances of the 1930s. And also more uplifting tales – from fancy dress balls, plays, flower shows to an aquarium that once housed an alligator and octopus.

And then at the heart of the street, its many and varied residents – from fisherfolk and tea merchants, musicians and artists, to a champion swimmer and the president of the British Society of Trichologists.

So if you wish to rejoice and learn more about the street or simply want to engage with the community and enjoy some live music and entertainment, be sure to attend the festivities this Sunday and most importantly, celebrate the launch of The West Street Chronicle.

For those who wish to share their own memories or stories about the Street, you can get in touch with Project Coordinator, Lorna Crabbe at lornacrabbe@gmail.com or 07975 872075.

West Street Street Party, Sunday 29 July, 2 – 5pm.                                             Everything is free and all are welcome!                                                               For more information visit West Street Hastings or follow the group on Facebook (West Street Hastings) or Instagram (@west_street_hastings).

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Posted 17:07 Friday, Jul 27, 2018 In: One Long Party

1 Comment


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  1. Ms.Doubtfire

    West Street has always held a fascination for me ever since I became involved in a planning issue which sought to erect buildings which would seriously impact on neighbouring properties… only the really old towners seem to know anything about this little enclave. As a fairly recent newcomer to Hastings (12 years!) I am amazed how little is known about this little gem.
    Three cheers for those who recognise its importance…and I look forward to learning more about the history of this unique spot.
    Richard Price wrote an illuminating article for the Hottie on the planning issues in this street way back in 2016 and it is well worth a read. It illustrates how we must keep alert for any plans which seek to destroy the uniqueness of our town.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Jul 30, 2018 @ 09:36

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