Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Burton St Leonards

Burtons’ St Leonards celebrates

It’s fingers crossed for good weather this coming Sunday, 5 August, when celebrations of James Burton’s 250th anniversary draw to a close with an afternoon of entertainment in, naturally, St Leonard’s Gardens.

From 2.30pm to 6pm, there will be live music, local singers, the Lindy Hoppers dance troupe, rescue dogs, a juggler and play activities for children. Culinary delights in the form of Pan Asian, Indian and Nepalese food are also promised, not to mention tea and soft drinks, a variety of stalls and a raffle.

The event has been organised by the Friends of St Leonard’s Gardens, Hastings & District Inter Faith Forum, Hastings Intercultural Organisation and Local Space. Entry is free.

Architect James BurtonArchitect James Burton (1761-1837) was the creative spirit who founded St Leonards in the late 1820s and 1830s, and whose son Decimus carried on the good work. James’ anniversary, and their joint achievement, was also celebrated at a gala dinner held last Saturday at the Royal Victoria Hotel by the Burtons’  St Leonards Society attended by HRH Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, patron of the Burtons’  St Leonards Society, David Allam DL, the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Guy Fearon, a kinsman of James and Decimus Burton, Amber Rudd MP (Hastings & Rye) and others.  A multi-course Regency banquet was provided by the hotel — including chowder, the roast beef of Old England, trifle and fine wines.

Elizabeth Nathaniels, an acknowledged authority on the history and architecture of St Leonards, recalled previous banquets in the same building (including in 1829), and stressed James Burton’s far‑sightedness in taking care of his workers and having regard for the residents of his Regency New Town.

The fireworks © Alex LeadbeaterTowards the end of the evening, fireworks were set off on the Seafront opposite the Hotel, to extended praise. Musical entertainment continued. Such details were in emulation of previous evenings in an exceptional town with a rich history — one whose national importance is slowly becoming recognised.


Guarding the heritage

The Burtons’ St Leonards Society was set up in the late 1960s following extensive development proposals in the heart of old St Leonards. Supporters were many and included John Betjeman, John Summerson (later a President of the BStLS) , Lady Longford, Walter and Leonora Ison (who had helped shift attitudes to Bath), J Manwaring Baines (author of a standard work on St Leonards), John Fearon, Christopher Maxwell-Stewart and many others —including Nikolaus Pevsner and Ian Nairn.

The central purpose of the society remains as ever to focus attention on defending the unique late-Regency character of the New Town of St Leonards-on-Sea  by encouraging  conservation of the work of James and Decimus Burton, promoting good design,  preventing unsympathetic development in the locality and stimulating a high standard of town planning.

Although the society is not opposed to innovation in development in principle,  it has spoken against development proposals such as the Archery Ground and the Convent which it regards as lacking in merit.

The Burtons’ St Leonards Society has organised guided walks every Wednesday throughout July and August at 2.30pm for a maximum of 20 per guide, leaving from the Royal Victoria Hotel. Walks take about an hour and a half. There is no charge but  donations are welcome – £2 a head is suggested as appropriate.

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Posted 10:57 Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012 In: 1067 & All That

Also in: 1067 & All That

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