Perhaps I’m descended from mermaids or maybe I fell in the sea when I was small. Whatever the explanation, regular readers will know I am a big fan of seaside towns, particularly those with a bit of history. My ramblings have taken you to such briny delights as Sandwich, Margate, Faversham and Brighton. So it won’t surprise you to hear that last weekend I persuaded Mr E we should have a quiet adventure in St Leonards.
St Leonards lies just west of Hastings – another favourite seaside town – so we parked in our usual place by the tall black net huts and set off on foot. Gusted along on a salty wind we were soon past Hastings town centre and heading off into new territory. On our way west we took a detour up a side street to investigate Dyke & Dean, an interiors shop in part of the original Printworks building for the Hastings Observer Newspaper. It’s great; housed in a handsome historical building and full of things I wanted to buy. I showed remarkable restraint and limited myself to a candle in a tiny terracotta pot.
Then we were off again, sea to our left, the varied and fascinating front of Hastings to our right. We paused at the building that used to be the Palace Court Hotel, an imposing place that looks in need of some serious care. There was a house clearance sale on the first floor, advertised by a scrawl on a piece of paper in the front window. Keen to see the interior we went in to have a look around. The sale was in a first floor room that was clearly once very grand and the stairwell up to it hugs a lift shaft that suggests the same thing. Curious as we always are about old buildings, we did some investigating when we got home. If you like battered old buildings, this site and this article give you some of the story.
Photos taken, we pressed on to Warrior Square, where we took a right turn and headed a block inland to Norman Road, an appealing street that’s home to several independent shops and café’s. Highlights included Shop, half gift and interiors shop, half café full of tasty looking cakes; Wayward, a vintage haberdashery shop, crammed to the ceiling with every kind of button and trim you could dream of and The Little Larder, a nice little café where we stopped for lunch.
Then it was time for home; legs stretched, curiosity piqued, another seaside town for the list.