Looking Back
Historic Hastings
This article first appeared in the Hastings & St Leonards Observer  27th February 2015  Hastings & St Leonards Observer
"Hastings Guide, Fourth Edition" - Powell
Powell’s Hastings Guide, first published 1817
Powell's Hastings Guide

Powell opened a library at the eastern end of Marine Parade by the Fort or battery in 1813 and had been one of the publishers of Stockdale’s guide in 1817. That same year he published his own first guide book, “Hastings Guide” based on the historical content of Stell’s guide but also including a list of lodging houses. Two years later he produced a “Guide to the Lodging Houses at Hastings” as an appendix to Stockdale’s guide. In the meantime the national census reported that in 1821 the population of Hastings had risen to 5,768 and the following year Powell produced his second edition which included sketches by Stockdale and Redman and an updated list of amenities. The third edition appeared in 1823, very similar to the second but with updated Street directory and list of lodging houses this was further updated in the fourth edition in 1825. By the fifth edition in 1830 the growth of the town was reflected in the guide (1831 Census 8976 inhabitants) and the detail of the Street directory was no longer there being replaced with more general descriptions, of High Street, for example it says…contains the bank, principal houses of business 60 good lodging houses, and apartments, which are all sheltered from every wind. George Street apparently had 20 good houses and lodgings. Two versions of the guide were available, the smaller pocket edition only had a map of Hastings, a map of the environs of Hastings and an engraving of Powell’s library and the physically larger edition with 19 full-page lithographs by Rouse and the same engraving of Powell’s library and the same couple of maps. The area covered was much larger and the lithographs included five of Battle Abbey, two of Camber Castle, three of Winchelsea, in addition to those of Hastings and the immediate area. Powell’s final guide, the eighth edition, appeared in 1833 and was available with or without illustrations. Very similar to previous editions but with updated references to the lodging houses. Powell had kept up with technology, lithographs were quicker and cheaper to produce and could be printed on cheaper paper, the downside was that thinner paper showed the shadows of the previous page. The books all appeared to have been printed by Ransom in George Street with later editions by Ticehurst of Battle

Powell's Hastings Guide

Map from the fourth edition with the enlargement centred on Powell’s library, also showing Barry’s library and the Fort. On the left of the main map can be seen The Priory Bridge and White Rock Place also known as the America Ground. Notice on the right, road to Battle, Old London Road.

Powell's Hastings Guide

Right: This map of the Environs of Hastings area shows just how small the town was. Notice that St Leonards is yet to appear

Powell's Hastings Guide
   

Powell's Hastings Guide

Captioned by Powell as “View of the Entrance to Hastings from the cut rock East Hill.” A popular viewpoint showing an increasing number of houses. (From the 5th ed)

Powell's Hastings GuideCaptioned by Powell as “View of the Priory and Castle from the top of White Rock Hastings” and showing, in the centre of the bridge over the Priory stream, and behind it York Buildings. The Cliff is still not cut away for Pelham Crescent and houses are starting to appear on Wellington Square. The scattered buildings of The America Ground are lower right. (From the 5th ed)
Powell's Hastings Guide

Powell's Hastings Guide

Powell's Hastings Guide

Above: The only illustration in the pocket version of the fourth edition is this fine hand tinted engraving of Powell’s library with the battery on the right and West Street on the left.

Above left: Captioned by Powell as “view from white rock of Hastings, the Castle and East Cliff” the white rock was just that, a headland of white sandstone that prevented the building of a road to newly founded St Leonards. It was removed, with the aid of gunpowder in 1834/5. In the centre of the picture, just below the castle can be seen the first buildings of Pelham Place, the Cliff still hasn’t been cut away.(From the 5th ed)

left: Captioned by Powell as Hill Street and St Clement’s Church Hastings. The church is timeless, but the buildings on the left have been rebuilt, the ‘Ole in the Wall pub in has been and gone and no sign of cannonballs on the church tower. (From the 5th ed)

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