St Leonards in the newspapers, 1834-35

2 June 1834, Sussex Advertiser

On Thursday morning, the Bishop [of Chichester] consecrated St Leonard’s Church, before several of the clergy, and a respectable assemblage of individuals, according to the usual forms and ceremonies of consecrations [The day before he had carried out confirmations at St Clement’s in Hastings].

16 June 1834, Sussex Advertiser


NOTICE is hereby Given, that the Trustees of the Eversfield Estate and Mr Manser, of Rye, are ready to receive Proposals for clearing the Cliffe Ground, forming a Promenade, and Building a Wall on the Sea Side thereof, of about 4000 Feet in extent, on the Sea Frontage, between Hastings and Saint Leonards.

Specifications, &c., describing the work to be done, may be seen any day after the Ninth of June, instant, at the Offices of Messrs. CLAYTON, SCOTT, & CLAYTON, Solicitors, Lincoln’s Inn New Square; at Mr HENRY HARRISON’S, No. 31, Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London; at the Offices of Messrs. MANSER & JENNER, Solicitors, Rye; at Mr BEECHAM’S, Solicitor, Hawkhurst; and at Mr WALTER INSKIPP’S, 2, East Cliff Place, Warriors’ Gate, Hastings. – Persons desirous of Contracting for the Execution of the Works, are requested to send in their Proposals, directed to either of the above named parties, on or before the 19th day of June instant, marked “Tenders for the New Wall and Promenade, at Hastings.”

Satisfactory security will be required for the due performance of the Contract, and the Parties Advertizing do not engage to accept of the lowest Tender.

Hastings, 5th June, 1834

19 June 1834, Brighton Gazette

Several of our largest houses have been engaged this week for the summer season; there is every prospect of being a very early and full season. An entire new line of road will shortly be opened to the public, going direct from the South Saxon Hotel out to the Harrow, about 4 miles from Hastings, on the London road, which road will avoid all hills and be a saving of nearly 2 miles to the public. The Grand Parade and sea wall, extending from the archway at St Leonards to the White Rock at Hastings, in extent 4000 feet, will shortly be commenced, and completed in about three months; there are also several other new roads, with many other improvements, which will very shortly be completed. To the spirit of Mr Eldridge, the public and inhabitants of St Leonards are greatly indebted for the handsome manner in which he has come forward and started coaches from the Saxon Hotel, to all parts of the kingdom, as well as established an entire new line of posting, saddle horses, carriages for invalids, with every other accommodation and attraction for visitors.

26 June 1834, Brighton Gazette

TO HASTINGS AND ST LEONARDS. The Wonder, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday Mornings at Ten, through Lewes, Horsebridge, and Battle. Messrs. Eldridge and Avery, Proprietors. [A coach service]

2 August 1834, Bristol Mercury

The Roman Catholics have purchased six acres of land between Hastings and St Leonards, close to the sea; and are, it is said, going to expend 30,000l, in building a College, Chapel, &c. Some of the works are already commenced [The location of the Convent of All Souls, later Convent of the Holy Child. Identical wording was in numerous newspapers].

2 August 1834, Sun

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. A sea wall is contracted for her, to be built of the cliff rocks, which is to extend from White Rock Priory and join the wall already built at St Leonards, a distance of a mile and a half, for the purpose of forming a promenade. To attain a sufficient breath [sic], a considerable part of the cliff must be taken down, which will produce excellent stone of any dimensions, and form a most substantial wall, that will withstand the violence and raging of the winter’s storms for a long succession of years; the rubbish will, of course full up and make the road. It will be, probably, the most extensive promenade possessed by any watering place in Great Britain. It is intended, when the cliff has been taken down, to build a line of houses from White Rock, Hastings, to St Leonards, which will make it a most beautiful promenade, probably rivalling any on the sea coast. The stone is already being prepared, and it is said that some hundreds of men will be employed in the work…

14 August 1834, Brighton Gazette

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. No labour is spared to make St Leonards a place of great attraction. The inhabitants are cutting down and through the Cliff, at vast expence, a new London road to lead to the old one near Battle, which will not only shorten the distance considerably, but avoid the hill which the coaches are now subject to, in going round by Hastings.

The foundation of the wall between Hastings and St Leonards is now commenced, and workmen are busily employed in cutting down the cliff and getting stone prepared. There are about a hundred people employed, who make great progress. They are employed by piece work, and are to draw 2s 6d per day for a month, at the end of which their work is to be examined and valued, when whatever they earn more is to be paid them, and if less, the amount is to be deducted from their future earnings. All the materials are so close to the spot where the wall is building, that even 100 men will make great progress.

27 August 1834, Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser

The most sickly subjects are to be seen speeding to the healthiest places; but does one say when the bilious Nabob is on his road to Cheltenham, or the relaxed Citizen on his road to St Leonard’s, see the baneful effects of Cheltenham and St Leonard’s ! No; we refer their sickly condition to the place whence they have come, and not to the spot in which they seek recovery.

28 August 1834, Brighton Gazette

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. There are now more than 150 men employed in cutting down the cliff, and building the wall between Hastings and St Leonards. Mr Burton is extending the wall at his place yet farther to the westward, and is making every possible improvement.

25 September 1834, Brighton Gazette

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. St Leonards is quite full of company; not a house to be got. The hotels are one and all overflowing. To-day there are at least 6000 people on the race-ground, including a great number of fashionables.

On Monday, the 15th inst., the anniversary of the establishment of the St Leonard’s Dispensary, the Committee of Management, consisting of many of the most influential inhabitants of the town, presented Dr Harwood with a handsome piece of plate, in consideration of his kind and very successful attentions to the poor.

11 October 1834, Morning Herald

ST LEONARDS-ON-SEA, Oct. 9. – Sir John and Lady Conroy left the South Saxon Hotel yesterday, on their return to Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells. The object of the visit of the Gallant Officer was to make some arrangements connected with the arrival of their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria, who are expected in the course of three weeks to remain the winter. As it will be the first visit of the Heiress Presumptive and her illustrious parent to this new watering-place, their arrival will be celebrated with due eclat. The Duke and Duchess of Montrose, and Lord and Lady Gort, and the Hon. C. Vereker, are among the latest arrivals at the Albion Hotel. The new buildings here are “progressing” rapidly, but their locality is not so inviting as that of the old town; the cliffs are less bold and striking, and, from the white glare of everything around, the sun’s rays are reflected painfully upon the eye; the houses are also too numerous, and on too large a scale. There is a curiosity, however, at St Leonard’s, which every visitor ought to inspect – the “Caves of St Leonard’s”, as they are termed. The Troglodytes are a numerous family, am industrious labouring man, his wife, and seven or eight fine children, all clean and healthy, and respectable in their appearance. For the payment of a ground-rent, Mr Burton, the architect, has allowed the man to excavate the cliff, and to form for himself a commodious dwelling, in which are parlours, kitchen, bed-rooms, &c., most of them neatly floored, plastered, and whitewashed, and fitted up with every convenience. Besides these there is a more extensive apartment, just finished, distinguished par excellence as the saloon, intended specially for the accommodation of visitors – of parties who, in their rambles, may wish to seek a cool retreat from the sun’s rays, or from the din without, and are supplied with tea and other simple refreshments…

23 October 1834, Brighton Gazette

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. The last Royal Visitors that took up their abode at Saint Leonard’s were the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland and Prince George, who honored the place with their presence during the winter of 1832.

30 October 1834, Morning Herald

Sir John Conroy has been at Kensington Palace since Monday, on business connected with the improvements for the approaching departure of their Royal Highnesses for St Leonard’s-on-Sea. According to present arrangements, the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria and suite will leave Calverley House for St Leonard’s on Thursday next. Sir John Conroy returns to Tunbridge Wells on Saturday [This was the only occasion that Queen Victoria, as she was of course to be, visited the town]

Princess Victoria and the Duchess of Kent arrive in St Leonards. Brighton Gazette 6 November 1834
Continuation of article. Brighton Gazette 6 November 1834

6 November 1834, Brighton Gazette

The new concrete wall, joining the other at the west end of Verulam Buildings, and extending to the westward towards St Leonards, has been commenced this week. The mode of making the cement is said to have been much improved; engines for grinding the lime have been erected, which are worked by horses; and the composition is now mixed with boiling fresh water, prepared by large boilers on the spot; by which means, of course, a stronger cement will be produced than could be made with salt water.

20 November 1834, Brighton Gazette

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. On Tuesday the 11st instant, about one o’clock, as their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria were returning from an airing, when near Seymour Place, outside the east gateway, one of the carriage horses took fright and commenced kicking violently; however, through the prompt assistance of several gentlemen and the servants, no accident occurred. Their Royal Highnesses, without being alarmed, alighted from the carriage, and walked on the promenade for some time afterwards.

On Sunday, their Royal Highnesses with their suite attended divine service. We are happy to say that they take carriage airings and walk on the Parade every day, apparently in good health and spirits…

The Duchess of Kent has graciously allowed Mr Charles Southall, in future, to call his library “The Royal Victoria Library.” [The library was opposite what is now the Royal Victoria Hotel, close to the sea. Southall lived at 6 Maze Hill]

6 December 1834, Yorkshire Gazette

MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. We regret to state, that on Thursday morning, the 20th ult., off St Leonard’s, during a heavy gale of wind, Lieut. Frederick Gilly, R.N. (brother to the Rev. Dr Gilly, Prebendary of Durham Cathedral,) put to sea in a boat belonging to the 41st Tower Coast Guard, along with five able-bodied men, in the hope of saving the crew of a vessel in distress, when they were unfortunately upset in their brave and noble attempt, and every soul perished [The Cambridge Chronicle, 28 Nov 1834, adds that the vessel was a coal brig from Rye. The Captain and all hands had abandoned the vessel but Gilly thought that some men were still on board. The boat was found the next morning at Pevensey but no bodies. Subscription started for the widows and children of the deceased seamen, patronised by the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria. The Brighton Gazette, 27 Nov 1834, adds more details but gives a different motive for Gilly. The vessel was the sloop Good Intent, Captain Mellum, with a crew of four. Pumps were used to keep the sloop afloat, but when at 7 am the water had reached the cabin deck they abandoned ship and landed opposite no. 40 [Martello] Tower, commanded by Gilly. He suspected that the sloop was used for smuggling and, if not smuggling, he could try to salvage her. The St Leonards chapel burial register records, 31 Dec 1834, the burial of Lieutenant Frederick Gilly, RN, of St Leonards, [age] 37, in a purchased grave].

5 March 1835, Brighton Gazette

ST LEONARDS ON SEA. We are sorry to say that the last gale and very high tide have done considerable damage to the wall at the west end of St Leonard’s. More than a hundred yards in length have been washed down by the sea, with a considerable part of the ground filled up to the wall, which formed the Promenade; but there is a large quantity of stone ready, and it will no doubt be soon built up again. The concrete wall has stood well; and good progress is making.

23 April 1835, Brighton Gazette

HASTINGS. The Roman Catholics are inclosing with a stone wall the large piece of land which they have purchased near St Leonards. It has an imposing appearance. The report is that they are going to build a college; but it is not positively known. There can be no doubt, however, that it is intended for a very large establishment.

There is much building now in progress at St Leonards and Hastings, and at Precursor Place, White Rock.

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