A virtual tour of the landmarks of Burtons’ St Leonards. The Society does also organise physical tours, please contact us for more information.
the grand tour
3. Assembly Rooms:Behind the hotel is the Masonic Hall, originally the Assembly Rooms, the centre of all social activities, where balls, concerts, public meetings and banquets were held. For the latter the food was prepared in the Hotel and brought across the road through an underground tunnel. Originally flanked to east and west by a pair of graceful villas, only the East Villa remains.
5. St Leonards Gardens:St Leonards Gardens were created around a wooded valley originally known as the Old Woman’s Tapshaw. The Gardens represent a unique page in English architectural history. Like Regent’s Park, which James Burton had helped to create in the 1820s, villas are scattered in and around the Gardens, forming the integrated landscape of a residential park.
8. Mercatoria:At the top of East Ascent is Mercatoria, the original service area of Burton’s town. On the corner with Norman Road, was Lavatoria Square, where the washerwomen lived and worked. Nearby, James Burton built the first National School in 1834 (now demolished). A new school was built at the top of Mercatoria in 1847 on land given by Decimus Burton.
15. North Lodge:North Lodge spans Upper Maze Hill and was originally built as a tollgate at the Northern entrance to St Leonards. Built by James Burton in 1830 to a mock Gothic castellated style. A toll road ran from here and joined up with the main London to Hastings Road. North Lodge became the family home to Jane Wood, James Burton’s daughter, and a later resident was Henry Rider Haggard who wrote King Solomon’s Mines amongst other well known works. The archway became damaged by a large vehicle in 2002 and following its repair has remained closed to vehicles since.
19. Archery Road:This is where the Archery Ground once stood and was home to the St Leonards Archers, who were founded in 1833. Princess Victoria presented the Archery Club with a special banner in 1834 and the archers became known as the Queen’s Royal St Leonards Archers after she was crowned queen. In the 1960s the grand villas on this land were demolished, the gardens bulldozed and the multi storey Hastings College was built. This brutal development amongst others prompted the formation of the Burtons’ St Leonards Society who have campaigned since their inception in June 1970 to conserve Burton buildings and promote quality town planning in the area.
22. Burton Family Tomb:Looking towards the beach from West Hill Road you can see the old burial ground of St Leonards Parish Church. The Burton family tomb in the shape of a small pyramid is positioned in the middle looking out to sea. This is where the architect himself, his wife and several other members of his family lie.
23. Crown House:Situated at 57 Marina, the Crown House is one of the most important buildings in Burtons’ St Leonards. This property was the first building to be erected in St Leonards and served as James Burton’s own villa during the construction of the town. The timber frame of the building was constructed in London and shipped by sea to St Leonards. The Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria stayed in No.57 during 1834-35 and after they left the building was renamed Victoria House. As Victoria was crowned queen the house was renamed again as Crown House and remains so today.