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A bleak day at St.Leonards on sea and a Sony Z2 smartphone
I quickly learn that everyone here has an opinion on regeneration.St Leonards, alongside the adjoining Hastings, formerly one of the most economically deprived districts on the south coast, is undergoing a revival of which many seaside towns can only dream. Hastings has been on the up for some years now, its hilly Old Town, bucolic cliff-top parks and pedestrianized George Street attracting both creativity and London wealth.
St Leonards’ rise has been slower: a grandiose, purpose-built resort founded by 18th-century architect James Burton, who had developed large areas of Bloomsbury and Regent’s Park, it attracted artists and writers including Turner and Rossetti, as well as the super-rich, in its heyday, but declined sharply in the 1980s and 1990s, and has begun to recover only in the past few years. St Leonards has an art college, and its natural beauty has always attracted an artistic following, but there weren’t any outlets until the influx of £400m European grant in 2002.
But if there’s only so much art you can take, Hastings and St Leonards brim with quirky shops, too, perfect for a Saturday afternoon mooch. Hastings Old Town’s attractive boutiques include local craft haven Made in Hastings and the enviable Judges deli and bakery, run by Green & Blacks founders Craig and Jo Sams. Over in St Leonards, Norman Road – which some glossies have termed “the new Portobello” – is a characterful climbing terrace of peeling pastel shops and galleries.

Click on the smartphone images to reveal a gallery


There are 10 comments on this post
  1. February 13, 2015, 3:33 pm

    Great shots James! I remember when St Leonards really was the end of the line . . .

    • February 16, 2015, 4:22 pm

      A huge thanks Patti and it is always great to hear how other people have found and viewed St Leonards over the years from its hardships to the beginnings of regeneration. I just hope it does not lose its soul or the characters who have helped develop its quirkiness. Hope you have a great week

  2. February 09, 2015, 12:25 am

    J. Aha! Did you find TEDDY TINKERS…at the top of that incredibly steep hill in St. Leonards-on-Sea? And…Hasting’s hilly streets, roof lines, and yes quirky shops…including that great coffee shop. You find it? Smiling at your own photos plus your commentary…remembering an absolutely wonderful holiday. R.

    • February 16, 2015, 4:04 pm

      R. Glad the images invoked some happy memories of your visit to good “old blighty” and I know of Teddy Tinkers but I did not visit , just had a good old much around the old town of Hastings, ginseng gardens, the beach and a visit to Lucy Bells photography gallery in St Leonards on Sea.J

  3. February 08, 2015, 9:26 pm

    Great photos … and informational too. Looks like St Leonards is yet another place I have to stop and see — if, and when, I ever make it back to England again.

    As for the smartphone — amazing the quality of pics one can take with one’s phone these days!

    • February 16, 2015, 4:00 pm

      Thanks very much John and I have to admit the quality of the images on this Sony phone have rather surprised me. Hope you get a chance to pop back to “blighty” and may be we could hook up. Hope all is good with you and have a great week.

  4. February 08, 2015, 8:50 pm

    A really nice set James; really interesting.

  5. February 08, 2015, 5:10 pm

    Beautiful work as always, James. Good to see you drifting just a little further up the beach and capture some of the strangely glorious decay of this part of the south coast.

    • February 16, 2015, 3:58 pm

      Thanks very much Mike and sorry for the late reply. It is always fun to explore somewhere new and I am sure I shall be visiting this part of the Sussex coast again. It really does have a good vibe!

Coastal and Landscape Photography, UK

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