First Hastings News

The first long-living Hastings newspaper was published for the first time. The Hastings and St Leonards News, based in 42 George Street, cost 3 pence. It was published initially by William Ransom jnr, but that August he became ill and his father, William Ransom snr, took over. The first letter in the News complained about the large number of “street beggars” in the town, causing “a serious annoyance to visitors, and therefore an injury to the prosperity of the place”.


Mayday – May 1 – was celebrated around the town, with the “shovel and broom gentry” in their “annual bal masque”. A wide range of characters, including Jack in the Green and the “characters of the soot bag”, were “tripping it on the light fantastic toe”.

New Yacht

Launch of the new 10 ton pleasure yacht British Lion on May 1 from the shipyard at Caroline Place, becoming the largest public pleasure boat on the beach. Built for Messrs Payne and Bumstead.


Hastings magistrates gaoled a man for a week for begging. He was in a “miserably ragged condition”, with one foot bound up, and his head “all in an uproar”.

The Poor

A letter in the News claimed that people could live in Hastings unemployed for the 7 or 8 months of winter, thereby attracting “the idle and ill-disposed to make our town their home”. Many other letters in coming weeks echoed these sentiments.

Immoral Young Fishermen

A High Street resident complained bitterly about the fishing class: “I would more especially direct your attention to the juniors; those chiefly from the age of 10 or 12 to 30: to their disgusting language, poured forth with stentorian lungs: to their obscene practices, even in broad daylight, and of which, from my own windows, I have been a daily witness.” The editor of the News was particularly concerned about “the deep depravity of morals which characterises that unhappy class”, the “victims of ignorance and vice”.

Beach Bye-laws

Hastings Council clamped down on the expanding beach trades by creating tough new bye-laws regulating the use of the beach by pleasure boats, their capstans and bathing machines, and introducing charges for them. Ladies bathing machines were the only facilities allowed to use the beach in front of Pelham Place.


This was Whit Monday, the liveliest day in the town’s annual calendar. Large numbers of people came in from the surrounding countryside, and all kinds of fun, games and events took place. The three benefit societies hold processions and rural sports were on the East Hill. A ghost of the traditional two-day Whitsun fair was held in the Fishmarket (the fair was dying out).

Fishermen Drown

Two Hastings fishermen, Joseph Swaine and Mark White, were drowned when their boat Henry was run down at night three miles off Fairlight by another vessel, probably a large brig sailing out of Rye Harbour.

Courthouse Street Extended

Hastings Council was told that Union Street, uniting the High Street and All Saints Street by extending Courthouse Street, was finished; £455 was spent on buying properties and then clearing them away, particularly 86 All Saints Street and three cottages in its garden. The town’s stocks had to be moved, as they were in the way; they were placed closer against the gaol at the end of the original Courthouse Street. The stocks were last used in 1848, and were removed in 1853.

Juvenile Crime

Thomas Mann, a fishing boy aged 13, was sent to Battle House of Correction for 14 days for stealing a turnip from a field at Ore, and for the physical attempts by his friends to stop him being arrested.