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Gallery: Churches of East Sussex
by Peter Kessler, 12 July 2019
Hastings & St Leonard's Part 1: Churches of Hastings
Wellington Square Baptist Church in
Hastings is on the northern side of the square after which it is
named, facing out onto the east side of Albert Road. The square (to
the right of the photo) was an early high-class residential build in
Hastings, erected in the 1820s on the site of former lime kilns. The
Baptist church was integrated into the square in 1838. Arched sash
windows, stucco, an unbroken parapet, and moulded cornice give it a
Robertson Street United Reformed Church
was built in 1884-1885 by Henry Ward as Hastings Congregational
Church. It replaced an early Lombardo-Gothic building of 1856
on the same site. The narrow main entrance faces east, on the north
side of Robertson Street, surrounded by shops, but the full facade
is visible here on the southern side of Cambridge Road, opposite
Priory Street. It was still URC in 2012, but by July 2018 was known
as His Place Community Church.
The Tabernacle Evangelical Church lies on
the south side of Cambridge Road, twenty metres east of the Cambridge
Gardens junction and two doors west of the URC (above). Charles Pavey
founded the church in 1854 for an Independent Calvinistic congregation.
By the 1970s it had become a Free Evangelical church, and the interior
fittings were reordered to cater for the changed form of worship. The
exterior with its five tall lancet windows remains unchanged.
The Parish Church of Holy Trinity Hastings
sits at the south-western corner of Trinity Street and Claremont,
and filling the northern side of the v-shaped block formed by
Robertson Street. The church was built during the 1850s - a period
of great growth for the town - by prolific and eccentric architect
Samuel Sanders Teulon, a proponent of the mid-Victorian Gothic
Revival. It is Decorated/Early English in style, distinguished by
its opulently appointed interior.
The site was taken after another in the town
proved to be unsuitable, with a landslip occurring after work had
started on the building's foundations. The new site was a compromise
due to its odd shape. Robertson and Trinity streets were both formed
when the railway arrived in the town in 1851, with squatters' shacks
on undeveloped wasteland being cleared for that purpose. The church
took eight years to build - seen here from the rear - but a planned
tower was never added.
Hastings Christian Spiritualist Church can
be found in what is little more than a narrow shop doorway on the
western side of Claremont, at the junction with Robertson Street,
and overlooking Carlisle Parade. Unlike the grand spiritualist
buildings that can be found in other towns and cities, such as
Ilford Spiritualist Church in London, or even Canterbury Spiritualist
Church in Kent, this branch is much more modest in its appearance.