Some feedback: Finally got a chance to read the West Street Chronicle, could hardly put it down, and that is unusual for me to read more than a page nowadays. Very interesting, great project.
Thank you so much for sending the copies of the West Street journal. I have already read it from cover with a mixture of sadness, joy and very happy memories. I shall treasure my copy and pass the other one to my brother when I see him later in the year.
The Chronicle is a triumph - I’ve dipped in and out of it (and made myself late quite often, as it is so very engaging!) and I’m hoping to sit down and read it cover to cover, as all that information makes it more like a whole book of information, contained in a magazine. The quality of the content, layout, photos and paper quality makes it a very special keepsake. I’m intrigued to hear that there is even more information about West Street still available - I so hope you can manage to get the funding to publish a second magazine or, even better, a series. Thank you so much.
All the feedback we have had - and we have spoken to many visitors this week who have picked up the Chronicle has been full of praise for the groups work. We too think it is a great achievement. The legacy will be the continuing interest of participants and the wider public who have the Chronicle to explore the streets where they live and where their families lived, worked etc.
I really like the mag - high quality, interesting, well designed and well written ...and I love it being free, too,
The West Street Chronicle was wonderful, I read it from cover to cover!
What a brilliant street party! You did fantastically well, against the weather odds particularly. Everyone was very happy and chatty, and it was a great way to meet some more neighbours and make new friends.
Well done for such a fantastic Street Party on Sunday, despite the weather. I have also been hearing lots of positive feedback from other people with regards to the day, the project and Chronicle.
Really enjoying having a read through of The West Street Chronicle, written and published by @lornacrabbe @west_street_hastings. It’s a delightful skip through time, encompassing the characters who lived and worked in this ‘shady & magnificent’ place, with intriguing snippets such as... George Chapman (local shopkeeper) who poisoned three of his partners and considered as a suspect for Jack the Ripper 😱The house that’s been a tattoo parlour, warehouse, granary and home to political cartoonist Martin Honeysett... Norman the seagull, who was so beloved that, when he had arthritis, he was taken to Mallydams (a nature reserve - let me tell me you of the most disastrous school trip I once had there) but returned to spend his last days on the back step of the (aptly named) Seagull Restaurant. My mother was particularly delighted to read of Biddy the Tubman (who she knew as ‘Biddy in the Tub’), a local character who used to paddle about in the sea in half a barrel, apparently naked but for ‘something about his loin’ as she put it.
Both events were really well done - the Winter Salon brought a sense of magic to West Street that I wouldn’t have imagined possible and this year’s street party led to lots of conversations with local people I’d never spoken to before. It generated a real sense of community which I hope will be maintained and built upon. The Chronicle created a real buzz in the early weeks it was being distributed - I’d see lots of people standing around reading it at unrelated events and I’ve genuinely only heard praise for its content - both the depth of research and its production values, which meant people found themselves unexpectedly absorbed by it and ended up grabbing extra copies for friends and family members. I’ve spoken to lifelong Hastingers who were surprised at how much they learned while reading it.
A job well done, thank you. The Chronicle was brilliantly done and the profile of the street has been raised. Keep on going.
It was a brilliant afternoon, you all did yourselves proud. Congratulations.
Hope you do it again!.
Thanks for posting me a copy of your publication. I am truly impressed with the quality of the production, and absolutely love the map. Many congratulations on bringing your project to fruition,
Well done for putting on a great event, despite the weather. We were glad to be a part of it.
Congratulations on your West Street party last weekend. Your publication was splendid, very well written. My friend loved the event too.
Brilliant, well-run project of real local community interest. The chronicle was really great, too - a lasting and widely circulated record of the research and well liked by all.
Thank you for this, it means so much. I can't believe this is happening all the years my Mum has been talking about Uncle Jack.
Just wanted to say how well your West Street Chronicles has been going down this weekend during open studios..People love it and have been saying what a beautifully put together thing it is! If you've got any for next weekend it would be great to have some more.
Well done for today! What a splendid lot of work you put in to everything and the publication looks amazing!
The wind and rain didn’t put anybody off from having a fantastic time at the West St Street party today. Well done everybody.
Keep meaning to say how brilliant The West Street Chronicle is. Look out for your free copy in Old Town. A brilliant, in depth bit of social history that looks beautiful too!
I found it a very interesting read. Fascinating characters that lived there over the years. I hope West Street continues to get the support it needs.
I remember the first time I found myself in West Street, I didn’t even know it was there. It’s a lovely little street and I look forward to it coming alive again. I’ve got the Chronicle, it’s so interesting and a lovely thing to keep.
Unfortunately missed the party but love the chronicle and think it was a really worthwhile project. Once the people go their stories are lost and I think it's important to collect these stories, old and new, for the history yet to come. Well done on a super publication and lots of hard work.
This is what West Street could look like. Sunday’s Street Party in the rain. Thanks to all that helped a new Street Party tradition might be on the cards. West Street a name to remember.
I loved the Chronicle and also enjoy the daily Instagram pics of West St.
Fantastic!!! What a great achievement !
This is really wonderful & West Street is lucky to have you as an archivist to curate it's history. Wow....how amazing to find these things out… love seeing this & it's connections to my family.
Well done! Loved the momentary greening of West Street with the silver birch tree at the end of Russell Court, would that it could be permanent! Impressed with the the edition of the West Street Chronicle too.
Everyone wants a copy of the West Street Chronicle!!! Please bring some next week if you have any spare!! It’s beautiful, well done!
Many congrats on your project. Over the years I have often thought about doing a very similar project in my own area but I always abandoned the idea because I could not envisage getting enough people interested in it. So GOOD ON YOU for taking it forward and completing it. Maybe you will inspire me to do the same?
May I take this opportunity of thanking you for organising the West Street Project which to me was so worthwhile. It was so good to meet family-in-law who I had no idea existed and exchange stories about our relatives. The icing on the cake was that you now occupy the house that my relatives used to live in. This brought back so many memories of my childhood in the 50s when I used to regularly visit the house and walking up the stairs reminded me of those days. I hope that my input has been of help and congratulate you on producing the wonderful West Street Chronicle which gave me further insight into life in the street over the years. I hope that we can keep up the West Street momentum in the future.
Very original weekend to highlight a street that is often forgotten about and not regularly walked down in Hastings but in reality has a lot going on. Really good range of entertainments, activities and arts for all ages. The street looked very pretty and enticing at night and made you want to explore it and find out what it had to offer. I was really impressed with had been put together in a very short space of time and the quality of the events. Also, a strong community feeling from the artists involved on the street, who were very welcoming.
I thought it brought the most creative thing I have ever seen in the old town. Superb
Great event! Can it be annually? Loved the snail, exploring the undiscovered nooks n crannies of West Street. The pink panther Nativity was class and the atmosphere felt exciting in the streets. Thank you for your hard work. Look forward to seeing more unfold.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the swap shop and came away some incredibly useful items. I also visited the studio gallery on West street and bumped into a friend who I hadn't seen for a while who also came to the swap shop. There was a great atmosphere around West street and I enjoyed following the snail around, walking after a snail should be a new initiative to help reduce stress! The magic show was also special, old fashioned fun reimagined in a digital age. Looking forward to more adventures on West St!
I am still stunned by the truly first class performance of a Christmas Carol.
We had a lovely time. I thought the event sat beautifully into a well crafted programme – the events looked individual and distinctive but symbiotic under the theme of community engagement. Thanks so much for inviting us. A great project to be involved with.
I thought the events made West St into a lively, fun, creative space, outside as well as inside. The weekend allowed the public to see some of the interesting things that go on inside the buildings on West St all year long, and also enabled the residents of the street to collaborate and get to know each other, creating a tangible sense of community. It felt like the event really utilised all the different activities that people on West Street are involved with to create a unique, creative and inspiring event. The whole weekend sat really well within Hastings' character as a town of diverse and fun community driven events. It was nice that it didn't feel in any way commercial or formal, it was clearly being organised by the local community for the benefit of the local community, and for others from further afield. It felt like a good aside from the other Old Town Christmas events that were going on that weekend - slightly more quirky, less about shopping, more about showcasing and bringing awareness and liveliness to a street that can be easily overlooked, despite being right in the centre of all the hustle and busyness of the Old Town.
I was told to come and see what is going on, on West Street. Nothing ever happens on this street! This is fantastic!
The Winter Salon in West Street was a resounding success, from the giant snail to the intimate and highly entertaining magic show. The combination of acts throughout the day reached new audiences and put West Street back on the map in Hastings Old Town.
It was fantastic particularly the snail - what a hilarious and engaging spectacle for my daughter and her friends who absolutely loved it. But most of all, the Duo Bogof was quite entrancing - we stumbled upon it and all of us, adults and kids, were completely wrapt by it.
I feel that it gave the Old Town Christmas event the magic it needed. Also the nature of involving the arts and street performance, it attracted a different group to that side of the Old Town.
Thanks for bringing life into that beautiful space again.
Having walked down and latterly lived on West Street since the turn of the century, I’ve always felt aggrieved when I’ve heard it being maligned by the few locals who even know where it is. While it’s often dismissed as run-down or seedy, I’ve always thought of West Street as one of the area’s more cinematic routes, possessing a depth of character that has been scrubbed or planned out of many of the Old Town’s more gentrified thoroughfares. For me, much of the delight of the Illuminating West Street weekend came from seeing how new visitors - or those who had previously used the street as a cut-though without ever really paying attention to their surroundings - looked up, paid attention and discovered something that had previously eluded them. The Old Town isn’t short of events and processions, but the The High Street and George Street are (over)familiar to all locals and well-served by guide books and postcards. Illuminating West Street drew people away from the familiar with cannily-placed lights and sculptures and then encouraged them to crane their necks further to take in architectural quirks they wouldn’t otherwise have noticed, or to stroll behind a giant mollusc at a literal snail’s pace, breaking off to explore hitherto unnoticed side-streets and twittens. The excellent performances and workshops also did a great job of drawing people into forgotten or underused spaces - Simply Italian looked nothing like my memory of it! A really successful event, I thought and it was a blast seeing the daytime heads-down schleppers and nighttime belligerent drunks that usually populate the street replaced with newcomers drawn in to share a sense of wonder. I look forward to seeing how the project will develop and what events will materialise in the summer.
The Winter Salon on West Street was able to transform the atmosphere and street scene over the weekend. In one way West Street become just another Hastings Old Town street populated by a wide variety of locals and visitors enjoying being out and about. People going shopping, drinking and dining followed lights and highly original window displays and wandered through twitterns and alleys to find themselves on West Street. An Open Studio, a cabaret act, a giant snail leading a parade, enticed people to walk up and down the street and also to find themselves connecting through West Street onto the Seafront where an event hub "Simply Italian" hosted more fun with free workshops events. Through this project West Street became a popular conduit from George Street to the Seafront and people remarked that they had not been down the street before nor known about the shops and businesses on it.
The popular Winter Salon events brought to the fore the realisation that West Street is an overlooked street. Alleys leading to and from the street are rather charmingly paved and lit. The buildings are all different and unique with cottages and light industrial building side by side, jammed together in the same way as other better known picturesque areas in Hastings Old Town. The downside of the street, that is a large number of bins and ugly features such as air conditioning units became less prominent. There were others things to notice instead. West street was used more by people and this thad an immediate effect on the vibe of the street. Previous to the event when local shop owners and residents were handed a postcard about the winter salon some people had remarked that it was not somewhere to go since it was a place characterised by anti social behaviour and rubbish. That negative scenario was lifted by these Winter Salon events.
The free Christmas crafts workshops held at Simply Italian; sewing and antler making were attended by about forty families. The activities were set up as drop style that was expected to take half an hour. In the end we were surprised to see many families settle in for the whole afternoon. Even though Christmas is a busy time of year with lots of shopping and tasks to do, it was clear that parent making crafts with their children and hanging out with other families in a relaxed, safe and welcoming place was very popular. Parents said they were happy it was a non commercial stress free event perfect for the holidays. The free swap shop was also very popular. The simple idea of not spending money but sharing lovely and unusual items was most welcome to families who stated they are under enormous stress around Christmas to spend more than they can afford.
The events at Simply Italian were really enjoyable, well organised and accessible. The performance of A Christmas Carol was a wonderfully cosy event. The performers were stunning and had the audience spellbound. It was perfect for the space, town and tone of the event. The Friday night event was a lot of fun, creating a buzz of activity that linked well with the late night Christmas opening in the old town. My studio on West Street was open on the night. The Illuminating West Street event added to the footfall and added some magic to the evening with street impromptu performers dropping by. The whole event has helped to get West Street known as a distinct place rather than just “the little street behind George Street”.
As an independent artist with my studio based on West street, the Illuminating West Street event provided invaluable support to my small set up. The event attracted many people to the usually quiet street and as a result I had a steady flow of people through my doors interested in seeing my exhibition and pop up shop.
Our whole family loved it. It was a great compliment to the old town Christmas weekend adding quirky entertainment which had us all amused, there are not many events which can captivate 2 year olds and 40 something year olds! It was a great atmosphere on West Street and brought a new light to the area for us. It would be a lovely annual event!
It was a great weekend; it really brought to life the character and history of West Street. Sybil was wonderful and I liked Peter Quinnell’s window, it was very popular. It was good to see so many people explore the area who would normally have not strayed from George Street and on a practical level I hope it helped businesses along there (I certainly spent money!).
It was a good idea to link this first attempt in West Street with the Christmas event organised by the Old Town traders. Bringing Sybil the Snail to the event was a brilliant idea and an enormous success.
I didn’t see her but I heard so much about the snail! I had the sense of the community coming together for something weird, wonderful and a bit special.
I was so busy (which of course was a good thing) I didn't have a second to stick my head out of the door!”