The image above shows a merge of two photographs past and present in the area near Winkle Island in Hastings. The original photograph was taken in around 1900. Winkle Island is now an open space, home to the famous Big Winkle the symbol of the Winkle Club. This club was set up in the 1900’s with the aim of supporting under privileged families in the old town. The area was the a central meeting area for many of the town’s main events including Jack in the Green and Old Town Week, until the Stade Open Space was opened a few years ago.
The original image shows how far the net shops extended from Rock a Nore, and how the housing and shops extended onto where Bourne Street now is. Â Up until the 1960’s the old town’s High Street was the main thoroughfare. The rest of the old town was a tightly packed jumble of shops and housing, a small amount of which can still be seen today.
Increased traffic through the area meant that the council needed to come up with a solution to the problem. Their answer was to pave over the Bourne Stream that ran through the it, and drive a wide road through the heart of the old town.
I don’t know what decision making lead to that solution, however I wonder if the same one would be made today. There is a book on Amazon that might shed some light on how the council viewed the old town. This book, written by Richard Pollard is called Hastings Old Town Torn Apart 1850 – 1963. I haven’t read it, but think I should.
The two photographs used to create the image above are below. The original photo was taken from the East Sussex County Council Libraries Flickr page. The main image above can be viewed full sixe by clicking on it.