Pilgrimage

Hastings Old Town
Pilgrimage

Life went on at home as best it could during the Great War. The report accompanying the original photograph in this then and now image states “Huge crowds of people witnessed the annual Roman Catholic Pilgrimage from St Mary Star-of-the-Sea Church to the Chapel in the ruins of Hastings Castle. The image shows the head of the procession passing the site of the Fishmarket (not pictured – but can be seen here) in Hastings Old Town”. The church of St Mary Star-of-the-Sea in Hastings Old Town was built on the site of an old farm house that was adjacent to the Bourne stream in 1883.

The original photograph was taken from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 26th August 1915.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage

Hastings Old Town

Ghosts of Carlisle Parade

Carlisle Parade
Ghosts of Hastings

Carlisle Parade has remained relatively unchanged in the years since this military parade took place. The question here is what is the military parade for? The original photograph was in the Hastings Forum, which is part of the 1066 Online website. Contributors there suggest it took place to mark the end of the Boer War, in which the 1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers took part.

At that time the Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers had adopted blue slouch hats with a blue plume upon their return from South Africa, and would still have been dressed in red tunics as shown here.

Through my work with the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser, I have found the answer. The photo is from a medal presentation ceremony by the Canadian Army, who were stationed in Hastings in February 1917. Further on in this post is copy of the article presented in the paper. It is likely to be the presentation of the Military Medal to Private W F Ede of the 52nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was awarded the medal for carrying a wounded comrade away from battle whilst under fire.

The merged image can be viewed in a larger size on my Flickr page by clicking on it, and the photo used to create the image are below.Carlisle Parade

Carlisle Parade

Military Medal Presentation

 

Royal Military Canal

Royal Military Canal

The Royal Military Canal stretches 28 miles from Cliff End at Pett to Seabrook at Hythe. This canal wasn’t created for trade however. It was built as a defensive line, a third line of defence against the expected invasion by Napoleon. Had he made an attempt to invade, he would first need to defeat the Royal Navy. That done the line of Martello Towers would next need to be overcome. If they made it past the towers, they would then face the Military Canal.

Started in 1804, it took 4.5 years to construct at a cost of about 19.5 million in today’s money. Napoleon was defeated at Trafalgar in 1805, which pretty much ended his ambitions of invading Britain. So the canal was obsolete by the time it was finished.

Royal Military CanalThere is a break in the man made canal; at Winchelsea where it meets the River Brede and at Iden Lock where it meets the River Rother. The rivers take up the job of being the water barrier. It is the third largest defensive structure in the UK, after Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke.

Royal Military Canal

A good defensive structure never ages, so when Britain was again under threat of invasion, this time by the Germans, it was again used as part of a network of defences. Pill boxes were constructed along its length, some of which are still around.

Royal Military Canal

The canal continues to serve an important function across Romney Marsh, acting as a source of water for irrigation during the summer and an outlet for flood water during the winter. It is also a haven for wildlife and fish as well as being very picturesque.Royal Military Canal

Bluebells

Bluebells

It is that time of the year when Bluebells have bloomed. They can be found in many parts of Europe, from Spain to Germany and they have been introduced to the USA as well. Luckily for Great Britain, we get the dense fields of them in woodlands which isn’t as common in the other places that they grow. We have perhaps 50% of the global population of the flower.

Dense patches of bluebells in forests are an indicator of ancient woodland, or in other words, the woods they grow in have been there since at least the 15th century. These woods will have developed naturally as cultivation of forests didn’t start until more recent times. There is plenty of woodland like that around Hastings and Battle. I’m lucky enough to live next door to some, and even better I don’t have to pay to enjoy them.

Where ever you find bluebells there are also Wood Anemones, another flower found in ancient woodland. It too is a pretty flower, but doesn’t get the attention that the bluebell does. As pretty at it is, it is fairly poisonous, so don’t be tempted to eat one.

These photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.Wood Anemone

 

The View from Rye Church Tower

Rye Church

The view from Rye Church Tower is fantastic and worth experiencing if you ever visit the town. It is accessed from inside the church for a small fee. The climb to the top takes you through very narrow passages and rickety steps. You’ll see an original 15th century clock mechanism, and a full array of the church bells. Interestingly, one of the original bells was stolen during a French raid during the 13th century. It was recovered the following year from Normandy during a raid by men of Rye and Winchelsea and put to use as attack warning bells. There it stayed for nearly 300 years before being restored to the church. The old bells were replaced entirely during the 1700’s and these are the ones on display now.

You can still get a good sense of how the town would have been when it was part of the Cinque Ports even though the landscape has changed substantially since.  The flat land that now makes up Pett Level and Romney Marsh would have been wetlands. The Rother would have been a substantial tidal river, five or six times wider than it is now. This map provides an idea how the land used to look.

These photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Rye Church

Flying the Union Flag

Union FlagThere are two Union Flags on the seafront in front of the De La Warr Pavilion. They stand out as the contrast well with the white painted cuplolas they stand next to. They also stand out because I don’t think that we see enough of the Union Flag flying in the country. I’ve only visited the USA once, but one of my memories of the trip was seeing the Stars and Stripes flying everywhere. Literally everywhere.

Now there is probably a whole series of books that could be written about the politics and history of our flag, but it comes down to being proud of where you come from. This is Great Britain after all. It would be nice to see the flag more.Union Flag

Birds on a Wire

Birds on a WireI liked this view of birds on a wire. The telephone pole and wires created interesting angles in the frame. It was taken at Winchelsea Harbour.

But what does the phrase ‘bird on a wire’ actually refer to? The song written by Leonard Cohen seems to have coined the phrase first, or at least brought it to mainstream attention. There are two possible meanings – if the answers on a Google search can be considered definitive. The first is a method of trapping birds by applying glue to overhead wires. The second refers to a bird that has a wire attaching one if its legs to a perch. So whilst it might be able to fly, it can only go so far. I think the second is the more plausible definition, especially when considering the lyrics of Cohen’s song, which are below.

“Bird On The Wire”
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

There was of course the 1990 film starring Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson, but that is best forgotten!

Cloud Formations

Cloud FormationsSeveral hefty cloud formations moved across Sussex earlier this week. These were patchy however and blue skies appeared in between the showers. The sun shining on these great formations of cloud created interesting skyscapes. The one moving out over the Channel from Hastings had been delivering wintery showers. These were taken along Pett Level.

These clouds looked very dramatic. They had delivered wintry showers to Hastings during the day, so perhaps the cold and the wind and the heat from the sun affected how they formed. I think though that with a little imagination, you could imagine these photos depict a meteor striking the sea.

Both images can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Cloud Formations

Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain MemorialThe Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent was built in 1993. The site is built on the White Cliffs and commands excellent views over the Channel and Folkestone. The memorial centre piece is a statue of a pilot, placed in the centre of a huge propeller created with paving stones. At the rear is a memorial wall with the names of all the ‘Few’ that were involved in the battle on the Allied side.Battle of Britain Memorial 3

A new visitor centre opened last year and offers an overview of the battle and a ‘Scramble’ experience to help people imagine what being a pilot was like during the battle, if a walk though and sound effects can ever achieve that.Battle of Britain Memorial 4

This photograph shows a great view of the area from above, and gives a good idea of the layout and design. Also on site are full size replicas of a Spitfire and Hurricane. The presence of the replica planes adds an important context to the memorial and provide a big impact on the children visiting the site.Battle of Britain Memorial

Each of these photos can be viewed full size on Flickr by clicking on them.

Workout near the Royal Victoria Hotel

Royal Victoria Hotel
Royal Victoria Hotel

The image shows a group of soldiers who are convalescing in Hastings being trained by instructors opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel, St Leonards. According to the article in the paper “Their smart action drew many favourable comments from onlookers”. Hastings and St Leonards had several auxiliary hospitals during WW1. These were; Old Hastings House in the Old Town, St John’s on Holmesdale Road, West Dene on Hollington Park, Bannow on Quarry Hill, St Leonards and Filsham Park in Dane Road. These housed soldiers who were recovering from their wounds, either for preparation of life carrying their injuries or for return to the Front.

The way that the seafront looked in 1916 changed considerably when Sidney Little started his refurbishment, but I found it interesting that the building that was previously there lines up precisely with the raised promenade.

The Original Image from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 30th November, 1916.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Royal Victoria Hotel

Royal Victoria Hotel

Royal Victoria Hotel