The General Havelock to the Pier and Back

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All Around The America Ground

This short walk reflects on the building of Hastings ‘New Town’ as Hastings began to develop as a seaside resort in the late 18th century. Once the America Ground was cleared, the developments began that would culminate in the creation of the pier and finally the promenade.

The fire wracked pier of 2010 has been reborn as a rejuvenated, modernist pier for the 21st century, shorn of tat, enabling uninhibited views of the whole of the sea front, if you walk to the very end.

It can be an invigorating walk, in a stiff south westerly with the waves crashing over the promenade, but in a lighter breeze and on a sunny day it is a leisurely stroll through the joggers, walkers and mums with pushchairs. There may even be time for an ice cream.

Details of this and other pub walks can be found ‘Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards’

The General Havelock

The start and finish is at the General Havelock where the outside tables and chairs tempt you for a drink, however weak the sunshine, but really, you must go inside the Havelock to stand in awe at some of the largest tiled murals in any pub in England. I will leave my look inside until the end of the walk.

*CAMRA quotes that ‘The General was built in 1857 and named after Sir Henry Havelock, a distinguished campaigner during the Indian Mutiny. The general himself cuts an imposing figure astride his horse in a tiled panel at the entrance. It dates, like the rest of the tiling, from a refit in 1889-90 and an inscription tells us it came from ATS Carter of Brockley in south-east London.’ These spectacular panels line the wall of what was once a corridor with one of the two larger murals shows a scene from the Battle of Hastings and the other large mural shows what is assumed to the crew of the Conqueror, Hastings fighting a shipload of French pirates. The third tiled painting shows Hastings Castle and on the wall by the back door is the General himself. The pictures date from between 1890 and 1917.

*(CAMRA Pub Heritage – Historic Pub Interiors – http://www.pubheritage.camra.org.uk/pubs/pubguide.asp)

The Havelock is a warm and welcoming, friendly house. Dark woods, benches, odd chairs and tables, a standard lamp all add to the lustre of a Victorian pub and of course, no machines. Food too is ‘proper’ food and today I could sample Tim Taylor’s Landlord and guests Wychwood Brewery’s Gold Hobgoblin and Wickwar Wessex Brewing Company’s Falling Star. For the cider drinkers, there was Weston’s Old Rosie Cloudy Cider. On another visit, Sharp’s Atlantic and Longman Best were the guests.

You can sit outside but that misses the point for the glory of the Havelock is inside.

Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards.

Available from Hastings Tourist Information

Mail Order: http://www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

For a full list of stockists and walks in the History Walk series see website

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

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