Hastings Museum

From Historical Hastings Wiki

Summary[edit | edit source]

Although a Museum has existed in Hastings since 1890 at the Brassey Institute[1][2] , the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is currently based in what used to be a private residence known as John's Place, this giving its name to the road between the museum and Bohemia Road. Discussions with regards to the location of a new museum were reported in the Observer as early as 1921, Sidney Little, the borough engineer drew up plans for the conversion of this building in March 1923 suggesting that negotiations with the then owners were already in an advanced stage.[3]The premises were finally purchased for the sum of £7500 in 1927[4], the museum finally moving in during 1928. A planning application in August 1924 concerned a drying room and a store.[5]An extension was constructed to hold the 'Durbar Room' and 'Indian Collection'.[6]

Prior to John's Place being secured, there were plans to house at least part of the town's collection, particularly the 'Durbar Room' which Thomas Brassey had purchased and previously used to exhibit his wife's collection at his London home, in a new building on the opposite side to the White Rock Pavilion in Schwerte Way with a building similar in style to the pavilion (this room having been in storage in a council warehouse for a number of years).

Other locations that were considered were a purpose built building in Hickman's Field (Near the junction between Cambridge Road and White Rock Road) and a further location that had been ear-marked some years previous in White Rock Gardens.[7]

Key Collections[edit | edit source]

Key exhibits in the museum are local history, natural sciences, fine & decorative arts, and world cultures.

Local History & Grey Owl[edit | edit source]

There is a gallery relating to the local area from prehistory to the Saxons. A series of dioramas of locally found wildlife occupy a further gallery on the first floor. The Native North American collection relates the life of Hastings-born conservationist Archibald Belaney on the American plains, who adopted the name "Grey Owl".

Archaeology[edit | edit source]

The Museum has a large Archaeological collection including around 2,500 flints and over 10,000 excavated artefacts. Many of these come from sites in and around Hastings; these permit a picture of human habitation locally to be developed from prehistory to the medieval period. Excavated material from as far away as South Africa, Japan and South America is also on display.[8]

Durbar Hall[edit | edit source]

The Durbar Hall having been built for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition by Lady Brassey 1886, was donated to the museum in 1919 as part of the Brassey Collection. This is now available as a venue for weddings and the adjoining art gallery utilised for many lectures and music recitals.

Burton Collection[edit | edit source]

There is also a Burton Collection relating the London developer of St Leonards (James Burton and his architect son, Decimus) held by the Museum.[9]

In total, there are almost 100,000 exhibits.

Curators[edit | edit source]

From To Curator
1905 1935 William Ruskin Butterfield
1935 1972 John Manwaring Baines
1972 1982 David Devenish
1982 2008 Victoria Williams
2008 2018 Cathy Walling

Since 2018, the internal structure of the museum's staff changed, the role of curator being merged with several others and merged and changed into different roles.[10]
Current Staff are;
Damian Etherington is Museum and Cultural Development Manager (2018 - present)
Eleanor Lanyon is Collections and Engagement Curator (Human History) (2019 - present)
Philip Hadland is Collections and Engagement Curator (Natural Sciences) (2019 - present)
Lisa Finch is Collections and Engagement Curator (Fine Art) (2019 - present)

  1. A Victorian Traveler in the Middle East: The Photography and Travel Writing of Annie Lady Brassey By Nancy Micklewright Pg.89 Google Books
  2. Hastings EUS 2010
  3. The Keep ACC7026/109
  4. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 30 April 1927 pg. 3
  5. The Keep DH/C/6/1/9369
  6. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 16 May 1931 pg. 13
  7. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 03 January 1925 pg. 10
  8. VIPA UK
  9. National Archive of the UK
  10. Email received from Ben Ellis, Operations Co-ordinator HMAG