Royal Standard (Town Centre)

From Historical Hastings

This public house at 24/25 Robertson Street opened in 1852 with Mr. Linfield being listed as the landlord.[1].

Built in 1851 at a cost of £1,500, its official opening dinner was attended by nearly 90 local dignitaries and most of Robertson Streets first shopkeepers.

The pub originally operated with a beer licence because the Crown Estate (upon whose land the pub was built) stipulated that "no taverns or public houses be allowed without a special licence from the Crown Lessee". It is however still to this day the only public house on the Crown Lands/America Ground, although there are other licenced premises.

After a few months of operation a full licence was sought and granted, the first licensee being Henry Baldock. Baldock left after less than a year though and was replaced by Mary and Anne Eldridge, who renamed it the "Priory Family Hotel". It carried this name for just 2 years though, reverting back to the Royal Standard in 1854.

The next name change occurred in the early 1900s when it became the Henekey's "Sussex Wine Stores". The final name change to "French's" was in the late 1970s and is named after John French, a notorious Hastings born Smuggler who had lived on the America Ground. He was arrested in his bed after customs officials burst into his property and carried him away to the prison at the Bourne[2]

In 2001 a large mural was painted on the wall opposite the pub, showing how the America Ground may have looked in the 1830s. Following the closure of French's, in 2022 a meze and cocktail bar called 'Leyla' offering what was described as an "authentic Turkish dining experience"[3].


References & Notes