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WE have elsewhere remarked upon the origin and early history of this fashionable watering-place and at the same time traced its connexion with those once important towns, the Cinque Ports: on the present occasion we propose to occupy our space with its modern features, and to include a brief notice of its more aristocratic neighbour, St. Leonards. The older streets, that lie close under the hill and stretch up towards London, are narrow and inconvenient; they are mostly occupied as shops, but new ranges of smart and commodious dwelling- houses have been built on every hand. For many years the visitors to Hastings had to submit to the inconveniences attendant upon a residence in a small fishing-town; but these have now been removed, and hotels and private lodging-houses, provided with the entire luxuries of modern requirement, are to be found in abundance. The rapidity with which Hastings can be reached from the metropolis, while it has greatly increased the number of its visitors, has, perhaps, robbed it of part of that exclusiveness for which it was formerly distinguished.  It is now the summer resort of a large and constantly increasing number of the middle class, who derive a new stock of health from its genial breezes, and bracing waves, while their expenditure forms the support of the large and constantly increasing resident population.

Of St. Leonards, we may remark that it is quite a creature of our own day.  Mr. Burton, the architect of a large part of the buildings about the Regent’s-park, commenced the formation of a new town here in 1828. His plan was conceived on a bold scale, and was very fairly carried into execution. A noble esplanade extends for more than half a mile along the beach. A handsome range of buildings, called the Marina, some five hundred feet in extent, stretches along the seafront of the town, with a covered colonnade of the same length. Other terraces and scattered villas, bearing in character a considerable resemblance to those in the Regent’s-park, were also erected, together which a church, assembly-rooms, bath-houses, and hotels of large size and the most complete arrangements. There are also pleasure grounds and ocher contrivances for the amusement or comfort of visitors. St. Leonards has been able to boast of a large array of noble and distinguished visitors from its earliest infancy. Her present Majesty heads the Est, she having, when Princess Victoria, resided with her mother, in 1834, at the western end of the Marina. The Queen Dowager is also among the names it delights to remember. The house in which she lived is now called Adelaide House. Among its literary visitants Campbell has perhaps the first place, he having left a permanent record of his residence at it in the Lives on the View from St. Leonards: —

“Hail to thy face and odours, glorious Sea!

‘Twere thanklessness in me to bless thee not,

Great, beauteous being! In whose breathe and smile

My heartbeats calmer and my very mind

Inhales salubrious thoughts, how welcomer

Thy murmurs than the murmurs of the world!

Though like the world thou fluctuates, thy din

To me is peace, thy restlessness repose.

Ev’n gladly I exchange yon spring-green lanes,

With all the darling field-flowers in their prime,

And gardens haunted by the nightingales

Long trills and gushing ecstasies of song,

For these wild headlands and the sea mew’s clang.

“With thee beneath my windows, pleasant Sea!

I long not to o’erlook earth’s fairest glades

And green savannahs — Earth has not a plain

So boundless or as beautiful as thine.”

St. Leonards was originally a mile and a half distant from Hastings; but the old town has stretched out its arms to its youthful progeny. The Grand Parade was the first step towards uniting them; and now other places have sprung up, and they are fairly joined together. The esplanade now reaches, with hardly an interruption, from the Marine Parade at Hastings to the Marina at St. Leonards, and forms probably the finest walk of the kind in the kingdom.

The vicinity of Hastings is replete with objects of interest, and amongst them we may mention Bulverhythe, a short distance from St. Leonards, generally assigned as the landing-place of William of Normandy. East Hill, or Camp Hill, was probably the site chosen for his first encampment, whence, after a brief stay; he marched to meet the English troops under Harold. Of the events of that day our readers are already well informed; but should any of them feel disposed to spend a day in visiting the old town of Batde, they will find their labour well repaid by an inspection of the ruins of Battle Abbey; though we must caution them against the supposition that the existing remains are those of the edifice erected by the Conqueror in commemoration of his victory: they are of a later date, yet still deserving of a better late than seems to have tallen to their share.

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