The Hastings Albert Memorial Clocktower 1864-1973 :
Heres some photos made through the camera phone (the only way to see it, as it doesn’t exist ‘out there’ ) using an early phase of the Apparitions app
- Victorian Gothic in Mumbai & The Hastings Memorial
- Hastings Town Centre: the Victorian commercial and civic centre of the town, ‘Trinity Triangle’
The Albert Memorial clocktower was commissioned by the Hastings Corporation at a cost of £860. The site chosen was where Victoria and Albert (then Prince and Princess of Wales) were addressed by the fishermen of the town in June 1882. This site was originally where the Priory Bridge crossed the Priory Stream.
The memorial was designed by Edward Heffer of Liverpool following a competition involving 38 competitors and a ten guinea prize.
The winning design was a perpendicular style tower which stood 65ft tall to the top of the vane. The base of the tower was 15ft in diameter and the actual clock chamber was 8ft in diameter.
The entrance door was made of oak and situated on the west side. Above the doorway the following inscription was cut on a ribbon: “Erected to Albert the Good, in the year of our Lord 1862”. Above the ribbon were the arms of Hastings.
A large granite drinking basin was fixed on the east side, panels for inscriptions were on the north and south sides. The statue of Prince Albert was made of of Portland stone and placed in a niche above the gable on the south side.
Below the clock dials were ornamental stone openwork panels with plain shields to the north, east and west sides. On the south side this panelling was filled by the arms and supports of the statue.
Above the clock chamber was an octagonal turret with pierced quatrefoils of alternate design for the chimes. A plain spire with an ornamental top and a gilded vane with the letter “A” completed the design.
Gas lanterns were placed on a large block of York stone at each angle and four steps between these were also created from the same stone. The carvings represented a rose for England, a thistle for Scotland, a shamrock for Ireland and a dragon for Wales.
Movement of the memorial was proposed several times post World War 2, usually for reasons of traffic congestion following continual development of the town. Plans for redevelopment proposed in 1952 even suggested the demolition of the memorial.
Arsonists set fire to the clock’s woodwork in the early hours of April 28 1973 – the clock was damaged and the surrounding stone cracked. On June 18 1973 another smaller fire broke out. After the fire it was said that serious faults were discovered in mid September 1973, and there was little opposition to the plans to demolish it. At a Hastings Council meeting in October 1973 the decision was taken to demolish the memorial as soon as possible. The demolition began in November 1973 and took two weeks.