|Address||All Saints Street|
|Notable Occupiers||Duke of Wellington, Lord Byron|
Hastings House originally stood where Old Humphrey Avenue is now, although its address was given as All Saints Street. The building had a cupola roof and large garden extending down to All Saints Street. One occupier was Jacob Hemet who died in 1790. Not only was Hemet a dentist to royalty but he also patented the first toothpaste. His best-selling products were ‘Essence of Pearl’ and ‘Pearl Dentifrice’. A letting of the house is noted in 1831, with the local agent being Walter Inskipp. The advertisement describes the property thus;
"To Be Let, unfurnished, for a term of seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years, that highly desirable genteel Family Mansion, known as HASTINGS HOUSE, with its Pleasure Grounds, Garden, Stabling, Coach-house, Gate Lodge, &c. The situation, though sheltered and retired, has the important advantage of being one of the most healthful, and commands extensive sea and land views. The grounds are tastefully laid out in walks, lawns, terrace, and ornamental plantations. The house is replete with every domestic convenience, and in the arrangement of the principal apartments, due regard has been paid to elegance and comfort. To be viewed by cards only, on application to Mr. Walter Inskipp, Surveyor, 55, George Street; or, Robert Gray, Esq., 7, New Inn, Strand, of whom further particulars may be known.
The same advertisement appears again in 1837, this implying that a series of leases of the property occurred over the next few years.
During 1876, a late Catholic Bishop of Southwark sold Hastings House with an acre of garden on the East Hill which had been left to him by the late Duchess of Leeds to house an orphanage, to a London speculator, Henry Chapman, who then reportedly "pulled down the good old house which should have been sacred if only because it had been the abode at different times of Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington in 1806 and Lord Byron during 1814, and erected two rows of stucco tenements which are the only absolute stain upon the beauty of the charming old town." (Coventry Patmore) The stucco tenements referred to are the buildings now in Old Humphrey Avenue.
Byron reportedly was angered by an ink bottle, and throwing it out of the window was horrified to discover the following morning that it had smashed against a statue of Euterpe in the garden, causing staining to the petticoat.
A replacement "Hastings House" was subsequently built at the bottom of the avenue and in 1965 demolished.
References & Notes
- British Newspaper Archive Brighton Gazette 14 April 1831 Pg. 0001
- British Newspaper Archive Morning Post 3 May 1839 Pg. 0001
- Hastings, past and present (Mary Matilda Howard) pg. 91 Google Books
- Lord Byron