J. Manwaring Baines (1910-2002)
Baines was the curator of Hastings Museum for much of his lifetime and utilised the resources both of the museum and that of the reference library to research and compile several publications, of which his 'Historic Hastings' is perhaps the best-known.
Born in Leeds on the 6th of October 1910, he was a member of the Baines family who had once owned the 'Leeds Mercury', and his father Frederic Talbot Baines was clerk to the Senate of Leeds University, his mother being Sarah M. Barnes; his parents marrying in 1938. John Manwaring Baines initially studied at Marlborough College, then graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc in 1931.
He has a son, Dr Richard Baines (1940-) who is a locally renowned artist.
He was a keen observer of natural history, sketching and photographing much of the local fauna together with local buildings.
As anyone who has read his eponymous book Historic Hastings knows, he was also a keen cricket fan. He lived at 138 St Helen's Road from at least 1948 to 1980.
The dedication in his eponymous work is to his wife, Rae.
|Children of: J. Manwaring Baines and Rae Barnes|
|Richard J. M. Baines (1940-)
With the retirement of Mr Ruskin Butterfield, J. Manwaring Baines was appointed as the Curator of Hastings Museum in 1935 at the age of 24. This was out of a total of 30 applicants for the position. Before this appointment, he was employed as an assistant curator at Leeds Museum since 1931, worked for a time as a teacher of history at Hastings Grammar School, and was a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society.
As one of his first tasks, he organised an exhibition of local maps and catalogued them for future reference. During his tenure at the museum, along with authoring a large number of local history books, he gave numerous talks on various topics relating to local history. Despite the number of talks and lectures he gave, contemporary sources state that J. Manwaring Baines was particularly careful about who he shared material with and that many of his notes were in very small handwriting, making it difficult to read.
There appears to be a large amount of correspondence both from and to J. Manwaring Baines consisting of notes and research material shared with many museums across the UK, although most of his research notes were donated by him to Leeds University.
War Service & Accident
Serving in the Special Constabulary and Police War reserve before the outbreak of war, he enlisted and was posted to Dover with a field artillery unit from the Royal Engineers with the service number 189911. Prior to taking a commission in May 1941, he transferred to Scotland. A keen motorcyclist with an eye for natural beauty, he had an accident partly caused by admiring the bluebells on the banks of Loch Lomond. Speeding to catch up with his friends he came off his bike, being left lying in the road for two hours before being seen, which resulted in him being hospitalised. The injuries were so severe that they prevented him from serving abroad, so he was transferred into a personnel management role. This then led into a role in the 45th Division working with the repatriation of prisoners of war, finally being promoted to Command Personnel Selection Officer for the Northern Command and was released at the rank of Major to recommence work at Hastings Museum., the museum itself has suffered some damage as a result of bombing raids.
Whilst working in the Special Constabulary he invented a new type of Service respirator which earned him official thanks from the Government, but was not found practicable to adopt. He also invented what was known as the 'Baines Crest Clinometer' for enabling field gunners to determine whether their shot would clear the crest of hills and a new type of buckle for equipment.
Whilst recuperating in hospital from the injuries sustained in the accident mentioned above, he prepared his notes for two books, which were printed once the restrictions on the supply of paper eased.
Roles in local society
- He would appear to have been something of a dancer, winning a prize dancing with a Miss Smith during the 1936 Chamber of Commerce annual ball.
- Became an honorary member of the Hastings Aquarium Society in 1938.
- In the inter-war period, he would appear to have been an active member of the YMCA certainly since 1936, reportedly acting as a judge in a mock trial in 1938.
- Became a member of the Round Table in 1946
- He served as Parish Clerk for All Saints Church during the 1950s
- In 1951, J. Manwaring Baines assisted the setup of a new museum in Battle with the Historical Society, loaning some items from the Hastings Museum collection.
- Was a founding member of Hastings Area Archaeological Group in 1972
- He was one of the founders of the OHPS (Old Hastings Preservation Society).
Piltdown Skull Scandal
Following reports that the 'Piltdown Skull' discovered by Charles Dawson was fake in 1953, Mr Baines embarked on an investigation into several exhibits that had been lodged with the museum by Mr Dawson. It was discovered that five of the exhibits in the museum's collection were fake and others may also be found to be fraudulent too.. There was also an allegation that Charles Dawson may not have been the author of the History of Hastings Castle, this appearing to have been the work of William Herbert, whose notes whilst credited in the form of five lines in the Dawson book, appeared to have been copied almost verbatim.. There was also the issue of a black brick, inscribed HON AUG ANDRIA, a red brick bearing a similar, though distorted inscription of the same and a fragment inscribed ". ON AUG . . . NDR . . ." all allegedly found during a dig at Pevensey Castle during 1902, subsequently displayed before the Society of Antiquaries of London on the 11th April 1907. J. Manwaring Baines drew attention to these finds (one of which was held by the British Museum, another at Lewes Museum) potentially being faked also.
In response to this, all of the suspect Dawson exhibits were removed from display at Hastings Museum and a display of the Herbert manuscript held in the museum.
Hastings Rarities Affair
Pevensey Castle Investigation
During 1967, Mr Manwaring Baines became involved in the investigation of a local legend that a two-mile-long tunnel connected Pevensey Castle with nearby Westham. A local man recalled having found a tunnel southwest of the western gateway. Mr. Lower in his excavations during 1853 did indeed find a tunnel in the form of a drain 18 inches high and constructed from large stones. Running north-west to south-east, it would have missed both the fort and the village of Westham. After Mr Manwaring Baines had investigated this tunnel, he felt it was most likely a drain dating to Tudor times.
St Andrew's Church/Tressell
In 1905, Robert Tressell had painted a mural in St Andrew's Church, Queens Road. The church was being demolished during 1970, when local author, David Haines, happened to be passing. Recalling the mural from conversations with his wife, the author investigated further and found that despite having been damaged during WW2 and further defaced by French students during 1967 and subsequently painted over with emulsion, much of the mural remained.
Although for unknown reasons, J. Manwaring Baines disregarded Tressell's work (even the author of this source found the mural repulsive), Mr Haines enlisted the support of his wife (then a librarian, but she apparently had John's ear) to encourage Mr Manwaring Baines to preserve what remained of the mural.. The mural was removed from the church, but stored in the Borough's warehouse at Waterworks Road, taking a further appeal to place them on display.
J. Manwaring Baines retired in 1972. Post-retirement little of his life appears in online archives of newspaper reports, but he was known to maintain his long-standing relationship with the librarian mentioned above.
Mr Manwaring Baines wrote an unpublished autobiography "A Curator Unmasked", which together with other notes was lodged at Leeds University At the same time as lodging his autobiography at Leeds, he also gifted a large number of his notes and correspondence to the University in 1985
- Catalogue of Maps & Plans in the Exhibition of Local Maps & Map Making, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1936 (Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502740 ESCC Library
- The Price of Freedom, by J. Manwaring Baines, B.Sc., F.R.S.A., F.Z.S., published November 1939 in Sussex Notes & Queries (vol. VII no. 8, article, pp.232-233) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500209}
- Sussex in the Bronze Age, by J. Manwaring Baines, published November 1945 in Sussex Notes & Queries (vol. X no. 8, note, pp.186-187) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500212
- Hastings & Its Harbours, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1946 (16 pp., Hastings: Kenneth Saville) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502764 ESCC Library
- Hastings and the Romans, by J. Manwaring Baines, published May 1946 in Sussex Notes & Queries (vol. XI no. 2, article, pp.35-38) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500213
- Ancient Coin from Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published August 1946 in Sussex Notes & Queries (vol. XI no. 3, note, pp.66-67) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500213
- Rushlights and Candles, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1947 (Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502736
- Events in Hastings History, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1948 (Science and Art School and Museum, Hastings) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502742
- Cryed in Old Hastings 1766-1794, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1949 (Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502737 & ESCC Library
- The Bailiff of The Bourne and his office, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1950 (16 pp., Hastings Museum and Art Gallery) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502745 ESCC Library
- Hastings and the Royal Mail, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1951 (16 pp., Science and Art School and Museum, Hastings) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502738 ESCC Library
- The Freeman of Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1952 (12 pp., Hastings: Hastings Museum East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502739
- The Ships of the Cinque Ports in 1586/7, by J. Manwaring Baines, curator of the Hastings Museum, published November 1952 in Sussex Notes & Queries (vol. XIII nos. 11 & 12, article, pp.241-244) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500215
- Historic Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1955 (xiii + 433 pp., Hastings: F. J. Parsons) ISBN: 9780948869006
- The History of Hastings Grammar School, 1619-1956, by J. Manwaring Baines and L. R. Conisbee, published 1956 (248 pp., Hastings Grammar School Foundation) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/503829 ESCC Library
- Burton's St Leonards, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1956 (68 pp., Hastings: Hastings Museum) ESCC Library
- Wealden Firebacks, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1958 (Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502351 ESCC Library
- Hastings Guide Books, by J. Manwaring Baines, published November 1961 in Sussex Notes & Queries (vol. XV no. 8, note, pp.272-273) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500217
- Hastings Elizabethan Charter, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1962 (Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502759
- Historic Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1963 (revised edition, xvii + 437 pp., Hastings: F. J. Parsons) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/503828 ISBN: 0948869003
- An Outline of Hastings History, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1967 (31 pp., Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502744 ESCC Library
- Alehouse and innkeepers in Hastings, 1595-1836 by J. Manwaring Baines, 1968 ESCC Library
- The Cinque Ports and Coronation Services, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1968 (15 pp., Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502751 ESCC Library
- Hastings in 1605, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1971 (Hastings: Hastings Museum) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/502753 ESCC Library
- Excavations 1970: Medieval Cemetery, Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published March 1971 in Sussex Archæological Society Newsletter (no. 2, article, p.3) accessible at: S.A.S. library
- Carving trawled off Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published March 1971 in Sussex Archæological Society Newsletter (no. 2, article, p.5) accessible at: S.A.S. library
- A Late Bronze Age Spearhead from Pett, by John Manwaring Baines, published 1973 in Sussex Archæological Collections (vol. 111, shorter notice, p.110) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500318
- The Archaeology of Sussex Pottery. Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Sussex Ware, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1980 in Sussex Archæological Collections (vol. 118, article, pp.125-128) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/500305 & S.A.S. library
- Darwell Furnace, Mountfield, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1980 in Wealden Iron Research Group (First Series No. 17, article, pp.9-12) East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep LIB/506558
- Sussex Pottery, by John Manwaring Baines and edited by Judith Fisher, published 1 July 1980 (192 pp., photographs & maps, Brighton: Fisher Publications, ISBN: 0950701300 & ISBN: 9780950701301
- Historic Hastings, by J. Manwaring Baines, published 1986 (revised edition, Cinque Port, ISBN: 0948869003 & ISBN: 9780948869006
- A Curator Unmasked an autobiography by J. Manwaring Baines (unpublished)
- Histories of Hastings' Houses and Properties in three volumes (available in Local Studies Room) Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
References & Notes
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- General Register Office; United Kingdom
- JISC Hub
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 29 June 1935 pg. 20
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 08 May 1948 pg. 4
- Historic Hastings 3rd ed preface.ISBN: 9780948869006
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 13 July 1935 pg. 3
- Dennis, David. "Concerns – Sea Road Arts". Retrieved 2022-09-19.
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 22 Dec 1945 pg. 1
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 03 October 1936 pg. 11
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 15 January 1938 pg. 14
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 29 October 1938 pg. 5
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 20 April 1946 pg. 6
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 14 June 1958 pg. 1
- Transfer of some material from Hastings Museum to Battle HBC Website
- Email received from Kevin and Lynn Cornwell (HAARG) Media:20191019140520_Re-_General_Query_-_J._Manwaring_Baines.pdf
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 20 November 1954 pg. 9
- D Joyce - Piltdown Man - Forged Brick Stamps
- Birmingham Daily Post 11 August 1962 p.15
- Lower, M.A. On Pevensey Castle and the Recent Excavations there, SAC Vol. 6 1853
- Sussex Archaeology
- Tressell and the Late Kathleen, A Biographical Memoir and a Message of Hope – D. V. Haines ISBN: 9781789011036
- Leeds University Library
- JISC Hub (Leeds Archive)
- Hastings Observer