Ambox warning blue construction.svg

Old Town Characters

From Historical Hastings

In 1928, the Hastings & St Leonards Observer commenced a monthly series of character portrayals of well-known individuals of the Old Town[1]

2 - Mr. Philip Pomphrey

Philip Pomphrey

Everyone who has taken a stroll on a sunny morning past the Fishmarket towards Rock-a-Nore, has seen Mr. Philip Pomphrey, sitting in a sheltered corner, and puffing away at his pipe.

Aged 76, he was born in All Saints-street on a snowy April morning. He has never, except for a brief period when he went away to work, lived more than 40 feet from the place of his birth.

For two years, he served in the Hastings fishing boat "Black Bess" under the command of Mr. Charles Gallop. Fishing, boating and boat-building have occupied him most of his life, though about 20 years ago, he spent some time at Plymouth, helping to build a dam for the Great Western Railway. This was to him a great adventure. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 31 March 1928 Pg. 0006

3 - Mr. Thomas Betts

Thomas Betts

Memories of the palmy days of Hastings boat-building are recalled by Mr. Thomas John Betts, whose life has been devoted to the craft.

Aged 75 in August, Mr. Betts started work when 16 for Mr. Henry Kent. Thirty years ago, he set upon his own account, and has built, among others, the fishing boats "Alice", "Albert Edward", "Enterprise", "Lord Brassey", and the "Elizabeth of Brighton.

Still a batchelor, like several other of his contemoraries, Mr. Betts has lived all his life in All Saint's-street, save for 18 years spent in Queens-road.

If you draw him out, he loves to tell of the terrible gales of 1875, when rope shops in the Old Town were washed away, and three successive onslaughts of the sea struck terror into the hearts of house-holders on the sea front. Though no longer actively engaged in his trade, he still haunts the remaining boat-builders' shops, where he can be seen any day puffing away at his pipe and thinking of the boats he has built. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 7 April 1928 Pg. 0006

References & Notes