Solar Phenomena – The great solar eclipse on March 15th was but little seen at St. Leonards, and the same, of course, at Hastings, in consequence of almost constant masses of cloud; but there had previously been observed unusually large sun-spots by unassisted vision. The writer of this history, whose practice it was to view the meteorological indications from a mound on St. Leonards Green almost daily at about the time of sunrise, saw those immense sun-spots, two successive mornings, and having communicated his discovery to Mr. J. E. Butler (who had been giving astronomic lectures) and Mr. Jacobs (a scientific student), was credited by those gentlemen with having allowed the eye to mislead the judgement. Three days later, however, the London Times informed its readers that sun-spots were to be seen without telescopic aid.Mild Weather. In a letter to the London Times, dated Jan 2nd 1858, Dr. Garrett (who had just come to Hastings) wrote
“Letters have reached me from various parts of England, describing the weather as wet, cold, gloomy and foggy; whilst at Hastings and St Leonards we have had such a continuance of bright, sun-shiny weather as has never been paralleled here, not in this island at this period of the year, as far as I know. Strawberries and raspberries are not only in flower and their fruit full set, but positively ripe, as I myself witnessed this morning. Mr. Broad, a respectable chemist here, dug young potatoes here a few days ago in his garden on the West Hill, 3½ inches in circumference. Geraniums and fuchsias are also in full blow in the open air, not only in this protected square, but on the highly exposed air of Fairlight, while young flowerets of all descriptions are peeping through their sleepy eyelids, and opening their packed up fineries to join the gay and unexpected festival”.
“I am, Sir, your obedient servant C.B. Garrett, M.D.”
“Rain fell on November 26 and on December 20, and on no other day up to this date. An occasional slight fog but a dry atmosphere.” In this statement of the Doctor there was about an equal amount of truth and untruth. It was true that the two months referred to were very mild, and upon the whole, very dry for the season, but it was not true that there was rain only on November 26th and December 20th. Rain was greatly under the average of those months, but there were, nevertheless, slight showers or drizzle on the 10th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 26th and 28th November, also on the 25th there was rain (with hail) of a dashing character. For the first eleven days the temperature ranged from over 52 to over 62 degrees, but from the 11th to the 18th the temperature was under the mean, and at times really cold. After that period the air was again warm, and the temperature for the entire month was six degrees above the mean. December was even more abnormal, and was the warmest winter month within memory, being seven degrees above the average. It was -