Prior's Cottages

From Historical Hastings
Prior's Cottages
Named AfterOld Joe Prior

These properties which no longer exist were situated roughly under Homedane House in Harold Place, later becoming known as Pelham Street[1]. The cottages were named after a smuggler - 'Old Joe Prior' who had been taken prisoner by France twice during an un-named war between England and France[2]. The cottages had large gardens facing the sea, and number two became occupied by the husband (Frederick Waters) of Joseph Prior's daughter - Eliza - following their marriage . Waters later also acquired number three and utilised the gardens of both two and three to construct Denmark House between 1871 and 1881 which then became his residence[1][3]. In the front garden of number 1 was constructed Denmark Villa.

Number three is notable as being where Michael Faraday stayed in the summer before he announced his discovery of electromagnetic induction to the Royal Society in 1831. A Blue Plaque is attached to the building that stands on the site now - Homedane House.

Number 1 is recorded as being next to the Pelham Arms (now the Carlisle) in a story related by the grandson of the occupants about a heavy snowfall at Christmas 1836[2][4].

During 1901, both Denmark Villa and the cottage(s) to the rear - the cottages now appearing to have been converted to one dwelling - were put up for sale by estate agents Woodhams, Son and Parks as tenanted properties for £1000 - the properties having not sold at auction[5].

1919 Fire

A disastrous fire occurred in January 1919, when the top portion of the cottage was destroyed; damage being estimated at over £500. A fierce wind hampered the firefighting efforts and it was only by running a hose through Denmark House that the fire was able to be contained. In addition to the hazards caused by the fire, the wind also dislodged slates from the roof of the cottage - one leaving a dent in a fire-fighter's helmet; that of Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Chessum who led sections 1 and 2 of the Fire Brigade. The cause of the fire was reportedly a mystery - there having been no naked flame within the building prior to the conflagration starting. The occupiers of the building, a Mrs. Joyce, two children, a soldier and his wife all escaped unharmed - the children being rescued by Mr. William Dowling, a discharged soldier[6].


References & Notes

  1. a b British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 23 March 1895 Pg. 0006
  2. a b British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 27 December 1913 Pg. 0006
  3. UK Census Return 1881 Sussex; Hastings; St Mary in the Castle; District 1; Pg. 58
  4. Lewes Snow Drop 1836: Lewes Snow Drop 1836, accessdate: 11 November 2021
  5. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 3 August 1901 Pg. 0004
  6. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 11 January 1919 Pg. 0006