Tower Buildings

From Historical Hastings

Tower Buildings
General information
AddressLower South Road
Postal CodeTN37 6RH
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Admin. Information
Electoral/Planning WardGENSING Pre May 2018
Prop. Ref. No.100062632536

An entepreneur named as Mr Edward Burchatt Wingfield who ran a furniture removal business, building and several other companies purchased this building on Lower South Road. He subsequently used the building as a furniture repository.

In 1877, he added a tower to the warehouse, with the intention of providing four clock faces to serve the locality, but this did not happen due to him over-reaching himself when constructing what is now Marina Park in c1883 at West St. Leonards, to provide an hotel for that part of town. As a result of this, he committed suicide. It was rumoured that he had jumped off the Bohemia Tower, whereas in reality, he was at the Marina Park building where on 25th February, 1885 at around 8 am, at the age of 39, he cut his throat in the presence of his wife and a servant, then leaving that room and moving to a bedroom, he climbed on a nightstand to attempt to jump out of the window. His wife managed to stop him, however he rushed into the bathroom and, locking the door behind him, jumped from a first floor window to the ground around 35 feet below. Wingfield was still alive, but had broke his left femur, knee, tibia and fibula on the left leg. Edward was moved to the office in an attempt to make him more comfortable, however succumbed to his injuries three-quarters of an hour later, passing away at 9:15. His doctor testified to the inquest that Wingfield had been suffering from depression and 'congestion of the brain' for some time prior to his suicide. The jury returned the only verdict possible - that of "Death from suicide whilst in a state of insanity"[1][2].

By 1914, the property was in the hands of John H. Weatherseed, a builder who lived nearby at 15 Bohemia Road, but died shortly after in 1915.

Known as 'Cosens Tower' (for the Builder's merchant) in the 1960s[3], there then followed a period when the first and second floors were utilised as a pottery workshop between 1963[4] and 1970[5], the building was used as a store-room by Scott James Glass, with images from the 1970s showing a ghost sign for J. H. Weatherseed. 1995 brought another change of use; this time as an antique dealer/warehouse[6]. The building underwent a facelift in 2000 when it was utilised by the County Council as office space[7].

The tower in Bohemia became a landmark on the skyline, being used as a location for an air raid siren during WW2, but was removed in 1973, as it was deemed unsafe.


References & Notes

  1. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 28 February 1885 Pg. 0007
  2. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Times 28 February 1885 Pg. 0005
  3. Linda Gowens - Historical Hastings
  4. Hastings Borough Council Planning application ref HS/FA/63/00020
  5. Hastings Borough Council Planning application ref HS/FA/70/00238&&activeTab=documents HS/FA/70/00238
  6. Hastings Borough Council Planning application ref HS/FA/95/00502
  7. Hastings Borough Council Planning application ref HS/CC/01/00594