The Historical Hastings Website started as a mapping site - hence the 'HistoryMap' domain name, but grew into a wiki used as a research tool. The mapping functionality is still retained in the site and is gradually being increased, with categorised sections (for example Farms, or Cinemas) incorporating maps showing features referenced within the site. Funding for the site is entirely voluntary and any funds raised through the 'Donate' button in the left sidebar or advertisements are utilised solely for hosting costs. The research and content is provided by a small team of volunteers, although all visitors are welcome to make corrections and add personal or family histories to existing pages without requiring an account.
Whilst based upon a wiki back-end, the site leverages this to provide traceability for any changes and assertions made, in addition to giving full texts of reference works where permissible by copyrights. The ultimate aim is to develop this down to individual property/building level providing links to resources either elsewhere on the internet or references to published works. The site is run by one of the administrators of a local history interest group on Facebook Historical Hastings. In the same way as Wikipedia (the software behind the site being identical), each page has a discussion page where potentially contentious edits or edits that perhaps require further verification may be inserted/discussed prior to insertion into the main content.
In addition to the repository of images catalogued within the wiki, the editors and contributors are compiling pages about features as time permits, combining all known works and writings about those features to better understand the local history of Hastings.
As to the site's definition of 'History' - anything of note that has happened in the town, even as recent as yesterday - this all contributes to building a definitive history of the town. For example, in terms of the postal service, St Leonards was absorbed into Hastings for postal purposes in 1858, exactly thirty years after the first buildings appeared in St Leonards, although the delineation between the two towns in terms of boundary was at times a heated debate; to which Brett apportions a large number of pages.
Where possible, most features are listed by their modern name, although in some instances this proves impossible, so the most recent known name is utilised. In any event, all names that are known to the editors of relevant pages are linked by means of re-directs or links within other pages.
An additional resource provided by Brett are contemporaneous reports of the Crimean War including letters home from troops during major actions such as the siege of Sebastopol and Silistra, the battle for Citate, Alma and details of life in the British camps and on board various vessels. Further extracts are published in Chap. 54.
All visitors are welcome to add or correct information to pages to hopefully form the definitive history of our town, written by the people of the town. Even if you are unfamiliar with Wiki editing, or have something to contribute - even a sentence here or there - it all helps, please make contact via the Historical Hastings Facebook group and the administrator of this site will assist with getting your history published.