I know little about Hastings (apart from the obvious) and St Leonards, but having now read David Russell’s book I feel that I know not only the pubs but also the area very well indeed.I have lost count of the number of pub books and guides I have read over the years but stands out for the impressive level of detailed research; not like some authors who merely lift information from works that have gone before.In the summer issue of the PHS Newsletter members were treated to a couple of ‘taster pubs’ from David’s book (the Nag’s Head and the Prince Albert). As a social history of the licensed trade, and a history of its somewhat chequered relationship with the licensing authorities, it is a first class work.The detail that you have elicited, from any number of sources, bears witness to the enormity of the research that you have undertaken.It all makes for a thoroughly interesting and eminently readable addition to the evolution of the public house, and its current sad demise.’ -half years working on the book, which has been published by his wife Lynda.It includes more than 60 entries of pubs from Silverhill to the seafront, and each comes with an original illustration by Newhaven artist James Gray.There is a multitude of well-researched facts and anecdotes here, which bring to life the chosen pubs.We are told about items as diverse as the Nag’s Head’s part in the St Leonard’s bonfire society, the FILO once sold draught milk(!
PC Lee Morpeth from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit said: “It is completely unacceptable to get behind the wheel of any vehicle when you have been drinking as it can often have devastating consequences.
In so doing he enables the factural and statistical to become enlivened by vivid personal testimony, ranging from the humorous to the harrowing.
The result is a history that while enormously educative is effortlessly entertaining.
Mr Russell said: “We moved here from Seaford four years ago and my wife and I are both retired so we have some time on our hands.
We thought this would be good way to get to know the town.