The 2.2km length of two-tier promenade in Hastings from Carlisle Parade to Marine Court was constructed between 1925 and 1939, under the aegis of Sidney Herbert Little (1885-1961), who was Borough Engineer for Hastings Corporation. The work was not conceived as a grand scheme but was developed in phases, as the funding and the political will allowed; the outcome of municipal ambition driven by Little's own vision. The individual structures included within this assessment are Carlisle Parade Car Park (including the subway, entrance ramps, sunken garden and three shelters) and five separate shelters.
Reason for Listing
The five shelters on Eversfield Place, constructed between 1925 and 1939 as part of Hastings Promenade, designed by Sidney Little, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: an unusual and striking group of shelters representative of the 'Nautical Moderne' spirit of 1930s seaside design, one of which was designed specifically to disguise the vent from the underground Pier Car Park
* Historic Interest: part of Little's grand scheme for Hastings Promenade, developed to compete with seaside developments in other resorts
* Group Value: together the five shelters show a continuation and development in style, design and construction spanning the period of development
The Carlisle Parade Car Park including the subway, entrance ramps, sunken garden and three shelters, within Hastings' Promenade, designed by Sidney Little in 1931, are recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: the first example of an underground car park nationally
* Historic Interest: built to address the growing problem of vehicles cluttering the seafront and emulated at other seaside resorts, forming an important component of Little's grand scheme for Hastings Promenade, developed to compete with seaside developments in other resorts
The 2.2km length of two-tier promenade in Hastings from Carlisle Parade to Marina Court was constructed between 1925 and 1939, under the aegis of Sidney Herbert Little (1885-1961), Member Institution of Civil Engineers, the Borough Engineer for Hastings Corporation from 1926 until 1950. The work was not conceived as a grand scheme but was developed in phases, as the funding and the political will allowed; the outcome of municipal ambition driven by Little's own vision.
Little was appointed to the post of Borough and Water Engineer to Hastings in July 1926. His father was a consultant civil engineer and surveyor and following school Sidney joined him working on private and public schemes. Little became a chartered engineer in 1910 and from that year worked on a major sewerage scheme in Leeds. By 1913 he was working for the Wallasey Corporation, and during World War I built factories in Scotland and steel-rolling mills at Southampton. In 1919, he joined Ipswich Council as Borough Engineer before moving to Hastings. When he took up his position, he was aware that Hastings faced many of the problems that other resorts confronted. Namely, how to attract visitors in large numbers in an increasingly competitive culture; how to improve transport links to and within the town; how to cope with increasingly large numbers of private vehicles; what facilities people required; and how to prevent the view of, and access to, the beach being blocked by parked cars.
Little was determined to transform the resort to a modern health and pleasure resort. It is clear that the central ambition of the promenade projects was infrastructure, rather than providing specific attractions that would generate income or events, and many of the issues were addressed by Little from the viewpoint and with the priorities of an engineer. Work commenced in 1926, and although undertaken in a number of phases was completed by 1939. Works included a major project to transform the seafront with a new broad road replacing the narrow roadway used by trams, and a new promenade with associated leisure features, including seating alcoves integrated within the reinforced concrete structure, toilet facilities, small rooms for a variety of purposes, the remodelled swimming baths, beach chalets and Marine Pavilion sun lounge. The project, detailed in the Borough Engineer's office, involved building a new sea wall over 7.3m high and 670m long. Between the old sea wall and the new, Little used the void underneath the promenade and the road to create three below ground car parks.
Little had wanted to extend the promenade further east to Rock-a-Nore but his plans were not approved by the Council; the tide was turning against Little's vision of modern architecture. His scheme for the town centre, which included an underground bus station, was also rejected. He retired from service in 1949, and died in Hastings in 1961.
CARLISLE PARADE CAR PARK
Underground Car Park including the subway, entrance ramps, sunken garden and three shelters, opened in 1931 as part of phase 1 of Hastings Promenade, built by Sidney Little, Borough Engineer.
An underground structure, approximately 300m long by 20m wide, beneath the slab of the promenade above, and between the Victorian sea wall and 1930s sea wall, creating car parking bays either side of a central access road, reached by ramped drives. It is formed of reinforced concrete haunched portal frames, where the internal columns are supported on piles, while the ends of the spans bear directly on the Victorian sea wall to the north and the 1930s sea wall to the south. The Victorian wall is constructed of mass concrete faced with coursed stone. The roof slab is of in-situ reinforced concrete and supports the main road carriageway and the sea front promenade. The floor slab of the car park is a suspended in-situ reinforced concrete slab with a concrete surface which has recently been covered with an asphalt wearing course. The entrance and exit ramps are located at mid-length of the car park with a third, now redundant ramp to the west.
Three decorative reinforced concrete shelters, which include timber seating, are located at street level and house ventilation shafts for the car park. Each has a curved splayed canopy with supporting stub columns and corner wing walls.
The parapet wall and balustrade at the main entrance, which flank the ramp and ornamental gardens, is constructed of decorative concrete 'panels' with shallow fluting detail and rendered brickwork 'piers'. The planting beds are retained by shallow concrete parapet walls, faced in stone. As would be expected the planting within the gardens has changed throughout its history, and is thus not of special interest, but overall the hard landscaping remains largely as built and contributes to the car park's interest.
A subway located at the east end of the car park, connects the town to the promenade under the road. Its structure is the same as the car park but includes rendered blockwork walls with a false ceiling and tiled walls at the entrances.
SHELTER NO 1 OPPOSITE THE WHITE ROCK PAVILION
Shelter built around the ventilation shafts from the Pier Car Park.
A simple flat rectangular concrete canopy supported by four octagonal metal ventilation shafts from the car park below. Split into three bays, where the central double length section is enclosed on the south, east and west sides by a concrete screen with glass panels. The outer bays are open. All bays have wooden bench seats.
SHELTERS NO 2 OPPOSITE 63 EVERSFIELD PLACE, NO 3 OPPOSITE 43 EVERSFIELD PLACE and NO 4 OPPOSITE 28 EVERSFIELD PLACE
Three concrete shelters designed in 1934 by the Borough Architect's office.
Each shelter is of four-and-a-half bays, under a flat slightly sloping rectangular canopy, supported at either end by 'Y' section struts. These shelters are of two levels with seating at the lower level facing the road and the upper level facing the upper Promenade. The narrow central bay houses steps between the levels. Glazed screens separate the bays and enclose the seating at either end of the shelter. All bays have wooden bench seats; in the additional space above the road side (north) seating are decorative concrete panels, inserted with glass.
SHELTER NO 5 OPPOSITE 10 EVERSFIELD PLACE
Concrete shelter designed by the Borough Architect's office, date uncertain.
Of two bays, the canopies of this shelter spring from a central spine wall. The southern half is covered by a curved canopy, the northern half by a flat canopy. The internal walls are decorated in rectangular panels of gold, blue and brown mosaic tile. All bays have wooden bench seats.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.