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Blacklands History


Originally this area was rural land owned by the Frewen Family, known as the Blacklands Farm Estate. The land was almost entirely rural and adjoined the Kite's Nest Farm, Ore Valley Fields and the large wooded area known as St Helen's Park.

Charles Frewen (MP for East Sussex 1846-1857) started selling off plots of this land for development in the 1870's.

Blacklands became a Parish in 1881 when Christ Church was consecrated and intensive development of the Blacklands Estate as a middle class residential area during the 1880's led to it becoming know in Hastings as "the paradise".

In 1891 the parish boundaries were extended to include the Ore Valley Farm and the houses near the Kites Nest Hotel.

Christ Church (Blacklands)

The original church building was paid for entirely by Charles Frewen and built on a plot from his family land (The Blacklands Farm Estate). Built by Musgrave Brisco (Conservative MP for Hastings 1844-1857) who also built Coghurst Hall.
The first service at the church was held on Sunday 17th June 1877.

Frewen died 16 months after the church was opened and following his death the building remained unfinished for some years. The north side was without heating or lighting and there was no steeple.

In the early years the church suffered from a small congregation and its future was uncertain. This was mainly due to poor access via muddy tracks and a lack of population in the area.

The vicarage was completed in 1882.

The first issue of the Parish Magazine was published in January 1883

The adjacent school rooms were added in January 1884 at a cost of £1500 and built on land that was partly donated by Frederick James Parsons who was People's Warden for the church at the time. It was normal for over 300 children to attend the Sunday School during its heyday.

Building of the church tower didn't start until June 1889.

Blacklands Church

Church House

Erected in 1895/6, Church House was dedicated in March 1896 by Dr Ernest Wilberforcee (Bishop of Chichester)

Cumberland House

Situated in Laton Road, Cumberland House was once occupied by Frederick James Parsons, the local printer who was owner of the Hastings Observer. Parsons became People's Warden of Blacklands Church in 1883.

Henderson House

Henderson House was originally called Abbotsfield and was built in the late 1920s by James Stewart Henderson for his mother. Henderson was a wealthy Australian who lived in Hampstead. His mother decided not to live in the house as it was too big for her, so James set up The Henderson Trust in 1933 to use the building. The Henderson Trust was a charitable foundation that gave heavily subsidised holidays to the poor people of Hampstead.

The house was later altered by architect Oliver Law and the trust was taken over by The Hampstead Wells Trust. It was decided there were not enough funds to continue and Henderson House was sold to The Watermans Trust in 1965, demolished and bungalows, social centre etc were built on the site.

There were originally 13 acres of gardens but now there has been house building on the lower part of the site and the opposite side of Downs Road.

Henderson House

Hole Farm Spring

Starts in Ore and flows down through Blacklands, under Elphinstone Road at Pond Bay Bridge and down into the Alexandra Park.

Kites Nest Farm

Situated at the junction of Baird Drive and St Helens Park Road. Part of the plot was used for the Kites Nest Hotel when the Blacklands area was developed.

Oakwood House

A magnificent house and grounds built in 1870 off St Helens Park Road. The grounds included the site where Oakwood Close is today.

The house was originally owned by Henry Todd and his wife Mary. Todd was a rich businessman who made his money from owning slate quarries in Wales.

The grounds of the house were used for Blacklands Fete for several years.

The Todd family lived at Oakwood until 1914 and the house was demolished in 1938.

Kites Nest Hotel

Built at the site of the old Kites Nest Farm House which was at the junction of Downs Road and St Helens Park Road. Constructed for Mr Henry Phillips by architect Henry Carpenter, surveyor to the Blacklands estate.

Parochial Rooms

No.3 Hughenden Road (which is now No.5) opened as the Christ Church (Blacklands) Working Men's Institute. Paid for by the parishioners it was an alternative to public houses and served as a meeting place for working men to meet, read papers and play games.

St Helen's College for Girls

Situated at 88 St Helens Road, St Helens School for Girls was run by sisters Lydia and Fanny Borrow. This school was noted as the best in Hastings.

St Helen's Road

Originally the houses stopped at No.20 and St Helen's Road turned up the hill which is now St Helen's Park Road.

St Helen's Park Road

St Andrews Spa Chalybeat and Lixiviate Spring where discovered by Thomas Ross in St Helen's Park Road and developed commercially.

St Helens Park Road

Sutton Memorial Hall

Opened in 1908 in memory of Mary Sutton (Superintendent of the Blacklands Lads' Club), Sutton Memorial Hall was built by architect Frank Jeffery at the upper end of Hughenden Road.

The Hall was headquarters of the Blacklands Church Lads' Brigade and a meeting place for the Lads' Club. Later it was used by the local Rovers, Cubs and Scouts.

The building became neglected and unsafe during the 1960's and was finaly ruined by fire and demolished in 1973.

Sutton Memorial Hall

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