Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


The rain did hold off.

We went round the Smugglers' Adventure in Hastings aka St Clement's Caves- which is partly small local museum and partly Chamber of Horrors. The caves- in the West Hill, under the castle- are natural but got themselves enhanced in the early 19th century by an entrepreneur who went to work with pick and shovel and carved out a circular space he called the Ballroom- which was used as such by Hastings society- and a long, alcoved gallery he called the Monk's Walk- which is straight out of a novel by Mrs Radcliffe. Before his time they were used by troglodytes and smugglers and courting couples. The displays are a mix of authentic historical detritus (from which you can learn quite a bit about smuggling in the 18th century) and life-sized tableaux of people being beaten to death and stabbed through the vitals and all that sort of thing. The lighting is garish and one could spend months- years even- decoding the several centuries worth of graffiti that covers every surface. Aria, who is four, wanted to go round a second time.

We rode down to sea level on the West Hill lift. Hastings was quiet after the overload of Bank Holiday Monday- and we got a table in the Old Pump House on King Street- which is timber-framed and quaint and usually full to overflowing. Their Captain's Pie is rather wonderful.
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