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Tony Grist

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Smugglers! [May. 30th, 2018|08:49 am]
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.

[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2018-05-30 02:24 pm (UTC)
That sounds like just the sort of place most kids love although my daughter Julia was always terrified of places like that...and also of Cathedrals and monasteries with tombs in them.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-05-30 07:04 pm (UTC)
I was scared of those things as a kid- but also fascinated by them. I went through a phase- which must have started when I was about ten- of reading everything I could get my hands on that was to do with ghosts and ghost-hunting.
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