Football Venues

As football became more popular throughout the 1890s, there has been a continual demand for more pitches or improved facilities to cater for the local population ever since – a demand shared by other sports. The East Hill, South Saxons and The Green, were sites used for recreation long before the introduction of the modern game to the area; and in 1864 the Central Recreation Ground was established and replaced the East Hill as the towns’ premier recreation ground.

The Green was the site of the first recorded association football game to take place in the area in 1881; other early football venues include East Hill, Central Ground, Horntye, Drapers Field at Silverhill and the Hastings Grammar School playing field at Ore Valley.

Following its formation in 1892, the Hastings & St Leonards Football Association immediately set about obtaining a ground on which they could use. The Central Ground was used by the Hastings FA for around a decade before they found a suitable site of their own. The chosen ground was situated on land purchased from the Brisco Estate and named the Sports Ground, opened in 1904 it hosted football for ten years until the outbreak of World War One. There were plans to find a ground to replace the Sports Ground before the war, with sites at Silverhill, Horntye and the gas works proposed, however the conflict put these plans on hold.

Following the war, the search for a ground suitable of hosting senior football was back on, with the most likely sites being the Pilot Field or Horntye. The Pilot Field was selected as it could be made ready in time fore the 1920-21 season and Rock-a-Nore became the first main tenants.

The opening of the Pilot Field allowed Rock-a-Nore to play in the newly formed Sussex County League, and gave other clubs the chance to use the ground if they wished to play a higher standard. However, there was still a lack of public football pitches in the borough for junior and intermediate teams to use; the Harrow Lane recreation ground was first used in 1921, another site at Elphinstone Road (later known as the BOS field) in 1922 and Bexhill Road recreation ground in 1927. The opening of these grounds lessened the pressure on the council to open more public playing fields, but they lacked any basic facilities and players getting changed out in the open or at another site was a common scene.

Multiple grounds mentioned on this page have since been lost, either to development or they are simply just not used for organised sport anymore. At the time of writing there are currently plans to build 140 homes on the Harrow Lane field.

A recurring theme is that Hastings lacks in sufficient sporting facilities when compared to neighbouring towns such as Eastbourne, though current plans may bring the borough more in line with its old neighbour. There are currently plans to build a new ground for Hastings United at Tilekiln, which includes two additional full-sized 3G pitches; this would be funded by the selling of the Pilot Field to developers. Another proposal is the selling of Horntye (excluding the pavilion), which would fund a joint project between Hastings Priory and the South Saxons, to build new facilities at Claremont School; these include a new pavilion building, Astroturf pitch, two cricket pitches and three football pitches.

Senior Football Venues

Pilot Field

The Pilot Field is currently the boroughs main football venue and has been since it opened in 1920. The ground is currently home to Hastings United and also hosted speedway, cycling, rugby and athletics; there have also been non-sporting events held here including a music festival and firework displays. The site may possibly have hosted football matches as early as 1894.

Hastings Town vs Weymouth, 1992.

Read more..

The Firs

Also known as: Pilot Field upper

Clubs:

  • Hastings Rangers: c1925
  • Rock-a-Nore: 1924-1925
  • Ore United: 1946-47
  • Hastings & St Leonards/Hastings Town: 1949-1985
  • STAMCO/St Leonards: 1993-2004
  • St Leonards Social: c2002

The Firs is located next door to the Pilot Field and was once known as the Pilot Field upper pitch before becoming a ground in its own right. A small all-weather pitch stands at the southern end of the ground and remaining grass pitch has recently been used for youth football and baseball…

View of the Firs on matchday.

The Pilot Field was originally a large sloping meadow, before being split into upper and lower pitches in 1921. The upper pitch became home to Hastings & St Leonards FC after they were forced off the lower pitch following the formation of Hastings United in 1948. In 1979 the amateur club changed its name to Hastings Town and it was around this time they had invested in improving the facilities at the ground.

Hastings Town moved back to the old lower pitch in 1985 and the upper pitch went on to host youth and reserve football, before STAMCO moved to the ground in 1993. By now the ground was known as the Firs and STAMCO invested more into ground improvements so it could host county league football; and the club would continue making improvements and alterations to the ground throughout their stay here.

STAMCO, now called St Leonards, folded midway through the 2003-04 season and the ground would go onto be used by St Leonards Social for a brief period. Hastings Council constructed a small all-weather pitch on the pitch, meaning adult football could no longer be played at the venue. The ground has gradually fallen into a state of disrepair and the main stand seats were relocated to the Pilot Field main stand. In recent years, despite the grounds derelict appearance, youth football and baseball has been hosted here.

Central Recreation Ground

Also known as: Central Cricket Ground

Clubs:

  • Hastings & St Leonards Athletic/FC: 1884-1906
  • Hastings Alliance: 1893-1894
  • Rock-a-Nore (Cup games): 1895-1897 & 1907-1908
  • Hastings Police: c1896
  • St Leonards: 1900-1901
  • Hastings & St Leonards United: 1906-1910

Although better known as a first class cricket venue, the Central Ground was used for football games until 1910. First opened in 1864, the ground was initially leased from the Cornwallis family and become the main recreational ground in the area. Due to its spectator facilities it was often used to host high profile games and matches including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers were witnessed at the venue…

Hastings v Portsmouth on Central Recreation Ground.

The grounds first recorded use for football was in 1870, involving Hastings Amateur Athletic Club and a combined local school team, though this was played under rugby rules. By the 1890s the ground was regularly used for the association game and was being used by two local athletic clubs, Hastings & St Leonards Amateur Athletic Club (separate to the formerly mentioned club) and Hastings Alliance.

Throughout its time hosting football, the Hastings FA and numerous local clubs had disputes with the committee of the Central Ground over the use of the ground. Money was often a reason, with the committee receiving a portion of gate money taken from football games; it also was suggested the committee clearly preferred cricket and wanted to preserve the surface for the summer, which restricted the use of the venue for football. The committee may have been justified for their cautious view toward the use of the site over the winter months, as the condition of the surface was an issue and liable to flooding; the condition of the playing surface and the tense relationship with the Central Ground committee, meant the football governing bodies were constantly searching for their own ground.

Hastings & St Leonards United used the venue as their home ground until their demise in 1910. The Central Ground committee quickly set up tennis courts where the football pitch used to be marked out, preventing the ground from hosting matches. There were proposals for the ground to host football once more in 1948 after Hastings & St Leonards FC had been forced out of the Pilot Field, but the football club and ground committee were unable to agree terms.

In 1982 Hastings Council voted to have a shopping centre built on the site and move the cricket ground to Horntye, but these plans were initially rejected by the government in 1984. However in 1986 the Central Ground committee had decided to move and planning permission was granted in 1988. The new cricket ground at Horntye was opened in 1996 and the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in 1997.

Sports Ground

Also known as: Catholic Ground, Brisco Estate

Clubs:

  • St Leonards/St Leonards United: 1904-1906
  • Rock-a-Nore: 1904-1905
  • Hastings & St Leonards United: 1906-1908
  • Hastings & St Leonards Amateurs: 1906-1907
  • Old Hastonians: 1907-1908
  • St Leonards Amateurs (1)/Hastings & St Leonards Amatuers: 1907-1914
  • Junior Conservatives: 1913
  • St Leonards Amateurs (2): c1914

Laid out in 1904 the Sports Ground was the first purpose built ground in the borough and hosted senior football until 1914. The idea to form a recreation ground on the land, which was part of the Brisco Estate, was first looked into in 1897; original plans catered for football, cricket, cycling and horse riding. The land was purchased in 1902 and work started early 1904; the football pitch was laid out at the south eastern border of the estate, bordering St Margarets Road and the first game was played between St Leonards and Kensal Rise on 3 September, with Brighton & Hove Albion visiting a week later.

Old map detailing the Sports Ground c1908. Source: https://maps.nls.uk/

When the pitch was initially laid out the plan was to host football and hockey, but football instantly became the centre of attention, with St Leonards and Rock-a-Nore becoming the primary and secondary tenants respectively. There were plans to erect a grandstand and changing rooms at the venue, however in 1905 players were still using White Rock Villa to get changed and the only photo of the ground shows a small, minimal shelter located in the south west corner of the ground.

Although the Hastings Sports Association held ambitious plans for the venue, the Hastings Corporation had always intended to turn the football ground and what was then surrounding waste land into pleasure gardens for the general public and tourists. By 1914 the Corporation had started to press ahead with their plans to redevelop the area, but the outbreak of World War One put that on hold. After the war, the area had become known as White Rock Gardens and now the bowling greens and Clambers Play Centre are located on what was the football ground.

During the 1920s there was some football played on a ground called the Catholic Ground, which the Sports Ground was sometimes called, this pitch was more than likely located on the other side of Falaise Road, where the skate park and tennis courts are today. This ground was also referred to as White Rock Road and Parks Field.

Other venues

Bexhill Road Recreation Ground

Also known as: Bulverhythe, Pebsham

Clubs:

  • Hastings Rangers: 1927-2018
  • St Saviours: 1927
  • Radcliffes: c1931
  • Railway United: 1931-1932
  • South Saxons: 1929-1935
  • Old Hastonians: 1934-2017
  • St Leonards Athletic: 1937-1938
  • Griffins Athletic: 1938-1939
  • Rock-a-Nore: 1946 & c1985
  • Civil Service: c1952-1954
  • Hastings Labour: c1954
  • Linton Athletic: c1985
  • Castleham FC: c2002
  • Travaux: 2000s
  • Beulah Baptists: late 2000s
  • Hastings Elite: late 2000s/early 2010s
  • HG Aerospace: late 2000s
  • Hollington United III: late 2000s
  • Nelson Tigers: late 2000s
  • Westfield III: late 2000s
  • Bo-Peep Marina: early 2010s
  • Kurdistan united: 2010-2011
  • West Hill United: 2010s
  • Bexhill Town: c2017

First laid out as a recreation ground in 1927, the first known game was between Hastings Rangers and Hailsham on 22 October 1927; Rangers would go onto to call the ground home up until the present day. Pitches were initially laid out on the field closest to Bexhill Road, but the ground lacked any facilities. It was reported in the Hastings Observer that St Leonards Hockey Club were using the Bathing Pool for changing accommodation and the South Saxons were using the Fountain Hotel in the 1950s...

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club were using the Pebsham Aerodrome site for training in the 1950s and this stretch of land became the second tier of the recreation ground. Hastings Rangers had also moved to their own pitch on the ground adjacent to the garden centre, which hosted county league football between 1952 and 1973; plus a for brief period in the late 1970s when Hastings Town played here when upgrading their ground at the Firs.

The two floor pavilion which stood at the southern end of the ground was the clubhouse for the South Saxons Hockey Club before they relocated and demolished this was circa 2015. As well as Hockey, the ground has hosted rugby, cricket and American football; there also had been proposals to build a driving range at the western end of the ground and the Pebsham Motor Racing Circuit to the north.

B.O.S.

Also known as: Elphinstone Road

Clubs:

  • Vale Orton: 1922
  • Junior Imperials: 1930
  • Hastings Corporation Electricity Department: 1935-1936
  • Clock House United: 1937
  • Regnal United: 1937
  • Hastings Central Old Boys: 1937-1938
  • Red Lake Rangers: 1946-????
  • Old Centmodians: c1946
  • Civil Service: c1970s?
  • Hastings Police: C1970s

First known to be used for football in 1922, this uniquely named venue is located further down hill Elphinstone Road from the Pilot Field and is currently the site of a playground and allotments. The names B.O.S. originates from the Boys Own Society, a youth club from Robertson Street Congregational Church and was active from the late 1890s into the early 20th century. Though the B.O.S. did field football teams, I can find no proof of the club using the site for matches. The pitch was notorious for the sloping nature of the ground and in its early days, with a ditch running directly through the playing area.

Coghurst

Also known as: Goddens Field, Ore

Clubs:

  • St Helens: 1900-1905
  • Emmanuel FC: c1900
  • Ore & Clive Vale Harriers: c1900
  • Ore & Clive Vale Athletic: c1903
  • Gas Works FC: 1909-10
  • Vale Orton: 1919-1923
  • Hastings Invicta: 1920-1922

Land as part of Bricklands Farm at Rock Lane was first known to be used for recreational purposes in 1891, where informal cricket games were played here. The first known game of football took place in 1900, on what was then known as Goddens Field, named after the farmer who occupied the farm. There are records of matches taking place at the venue until 1923, on area of the ground located to the east, by the junction of Rock Lane and Winchelsea Road...

After the Second World War, a cycle speedway track was built at the southern end of the site known as Oratavia (or ‘Arvy Tarvy’); this track was used by the Ridge Eagles until the early 1950s. Planning was submitted in 1949 to build a greyhound racing stadium on the site, which would have covered land as far as Ivyhouse Lane, but these plans were rejected.

By the 1970s the ground was known as Coghurst and an additional pitch was marked out to the west. Teams using both pitches were forced to share a small brick building, with no water or electricity, to get changed in. The site is now Sandown Primary School and still used for youth football.

Dave Brown Memorial Field

Also known as: Barley Lane

Clubs: JC Tackleway (1997- )

Home to The JC Tackleway since it was first laid out in 1997. The club were offered a 50 year lease of the land by the Magdalen & Lasher charity and £94,000 funding from the National Lottery enabled them to lay two football pitches and construct changing facilities. The ground was named in honour of Dave Brown who'd dedicated many years to the club, 20 of those as club leader.

East Hill

Clubs:

  • Hastings & St Leonards Athletic: 1891-1892 & c1898
  • Hastings & St Leonards Swifts: c1892
  • Hastings Alliance: 1891-1892
  • East End/East Hastings FC: 1891-1893
  • St Clements FC (1): 1891-1921
  • St Clements Rovers: 1893-1893
  • St Marys: 1892-1897
  • Rock-a-Nore (1): 1893-1920
  • Post Office (1): c1893
  • Post Office (2): c1896
  • All Saints/Hastings Rovers (1): 1895-1902)
  • Hastings Trinity: c1898
  • Hastings Rifles: c1898
  • All Saints FC: 1898-1923
  • National Old Boys: c1900
  • Alexandra FC: 1907-1909
  • Normanhurst/Hastings Nomads: c1902
  • Hastings Invicta: 1905-1909
  • West Hill Athletic/Hastings Rangers (1): c1909
  • Municipal Employes/Hastings Rovers (2): c1912
  • Ore & Clive Vale: c1919
  • Observer Athletic: c1920
  • Rock-a-Nore (2): 1920-1954
  • Hastings Rangers (2): 1920-1927
  • Hastings Juniors: c1922
  • Hastings Albion: c1922
  • Robertson Street Congregational: 1923-1924
  • Ore Juniors: c1923
  • Junior Imperials: 1924-1927
  • Clifton Vale United: 1924-1925
  • Hastings YMCA: c1925
  • St Clements United/St Clements FC (2): 1926-1937
  • Junior Labour: c1929
  • Hastings Corporation: c1929
  • Central United: c1930
  • Hastings Corporation Electricity Department: c1935
  • JC Tackleway: c1970s

One of the oldest recreation sites in Hastings, the East Hill hosted multiple sports throughout the 19th century and most of the 20th century. A game of cricket was recorded to have taken place in 1822 between men from Bexhill and Hastings and a rugby game was first recorded here in 1872. In 1888 the East Hill, along with land on the West Hill, was purchased for the town at a price of £24000 from the Sayer-Milward estate...

The first recorded football game on the East Hill took place in 1890, however there were soon disputes between footballers and cricketers over the use of the ground, with matches known to overlap each other; the opening of the golf links in 1893 would only exacerbate tensions. In later years, games of football and cricket whose playing areas overlapped were known to briefly pause, to allow the other game to continue.

As football grew in popularity more pitches were marked out and by 1922 there were three pitches on the ground. Over the years more playing areas were laid out towards the Ecclesbourne Glen end of the ground, at one point there was a rugby pitch marked out in addition to the cricket wicket and multiple junior and adult football pitches. By the 1980s the facilities on site had become dilapidated through poor maintenance and they were eventually abandoned.

Gibbons Memorial Field

Also known as: Wishing Tree Road, The Den (1950s)

Clubs:

  • Hollington United: 1933-Present
  • Hollington Old Church: 1935-1938
  • Silverton United: c1935
  • Victoria Rangers: 1945-1946

The ground was first used in 1933, but wasn’t officially opened until 1935. The ground, which consisted of a football pitch, bowling green and two tennis courts, was officially opened on 9 May 1935 by Mayor Alderman A. Blackman. The land on which the ground had been laid out had been acquired for the Parish following the death of Miss Rosina Gibbons; she never had any children and the money from her estate was spent on enlarging the parish room in addition to the acquisition of the new recreation ground...

The first recorded game to have taken place at the ground was between Hollington United and Rock-a-Nore in 1933. From 1935, Hollington United and Hollington Old Church both appeared to be using the ground and there are records of games taking place here on the same day, albeit with slightly different kick-off times; this suggests that there was either two pitches marked out on the ground or one team was using a pitch nearby, possibly located further up Wishing Tree Road, but using the Gibbons Field changing facilities.

For more information on Gibbons Memorial Field visit the website of Hollington Old Church Bowls Club.

Also, read David Bauckhams blog covering his visit to Hollington United here..

Gilridge

Also known as: Hillside Road

Clubs: Hastings Wanderers (c1936), Woodwards Sports (c1938)

This site was a camping field situated to the north of the William Parker school fields; the ground was used briefly in the mid-late 1930s.

Harley Shute

On the site of West St Leonards Primary and St Leonards Academy, mulitple pitches were marked out here from the late 1960s on land owned by Filsham Farm.

There are records of games having previously taken place at Harley Shute, but it is unknown if these matches were played on the same site.

Harrow Lane

Also known as: Baldslow

Clubs:

  • Baldslow: c1921
  • Hollington Old Church: 1930-1933
  • DMS: c1935
  • Hastings Wanderers: 1936-1938
  • Stewarts Ltd FC: 1936-1938
  • Regnal United: c1938
  • Silverhill Old Boys: c1938
  • Hastings Electricity: c1952
  • Old Centmodians: 1954-????
  • Royal Victoria: c1985
  • Stedfast FC: c1985
  • Travaux: c1985
  • Westfield III: c2002

The site was first laid out as a recreation ground in 1921 and at one point around this time, two football pitches and two hockey pitches were marked out here. The ground was unused for a brief period following the Second World War, before being brought back into use in 1952.

Horntye

Also known as: Bohemia, Briscos Walk, Priory Avenue, Highbury House Ground, Summerfields

Clubs:

  • Highbury House: 1883-1891 & 1902-1907
  • Hastings & St Leonards Athletic (1): c1892
  • St Leonards Wanderers: c1898
  • Horntye Swifts: c1898
  • St Leonards Swifts: 1901-1902
  • St Michaels FC: 1902-1903
  • Hastings & st Leonards Atheltic (2): 1910-1911
  • Hastings YMCA: 1912-1914
  • St Leonards Albion: c1912
  • St Peters: c1914
  • Blacklands FC: c1985
  • Old Hastonians: c1985

The name Horntye possibly derives from the field name ‘Hornetey’ which was part of Chapel Farm, demolished in 1880 to build De Cham Avenue. The present day site known as Horntye once covered the area west of Bohemia House (later Summerfields House), from Bohemia Road up to Priory Avenue; it was first known to be used for sporting activity in the 1880s, when Highbury House School, based nearby in Church Road, was renting the field from a private owner...

The site was purchased by the Hastings Corporation in 1919 and by 1920 the land north of Briscos Walk was in use by the allotment association. There was the possibility of the ground becoming the site of a new community sports ground to serve the town, before the Pilot Field was chosen and there are no records of football games taking place here before the Second World War.

Following the war, the land south of Briscos Walk was again used as a recreation ground, with three football pitches being marked out, plus the construction of squash courts. The area to the north remained allotment gardens and the new building for St Pauls Primary School was opened in 1962 on the western section of that land, with more of site being turned into the school playing fields in the mid 1980s. Pashley Gardens was built on the remaining allotments in the 2000s.

By the 1980s the ground was known as Summerfields Playing Fields and had been chosen as the site of the new cricket ground to replace the Central Ground. Temporary changing and grounds man facilities were erected in time for its opening in 1996, before the lottery funded pavilion was opened a few years later. The ground is currently home to Hastings & St Leonards Priory Cricket Club and South Saxons Hockey Club.

Observer Sports Ground

Also known as: Downs Road

Clubs: Observer Athletic (1926-1970s?), Hastings Police (c1929), Plummers (1937-1938)

First used by the Observer Athletic FC in 1926, this field was acquired by F.J. Parsons Ltd as base for the Observer Athletic Club; the ground was also home to the Observer cricket, stoolball, bowls and tennis clubs. Permission was granted 1970, to build 39 houses on the site which become Abbotsfield Close.

Old Church Road

Also known as: Blacklands Terrace

Clubs:

  • Hollington Old Church: 1922-1930
  • Hollington Boys Club/Hollington St Johns: c1924
  • St Matthews FC: c1924
  • Silverhill Presbyterians: c1927
  • Hollington United: c1931

Also known as Blacklands Terrace this pitch was frequently used throughout the 1920s by teams based in or near Hollington.

Ore Valley

Also known as: Hastings Grammar School Field, Parker Road, Smiths Field (1907)

Clubs:

  • Hastings & St Leonards Athletic: c1893
  • St Clements: 1898-1900
  • Old Hastonians: 1894-1909 & c1933
  • Emmanuel FC: 1900-1901
  • Horntye Swifts: c1900
  • Boys Own Society: 1900-1905
  • Boys Brigade: c1908
  • Normanhurst Nomads: c1900
  • St Michaels FC: c1905
  • Observer Athletic: 1904-06 & 1912-14
  • Hastings Wednesday: c1908
  • Hastings Orient: 1908-1914
  • Gas Works FC: c1908
  • Junior Conservatives: c1910
  • Hastings Banks/Wanderers: c1914
  • Radcliffes: c1931
  • Blacklands FC: c1931

This site was originally part of Ore Valley Farm and was rented to Hastings Grammar School by Mr J. G. Brann. The grammar school, then located in Nelson Road, used the ground as their school playing field and the first known game to take place here was a rugby fixture in 1889.

The ground would go onto be used by multiple teams in the area well into the 1930s; the site was purchased by the Hastings Corporation in 1919 and later handed to the education committee. Elphinstone School was built on the site and opened in 1952.

The Green

Also known as: St Leonards Green, Maze Hill

Clubs:

  • South Saxons: 1879-1889
  • Hastings & St Leonards FC: 1889-1891
  • Hastings & St Leonards Swifts: c1889
  • Hastings Alliance: 1892-1893
  • Nil Desperandum: c1892
  • Christ Church FC: 1892-1893
  • Claremont Rovers: 1894-1895
  • South Coast Wanderers: c1895
  • St Leonards Wanderers: 1896-1897
  • St Leonards FC: 1898-1900
  • Christ Church/St Leonards Swifts: 1900-1903
  • St Matthews United: 1902-1903
  • St Leonards Amateurs: c1913-1914
  • St Leonards Athletic: c1914

The site hosted the first recorded game of association football in 1881, which back then would have been known as St Leonards Green. The area was used for sporting activity as far back as 1866 and the site covered from Maze Hill to Springfield Road. The general area, which was a clearing in Shornden Wood, was first marked as Gingerbread Green in a 1746 map and gets its name from the country fairs that were held here...

The game held in 1881 was hosted by the Lindens, a school based down Upper Maze Hill, and the ground would go onto regularly host school games having already been the venue for rugby matches since 1870. The last known football matches here took place in 1914 and since then development of the site made the game unusable for adult football. After the Second World War, the only remaining recreation areas was the tennis club and a field situated south of Filsham Road which was used by Hastings & St Leonards College and built on in the 1950s.

The Oval

Also known as: Hickmans Field (Pre 1920s), Bohemia Farm

Clubs: Hastings YMCA (1919-1921), St Leonards Amateurs (1920-1922), Rock-a-Nore (1922-1923), Hastings Police (c1923)

Originally part of Bohemia Farm, the site was first recorded as being used for sport in 1915, when a rugby match took place between the 8th Battalion South Wales Borderers and the 11th Battalion Welsh Regiment. A military football game took place weeks later and further more took place that year. When first used for sport the site was known as Hickmans Field and would go on to be used by various teams throughout the 1920s...

The 1920s and 1930s saw the area develop into White Rock Gardens, with the field renamed the Oval, after the circular path built on the ground. By 1930, the site was designated as a children’s playing area, but junior football games were banned around this time, as it was felt the churning up of the surface made the field unusable for other users.

The ground would later go on to host football again, as well as being the site used to host travelling fairgrounds and other events. Goalposts did remain on site until the 2000s, but have since been taken down.

The Pines

Small field located on the Ridge once used by Sandown School, before the new school was built on its present site. The ground was rented by the education committee and used as part of playing fields for Hastings High School for Girls, though often used by other schools and youth clubs. The ground was lost to development and Playden Gardens, located off St Helens Down, stands on the site of the old ground.

Sandhurst Recreation Ground

Also known as: Sandrock, Hurst Court

Clubs:

  • Red Lake Rangers: 1947-1948
  • Corbens Sports: c1952
  • Bohemia United: c1985 & c2002
  • Old Hastonians: c1985
  • Segas: c1985
  • JC Tackleway: mid1980s-1997

Whilst multiple games have been reported as being played on pitches on the Ridge and St Helens since 1918, the first known definite recorded game taking place on the site was in 1947, with Red Lake Rangers playing the Civil Service at what was then called by the Observer ‘Hurst Court’.

Located close to Sandrock Hall, Sandhurst is situated to the north of the Ridge, whilst an old pitch was marked out on the opposite side of the Ridge adjacent to St Helens Church and known as Hurst Court. Sandhurst is still in use for youth football, whilst the Hurst Court pitch is no longer used and now an overgrown empty space.

Silverhill

Also known as: Drapers Field, Padghams Field

Clubs:

  • Highbury House School: 1891-1896
  • Hastings & St Leonards Swifts: c1889
  • St Leonards FC: 1900-1905
  • Horntye Swifts: 1900-1902
  • National Old Boys: 1900-1904
  • St Matthews United: 1900-1903
  • St Leonards Swifts: 1901-1902
  • Observer Athletic: 1903-1904
  • West Hill FC: c1906
  • Hastings Tramways: 1906-1909
  • Clerks Athletic/Hastings & St Leonards Athletic: 1907-1909
  • St Johns Hollington United: 1907-1909
  • Hastings Wednesday Athletic: c1908
  • Hollington United: c1949

The site first used as a cricket ground in 1873, saw its first football match in 1889 with the University School 2nd XI playing against Hastings Swifts 2nd XI. The field was also referred to as Drapers Field, after the family who ran the Windmill located just off Sedlescombe Road South...

By 1902, St Leonards FC used the ground as their home pitch and were renting the Pavilion from Silverhill Cricket Club, it is during this year the football club made improvements to ground such as; levelling, drainage and the construction of a cinder footpath. There are records of more than one game taking place at the same time on the ground, which suggests there were at least two pitches marked out at one point. There was also an additional pitch described as being at Drapers Mill in 1903.

By the 1920s the field had become allotment gardens, before being hosting football once again after the Second World War, when the pitch was used briefly by Hollington United. Since then, the development of the Ponswood Industrial Estate eventually took over the field; the ground was in use into the 1970s, before eventually becoming the site of the Marshall Tufflex factory and is now the site of the ASDA car park.

Silverhill Park

Also known as: Old Roar, Richmonds Field

Clubs: Hollington United (1921-1930)

This ground was located at the junction of Old Roar Road and Sedlescombe Road North, opposite the Briars. Hollington United played here throughout the 1920s before the ground was lost to development; houses at the top end of St Helens Road and a cul-de-sac were built on the site.

There are also records of a game being played at Glenmore Field; Glenmore being a house located further up Old Roar Road.

South Saxons

Also known as: Bopeep, West Marina

Clubs:

  • St Leonards Wanderers (1897-1898
  • Alexandra FC (c1898
  • Blacklands FC (c1898
  • South Saxons (1898-1905
  • Emmanuel FC (c1901
  • Bopeep Swifts (c1900
  • Hastings & St Leonards FC (1900-1902 & c1904
  • Havenhurst Swifts (1901 & 1905)
  • St Leonards FC (1901-1902 & c1905
  • Boys Own Society (c1904
  • West Marina FC (c1901
  • Christ Church/St Leonards Swifts (1900 & 1903
  • St Michaels FC (c1905
  • Observer Athletic (1903 & 1909-1910
  • Hastings Tramways (1907-1910, c1914 & c1923
  • Hastings & West Marina Locomotive (c1907
  • Bopeep United (c1912 & c1923
  • St Leonards Athletic (c1914 & c1920
  • Hastings Juniors (c1920
  • United Banks (c1920 & 1922-1923
  • St Leonards Amateurs (c1923
  • Hillcrest (at Filsham School) (c2002

This old recreation ground is located at the bottom of Filsham Road, behind the West St Leonards Community Centre, it was previously known as the East Sussex Cricket Ground when it hosted a first class Sussex game against Marylebone in 1857; it had also previously been the site of annual horse races, which had moved from Bulberhythe Salts after 1826, but it is unknown for how many more years these races were held...

In the summer of 1886 the South Saxon Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club opened a new ground on the site referred to as Bo Peep Valley; football was not recorded as having been played at the ground until 1897, with the South Saxon Football Club playing at other venues during this time.

The ground continued to host competitive adult football until the 1920s, although it carried on being used for school football. In the years following the Second World War, the site was used for the annual Town Sports competition and the ground was extended to the north at some point; this part of the ground now makes up the playing fields for St Leonards Academy (formally Filsham Valley School). The southern part is now known as South Saxons Wetlands.

Tilekiln

Also known as: Helipad

Clubs:

  • Blacklands: c1985
  • Royal Victoria: c1985
  • Travaux: c1985
  • Hollington United: 2000s
  • Peche Hill Select ????-Present
  • St Leonards Social ????-Present
  • JC Tackleway: late2000s
  • Ore Athletic: 2010s

This site was laid out as playing fields in the mid-1970s, on land that was part of Castleham Farm. The pavilion was constructed in the early-1980s, around the same time permission was granted for the formation of a helipad on site.

West Hill

Also known as: Thwaites Field, Breeds Field

Clubs:

  • Hastings & St Leonards Athletic: 1892
  • Hastings Alliance: 1891-1894
  • St Marys: 1893 & 1897
  • Claremont Rovers: c1893
  • Hastings & St Leonards FC: 1894-1898
  • St Clements FC: 1894
  • Rock-a-Nore: 1895 & 1897-1898
  • All Saints Rovers: c1895
  • Hastings Police: c1896
  • Hastings Trinity: 1898
  • West Hill Rovers: 1898
  • All Saints FC: 1898
  • Boys Own Society: 1898

The site was first used as a cricket field and home to Hastings Cricket Club, the first one formed in town, in 1840; the field was back then known as Thwaites Field and then Breeds Field. The first known game on the ground took place in 1891, between Hastings Alliance and East End FC. In the same year there was a ‘practice ground’ in use, which was opposite Emmanuel Church. The ground was lost to development around 1898 and is now the site of Collier Road.

William Parker/Hastings Grammar School

Clubs: St Helens (2000s), Spartan 04 (2011-2012), AFC Hollington (2017- )

The land was obtained in the late 1930s and work to make part of the site ready for sports was completed in 1938, with a game between Hastings Grammar School and Old Hastonians III taking place in October of that year...

The site had been obtained for the new Hastings Grammar School buildings, but was put off due to the outbreak of World War Two; the grounds would go on to be used as school playing fields for a number of years. Construction of the new school started in 1962 and was opened in 1964; the running track was laid out two years later and the Park Avenue buildings were opened in 1979.

Used by various local teams over the years, the school grounds are also home to Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club and Hastings Athletic Club.

Windmill Road

Also known as: Moons Field, Drapers Mill?

Clubs:

  • Christ Church/St Leonards Swifts (1900-1901
  • Horntye Swifts (1901-1902
  • St Matthews United (1902-1903
  • Observer Athletic (1903
  • Bohemia FC (c1904
  • Hastings Invicta (c1907
  • Hastings & St Leonards Athletic (c1908
  • St Johns Hollington United (c1908
  • Hollington United (c1949

This pitch was accessed from Windmill Road, which before the construction of the Ponswood Industrial Eastate, was an unmade track which passed piggeries and allotments. The first recorded game of football that took place here was between St Leonards Swifts II and Bexhill II, on that was then called Moons Field, in 1900. Going by descriptions given of the pitch in the Hastings Observer, I believe this to be the same pitch used by Hollington United briefly after the Second World War...

The field originally got its name from John Moon, a market gardener from Silverhill who worked the surrounding fields and there are records of local church groups using Mr Moons field for childrens outings in the 1890s. Throughout the 1900s, the ground was regularly used for football matches and may possibly have been the pitch described as being at Drapers Mill (see Silverhill).

After being used for Hollington United games in the late 1940s, the field would later go onto be used by Hollington Park School, located at Gillsmans Hill. The site was later developed on and now Bluebell Gardens is partially situated on the old field.

Wishing Tree

Not to be confused by the Gibbons Memorial Field, this playing field is located further up Wishing Tree Road, next the junction with Church Wood Drive and Marline Road. Football matches may possibly have been played here before the laying out of the current field, as there are records of matches having taken place at Blacklands Farm, which was located on the other side of the road to the ground.

The current field was laid out around 1971, approximately around the same time Church Wood Drive was constructed.