1 Royal Victoria Hotel
We begin at the Royal Victoria Hotel formerly the St Leonards Hotel. Neo-Classical colonnaded terraces flank the hotel, which was Burton’s seafront landmark building. The baths, which were between it and the sea, have been demolished.
2 Arched Gateway
Towards Hastings stood James Burton’s original grand arched entrance gateway, called East Lodge. The Council quietly demolished it in 1895. A small memorial stone standing at the junction of Marina and Grand Parade now marks the site.
3 Assembly Rooms
Behind the hotel is the Masonic Hall, originally the Assembly Rooms, the centre of all social activities, where balls, concerts, public meetings and banquets were held. For the latter the food was prepared in the Hotel and brought across the road through an underground tunnel.
Originally flanked to east and west by a pair of graceful villas, only the East Villa remains.
4 South Lodge
To the rear of the Assembly Rooms is South Lodge,the entrance to the Tapshaw Valley, in and around which Burton created his unique residential park. Now called St Leonards Gardens.
Until recently it was the home of The Burtons' St Leonards Society.
5 St Leonards Gardens
St Leonards Gardens were created around a wooded valley originally known as the Old Woman’s Tapshaw. The Gardens represent a unique page in English architectural history.
Like Regent’s Park, which James Burton had helped to create in the 1820s, villas are scattered in and around the Gardens, forming the integrated landscape of a residential park.
6 Double Villa
On the corner of East Ascent stands a Burton Double Villa. This Double Villa was one of two villas that flanked the Assembly Rooms Only this, the East Villa remains.
7 Service Area
East Ascent and the extensive mews (now largely residential) behind it was the commercial and service area of the town.
At the top of East Ascent is Mercatoria, the original service area of Burton’s town. On the corner with Norman Road, was Lavatoria Square, where the washerwomen lived and worked.
Nearby, James Burton built the first National School in 1834 (now demolished). A new school was built at the top of Mercatoria in 1847 on land given by Decimus Burton.
9 Horse & Groom
Also in Mercatoria is the town’s first pub, the Horse and Groom. Built mainly for the benefit of the army of building workers that built St Leonards.
10 Stanhope Place
Around the corner is the characterful and multicoloured Stanhope Place.
11 The Lawn
Situated off Stanhope Place is a group of double villas built around a shared private garden called The Lawn. These were built by Decimus Burton in 1834.
12 Clock House
A fine ecclesiastic Gothic style villa presenting three storeys to the park and only one to the road behind. The clock in the Clock House tower was made by George III’s clockmaker and was used as St Leonards official time piece during the early days of the town.
This property with its fine octagonal sitting room was James Burton’s own residence from 1831 until his death.
14 The Uplands
Built from local Crowhurst bluestone, The Uplands is a group of substantially sized double villas built by Decimus Burton in the 1860s.
15 North Lodge
North Lodge spans Upper Maze Hill and was originally built as a tollgate at the Northern entrance to St Leonards. Built by James Burton in 1830 to a mock Gothic castellated style. A toll road ran from here and joined up with the main London to Hastings Road.
North Lodge became the family home to Jane Wood, James Burton’s daughter, and a later resident was Henry Rider Haggard who wrote King Solomon’s Mines amongst other well known works.
The archway became damaged by a large vehicle in 2002 and following its repair has remained closed to vehicles since.
16 Baston Lodge
Just above North Lodge is Baston Lodge, built by Decimus Burton in 1850. This building has a strong Italian influence.
17 Gloucester Lodge
This building was originally named the Castellated Villa, but was renamed Gloucester Lodge after its first occupant, Princess Sophia of Gloucester. The stunning building overlooks St Leonards gardens from the North.
18 Maze Hill
Maze Hill is lined with striking 19th century Gothic villas and is named after the maze that once occupied the top end of St Leonards Gardens.
19 Archery Road
This is where the Archery Ground once stood and was home to the St Leonards Archers, who were founded in 1833. Princess Victoria presented the Archery Club with a special banner in 1834 and the archers became known as the Queen’s Royal St Leonards Archers after she was crowned queen.
In the 1960s the grand villas on this land were demolished, the gardens bulldozed and the multi storey Hastings College was built. This brutal development amongst others prompted the formation of the Burtons’ St Leonards Society who have campaigned since their inception in June 1970 to conserve Burton buildings and promote quality town planning in the area.
20 Uplands School
The Archery Villas, designed by Decimus Burton, were used for educational purposes from 1861 until 2006, latterly as Hastings College’s Art Department.
Planning permission is being sought to convert the Villas into residential apartments.
21 The Mount
The Mount is a crescent of 13 grand houses off Archery Road, built by Decimus Burton. The Crescent arcs around a central tennis court (originally an ornamental garden).
22 Burton Family Tomb
Looking towards the beach from West Hill Road you can see the old burial ground of St Leonards Parish Church. The Burton family tomb in the shape of a small pyramid is positioned in the middle looking out to sea. This is where the architect himself, his wife and several other members of his family lie.
23 Crown House
Situated at 57 Marina, the Crown House is one of the most important buildings in Burtons’ St Leonards.
This property was the first building to be erected in St Leonards and served as James Burton’s own villa during the construction of the town. The timber frame of the building was constructed in London and shipped by sea to St Leonards.
The Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria stayed in No.57 during 1834-35 and after they left the building was renamed Victoria House. As Victoria was crowned queen the house was renamed again as Crown House and remains so today.