Vandeleur Benjamin Crake & Family

Their cultural & architectural contributions to St Leonards & Hastings

Talk by Christopher Maxwell-Stewart

Vandeleur Benjamin Crake (1816 – 1894) was the foremost member of the Crake family who made major contributions to the architectural and cultural heritage of St Leonards in the later decades of the 19th Century. The Scottish baronial ‘Highlands Gardens’ are his most obvious bequest but of equal importance architecturally are the ‘Arts and Crafts’ residences in Boscobel Road which he commissioned Philip Tree to design. His life was a contrast of great sadness and wonderful friendships most notably with Edward Lear.

Christopher Maxwell-Stewart was a founding trustee of the Burtons’ St Leonards Society and is the current chair. In recent years he has researched the development of St Leonards beyond the Burton Estate.

Royal Victoria Hotel
Sunday 26th September 2021
3.00 p.m

£2.50 members & £5.00 non members

Highlands Gardens

Death at Caterina Villa. The First Murder in Burtons’ St Leonards, 1848

Sunday 23rd February :

Talk by Helena Wojtczak

Helena Wojtczak is a local author and historian specialising in the lives of women in the Victorian era. She has written four books about the subject and one on the history of female railway workers. After discovering that a serial poisoner and Jack the Ripper suspect once lived and worked in Hastings, she branched out into a new genre and wrote a study of his life and crimes. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and her latest book ‘Strange Exits from Hastings’ will be launched at the talk. 

Royal Victoria Hotel 4 p.m.

£2.50 members & £5.00 non members

2019 AGM

This year the society’s AGM will be held at South Lodge, Maze Hill, St. Leonards.

Sunday 24th November at 6pm followed by drinks and nibbles.

How to build a Georgian house

A talk by Steven Gray

Sunday 27th October 2019 – 4 pm

Royal Victoria Hotel, St Leonards

From the aftermath of the Great Fire of London and into the Victorian era, one house type was ubiquitous from London to Bath, Liverpool to Dublin and Boston to St Leonard’s-on-Sea. Danish architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen described the Georgian terrace house as “…a refined industrial product brought to perfection through constant selection during repeated serial construction.”

For further information please click here to download the leaflet.

Talk: The wreck of the Amsterdam

March 31 2019 @ 4:00 pm. The Royal Victoria Hotel

click here for details

Visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Tuesday 30 April 2019

click here for details

Please find the current newsletter on our home page
Or click here to download

A replica of the VOC Amsterdam in the Netherlands.


The Burtons’ St Leonards Society present:


A context for the concrete architecture of Sidney Little

A talk by Stephen Gray at the Royal Victoria Hotel

Sunday 28th October 2018 at 4 pm

(£2.50 members, £5 non-members, at the door)

Click to download flyer and information

Future of the Harold & Edith Swan-Neck Statue

February 24 2019 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Future of the Harold & Edith Swan-Neck Statue
– A Panel Discussion 

click here to download details


Sunday 29th September 2019 – 4-6 pm Kino Teatr, Norman Road, St Leonards

A showing of the 1925 silent film She with introductory talks by Christopher Maxwell-Stewart and Olga Mamonova on the life and works of St Leonards resident, Sir Henry Rider Haggard.

She was one of Rider Haggard’s most popular works, together with the famous King Solomon’s Mines and its sequel, Alan Quartermain.

Click here to download PDF