While James Burton was working on Chester Terrace in London in 1827 he conceived his scheme for a seaside resort. The original plans, now in the Hastings Museum, take no account of the coastline at St. Leonards and may not have been drawn up with a location in mind. In the end they had to be adapted to fit the topography of the area.
Museum Accession No: HASMG 903.2.3
By late 1827 Burton had decided on St. Leonards and negotiated with the trustees of the Eversfield Estate for a section of Gensing Farm. In February 1828 the Sussex Weekly Advertiser announced the start of building. The land purchased consisted of a coastal strip stretching for about three quarters of a mile and at its centre half a mile inland up a wooded valley known as the Old Woman’s Tap Shaw.
Museum Accession No: HASMG 903.2.4
James Burton’s concept for St.Leonards was strongly influenced by his involvement with Nash in Regents Park. He copied with care the grand, classical style of Nash’s terraces, the provision of service areas, public buildings for entertainment and the picturesque siting of villas amongst the groves, wooded slopes and water of the Subscripton Gardens.
Museum Accession No: HASMG 903.2.5
By the end of 1828 Burton had built his own house, West Villa, in addition to the South Collonade on the sea side of the road and the entrance archway. In 1829 a prospectus was issued showing the type of accommodation and services that would be available and by 1832 most of the terraces, villas and public buildings were complete.
Museum Accession No: HASMG 946.40.3
Architectural perspective of the West Terrace, St. Leonards By James Burton, 1829
Museum Accession No: HASMG 946.40.5
Architectural perspective of the South Collonade, St. Leonards By James Burton, 1829
Museum Accession No: HASMG 946.40.2
Lithograph after an architectural perspective by James Burton The Imperial Hotel with the Baths, Public Rooms and Adjacent Buildings on the Marina 1829
Museum Accession No: HASMG 910.83.4
Architectural perspective of the Public Rooms, St. Leonards By James Burton, 1829
Museum Accession No: HASMG 946.40.1
Lithograph after an architectural perspective by James Burton The Double Villas east of the Public Rooms, 1829
Museum Accession No: HASMG 915.93
Architectural perspective of South Lodge at the entrance to the Subscription Gardens By James Burton, 1829
Museum Accession No: HASMG 946.40.6
Design for a villa in the vernacular style, presumably for St. Leonards By James Burton, 1830
Museum Accession No: HASMG 903.2.6
Cottage Regulations Recommended for the Preservation of Health Issued by James Burton from St. Leonards, 1831
Museum Accession No: HASMG 903.2.9
Birds eye view of St. Leonards on Sea Engraving c.1834