I grew up in Silverhill. My first jobs, my first teen friends, the first pub I snuck into on the grounds that I was nearly old enough, were all in Silverhill, five minutes walk from home.
As ruthless as most teenagers are, I absorbed all the advantages without noticing them and couldn’t wait to be old enough to move into town, where the real stuff happens.
Well, I’ve lived in town for quite a while now – and yes, I do love it – being near the sea and the entertainments, having a wider choice of shops, but there are downsides too. Living in town, some of the things that happen in the east, west and north of the town are an inconveniently long way away.
I’m a member of the Labour Party, and three of our five branches (West, Central and East) meet pretty much on the seafront, and fret about how we’re going to talk to the people of north and east Hastings because they are such a long way away. Once in a while, we shift ourselves and (with the help of North Branch – yes, they do exist) to do an event in Hollington – then all the members of East, Central and West fret about how they’re going to get there and back again.
Well, come election time. Here’s a message for Central Branch: you’re starting from too far away. The centre of Hastings is Silverhill. Look at the map! If you look at the Silverhill Junction, where the roads out of town meet Battle Road and the A21, you will see that X marks the spot.
Of course, we’d need a good big venue in Silverhill to make things happen there, and a nice, cozy one for branch meetings. Pity we can’t kick ASDA out – that’d be the ideal spot – but there are some shops nearby that are pretty big, and not so much used since ASDA wiped out all the competition – maybe we should ask the council if any of those become a community venue …
… but you know what? Shops in Silverhill are still doing things, and there are clubs and cafés and function rooms and church halls at Silverhill, quite cheap to hire and, more than one of them is accessible! If we had meetings here, members from Braybrooke and Gensing and Maze Hill and Conquest and Ashdown and St Helens and Hollington and Wishing Tree could all come without having to make sandwiches for the journey.
Maybe we’d start a fashion, and then so many things would be happening at Silverhill kids in this generation wouldn’t be agitating to move to town as soon as they want things to happen, in fact kids brought up in town might be agitating to move to Silverhill, where stuff happens…
Of course, for evening events, the bus companies would have to get the hang of running services from and to Silverhill from and to everywhere – right up to the end of all the evening events we’d have – but look, there’s a bus station in Silverhill, all ready and waiting to do the deed – and even more heck, what if they do have events in Silverhill already, and we haven’t noticed…?
< Radical History event at St Matthews Church Hall
Talent Show, cakes and general fun-being-had in St Matthews gardens >
…Let’s join in, let’s start work now, and persuade ‘happening Hastings’ to look up from its seafront obsession, and find the centre, Silverhill (X marks the spot) where not only do things happen, but events could be held that quite a lot of Hastings people could get to.