Hastings – Model Village

Blimey, I remember the castle and the hamster wheel thing. It was, in those days, as close to you would get to an adventure play park, it was on the same site that is now held by Clambers and it was all outdoors. The Castle, the Hamster Wheel, an army zip slide, seesaws, roundabouts and I think there was a small paddling pool. The Castle stunk of wee, probably where kids couldnt be bothered to get to the toilet. I remember it even had towers that you could go up .

Next to the play park was a putting course and you use to pay where the bowling green hut is now. Then the other side was a crazy golf course and you purchased the tickets from the model village hut. We had some great times up there . We use to spend the morning in the museum and then a snack and a drink at a very small cafe that was just below White Rock Road, in Cambridge Road (since gone) and then off to the putting, the play park and then the crazy golf, in that order 

Can you imagine kids being allowed out to do that now ? We were 12 years old in 1973 and use to catch the 433 bus from the Fortune of War (well thats what we called the bus stop anyway) in Priory Road, to the Oval and back.

Happy days 

The Hastings Model Village took three years to build and opened on 19th February 1955. Designed by Stanley Deboo, it featured models of classic Sussex houses including oast-houses and timber-framed houses.

Sadly the Model Village was forced to close in December 1998 after vandalism caused £5,000 worth of damage. It was replaced by a miniature golf course built by Chris Richards.

The model village was replaced by a lazer maze style gaming centre in 2011, but still some of the original model village foundations remain at the site to this day.

 I love model villages, the real rendered diminutive in tiny eye bite size pieces. I have a particular affection for lost model villages, and particularly lost model villages which I have never visited. Having discovered a set of vintage images at the Vintage Village – I set out on a virtual journey by postcard, into a collective unconscious, previously uncollected.
Here are the mechanically retrieved lost remnants of a lost world.

19 thoughts on “Hastings – Model Village

  1. The first photo on the model Villiag I do think it is me the one with the boy looking at the Church have photo with my sister at this site dad took us both there 1957 1958 fond memory’s of a time long gone
    Thank you for the nostagia trip

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i also have a nostalgia for obsolete places – like Hastings Memorial and St Leonards pier – so i made an app using Augmented reality so we can visit them as spectral models with sound – will be giving a talk June 10th at White rock hotel as part of St Leonards & Hastings society Open Meeting, its about http://www.apparitions.site hope you can make it – model villages really get me too

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I visited that late lamented play-castle just once when I was six and I thought it was entirely mind-blowing. Seriously, I thought it was just about the best thing I’d ever seen in my short life. Even though it did indeed reek of wee, I thought it was amazing – and the best thing was, parents couldn’t get inside and winkle you out, because the doorways were too small for ’em, so once you were in there you were in another world. What’s always stayed with me though is the recollection that inside the castle there was a shoe and a dessert spoon. WTF? Losing your shoe is one thing – but what the heck was a dessert spoon doing in there? I’ll still be scratching my head about that on my deathbed.


  4. Dear Modernmooch

    How come Southsea Model Village appears on pages 5 and 10 of your website?

    Also, the same family can be seen in both views.


    1. How come, I’ll tell you how come, because I am human and fallible and although I lived in Southsea for three years, I didn’t ever visit the model village – I stand corrected and will amend the post, thanks for your erudite intervention.


  5. I visited this village with my parents on holiday when I was about five or six. It stayed indelibly printed on my mind. I have an old black and white photo. Do you know of any good ones in the south east? Thanks for posting this up. It looks even more magnificent than I remember


  6. What a shame the council lived up to its reputation and failed to save this excellent site, just like the pier which was only saved by private donations and then sold off cheaply! I never knew this existed until your post, we need a Model Village Mk2!


  7. I first saw the Model Village when I was about 10 yrs old together with my Gran, Uncle, Auntie & my Cousin about 1960. I loved every bit, my favorite was the ruins of an old mansion so realistic. I was deeply saddened to learn that the Village no longer exists. All because of vandals.


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