Hastings is one of my favourite places to visit on a day trip from Brighton. I love that it’s not too far away – just 40 minutes by car or train – and that it feels similar to Brighton. It’s on the coast, has a unique independent, creative spirit, historic streets to lose yourself in and plenty of little shops, cafes, and restaurants to keep you entertained. Yet it’s never as busy.
Every time I go on a day trip to Hastings, I discover a new hidden treasure that sends me into a spin. I shared my recent discoveries here, however, some of these places are so special they deserve blog posts of their own, like this unique museum and this hidden restaurant. Today, I’m giving another hidden gem in Hastings a post of its own; an incredible shop with a nostalgic surprise. Feel free to add it to your Hastings day trip itinerary.
Arthur Green’s is an antique shop, with a twist. You’ll find it on the seafront where the town of St Leonard’s-on-Sea and Hastings meet, opposite this underground skate park (that’s another story!). I spotted the beautiful old floor mosaic first – I’m always on the look out for them in Brighton and anywhere else I go. I find their lure hard to resist. This was the clue I was in for a big surprise. Inside, not only is this shop packed with all kinds of beautiful antique treasures. It also hides a perfectly preserved interior of an Edwardian gentleman’s outfitters dating back to 1904! Say what? Obviously, I started taking lots of photos! Just look at it…
Running along each wall, are two beautiful shelving units, each with different sections designed to contain a specific type of garment. Beautifully carved signs tell me where I would originally have found the shirts, silk and felt hats and hosiery. A staff member I got chatting to told me that English Heritage has given it Grade II listed status, and I wouldn’t believe the number of American visitors who had offered to buy it.
What an incredible find! Here’s the story: Arthur Green’s was originally a quality gentleman’s outfitters, known as Arthur Green & Company Hatters and Hosiers, which opened in 1904. After the shop closed – I am struggling to find out exactly when this was but I am guessing around the 1980s – it was briefly taken over by The Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust and used as an information centre. As you can see, it’s now a vintage emporium filled with every possible trinket. I love how the old shelves and drawers have been transformed into miniature cabinets of curiosities. There are suitcases, bowties and brushes; tins and games, glass vases and china tea sets, hats, coats and silk scarves, vintage books and records, art and ceramics…
At the back of the shop my excitement heightens once again when I set wide eyes on the old fitting room. Seeing the original white letters on a wooden door triggers nostalgia; thoughts of shopping sprees past. I imagine well-dressed mothers and sons buying school uniforms; business men buying their suits. This would have been an occasion in itself once upon a time, a task people took their time over, unlike now, when everything we do is in a hurry.
Finding this original 20th-century shop interior, perfectly intact, is a magical experience. Arthur Green’s Antiques Shop just made it to the top of my list of my favourite hidden discoveries in Sussex.
Find Arthur Green’s Antique Centre at 34 White Rock, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1JY. Open weekdays 10am-5pm; weekends 10am-6pm.
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