Friday, 18 March 2016

The Grenadier, Hailsham

The Harvey Hoppers’ Handbook, a 1990s guide to the pubs on the Harvey Hop, states that the Grenadier Hotel dates back to the Napoleonic Wars, when it “was originally known as the British Grenadier and served to quench the thirsts of the soldiers garrisoned in the barracks which once stood nearby.” The pub website says the original pub on the site was built in 1803 and that the barracks on Hailsham common were dismantled in 1815 after success at Battle of Waterloo. This history is corroborated by the following text that appears in the 1991 book, Hailsham in Old Picture Postcards, by M. Alder and published by the Hailsham Historical and Natural History Society:

“In a deed of 1803, ‘William Stevens of Berwick and G. Woger of Alfriston who are about to build a house in the field, now Mr Benjamin Shelley’s near the barracks on Hailsham Common --- bind themselves to Mr Issac Clapson, gent, that Richard Wood, innkeeper, of Hailsham shall have a half share of the business.’ This was the beginning of the Grenadier Hotel, built to supply beer to the soldiers stationed at the barracks which then stood on the western side of Eastwell Place. Thomas Geering records that after the barracks ceased to be used, the Grenadier rapidly became the rendezvous for every tramp within ten miles. He said ‘a merrier lot never existed’”

The existing pub premises, however, are the result of a 1910 refacing by builder James Bodle. The pub website states that this same work “also created a large two storey extension to the saloon bar and
a large single storey extension at the rear of the property creating a much needed large stock room.” Subsequent additions over the years include a parapet. The building is of two storeys in redbrick with attractive decorative stonework elements in the rusticated pilasters and the arches above the ground floor doors and windows. These bear the names Private Bar, Public Bar and Saloon Bar in scrolled relief above the windows with H&S (Harvey & Son) over the doors. Room names also survive on a number of etched windows and door glass.

The present bar on the left (above) is a combination of the old Private and Public Bars. The game ‘Toad in the Hole’ is played here. Fixed seating now blocks off the Public Bar door where the load bearing beam once divided the two rooms. The original bar back and counter remains but the latter has newer panels on the front. The internal door with the sign ‘Saloon Bar and Toilets’ leads first to a small lobby with what appears to have once been an off sales; or perhaps this was the entrance and serving hatch for the hotel residents.

The large right side room (below) has a ‘Saloon Bar’ etched panel in both exterior and inner doors. The bar counter is the original with replacement front panels that match the dado panelling on the walls, some of which has covered up an old fireplace. This room has been combined with a former sitting room at the rear where there is another small hatch/doorway for service. 

The Grenadier, 67 High Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 1AS, 01323 842152
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