Hastings Local Books are a collection of factual publications researched and written by author David Renno.
Listening to local anglers talking about the various shipwrecks they fished initially sparked his interest to know more about local wrecks. This resulted in his book East Sussex Shipwrecks of the 19th Century being published in 2002 and his second book Beachy Head Shipwrecks of the 19th Century which was published two years later.
During his research into these books he came across a number of references to the Hastings, St. Leonards and Eastbourne Steamship Co. Ltd. He found that very little had been recorded about it and so started to look into its background and this research resulted in his third book, Hastings, St Leonards & Eastbourne Steamship Co. Ltd, published in 2008.
His first two books were also responsible for his next set of books on the commemorative plaques and tablets in Hastings & St. Leonards. David came upon the story of the death of a local fisherman in 1821, Joseph Swaine, at the hands of George England a local member of the Coast Blockade Service and was made aware of a plaque to this event in Hastings Old Town.
Having had this plaque drawn to his attention he set out to catalogue other similar such plaques and tablets in the town. The result of his search was a series of three books entitled History on the walls or Hastings Town/…St Leonards/…Old Town Hastings covering over 120 of them.
One of the plaques was in respect of a James Rock who in 1822 started a very successful carriage building business in the town. It was such an interesting story David decided to write his latest book J. Rock to Caffyns Ltd – The Diary of a Hastings & Tunbridge Wells Royal carriage builder. The book covers the events of both the business and its owners throughout that 126 year period.
Early in 2017 David was approached by Dee-Day White, a local Hastings man, who together with John Hamilton had rescued the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat, stationed at Hastings between 1931 and 1950. David was asked if he would help with some research into the lifeboat’s background which he gladly did. The result of this and other information obtained has resulted in a Diary of the boat’s life including its experiences during World War II and the final journey back to Hastings where it has been restored and put on permanent display. A donation will be made to the Macbean and Bishop Trust, from every Diary sold. The Trust maintains both the Cyril and Lilian Bishop and another restored lifeboat in Hastings, the Priscilla Macbean.
During the research for the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat David came across the role James Beeching, a local man, played in the design of the original self-righting lifeboat. It was this that resulted in his book about James Beeching, and the part he played in the design of self-righting lifeboats. It also covers other early Sussex lifeboat designers and those designers that preceded him. Also a donation will be made to the Macbean and Bishop Trust, for every copy sold.
Details on each of the books can be found on the relevant pages along with ISBN numbers and the purchase prices.