[This document comes from Helena Wojtczak's English Social History: Women of Nineteenth-Century Hastings and St.Leonards. An Illustrated Historical Miscellany, which the author has graciously shared with readers of the Victorian Web. Click on the title to obtain the original site, which has additional information.]

This following is a list of some of the female traders operating in Hastings and St Leonards. It is certainly not exhaustive. For various reasons, tradeswomen may have gone undocumented at the time, and records are missing which would have provided a good many more names.

A 1850s campaign for early closing of Hastings' provision shops on Saturdays suggested that they close at 9.pm instead of the customary time of between ten and midnight. The reason was not employees' welfare but concern that they would be too tired "for the religious duties of the Sabbath morning." Hastings & St Leonards News, 22 February 1856

1821 Census (St Mary in the Castle, Hastings)

1831 Census (St Mary in the Castle, Hastings)

Left:  29 George street, in which Mrs Hyland ran an eating house c 1830s-40s. Right:   All Saints' street - 102, where Mary White had a grocery, and 103, where Eliza Paris had a greengrocery

Hannah Morton's advert in the Hastings & St Leonards News, 1850. Mrs Morton was at the time the most successful female shopkeeper in Hastings, with the leading china and glass shop in the area.

Pigot's Directory 1839

Clothing trade

Left:  Mrs Osborne's advertisment for her printing business Right:  Mrs Golding's advertisement in Osborne's 1858 Directory

Kelly's Directory 1845

Clothing trade

Left:  118 High street, from where Mary Weston ran a dressmaking business (photo: J Meredith) Right:  Pelham Arcade, with a businesswoman at her stall. (Lithograph: C Hullmandel)


(1851 Censuses, Home Counties Directory 1851, Osborne's Directory 1852, 1857 and 1858, Sussex Directory 1855)

Shops and services (non-provision)

Shops and services (provision)

Clothing trade


Left:  Mrs Lye's advert in Kelly's Directory Right:  Mrs Osborne's advert

For more 1840s & 1850s Hastings' tradeswomen's advertisements, and photographs of their locations, click here.

Last modified 2000