I read a lot while we rested in The Piece of Cheese, learnt a little history too! We were living, eating and sleeping right there in the little piece of history! Just off All Saint’s street in Hastings.
A three cornered cottage, which wasn’t always used as a cottage.
It was built in 1871 when George and Stephen Starr, local builders found that they had a small piece of land left over after building 9 cottages. One bet the other £5 that he couldn’t build on it because of the shape. They used it as a workshop, with upstairs storage, accessed by ladders.
It is to the poet and a resident of Hastings in 1963, namely, Diana Stoddart that we owe thanks, or the Piece of Cheese wouldn’t be there at all. She had bought the storeroom in 1962 and applied for residential use.
The Hasting Borough Council were planning to clear all the properties from the cliff edge on the south side of Crown lane back inland. She campaigned for 8 years, getting a huge petition together, which gained the attention and support of a member of the House of Lords. So the clearance was dropped, but East Hill Passage was demolished; later Starr Cottages (includes The Cheese), Oxford Cottages and Trafalgar Cottages were granted a conservation order.
An image below of All Saint’s street long ago, thanks to 1066 Hastings & Leonard’s Guide.
The Starr’s workshop (now cottage) changed hands in 1895, 1922 and 1947, when the upstairs was used to store coffins and downstairs was the Watchmaker’s.
Diana B Stoddart, whose main income was as a writer, opened The Piece of Cheese as a Victorian museum and tearoom. For the price of tea and scones, you could view the museum. When she retired in 1976 she sold it to Joan Ledger a sculptor. Diana published three poetry books, copies of which can be viewed in the cottage.
The Piece of Cheese changed owners twice more, before it became a holiday cottage! The second smallest and only three cornered cottage in the UK.
Enjoyed our stay!!