The Sweet Shop & Tobacconist, Hastings

We’re back in Hastings Old Town this week, one of my favourite magical hunting grounds. Despite becoming increasingly fashionable, particularly with Londoners looking for a quieter, more characterful place to live, much of Hastings is stuck in time. On a recent visit I came across the charming Sweet Shop and Tobacconist,  located at 15 George Street.

Even from the outside it is obvious that the Sweet Shop and Tobacconist is something special, but its colourful window display only hints at the wonders which lie within.

Sweet Shop and Tobacconist, Hastings

The interior is an Aladdin’s cave of confectionary, filled to the rafters with jars, boxes, tubs and cabinets, all of them brimming with candy. Most importantly, the shop fittings are a wonderful reminder of days gone by, a trip back in time not just to my childhood, but to the childhoods of generations before me. Every inch of spare space is decorated with bright labels and logos, many of them dating back decades. Even the idea of selling tobacco and sweets in the same shop now seems quaintly outdated, and certainly wouldn’t meet with the approval of today’s healthy lifestyle puritans, but this shop is a temple to indulgent pleasure. It’s not a museum,  and it’s certainly not a ‘heritage’ reconstruction, this Sweet Shop and Tobacconist is a working business which has thankfully resisted the pressure to modernise. It stocks an astonishing range of products, some of them run of the mill, some of them decidedly unusual. As well as the normal chocolate bars that you might find in any local newsagents, its walls are lined with jars of delicious sweets which many of today’s children will never have encountered. Its cigarette range is luxury, featuring exotic brands such as Sobranie Black Russians and Ziganov Vanilla and there is a large selection of snuff,  while the wide array of cigars is stored in a large, richly scented humidor.

Sweet Shop and Tobacconist, Hastings
‘An Aladdin’s Cave of candy’

A visit to the Sweet Shop and Tobacconist is a trip down memory lane for many, and a wonderfully evocative experience even for those too young to remember the days of sweetie jars and quarter pound paper bags of sugary delights. So far I have tried to avoid nostalgia on my search for magic, but this week I have jumped in head first, and relished the chance to wallow in my own past. Nigel Slater explored the magical potential of sweets to bring back long forgotten memories, both good and bad, in his recent TV show Life is Sweets. After a visit to Hastings’ Sweet Shop and Tobacconist, you’ll know exactly what he means.

In case you are wondering, I plumped for a bag of Rhubarb and Custard.

Tasty, nostalgic magic!

9 Responses to “The Sweet Shop & Tobacconist, Hastings”

  1. Wow what a wonderful shop! I am not a sweets person but this shop is worth a visit!

  2. Margaret Cox Says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your evaluation! But perhaps equally as important as the varied products is the knowledgeable Mine Host Chris who is a charming chap and whose olde-worlde courtesy belies his young years. His first assistant Jerome is equally as knowledgeable and welcoming as indeed is the whole Sweet Shop clan in Hastings Old Town.

  3. i cant think of a more friendly, beautiful, exciting and interseting shop, full of suprises in every corner. the ORIGINAL sweetshop is most definatly worth a hundred visits.

  4. Antony G Hart Says:

    A wonderful little shop with wonderful staff. A joy to enter

  5. Richard Wallace Says:

    This Shop is great i shall be visiting in October when on a short break hoping to buy a pipe.

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