The Crown in All Saints Street has become a go-to place for many people. It was voted as the best place to drink in the UK by The Guardian and more recently named as the Parliamentary Pub of the Year for the South East.
But how many local people know that a former landlord of the Crown was a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and who escaped the disaster in a Number 13 lifeboat?
Alexander James Littlejohn was landlord of the Crown, All Saints Street for around six years from 1902.
In 1910 he gave up the pub business and joined the merchant navy. Initially he signed on with the White Star line as a steward, then in 1912 he signed on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic.
He was ordered to row lifeboat 13. It was in this boat that the youngest passenger aboard, nine weeks old Millvina Dean was rescued. She became the longest surviving passenger and died in 2009, aged 97.
A fuller version can be found in his grandson Phillip Littlejohn’s book: ‘Titanic: Waiting for Orders’. The story of Alexander James Littlejohn. Crescent Co., 1999.
More details of Hastings pub history can be found in David Russell’s excellent book The Pubs of Hastings and St Leonards.