Once owned by the Levett family, St Leonards was admired by James Burton, a successful London architect who had developed large areas of Bloomsbury and Regent’s Park. The Burton family purchased land from the Eversfield estate to implement his concept of a seaside resort in the early 1826.
Decimus Burton (Son of James Burton) became a Commissioner of the new town in 1833. He leased a triangle of land bounded by Mercatoria, St John’s Church, Maze Hill and Kenilworth Road. Here he built The Cottage (now St Leonards Lodge), Maze Hill House, The Mount, The Uplands, The Lawn, and six semi-detached houses which later became a school.
In 1875 the two towns merged into the County Borough of Hastings, and by then the total seafront had reached some three miles. Soon after that, the Warrior Square and Upper St Leonards areas were being developed. On the sea front stands an ocean liner shaped art-deco building known as Marine Court, which upon completion in 1937 was the tallest block of flats in the United Kingdom, comprising some 153 flats and 3 restaurants. Now a listed building, it has recently been bought by the residents after many years of neglect and is in the process of being fully restored.
St Leonards is also home to St Leonards Warrior Square (Main line to London) and West St Leonards (Main line to Brighton & Gatwick) train stations, the bronze statue of Queen Victoria that stands in front of Warrior Square and ‘Bottle Alley’, the promenade that runs from Hastings Pier to Warrior Square.