Bo Peep Vat

The Bo-Peep Hotel, 25 Grosvenor Crescent, St. Leonards-on-Sea.

Blaster Kathleen Webber.

Bo Peep Vat 2

Photograph made available by Roy Snellgrove from 1066 online.

Hastings and St Leonards have a long history of smuggling and the Bo Peep area of St Leonards was once a popular place to land contraband. It is often said that the famous nursery rhyme was really about smuggling: Bo Peep was the excise men, the sheep were the smugglers and their tails were the contraband, which the smugglers often threw overboard in an attempt to avoid arrest. This contraband was often washed up on the beach later and recovered. The lesser known later verses refer to Bo Peep finding her sheep without their tails and then discovering the tails hanging out to dry.

The Bo Peep Hotel (double click the photo for a better view) has some interesting historic photos on the walls, in particular of the huge gun battery emplacement on the Marina promenade during the war. The hotel was built in 1860 and refitted in the 1930s.