Ground Control?

White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures – a partnership of White Rock Trust, Meanwhile Space and Jericho Road Solutions – now owns the 9-storey office block at 49-51 Cambridge Road, Hastings, currently known as Rothermere House. The building has been more than half empty for years and the 25-year lease held by Grand Metropolitan expires at the end of September.

We plan to convert four floors to residential co-housing, four floors to creative workspace and the top floor and roof terrace into community clubspace (to be managed initially by White Rock Trust and defined over time as ideas emerge).

Alley pic

The first Viscount Rothermere was a nazi sympathiser, the current Lord Rothermere is the chairman of the Daily Mail. The building needs a new name to go with its exciting new start.

My idea – and I hope it will be popular because I really like it – is GROUND CONTROL.

  1. it was built in 1969, year of the Moon Landings and David Bowie’s mesmerising ‘Space Oddity’ (which the BBC used as the theme music for its lunar coverage)
  2. it denotes community control of land and buildings – which is what’s going on here. White Rock Trust is a ‘midwife’ for big local projects – that’s what we did with Hastings Pier – sorting out the money and the ownership and setting up Hastings Pier Charity to take it forwards. The joint venture agreement allows for White Rock Trust to buy out the other partners if that’s what its members decide, or simply to remain a partner and able to influence on behalf of local people and businesses.
  3. If the Pier is the heart and White Rock Gardens the lungs, this could be the nerve centre for the White Rock neighbourhood.
  4. it gives us a theme for the décor! Which would go nicely with the hollow-pot ceiling that will be revealed when we strip out the suspended ceiling tiles.

Just imagine living at Flat 2 Ground Control, 49-51 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DT, having First Floor Ground Control as your business address, or watching the sunset over the south downs from the roof terrace at Ground Control…

What do you think?

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5 Responses to Ground Control?

  1. sounds fantastic and I love the name too; i am really getting inspired with stuff like this happening in Hastings, I am converting an old warehouse into live/work space in the new town at the moment, and wish you all the best.

  2. jimbreeds says:

    Not sure. I take your point, but it doesn’t sound like the name of a building – sounds more like a firm of gardeners? 🙂 Is there a Cambridge House already in Hastings? I tried looking in old street directories for businesses that used to be based at this location, but no inspiration there.

  3. jesssteele says:

    Hi @iansolley – warehouse sounds good, would love to see it. And of course you’re welcome to come and have a look at Rothermere.

  4. How about running a naming and logo competition at local schools, college, etc. to see who can come up with the best name? Not sure about Ground Control personally – makes me think of Anna Minton’s book of that name which is not wholly positive!

  5. jesssteele says:

    Hi @smallactsbigchange
    I know what you mean about Anna Minton’s book – but in a way that’s the point – her book describes the privatisation of public space whereas this is about bringing private space into community ownership and use.
    We are planning to do a naming competition – have just been donated a prize by the local shopping centre. I suppose I wanted to check what people thought of Ground Control first.

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