Hermit, a life on the margins

Exhibition ran from 17 May 2016 – 29 May 2016
Open evening: 20 May, 6.30 - 8.30pm 

Community Arts company, Radiator Arts, join forces with local charity, Seaview to present a unique exhibition exploring the life and times of John Hancox, a hermit who lived in Ecclesbourne Glen cave for 12 – 14 years until his death in 1904.

John Hancox was a professional draper who fell on hard times and ended up living in the cave, which you can still access today, on Ecclesbourne Glen in Hastings Country Park.

John was regarded by the locals as a solitary, well presented and peaceful man who would sing to himself in the woods. He made a home for himself, tended his allotment and scraped a living by being a ‘market gardener’ as recorded in the 1901 census. Nobody knows exactly when he moved into the cave but John was required to pay rent on ‘the hermitage’ upon his discovery.

Many of the service users at Seaview will recognise this story and the sequence of events that can so easily lead to homelessness. It is a story that resonates and is still relevant today as it was 112 years ago.

Seaview and Radiator have been working together exploring the themes around homelessness and feeling on the edge of society through a series of workshops which has resulted in some inspirational, moving art work, poetry and sound recordings which will be presented as an Installation. Including an animation film made by Radiator Arts.

Radiator Arts is a not for profit company of professional artists with expertise and skill in a broad range of disciplines including sculpture. painting, ceramics, textiles, digital media, graphic design, theatre design, performance, music and costume.

We work with community and local government organisations and schools to create tailor made celebratory events, carnival parades, educational and recreational workshops and projects for vulnerable adults, young people and families.

Our work aims to be uplifting and inspiring for both participants and audiences and have a memorable cultural and educational resonance.

For updates and more information visit Radiator Arts Facebook page and @radiatorarts on twitter.


Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Hastings Borough Council

artscouncil      hbc      radiator      seaview


Hastings Arts Forum
20 Marine Court,
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TN38 0DX

+44 (0) 1424 201636

Hastings Arts Forum Ltd is a charity registered in England and Wales Number 1142575

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