The new Hayling Stocks on the green at Eastoke Corner on Hayling Seafront, opposite the new ‘Liveability Plaza’, are just one in a series of events and publications devised by by Hayling’s BEST’s ‘Discover Hayling’ local heritage group, to raise the historic profile of the Island for visitors and locals alike. ‘Discover Hayling’ Chairman Robin Walton commissioned construction of the replica stocks from local joiner and craftsman James Light and Southwick blacksmith Dave Cox, based upon the original Hayling Stocks which are now in Havant Museum.
On Saturday 21st June 2008 the ‘Discover Hayling’ team turned back the clock for a day to imagine that the inimitable Mr Padwick, erstwhile Lord of the Manor of Hayling in the early nineteenth century, had come back to life proposing a return to mediaeval punishment methods by reintroducing the stocks to counter vandalism and petty crime. The redoubtable Mr Padwick was certainly ‘tough on crime’ in his day, becoming infamous on Victorian Hayling for his constant quarrelling with his neighbours and taking his tenants to law.
The modern day event recalling those far off times even won the support of local Conservative M.P. and Shadow Cabinet Minister David Willetts, who paid a special visit to Hayling Island to open the new attraction in its 21st Century reincarnation. He was most ably supported that day by members of the Hayling Island Amateur Dramatic Society, including Laurie and June Noble as Mr and Mrs Padwick, who arrived in style in their elegant horse drawn carriage. While proceedings were announced in traditional style by Mr Derek Oakley as the Hayling Town Crier, with entertainment provided by the boys and girls of the Island Dance Fusion Group.
The possible effectiveness of the stocks as a deterrent to the Island’s modern day miscreants became apparent, when Hayling Island Councillor Andy Lenaghan ‘test drove’ a mock-up of the new tourist attraction a few days prior to the event. Posing for news photographers by way of rehearsal for his memorable comic turn on the day, uncharacteristically cast in the role of an itinerant drunkard, Councillor Lenaghan wryly commented that he for one certainly would not want to be incarcerated in them for too long!