Saturday, 1 October 2011


I had to go to Hastings recently (for the first time in over 25 years). I started at the train station...

...and then walked down to the front. The Regency architecture of Pelham Crescent with Hastings Castle on the cliff above is quite impressive. The Crescent and St. Mary in the Castle (the central building) were designed by the architect Joseph Kaye and commissioned by the then owner of the site, the Earl of Chichester. Building work started in 1824.

Further along the front, on what is known as East Hill, is the Cliff railway. This is a funicular railway which was opened in 1903 and rises 81m with a gradient of 78%.

The east end of Hastings is called 'Old Town' and contains many pre nineteenth century buildings. St Clements Church is one of two ancient churches that form the Old Town Parish of Hastings. St Clements can trace it's origins back to 1080 AD although it was ravaged by the French in 1339 and again in 1377 and was rebuilt in 1380.

Close by the church is a small garden which commemorates the Swan Inn which was on the site from 1523 to 1943 but was destroyed by a World War Two bomb with the loss of many lives.

Old Town Hastings

Why do they let them build things like this? - the newer side of Hastings - a prime site on the front.

Better, but could do with a coat of paint.

Statues showing Hastings link with its annual International Chess Congress.

The sad sight of the pier.

The pier was built in 1872 and has suffered highs and lows like many seaside piers but disaster struck on 5 October 2010 when fire destroyed it.

The unique double deck promenade was built in the 1930's by Borough Engineer Sidney Little ('the Concrete King'). It stretches half a mile from the pier to Warrior Square. The rear walls of the lower deck are faced with glass from broken bottles, hence its name 'Bottle Alley'.

Two views of the pier from the other side.

Bronze statue of Queen Victoria erected in 1902 which overlooks the sea on the south side of Warrior Square. The sculptor is Francis Williamson. There is a hole in the Quuen's robe abve her right knee where the statue was hit by a bullet from an enemy bomber in WW2.

My wanderings finished at St Leonards Warrior Square Station. The station building and house were constructed in 1851. The station is constructed in a narrow valley with higher ground east and west so that trains arrive and depart either end of the platform through tunnels.

Many traditional seside towns are now looking tired and quite sad but seen in early autumn sunshine without the summer crowds Hastings was quite appealing.

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