There have been moments in my long life when I have despaired of the human race. The morning of Tuesday 6 October, at the time of hearing the news that Hastings Pier was destroyed and burning, was one of them. Arson was suspected. I thought back to the hundreds of Saturday nights I spent at dances on the Pier with my friends, back in the 1950’s and 60’s, and remembered the great fun we had in that amazing domed ballroom. It was like the death of an old friend. Why should anyone want to kill the Pier? She was old and frail and thanks to years of neglect, in dire need of restoration.
That life saving aid was just round the corner. Only a few weeks ago the council had agreed to support plans to buy the Pier from the Panama investment company owned by ex-local businessman Ian Stewart. The day before the fire, the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust had launched a contest for architects designs for its renovation. Now it stands buckled and gutted. My faith in the Human Race was restored by members of the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust. They will not be giving up.
Most of those that love this town still mourn for the Memorial, that wonderful feature that stood at the very centre of commercial Hastings. For those not old enough to remember here is a picture.
The ill conceived plan that saw it’s destruction was as short sighted as the plan that put a shopping centre on the cricket ground. All this has done is accelerated the damage inflicted on local small businesses by the giant super market chains. Just look around at where the smart small shops once stood, we are witnessing
the demise in so much more of Hastings’ history. England was once said to be a country of small shopkeepers, now its fast becoming a land of boring multiples that sell everything. I know things must change, but don’t lets change everything. Keep the best of the old and keep out the worse of the new. Lets advocate re-introduction of Price Retail Maintenance to bring life back to the town centre and do everything in our power to support the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust so that they can find a way to bring that fine old lady back to life.
Hastings Town November 2010
All articles, photographs, films and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement. (Hard Copy Back Numbers Still Available) © World Copyright 2015 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG