Westward From Hastings Pier

The area around the pier has changed dramatically over the last hundred years, as has the pier itself. We can see from this contemporary postcard by the famous postcard photographer Louis Levy that the Grand Hotel on the left, the municipal Hospital on the right, and behind it. Lady Jocelyn’s house, have all gone.                    Continue reading Westward From Hastings Pier

Phillips Boatbuilders

The Phillips Family of Boatbuilders

The story of the Phillips family of boat builders started well before the turn of the 19th. Century. John Phillips was building boats at the Rock Channel well before 1886 because in 1886 he indentured his son Herbert, who left school at the age of twelve, as an apprentice in the business on the first day of that year. The original document, part of which is shown here, states that John Phillips “Shall instruct his apprentice in the art of Shipwrighting and Boatbuilding” and “Finding unto the said apprentice sufficient meat, drink, lodgings and all other necessaries during the said term.” Continue reading Phillips Boatbuilders

Boulogne Trip for Small Boats

Rye Small Boat Fleets Boulogne Trip

Eighteen small boats from the Port of Rye tied up in Boulogne Harbour over the Whitsun holiday and their crews enjoyed a few days on French soil. The small fleet left Rye Harbour in the early morning of Whit Saturday and set off into the stiff wind heading for Dungeness Point and then on to Boulogne.


On the cross channel journey, somewhere between Dungeness and Boulogne, tragedy struck the eighteen foot boat “Rosina”. No other boat was near her when she ran into trouble. The crew of  two, Mr. Gibson, a grocer of Ferry Road, Rye and his brother-in-law, Mr. Skinner were lost. When the “Rosina” was reported missing a full scale search was mounted but despite the clear weather the damaged boat was not found until the following Tuesday, one body was recovered by a fishing boat. Several of the boats turned back at about the half way point on the outward journey but 18 boats, including the “Little Robert” with our camera team aboard, continued on course and safely put into Boulogne Harbour.

RX 257 Leaving Boulogne Harbour
RX 257 Leaving Boulogne Harbour
'Little Robert' in Mid Channel
‘Little Robert’ in Mid Channel

“Little Robert” the smallest and slowest of the boats to complete the trip, was at sea for seven hours. The wind was still fairly strong when the time came for the return trip but with favourable tides and currents the Rye fleet made good time. All 18 boats were safely in Rye Harbour by 6.30 on Whit Monday evening. “Little Robert” took only 5 hours for the 40 mile return crossing. Boats to complete the trip were — Sariki, Waterwitch, Atlanta, Scoter, Zingara, Shelduck, Chiloe, Inverurie, Condeline, Goose-Girl, Dove, Manana, Red Cloverx, Alouette, Little Robert, Industry II, Veritas, Sagapo.

From “Rye’s Own” July 1966 Issue