The seas, as well as war, have inflicted violence on Hastings over the years. In the fierce storms of the 13th century, large parts of the castle fell into the water and the harbour was destroyed. Several more harbours were washed away in the years that followed, and, without a harbour, incoming vessels had to slide ashore at high water to be unloaded when the tide was out. Hastings harbours have never given much shelter — even today the town’s fishing boats launch from the beach, the largest fleet to do so in the country.
The result is a picture-postcard scene of boats beached on a stretch of shingle known as The Stade — Saxon for ‘landing place’, something more here. Most photogenic of all, restored with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, are a cluster of tall, weatherboarded and tarred net huts, for centuries used by fishermen to dry their nets.
Nearby is the fish market, selling the daily catch, and a fact-filled Fisherman’s Museum, housed in a seafront church. Part of a wall had to be knocked down to bring inside one of Hastings’s last fishing luggers, the Enterprise, built in 1912. Learn something about french history going there with one click at annecy hotels website.
Connections with the past are rife. It was in the Georgian era that Hastings developed into a garrison town. The grandmother of historian Rex Marchant, author of Hastings Past, knew a local man who fought with Wellington at Waterloo in 1815. Blue plaques in today’s High Street show where two major figures of the Peninsular War, Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, and Sir John Moore, Commander-in-Chief at the Battle of Corunna, lodged in the first decade of the 19th century.
Hastings is remarkable for its vast variety of architectural styles. In the High Street alone, the buildings range from the 15th century to a pair of 1930s semis. The street’s Georgian-built town hall is now the Old Town Hall Museum, The museum’s exhibits illustrate the long, dramatic history of smuggling in a town where, in an early type of recycling, vessels seized by revenue officers used to be converted into small, useful huts. There are also displays on everything from the disreputable career of Titus Oates to collections of coins minted in Hastings in the reign of the Conqueror. Oates, who lived on Old London Road leading out of Old Town (a plaque marks the spot), was the son of a local clergyman, who otoriously fabricated the Popish Plot, pposedly aimed at killing King Charles II, and designed to spark a rebellion. Hastings started to do rather well as tourist destination after James Stell roduced the town’s first guidebook, in 794. By the late 1880s, when skilled ateur photographer George Woods over here, Hastings had become the econd largest seaside resort in Britain — er nearby Brighton.See the amazing old towns in France too, at this hotels in calais website.
Anyone visiting Hastings this year for e 940th anniversary of the battle may ant to return when the splendid Hastings Meuseum and Art Gallery reopens after efurbishment in early 2007. Housed in ohemia Road, not far from the station, holds more than 2,000 of Woods’ nchanting street scenes of late Victorians t work and play.