Hastings Pier Fire 1917

Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917
Hastings Pier Fire 1917

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the fire on Hastings Pier in 1917, I was asked to create some now and then images by the team working on the East Sussex WW1 website. Unlike the 2012 fire which took place at night, the one in 1917 happened during the afternoon and was witnessed by many hundreds of people.

Very much like the 2012 fire though, this fire provided the opportunity for the owners to redevelop and modernise the pier. Far from being a disaster, it probably helped to ensure that the structure was repaired and strengthened, ensuring its lasting presence on the seafront.

A more detailed and interesting article about the fire can be read here.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Canadian Presentation (Part 2)

Warrior Square
Canadian Medal Presentation

Following on from the last post, Canadian Presentation 2 shows the winners of two Distinguished Conduct Medals and six Military Medals with BSM Brett, possibly Henry Charles Brett, on the extreme left. These soldiers served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Canadian Medal Presentation

Canadian Medal Presentation

Warrior Square

A Rush for Potatoes

Courthouse Street
Rush for Potatoes

Whilst the availability of food during WW1 was never as high as during peacetime, the ramping up of German submarine activity in 1917 started to make a real impact. Shipping losses in April 1917 reached 500,000 tonnes, most of which were food and other supplies coming to Britain. We coped pretty well however and even achieved a record wheat harvest in 1917. Potatoes though were one of the food items in very short supply. Deliveries of spuds back then created considerable excitement.

From the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser: “The Announcement “Potatoes at 11 O’Clock” made by Mr Pollard, Courthouse Street, Hastings, on Saturday Morning, caused some hundreds of buyers to assemble. At 10 O’Clock the shop was besieged by an eager crowd, only to learn that the delivery had not been made. A great shout went up when the trolley bearing the much sought after vegetable made its appearance. It was, however, a good natured crowd and the police officers regulating the crowd had little difficulty. No one was served with more than two pounds, and the purchasers, young and old alike, had to be satisfied with this amount. Mr Pollard’s aim was to see that the poor were supplied rather than the fried fish shops and restaurants at a larger price.”

The photo is of the junction of Courthouse Street and The Bourne, Hastings Old Town. The Original Image is from Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser on 26th April 1917.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Rush for Potatoes

Courthouse Street

Courthouse Street

A Rest on Trinity Street

Trinity Street
Trinity Street

A number of men in khaki taking a rest in a quiet corner of Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Hastings. It is unclear what regiment they serve in.

The original image is from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser date 12th April 1917.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Trinity Street

Trinity Street

Trinity Street

The View from the West Hill

View from the West HillThe West Hill in Hastings is an open space that separates the Old Town with the town centre. As well as the castle and smugglers caves, the hill was once the site of a windmill and used for farming.View from the West Hill

Now it is a pleasant green space that offers, as it always has, the best views of Hastings. Here a some photos of those views taken as morning showers left the town and headed over the channel.View from the West HillThese photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Bottle Alley

Bottle AlleyBottle Alley is the 480 meter long lower deck of Hastings Promenade that runs between the Pier and Warrior Square. It was built in the 1930’s by Sidney Little the ‘Concrete King’ of the South Coast. He loved concrete and also designed the baths at White Rock and West Marina, as well as the sea defences. His expertise was used by the Admiralty to assist in the design of the Mulberry Harbours used at Normandy after the D Day landings.Bottle Alley

It’s called Bottle Alley because embedded into the concrete wall are countless multicoloured pieces of broken glass bottles. It was for a long time a haunt for the local drunks. Your nose would be assaulted by the fragrant mix of the sea, spilt alcohol and urine as you walked down it. It was place to be avoided, especially at night. Recently though, it has been renovated and repainted. A kayak hire business now operates from a unit halfway along it, so now it’s a much more pleasant walk. I’d still avoid walking down it on my own at night though.

These photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Cliff End

Cliff EndCliff End at Fairlight marks the point where Pett Level starts. On the beach, below the cliffs, you can see millions of years of geological and natural history all within the same area. On that beach are fossil evidence and footprints of dinosaurs, the remains of a Bronze Age forest and the detritus of the modern world.Dinosaur FootprintThe footprint above is one of several found along this stretch of Cliff End beach. It’s likely to have been an Iguanodon, who left the footprint whilst grazing near a river. The beach is full of huge rocks that have fallen from the cliffs above. This stretch of cliffs all the way west to Hastings is highly unstable, and is slowly falling into the sea. Looking at them, it is clear why this is happening. Great fissures run up and along them, which are easily widened by plant roots, rain water and the endless work of the sea.Cliff EndThe geology here is fascinating, and best explained on this website. The Bronze Age forest, which is around 6,000 years old is found a short distance from the cliffs, and is visible when the tide is low. pett-level-walk-4This BBC article provides a good history about these ancient forests. Lots of other things can be seen on the beach, and the modern world is well represented. Most notably along this stretch is the axle and wheel stuck between some rocks. Cliff EndCliff End beach is a great place for a seaside walk, particularly at low tide, when the rock pools and sand is revealed. It is even more enjoyable knowing that in one 360 degree view you can see a substantial part of the history of the Earth.pett-level-walk-6All of these photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Small Creatures

Small CreaturesAlexandra Park is a great place to take a walk and one of the highlights of living in Hastings. I visit the park many times in a year, and enjoy the changing colours across the seasons. In the late summer warmth there were plenty of small creatures to be seen among the flower beds and ponds. Small Creatures

It is easy to miss them when taking in the wider view, but I have started to take more of an interest in photographing the small things. After all, there are only so many general photographs of the park you can take before they all start looking the same.Small CreatuesThere is much beauty to be found when looking closely at the smaller world, as I hope these photographs show.Dragonfly

These photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr account by clicking on them.

St John’s Hospital

Holmesdale Gardens
St John's Hospital

A then and now image showing the men and staff outside of the Hospital of St John in Holmesdale Gardens, St Leonards.

St John’s was an auxiliary hospital run under the banner of the Red Cross, after the British Red Cross and Order of St John of Jerusalem merged at the outbreak of the war. The hospitals looked after the less seriously wounded service men and were staffed mainly by volunteers from the local community.

There were two auxiliary hospitals in Hastings, St John’s and Old Hastings House and three in St Leonards; Bannow, Filsham Park and West Dene.

The original image is from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 1st March 1917.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

St John's Hospital

Holmesdale Gardens

Holmesdale Gardens

Canadian Duty Garrison

Canadian Duty Garrison
Canadian Duty Garrison

This then and now image shows the Canadian Duty Garrison at Carlisle Parade, Hastings, under the command of Majors McLeod and Lyndon. These days the building is home to Astral Lodge.

I’ve been unable to find out much information about the Canadian battalions stationed in Hastings during this time. However there is a little more information about them in this article. More general information about the Canadians stationed in Bexhill and the South East can be read here.

The original image is from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 22nd February 1917.

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.

Canadian Duty Garrison

Astral Hotel

Canadian Duty Garrison