It is devastating to learn of the recent arson attack on Hastings Pier, destroying 95% of what was a splendid and historically important structure. Reading comments on the Sky News story it is both interesting and sad to learn various points of view and speculations regarding ulterior motives behind the fire.
However, decades before this pantomime of councillors, firemen, enraged locals and arrested individuals were able to even walk down a pier; Pathé had camera crews pacing up and down Hastings pier to film the notable events of the early 20th century that occurred there…
There are no fewer than 8 archive videos of Hastings pier in the British Pathé news archive. It’s both tragic and beautiful to watch these reels of people enjoying the pier in a leisurely and courteous way.
British Pathé staff member Victoria made the following comment on this footage of Hastings pier:
“They provide rather nice memories of the pier and provide a record of some of the events around the pier over the past century. We thought our earliest footage of the pier was from 1910 which was part of a travelogue on Hastings, but Pathé actually used St.Leonard’s pier for that particular piece. We have quite a few films from the annual sea angling festival including one held during WWI where wounded soldiers were taking part. In 1917, recuperating Canadian soldiers can be seen doing a Swedish drill on the Hastings Pier and in the 1930s the pier survives 100mph winds. I have attached some stills if you thought an article on its history would be interesting.”
We sincerely hope that Hastings’ council manage to restore the pier in some fashion without turning it into an eye-sore cinema complex or other contemporary building that has complete disregard for the surrounding maritime environment.