Tuesday was a perfect winter day, cold but sunny. We drove to the south coast and spent the afternoon at Hastings.
For us Brits, Hastings has historic significance that was drummed into us as kids… Batttle of Hastings in 1066 and William the Conqueror. We now that France is just a few miles across the English Channel.
Hastings is a modern town but has kept reminders of its history. Castle ruins sit on the cliff top, where a castle has stood since 1066. The building of the original castle is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.
Hastings was a popular fishing town and resort during Victorian times. These tall “net shops” are unique to this area, where Victorian fisherman stored their nets and ropes to dry out. Fisherman still sell their daily catch in huts along the back of the stone beach.
There are numerous restaurants and cafes selling fish and chips. There are always people sitting outside eating fish and chips from paper wrappers. We sat inside in the warm but enjoyed a tasty fish dinner.
Sometimes I think I missed out by not having sons or brothers. Over the years I have dismissed some things as “boys stuff” and not taken notice, when in fact, those things are fascinating.
One such example are funicular or cliff railways. There are two at Hastings, East Hill Cliff Railway opened in 1891, currently the steepest funicular operating in the UK, and West Hill Cliff Railway opened in 1903.
As we rode the West Hill Cliff Lift, two boys got into the car along with their grandparents. One lad talked about the car, the cables, but also mentioned water used to balance the cars. I didn’t ask questions at the time but I googled it when I got home.
The East Hill Lift originally worked on this principle with two water towers built at the top of the line and tanks constructed under each car. The car at the top was loaded with water until it was heavier than the car at the bottom, causing it to descend the hill and pull up the other car. The water drained at the bottom and the process repeated with cars exchanging roles. How clever. The line was modernised in the 1970’s and converted to an electric operation.
As with many UK seaside resorts, there is a pier at Hastings, again originating fro Victorian times. The pier was partially destroyed by a fire in 2010 and is currently being renovated.