Between 1897 and 1899, £50,000 was set aside to create a Harbour for Hastings, which would permit smaller sea-going vessels to dock and unload their cargo.
The construction was quite unique for its time, utilising what the press referred to as 'Plastic' concrete that would flow into a man-made reef on the sea bed, which then served as the foundations for the remainder of the poured structure. It was intended that once completed, the concrete would form a single homogenous structure below the low water mark.
The foundation stone was laid by the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava in June 1897. Reportedly, the Dover harbour constructed at a similar time, copied the design and construction methodology at Hastings. Above the low water mark, extending the harbour inland beyond the high water mark was a timber trellis structure forming a bridge to The Stade. Over time, this was buried in shingle where the longshore drift built up the beach on the western side of the arm..
By the end of 1898, the harbour arm was completed and had a narrow gauge railway line installed, the train being a prominent feature in the photographs of the opening ceremony, to facilitate unloading of colliers and other shipping vessels.
A storm in the winter of 1911/12 resulted in the loss of the timber 'bridge' and a further collapse of the concrete occurred in 1946, with another partial collapse in 1983.
References & Notes
- Hastings and St. Leonards Observer: Early views of Hastings harbour captured in time - Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, accessdate: 2 December 2019
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 12 June 1897 pg. 6