Harbour Arm

From Historical Hastings

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[1].

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.[2] 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.[1].

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'[1] and a further collapse of the concrete occurred in 1946, with another partial collapse in 1983.


References & Notes

  1. a b c Hastings and St. Leonards Observer: Early views of Hastings harbour captured in time - Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, accessdate: 2 December 2019
  2. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 12 June 1897 pg. 6