Meeting/Out & About - Hastings Stade Walk

Tue, Jun 18th 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A guided tour by Hastings Fisherman's Museum of the Stade and surrounding environment

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Instead of meeting at their usual Cooden Beach Golf Club venue on Tuesday 18 th June, Bexhill Rotarians decided to visit the Stade in Hastings for a guided walkabout of the various sights.

The guided tour kicked off at 6.30 p.m. on the Stade outside the Fisherman’s Museum where they learnt that Hastings was THE principal port of England until the great storm of ’87 – 1287 that is! The ground they were standing on, the party was told, was created in Victorian times when groynes commissioned by Hastings Council in 1834 were built to catch the longshaw drift of shingle along the coast, so much so that the build-up of shingle over time resulted in a new piece of ground in front of the cliffs where the local fishermen now work - this is the Stade. The Rotarians also learnt about the many disasters and challenges that hit the fishing community, the decline of the number of fish licenced to be caught, not to mention increasing competition from the local seals!

The guided walk then covered the development of the Jerwood Gallery which opened at a cost of £4 million in March 2012 and is now called Hastings Contemporary. Then it was on towards Hastings Lifeboat station which was established in 1858 at the request of local people. Looking out to sea, the Rotarians enjoyed seeing the lifeboat doing exercises after which they saw on the beach the very impressive transporter that launches and recovers the lifeboat.

The final part of the Rotarians’ walkabout was the Fishermen’s Museum which was originally a mission chapel, the Fishermen’s Church of St. Nicholas, serving the local community from 1854. The Museum itself was itself was opened in 1956 and is run by the Old Hastings Preservation Society.

At the end, Bexhill Rotary’s Vice President David Dixson who had organised this event thanked the museum staff for this illuminating talk and wished the museum continued success with their work in Hastings seafront education. 

After the walkabout learning about the Stade and its surroundings, the Rotarians were ready to take in sustenance which they did by heading off to a nearby hostelry, the Albion, for a pie and a pint to round off a great evening.

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