We all know that piers occupy a curious position in the English psyche. These seaside protuberances jutting out from windswept beaches and simultaneously conjuring up images of promenading Victorians and working-class seaside humour. Many have fallen now into irrelevance and/or disrepair, and in a high number of cases they’re also in the process of falling into the sea itself, to exist only in sepia postcards and folk memory.
This is Hastings pier on a crisp Spring morning. You’ll note the crumbling structure and, no doubt, think that here is another wreck about to, at best, disappear. But, you would be wrong.
The pier was built in 1872 and was a venue into the 1960s but closed in 2006. A fire a few years later destroyed most of what was left. Plans to rebuild and reopen came and went. But, thanks to the good work of the good people at the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust a grant has been obtained from the Heritage Lottery Fund and with further public support the pier may be restored to life as soon as 2015. The BBC reports that the first planks to reboard it have already been laid.
It could very well be that this photo showing a sad, burnt out, ruin is the one that will link to people’s fading memories. I can cope with that but I wonder what the future for this pier will be: genteel promenaders or a selection of gags about pricking his boil. Or something in between?