October saw a sad event in Hastings when the Victorian pier was largely destroyed by fire in the early hours of the 5th. Opened in 1872 it was designed and built by Eugenius Birch who was also responsible for a number of other piers including the west Pier in Brighton (also destroyed by fire a few years back). It had been closed for several years due to safety concerns but, nethertheless, continued to be an elegant landmark on the coastline here.
Since moving to Hastings last year I have taken countless images of the pier throughout the seasons -including a whole series taken underneath, showing the metal sub-structure (ignoring the warning signs that it wasn't safe to walk under it). I missed photographing the main blaze itself but was able to get down there in the afternoon when it was still smouldering and being hosed down by the fire service.
There was already an active local campaign to get the pier restored and reopened and this continues despite the fire. The key is the stability of the metal sub-structure. This is the original (listed) Victorian part of the pier -the wooden buildings on top were added to and changed throughout its 138 year history. I am just hoping the survey goes well and our landmark can be restored. Walking along the seafront now just isn't the same with only a burnt out wreck to look at. Regards, David.