Boats and Braybrooke on film

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Ion Castro looks at another private album in the latest of his ongoing series.

He writes: Albums by amateur photographers provide a source of unique images and this small collection of photographs probably taken around 1948/9 by an unknown photographer provide insights into Hastings a few years after the war. The images are uncaptioned but the scenes are not difficult to interpret. It may be that our unnamed photographer was staying in Braybrooke Road because the image of the goods yard at Hastings Station was taken from the upstairs window of one of the large Victorian semi-detached houses by the crossroads with Priory Avenue which would have been a Guest House at the time.

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More information about Hastings’ fishing industry can be found in Steve Peak’s ‘Fishermen of Hastings’ and all illustrations throughout this series are from Ion Castro’s own collection and he can make available copies of many of the historic images used in this series. There’s more local history on Ion’s website, www.historichastings.co.uk

Captions:

Boats.

A ‘general view’ of the working fishing beach where the only boats that can be identified with any certainty are RX266, on the left and RX242 in the centre. RX266, ‘Charles and Robert’ was built at Shoreham for Charlie Haste in 1946 and would have been one of the newer boats on the beach at that time; it was later sold to a new owner in Rye in 1978 and, at the opposite end of the scale, in the centre, RX242 ‘Flying Fish’; built in Hastings in 1884 for the White family who used until 1951 when it was too old to work.

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Braybrooke.

Only a few yards from where the photographer was probably staying, there’s little change to the view on the left, on the right however Hollingsworths Garage was demolished in 1999 and the site remains vacant, The Old Hastings Grammar School in Nelson Road, having stood empty since the school moved to Parkstone Road in 1964 was demolished in 1972 and the site has now been redeveloped as housing. Notice how clean and clear the railway embankments are!

Goodsyard.

Photographed from an upper window in Braybrooke Road and covering the area now renamed Station Plaza with college, medical centre and eventually student accommodation was still full of railway goods wagons. Greens Station Hotel , in the left centre was demolished to make way for Queensbury House and the former ‘Old Golden Cross’, now ‘Flairz Venue Bar’ can be seen to its left, behind it is the ABC Ritz Cinema that was cleared to make way for Sainsbury’s, then the Co-op and now ESK

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RX52.

There was only one boat of any size built in the 1930’s, the ‘William and Edwin’, RX52. She wasn’t built by one of the regular boatbuilders but by carpenter Bill Terrell who started making the boat in June, 1936, for his fisherman brother Ted.Bill at first he worked in his backyard in Tackleway but found there was not enough room, and instead rented a floor upstairs at Harris’s Garage in High Street where it took eight months of weekends and evenings to finish it. When the boat was completed permission had to be obtained from the police to tow it down High Street to the beach. The William and Edwin was unusual in being gaff rigged, she had a jib, stay foresail, mainsail and mizzen. A gaff was easier for one man to work because two men are required with a lug rig. She was sold to Ramsgate in 1969. Notice the damaged state of the harbour in the background.

RX94.

RX94 ‘Industry’ was locally built in 1870, she was typical of the mid Victorian trawler/drifters, and was owned for most of her life by the Adams family. She worked until the end of World War II when she was offered to the town, but there was much prevarication and eventually she was burned on the beach on Guy Fawkes night, 1949.

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The old craft had been donated to the Council by its owner, Ned ‘Wintry’Adams when it came out of service and ever since there has been an argument as to where it should be put - and who should put it there, by 1948 a special Council sub-committee was appointed to deal with the lugger and to decide whether the boat is worth preserving at all because the Town Planning Committee was apparently baffled by the gift. The donor, ‘Wintry’ Adams responded “I have been accused of dumping a wreck on the doorstep of the Council and that is not true. I was asked if I would care to present the boat to the town. As far as I am concerned, they can do what they like with it now. I am fed up and disgusted with the whole business, when I gave them the boat, she was seaworthy and in good condition. Now children have climbed all over it and taken most of the inside fittings away. It can still be moved, but it will cost a lot of money to restore it.”

There had been a suggestion that the ‘Industry’ should be sited at the bottom of East Hill after the museum curator announced that there was no room at the Museum.

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