Call for celebratory sign at Hastings railway station

Hastings railway station
Hastings railway station

Campaigners are calling for a sign celebrating the important contribution Hastings has made to the world at the railway station.

St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement believe visitors and commuters should be greeted by something celebrating Hastings’ heritage, especially 950 years after the famous battle named after the town.

But Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney does not seem too keen despite Southeastern Railways saying it was looking into it.

St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement’s Martin Woodfine said not having anything is ‘boring’.

“With Hastings gearing up to celebrate the 950th anniversary of a certain date and with various national publications actively promoting Hastings as a place to visit, now is the ideal time for our main railway station to recognise the importance of history to the town and greet visitors accordingly.

“Numerous stations, both locally and nationally, note that their town is ‘home to’ but the complete absence of anything at Hastings is unhelpful, indeed boring.”

Southeastern maintains the station and a spokesman said it is in discussion with the organisers of the 950th commemoration of the Battle of Hastings to see how it can get involved.

But Cllr Peter Chowney said: “Hastings is of course not the home, or even the site, of the Battle of Hastings, and Battle station does indeed have a sign sponsored by English Heritage making the point that it is the site of the battle.

“These platform signs are not cheap, and to invest in this sort of sign with a shelf life of less than a year may not be the most effective use of our money.

“And we are promoting the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, and our ROOT1066 international contemporary arts festival, extensively. This is likely to include posters at major London railway stations, which will of course reach many passengers who weren’t otherwise coming to Hastings.”

Mr Woodfine suggested having ‘Home of the Invaders’ as the tagline, nodding not only to the Normans, but also pirates, Bonfire Boys, morris dancers, smugglers, mods and rockers.

“With possible input from Hastings Borough Council, Sussex Community Rail Partnership (Marshlink), Network Rail and Southeastern Railway, this should not prove to be particularly difficult or overly expensive,” he said.

“Maybe the Sussex Coast College arts and designs students could come up with a mural for inside the station concourse?

“It’s our town, our contribution to national history. Let’s advertise it.”

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