Hastings fishing families are featured in exhibition

MP Amber Rudd, Yasmin Ornsby of HFPS, Cllr Peter Chowney and Paul Joy, of HFPS, in front of a photo of Paul Joy and his father
MP Amber Rudd, Yasmin Ornsby of HFPS, Cllr Peter Chowney and Paul Joy, of HFPS, in front of a photo of Paul Joy and his father

AN EXHIBITION featuring Hastings’ fishing families has been opened in the House of Commons.

Photographer John Cole is taking a series of pictures of local fishing families. Called Generations, they first went on display at the Stade Hall in November and are the continuation of a project he started in the 1990s.

Paul Joy, chairman of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society (HFPS), said: “It was just great to see these photos of the local fishermen and their families on display in the Houses of Parliament.

“Some of us can trace our families back, on the beach, nearly 1,000 years, and it was fitting that this heritage and culture was on display in such a historic setting.

“I would like to thank Amber Rudd, our MP, for helping to make this happen. She has been absolutely brilliant, we couldn’t have done this without her.”

Cllr Peter Chowney, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council and chairman of the Hastings FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group), attended the opening of the exhibition.

He said: “I am very pleased that the local FLAG was able to support this exhibition. It’s in a busy thoroughfare in the Commons, and will certainly help raise the profile of our fishing industry, which has helped make Hastings the place it is today.

“We are very proud of our fishing heritage, and I was pleased to see so many local fishermen in the Commons this week.

“There was tremendous interest in the exhibition, even the policeman on the outer security gate was enthusiastic about it.”

Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, also attended the event and said: “It was a fantastic exhibition by the very talented John Cole.

“Fishing isn’t just a livelihood for families in Hastings, it is our proud heritage and these pictures captured that perfectly.”

Ahead of the exhibition, Mr Cole said: “This is a work in progress, as I have really only scratched the surface of recording the inter-connected and overlapping generations of Hastings fishing families. I want to continue until I’ve photographed as many of the different generations of Hastings fishing families as I can - and then explore opportunities to photograph traditional fishing communities elsewhere in the UK and Europe.”