Reminiscing on Hastings Observer times

One ex-worker at the reunion
One ex-worker at the reunion

Former FJ Parsons employees met at the old newspaper offices in the town centre on Monday (December 21).

Jeff Kirby, chief executive officer of Flint Development Group, welcomed around 50 ex-workers for FJ Parsons, which used to own the paper, at the Observer Building in Cambridge Road for the Christmas get-together.

Photographs showing the building in its heydey

Photographs showing the building in its heydey

Organised by Rod Stapley, the former workers at the FJ Parsons print-works chatted about old times over mince pies and mulled wine.

Many had not seen each other for 30 years and members of the team at Flint then took the group for a tour around the building.

The building in its heyday had around 600 people working there and one former worker even made it all the way over from Canada for the event.

The ex-workers said they were pleased the building was being used once again and they all look forward to making the Christmas event an annual get-together. Rod said: “I would like to thank all at the Observer Building for making us most welcome for our get together.

“They were so helpful laying on mince pies and mulled wine with the tour of the building being a nostalgic return for a lot of us I hope all their plans to develop the building get past planning so we can go back next year.

“Great to see so many old faces again, these years are going so quick.”

Jeff said: “It was wonderful to hear about all the old stories.

“The team were so happy to hear about the unique place the building holds in so many people’s lives.”

Flint Development Group has put forward plans to redevelop the Observer Building, aiming to provide accommodation for 230 students, an art-house cinema and a shop/restaurant for Sussex food and produce at the site in Cambridge Road, which closed 30 years ago.

Earlier this month, developers unveiled revised plans for the Hastings landmark. The proposals were first unveiled in the summer.

At a meeting in September hosted by the developers, people’s main concerns were over the addition of a seven-storey building on top of the existing structure, saying it would cause overshadowing.

The revised proposals show two floors had been taken off the height of the original plans.

A public park is also proposed for the roof of the building, with the ground floor being maintained as a popular community space.

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