THE controversy about the helter skelter sculpture on the seafront and its suitability to represent Hastings reminded me of some letters I addressed to the Observer many years ago, when the pedestrianisation of the town centre took place.
I had lamented, as many, the loss of the Albert memorial and supported the then Mayor Graeme White’s campaign to have it restored, or at least to have some other suitable monument installed on the new plaza, to give again a ‘heart’ to the town.
It was unsuccessful - many years passed.
The town is still without a heart, a focal point, and it is no good hoping to promote it as a cultural city without something culturally local to be proud of in it.
To my mind, we need three things to complete our town and make us really proud to live in it and attract appreciative, and admiring visitors.
1) A clock - a proper clock monument, about where the memorial was, a focal point, which could be seen from Queens Road, the pedestrian areas and even the seafront (very useful too!).
2) The Hastings Tapestry - this magnificent work of art and skill depicting our town, that I admired once, on display at St Mary in the Castle, hidden away somewhere now, should be exhibited with pride for all to see, in a suitable place, as soon as possible. 3) and most importantly and urgently - a statue of King William I, conqueror and first real King of England, which I now think would be best placed on the seafront, Pelham roundabout, on the grassy mound near the fountain, below the ruins of his castle, facing the sea or the Old Town.
That would be a monument to be proud of, something we have been missing, on the scale of the statue of King Alfred in Winchester.
And what would be best, would be to have it in place for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in October 2016.
Surely we have in our town the artistic power and resources to make it in time for all the festivities that will attract many visitors from all over Britain and abroad in two years time. Already the town of Battle is preparing for the event, with plans, and invitations to eminent people in Normandie and elsewhere.
What a feather in Hastings Borough Council’s cap if it could manage to arrange something so spectacular, and to make us all proud of our town.