Hastings to feature in BBC One documentary

Moira Hornsey, aged 14, in 1945
Moira Hornsey, aged 14, in 1945

Hastings is to feature in a BBC documentary detailing its recovery from war tonight (Monday, May 11).

The programme on BBC One, called First Days of Peace: Back to the Beaches, examines how seaside resorts recovered from the devastating effects of the Second World War and started welcoming holiday-makers back in summer 1945.

In the documentary, Anthony Horowitz, creator and writer of Foyle’s War, the TV detective series, set and filmed in Hastings, interviews local social history writer Victoria Seymour about the huge logistical and social problems the town had to overcome after the war.

In the Trinity Street 1940s-themed cafe, Tutti Fruttis, Anthony discusses the austere diet of wartime and post-war Britons with food historian, Dr Annie Gray.

Moira Hornsey also speaks about being voted Hastings Beauty Competition winner in 1947, aged 14.

The documentary is part of a series of programmes by the BBC to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe on May 8, 1945.

Victoria said: “In June, 1945, the popular radio personality Jean Metcalfe made a day trip to Hastings.

“She was known nationally for presenting, along with Cliff Mitchelmore, a programme called Two Way Family Favourites, which played record requests to and from men serving overseas.

“She told her radio audience about Hastings, saying the town was ‘ brimming with marigolds and geraniums’, dispelling all ideas of the ‘dilapidation’ she had expected to find after five years of Hastings being a front-line town.

“Had she had the time to look behind the facade she would have found a very different picture, one that will be revealed in the BBC TV programme, to be shown on Monday, telling how Hastings and the south coast recovered from the destructive effects of the Second World War.”

First Days of Peace: Back to the Beaches will be on air on BBC One at 7.30pm.

For more information about the town in the immediate aftermath of the war’s end people can read Victory’s Children Hastings 1945, by Victoria Seymour.