Looking back to Sixties anniversary of Battle of Hastings.

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This week, in his continuing series, Ion Castro takes a topical look back at the last big anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1966.

This week, in his continuing series, Ion Castro takes a topical look back at the last big anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1966.

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Ion 9 SUS-161010-104227001

He writes: With the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings on October 14, we can look back 50 years to 1966 to see what was on offer according to the tourist brochures. These were published by the Publicity and Public Relations Branch of The County Borough of Hastings and available from the Information Bureau, which had moved from Verulam Place opposite Hastings Pier to the former York Hotel, renamed ‘York House’ facing ‘The Memorial’.

In the late 1970’s ‘The York’ was demolished, along with the chemist next door and redeveloped as a shoe shop. It is now a coffee shop.

As a prospective visitor you could telephone the information Bureau, (Hastings 4242) or write and you would receive a pack containing a 24 page colour booklet in the same format and the attractions pretty much as in previous years but revised and the new cover endorsed “1966 900th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings”.

In addition the pack contained an eight page full colour supplement featuring 900th anniversary celebrations, An eight panel long folded sheet with a list of events for the whole year, some starred to show that they were “Events arranged in connection with the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings”.

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However, it’s difficult to discover the connection with 1066 and the British Iris Society Show, Falaise Hall, June 10th -11th

Also included was a 44 page accommodation supplement featuring hotels, long converted into flats and apartments, guest houses B&B’s now defunct and other places to stay now no longer available; additionally there was a folded sheet covering the 13th to 16th October and an AA publication ‘Day Drives’ with 20 pages of places to drive to based on Hastings.

The major events concerned with the 900th anniversary appear to have been -

May 25th opening of exhibition of the Hastings Embroidery and model of the Battlefield, in the Triodome, Hastings Promenade Extension (open until 31st October 1966), 1st October, Battle of Hastings War Game, White Rock Pavilion and 14th October, the 900th anniversary date of the Battle of Hastings and the three-hour change ringing of Church Bells.

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Elsewhere in the borough there was a wine and cheese party, banquet, dances and firework display plus the Souvenir Normand ceremony at Battle Abbey and Battle Historical Society’s Annual Commemorative Lecture. The following day, October 15, there was the ‘Pageant depicting the Battle of Hastings on a part of the battlefield in the vicinity of Battle Abbey’.

The Hastings Week Committee that co-ordinates events during the 10 days around October 14 was formed as a result of the 900th anniversary celebrations and the Order of 1066 award.

All illustrations throughout this series are from Ion Castro’s own collection and he can make available copies of many of the historic images used in this series. There’s more local history on Ion’s website, www.historichastings.co.uk

Captions:

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13 - 16 October.

4 page pamphlet listing some of the contemporary events.

1966 and all this.

This 8 page colour brochure proclaims “A wonderful year for you to visit Hastings” tells of the “Grand Historical Procession, the highlight of a tremendous carnival week”, there’s an intro to the Hastings Embroidery, English and French Traditional Folk dancing, County and International Cricket, sea angling festival and details of attractions in the surrounding area.

Hastings Embroidery.

The back cover of ‘1966 & all this’ illustrates the Hastings Embroidery, a modern version of the Bayeux Tapestry which was specially commissioned for 1966 and originally displayed in The Triodome’ that replaced the bandstand on the pier, the embroidery was then moved to the lower hall of the White Rock Theatre. Most of the embroidery panels are now in storage.

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Brochure cover.

This 24 full-colour brochure features the full range of events and attractions normally available in the Hastings area.

Brochure p5.

A typical page from the main brochure, the well-known speedboat taking passengers for short trips along the coast and back

Brochure p8.

The famous Bathing Pool in its holiday camp days, the former roller skating rink on the roof was replaced with mediocre chalets. Opened in 1933, ‘The finest bathing pool in Europe’ was to close in 1986 to be demolished in 1993. Today part of the site is occupied by a covered storm-water reservoir and the remainder is vacant. The smaller illustration of the landing stage used by the paddle streamers was also favoured by fishermen.

Hastings in 1966.

Two panels of a single long sheet folded into four panels each side and listing all the events on offer in the Hastings area during 1966. Events commemorating the 900th anniversary were marked with a star and sometimes shared only a tenuous connection with the anniversary.

Holiday Accommodation.

Literally hundreds of places to stay with details of facilities available such as ‘Radios available in some rooms’ ‘some or all the bedrooms have electric razor points’.

Map.

The centre pages of the main brochure were taken up with this very 1960’s pictorial map illustrating the attractions on offer.

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