Hastings Railway Station

From Historical Hastings
Hastings Station
General information

Hastings Station was operated by both the South Eastern Railway (SER) and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) leading to bitter rivalry between those companies.

The first train carrying the Lord Mayor of London arrived at Hastings station from Ashford in March of 1851, following a delay due to a landslip on the line[1]. The station was originally V-shaped allowing the two railway companies to have separate platforms and booking areas: one side for SER trains to pass through and the other as a terminal for LBSCR services and was known for a time as 'Hastings Priory Station'[2].

1931 Rebuild

Interior of Hastings Station prior to 2004 rebuild, showing ticket offices and walkway to platforms

In 1931 the whole station was reconstructed in a neo-Georgian style by the architect James Robb Scott and only the goods shed remained unchanged.[3] All trains now ran through the two new island platforms and a huge central octagonal booking hall with a buffet and bar was the reception for passengers.The main entrance was beneath a single, large lunette window – a motif that had become an internationally-recognised symbol for the railway station at the turn of the twentieth century.[4]. The rebuilt station opened on the 6th of July 1931..

On the 10th of December, 1947, murals representing scenes from the Bayeux tapestry were unveiled on the upper portion of the booking hall walls by the Mayor F. W. Chambers. The murals were the work of Miss Kay Stewart and each of the eight panels measured twenty-five feet long by eight feet high[5].

2004 Rebuild

The station ​building​ was again re-built in 2004, with the neo-Georgian booking hall demolished and replaced with a modernist ​building​ with extensive glazing. The southernmost loop platform has been curtailed into an Ashford facing bay.[3] The station forecourt too was modernised with space for the new Station Plaza ​building​s and featuring a fishing boat - the Dorothy Melinda, RX53 - on a traffic island as the centrepiece. The fishing boat arrived by road on the morning of Sunday 20th August 2006, being representative of Hastings’ maritime heritage. All that remains of the 1931 rebuild is the signal box and prefabricated concrete platforms, the canopies and footbridge over the tracks and platforms having been rebuilt.

Upon the expiry of the lease agreement between Hastings Borough Council and South Eastern Railway, the future of the Dorothy Melinda became uncertain - the vessel having suffered from vandalism and a general lack of maintenance. Plans were made that the boat, having become a danger to passing vehicles and pedestrians, would be removed in early 2024. A Facebook group, the Hastings Old Town Fishing Community started fundraising to preserve the boat - this being one of less than five full sized wooded vessels remaining in the town[6], however this would appear to have been unsuccessful - the council being unable to extend the lease to permit the necessary funds to be raised. The vessel was removed overnight on the 8th of April 2024.


References & Notes