Lonely Planet Writer

Hastings’ historic pleasure pier reopens with film festival and Madness

Hastings 150-year-old pleasure pier has reopened after a £14.2 million rebuild, reports the Daily Telegraph. The structure, which was first erected in 1869, was virtually destroyed by fire in October 2010. The pier is 277m long and in Victorian times boasted a 2000 seat pavilion, a shooting range, slot machines and ‘animated pictures’.

Hastings Pier.
Hastings Pier. Image by Mike M / CC BY 2.0

The rebuilt pier features a fun fair and a restored pavilion with a bar and restaurant. The reopening will be celebrated with open air film screenings in May, culminating in a festival headlined by ska and pop band Madness. It will later host events including Zippo’s Circus and the Battle of Hastings 950th anniversary celebration.

Many of the iconic pleasure piers of England and Wales, which reach out into the sea and were enormously popular in their Victorian heyday, fell into disuse as holidays abroad became more affordable in the second half of the twentieth century. Several have now been listed for their architectural value and some have been restored in recent years.

Hastings, on England’s south coast, is 6 miles from the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, the decisive battle in the Norman conquest of England. Tourism is a major industry for the town, and it is hoped that the pier will contribute £1.2 million to the local economy.