Saturday, November 28, 2015

Iron in the Soul

When I wrote about Hastings Pier at the beginning of last year, there was a campaign in place to attract ordinary people to be investors in ‘the people’s pier'. That community share scheme was seeking to raise the remaining money needed for the refurbishment of the pier, which was largely destroyed by fire in 2010.

Having successfully secured all the funding, the Hastings Pier Charity has been overseeing reconstruction work throughout last year and this. While some work, such as reinstating the buildings on the pier, is relatively straightforward, the structural work is much more difficult. When construction is complete in time for the next summer season, 72,000 metres of new timber will have been used, 500 deck beams installed and 350 lattice girders will have been replaced.

The heart and soul of the job has been dealing with the condition of the 143-year-old cast iron columns that support the pier. Some of these have been eroded by marine growth and any that need replacing require pile driving work on the seabed, which can only be carried out at low tide.

Up on the pier itself, work will shortly start on the seating in the arena, the large performance space that will be a major focal point for the re-opened pier. Occupying such a prominent place in the musical history of Hastings – the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Sex Pistols and The Clash all performed on the original pier – it is hoped that the refurbished venue will host some prominent musicians next year: one high profile name that has already been mentioned is East Susssex's very own Nick Cave.

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