Some English seaside resorts have emerged from a long decline, following the advent of cheap overseas holidays, to forge a more prosperous future. Hastings is probably still work in progress in that respect, but there is lots to admire about this Sussex coastal town, not least the East Hill cliff railway, opened in 1902 using the water balance principle.
The town is a hotch-potch of building styles, thrown together as if by a town planner on acid.
Near here is Twelve Hundred Postcards, a micropub named after a sweet shop that occupied the same premises a hundred years ago.
The owner, a Mr Wall, achieved notoriety for illegally selling under the counter French postcards. He was found guilty of corrupting the morals of the community and sentenced to three months hard labour for his trouble. 1,200 postcards were destroyed. This example from the pub’s Facebook page illustrates the depravity of his actions. I think we can agree he got off lightly.
A fresh glass of 4% Level Best from Rother Valley Brewery was enjoyed in this chatty bar. Then it was down to the seafront, where the mix of architecture ranges from old fisherman’s huts to Marine Court towards St Leonard’s, built in 1938 with the eastern front designed to resemble the Queen Mary liner.
There are many less ambitious but highly individual buildings scattered and squeezed along the front.
Tucked in near there is the Jolly Fisherman, another micropub that benefits from being housed in a characterful building.
It’s big on cider and surprising to find its two cask beers hailing from England’s north west. The Mallinson’s was on song.
These two pubs are strong additions in a town where a good day’s quaffing can easily be enjoyed.