This month’s GQ Magazine feature Hastings and St Leonards in its travel section under the not so flattering headline, “How Hastings became ‘Dalston-On-Sea’”.
Dalston is an area of London which the writers consider is similar in many ways to Hastings but without a coastline. The feature says nothing new, rehashes a great many old prejudices and at times borders on excessively patronisng if not downright insulting.
Hastings has, the magazine says: “…shabby yet fabulous architecture, from grand regency to art deco,” then goes on to describe the town as “rough-and-ready” claiming it has been “allegedly gentrifying for as long as anyone can remember”.
It claims the “long-planned high-speed train link from London could tip it towards the moneyed commuter seaside enclave”.
The writer perceives that the town is at a crossroads: “Right now Hastings and neighbouring St Leonards are at a crossroads. Still undoubtedly tough, the area is nonetheless buzzing with quirky small businesses, independent boutiques and creatives, all taking advantage of the cheap rents.”
But the piece appreciates the contrasts too: “The deprivation of the South Coast is well documented and Hastings has traditionally typified this. Conservative MP Amber Rudd has a majority in just triple figures and considering social problems it’s hard to see how the Conservatives hang on to the seat at all but, on the other hand, there’s real investment too.”
The Jerwood Gallery is picked out for praise, the writer thinks its presence means,”there might be more to see along the old St Leonards prom-prom than sad, scruffy boarding houses and rock shops.”
The award winning pier meets with approval too: “…drift towards the pier, which, without any tat in sight, feels somewhat like a giant installation itself. After the 1872 original was destroyed almost entirely by a fire in 2010, its rebirth, which opened in 2016, is a stripped-back minimalist monument to a peculiarly British kind of pleasure.”
And Hastings and St Leonards is where dealers from Portobello market come for their stock according to GQ, the town runs, “the full gamut from specialist dealers, reclamation yards, vintage boutiques to heaving charity shops and house clearance”
To read the full article – if you dare, click on the link below