‘If the pier is in good shape it says the town is in good shape’

From the video vault

With padlocks firmly securing the gates of Hastings Pier this week after a fire at the weekend we found this film on YouTube which looks at the aftermath of the 2010 fire and community efforts to bring the pier back to life.

Re: A Pier is the work of film maker and part time lecturer Archie Lauchlan and was first published in 2011 but according to YouTube has only attracted just over 700 views in that time.

It is a lovely gentle film featuring then council leader Jeremy Birch and Angela Davis who was a trustee of what was then The Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust. Film-maker Archie explains his motivation for creating the film saying he’d moved to Hastings in 2006 and spent a lot of time on the pier with his family and came to love it as well as developing a fascination for its musical heritage

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Scroll down to watch the video.

There is also a contribution from Mike Spooner who, at the time, worked for dRMM, the architects who went on to create the the award winning design for Hastings Pier that scooped the RIBA Stirling Prize the biggest award in British architecture on the same week that Hastings Pier Charity went in to administration. Ironically he talks in the film about creating a ‘sustainable vision’ and about the ‘huge amount of passion’ that exists for the pier.

But it’s the contributions from members of the pubic that makes this film so special; from the woman who recalls sneaking off to discos on the pier when she had been told she couldn’t go, to the man who sees the pier as, “a picture of life” while another describes it as like a barometer, “if the pier is in good shape it says the town is in good shape,” he tells the film makers.

Jeremy Birch talks about the financial and practical commitment from Hastings Borough Council, “we’re committed to the maintenance and restoration of the pier,” he says pointing out that the council had already spent £750,000 and was committed to giving a further £250,000 to secure Heritage Lottery funding.

The sight of fire engines on the pier on Saturday brought back uncomfortable memories for many people, a spokesman for Sheikh Abid Gulzar, the pier’s owner, told Hastings In Focus that the small blaze was caused by an electrical fault in the seating area of the Pavilion Restaurant and not in the kitchen as was first reported..

Mr Gulzar praised emergency services who attended a fire on Saturday morning saying: “The emergency services were excellent, They were on the scene within minutes and did a thoroughly professional job. I want to thank them for doing their job so well.”

The pier remains closed while further electrical safety checks are being carried out this week.

Watch the film here…

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