Hastings Pier has a long, colourful history. The original structure was built in 1872 and transformed the town into a popular seaside hotspot in Victorian times. Its popularity reached its peak in the 1930s, particularly amongst Londoners. In the 1960s it even became a successful music venue and welcomed an array of iconic artists, from Jimi Hendrix to the Rolling Stones.
Throughout its 140 plus years, Hastings Pier had to be closed on several occasions because of storm damage, structural instability and fires. It was closed for a final time in 2006 and subsequently fell into disuse. Sadly, a fire in 2010 destroyed 95% of the superstructure. The future looked bleak for the pier, but locals fought to save it, and ultimately it was decided that it would be regenerated.
The pier was returned to local ownership in 2013 and plans for a £14.2 million redevelopment were revealed. Rebuilding work has been ongoing for over two years, and the aim is to have the pier fully operational by the middle of April 2016 so a formal opening ceremony can be held on the 21st of May. The new structure will be a modern equivalent of the Victorian structure rather than a direct replica, bringing the best of both worlds together. The plan is to use the newly built pier to host a variety of different events including farmer’s markets and concerts.
The renovation of the pier was a huge challenge because of the extreme level of damage and the challenging setting. The structure needed extensive structural propping to support it during the project. The structure beneath the old ballroom was a particular problem, and required the use of steel erectors to retain it. A Jack-Up barge was also used.
The regeneration of Hastings Pier is great news, and shows that the effort local people have put into the project has paid off. Large parts of the work have been done by volunteers who wanted to be involved in saving the historic structure, making it a truly remarkable achievement. As an example of structural propping within renovation, this is one of the most successful recent examples.