net sheds hastings

Hastings Net Sheds: the romance continues…

What could be more beautiful than the net sheds…?  They make my heart thump with anticipation and wonder at what gave rise to such an austere shape, why they were required and what of the men who returned to them day-after-day..? I can imagine the fishermen in appalling frigid conditions, blustering cold and rain, tempestuous howling wind hauling fish onto the beach; waves beating against their broken backs as twilight descends; to be met by the women in their long dresses wet to the thighs with stinging icy water unloading fish for local and private consumption under the worst of all physical conditions. Then having to gather in the nets, tackle etc and get them to the huts / sheds for preservation day-in-day-out for centuries.  A dramatic tale no less but probably not far from the truth. A life such as these men would have endured is unimaginable to most of us in the present day and the majority would be incapable of enduring it.  The very nature of the architecture suggests hardship, the lofty and narrow forms and pitched roof; the tales the sheds can tell and that of the men who built them are the tales of English history…

“The Hastings net shops are unique – tall thin wooden sheds, up to three stories high, painted black, standing in neat rows on the beach. Sheds of various shapes, sizes and types have stood on this shingle in front of Hastings Old Town for many centuries, but it was a town planning decision in 1835 that created the design and layout that can still be seen today. Their unique characteristics resulted in 39 of them having their status as “listed buildings” upgraded by English Heritage in 2010. Listed buildings are nationally designated heritage assets, and there are over 570 listed buildings in Hastings and St Leonards. The net shops had been listed as Grade II (grade two), the basic level, for many years, but in June 2010 the group of 39 were upgraded to Grade II* (grade two star), the second highest level. There are only 21 other buildings or groups of buildings in the borough listed as Grade II*. And Hastings Borough Council uses net shops as part of the town’s logo.” HastingsChronicle:

Majority of images supplied by Best of England:

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