Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Hastings Borough Council has been successful in its recent bid to the Coastal Communities Fund in the latest round of grant funding applications.

The grant worth £812,770 is for a new project called ‘Destination White Rock, Hastings – Continuing the Economic Revival’ and will enable the council and partners to revive the White Rock area with a total project value of £1.081m.

Led by the council, the Hastings Coastal Communities Team will manage a portfolio of projects to improve the economic wellbeing of the White Rock area.

Funding will contribute to projects at Rock House, a partially converted office block with a mix of uses, including commercial, residential and community, to provide affordable business development and commercial space. The adjoining Rock Alley will also benefit, with improvements allowing adjoining businesses to contribute to its economic revival and by giving another pathway between the White Rock seafront and inland.Pier white rock area IMG_6650 SM

The currently redundant water feature and White Rock promenade between the Pier and Source Park will be refurbished and traditional beach huts will be installed east of the Pier to encourage active use of this area of the beach.

The Source Park will develop a BMX Olympic inspired training programme and offer a series of local, regional and international BMX and skateboarding events to attract thousands of visitors extending the season throughout the year.

There will also be a community based business initiative, developing the local community to participate in and manage the economic revival of the area.

Project manager Kevin Boorman commented:

“This is excellent news for Hastings and the future development of our town. This funding will enhance the significance of the White Rock area as the geographical centre of Hastings and allow it to become a destination in its own right and, a great place to relax and do business. We will start work on these projects now and hope to see completion at the end of 2019.”

Richard Moore the Source Park added: “This grant will help The Source Park realise its full potential as a global BMX and Skateboard centre of excellence. We’re looking forward to building on the success of the Battle of Hastings contests to develop a series of events that showcases Hastings and the Source Park around the world. At the same time, our coaching program, the first of its kind in our sports, aims to give everyone the chance to learn our sports’ and develop the stars of the future”

“Rock House is a unique creative and affordable space for living, working and community action. We’re delighted that this grant will help us with the next phase of the refurbishment which will create new jobs and enterprises, while protecting the very special character of the White Rock/America Ground neighbourhood” said Jess Steele, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, social enterprise owners of Rock House

Together the projects aim to support 180 local businesses, create 12 tourism events, create over 180 jobs,  increase visitor numbers by over 60,000  which in turn will create an extra £4m spend in support of the wider community.


New contemporary arts festival commemorates one of English history’s most important dates.

The Battle of Hastings was a significant moment in this country’s history and a hugely rich source of inspiration – both on the history of the country itself and the impact it has had on our culture and identity.

To mark the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England, a new, six-week contemporary arts festival has been created and gets underway on 3 September (running until 16 October). 

ROOT1066 is composed of spectacular indoor and outdoor events across 1066 Country in East Sussex staged by internationally renowned artists and companies, including Glyndebourne Opera, Chris Levine, Wildworks Theatre, Marcus Harvey and Turner Prize short-listed Fiona Banner, plus many more. It includes 13 new commissions and premieres, all exploring big themes such as Who are we?  Where do we come from?  What is important to us? 

Highlights of the rich and varied programme include:

  • I Am A Norman – a photography project highlighting contemporary Normans. Nigel Green and Andrew Moran have traced people who live in 1066 Country with a surname derived from the original army of Norman knights and their retinues and photographed them in a setting of their choice. These photographs will be on display in bus shelters from 1-31 September. Familiar faces in familiar settings, connecting us to the past.
  • A pioneering large scale sound and light event – iy_Project – has been designed by the acclaimed light artist Chris Levine, famous for his 3D light portraits of The Queen, the Dalai Lama and Kate Moss and collaborations with The Eden Project and top recording artists (most recently with Philip Glass at Glastonbury in a special tribute to David Bowie).  He will be working in collaboration with sound artists to create a spectacular immersive experience on the seafront, which will include an invitation beamed over the Channel to Normandy to signify the start of the festival. (Saturday 10 September)
  • Making its world premiere on Saturday 1 October at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, new opera PUSH will be performed by soloists from Glyndebourne and musicians drawn from some of the UK’s major orchestras, while 250 children and adults from across 1066 Country will form the accompanying choir for this thrilling and innovatively staged production. PUSH, written by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, is inspired by the compelling, true story of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed from a train bound for Auschwitz by his mother in 1943. Mr Gronowski himself will be guest of honour at the first performance.
  • Paying cheeky homage to British Museum Director Neil MacGregor’s ground-breaking series for BBC Radio 4, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is telling The Story of Hastings in 66 Objects. From a 1066 silver penny and part of a Spanish Armada boat to a JL Baird letter and a MOD’s Lambretta, members of the public picked their favourite works from the 100,000 held by the museum to create a new exhibition that covers the Norman invasion, through Tudor, Stuart, Georgian and Victorian periods into the 20th (On now)
  • WildWorks are renowned for their unique style of site-specific theatre. Their show The Great Survey is inspired by the Domesday Book of 1086, which was entitled The Great Survey of the Wealth of England.  But where the first Great Survey focused on the country’s physical wealth in terms of land, livestock and other possessions, this one 930 years later will be focusing on the town of Hastings greatest riches: its people and communities. Their show will take place in the shadow of Hastings Castle (9-11 September) and feature a revolving cast of 50 local people.
  • Jerwood Gallery presents a major exhibition of the celebrated English artist Marcus Harvey. Inselaffe is a German word meaning ‘Island Monkeys’ – used to describe the people of Britain, a tongue-in-cheek theory that evolution must have stalled in the UK.  Harvey’s most recent work forges motifs and emblems of Britishness, such as military memorabilia and joke shop knick-knacks, into collaged portraits of historical figures – from Nelson to Margaret Thatcher, Napoleon to Tony Blair (until 16 October).
  • Leading British artist Fiona Banner presents an immersive installation at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, exploring her ongoing interest in language and its limitations. The exhibition, Buoys Boys, which takes place both inside and outside of the gallery, is a play on digital versus material experiences. (24 September – 8 January 2017).

All these events, and many, many more, will work in partnership with other 1066 commemorations and celebrations, including the Battle Festival (throughout October) and a monumental re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings (15 & 16 October).

ROOT1066 is curated by Hastings Borough Council’s Polly Gifford, who says “Hastings has a long artistic tradition and a growing reputation as a cultural hot spot for outstanding contemporary arts, with an eclectic arts scene fuelled by a thriving community of artists.  ROOT 1066 shows off the best the area has to offer, with unique projects from local, national and international artists that will linger in the memories of audiences and leave a lasting legacy for the area.”

The ROOT1066 Festival Patron is playwright and scriptwriter, Hastings born, Sir David Hare. He says “ROOT 1066 comes along at just the right moment to mark the re-birth of this part of the world. Its curious beauty and distinctive melancholy are as powerful as ever. But now at last it has sturdy young life as well.”

You can download a full festival programme now at www.1066contemporary.com



Hastings was the venue for the European debut of the ‘Medieval Mosaic’ at St Mary in the Castle, on the town’s seafront last Friday (12th August).

The mosaic is a complete recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry, created out of 3 million tiny pieces of steel, each of around 7 sq. mm. The mosaic also includes an 8 metre ‘finale section’, which recreates what is believed to be depicted in the two missing panels of the original Bayeux Tapestry, narrating the three months of history from the end of the Battle of Hastings to the coronation of William the Conqueror on Christmas Day 1066.

The mosaic was created by father and daughter team Michael and Rachael Linton, in New Zealand, and this is the first time the mosaic has ever been out of New Zealand.

Michael said :- “The mosaic has taken over 33 years to build, and I am so pleased to have been invited by Hastings Borough Council to bring it to England to play its part in the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. And where better for the mosaic to have its European debut than in the crypt of St Mary in the Castle, within the footprint of Hastings Castle, which is of course shown on the mosaic.

“We had a great launch event last Friday, and have had lots of visitors since then :- and we are hoping for lots more! Entry is free, but we would appreciate donations, and we’re here from 10am until 5 pm every day now until the end of October.”

Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, added :- “The mosaic is quite extraordinary, and well worth a visit. The amount of work that has gone into it is quite incredible, and it fits into the crypt of St Mary in the Castle so well :- it looks like it was designed for it, yet was made half a world away.

“I am delighted that Michael, Gillian and Rachael Linton have chosen Hastings for the European – indeed northern hemisphere! – launch for this work, and am sure that it will attract many, many visitors over the coming months.

“It provides yet another reason for visitors to come here, and is the Guinness world record holder for the world’s largest steel mosaic :- Famously Hastings indeed!

Schools across Hastings and Rother have been working with local artists to respond to one of the biggest events in British history, the Battle of Hastings.

To commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle and as part of the ROOT1066 Contemporary Arts Festival, Hastings and Rother Arts and Education Network (HRAEN) commissioned artists Lee Shearman and Steve Tasane to produce toolkits for schools to download and use in their classrooms.

Using these toolkits and working with Lee Shearman schools have produced pop-up accordion books based on the Bayeux tapestry and written poetry inspired by the Battle with Steve Tasane.

An exhibition of pupil’s work ‘Mightier than the Sword’ was launched on Friday (15 July) at The Source Park, Hastings. The work includes artwork, poetry and stories and will be on display until 16 September 2016 in the viewing gallery of the main park with free admission to view.

Visit www.1066contemporary.com to see the full programme of ROOT1066 Arts Festival events.

Hastings based web design agency, The Rye Agency, has teamed up to work with a national magazine and Apple. Mixmag are the world’s largest dance and electronic music magazine, established in the UK in 1982. They approached The Rye Agency to design and develop a new website and integration with Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Google AMP.

The Rye Agency, in Robertson Street in Hastings, was one of the first agencies outside the States to have access to the Apple News platform.

Working closely with Mixmag and Apple’s offices in London and California they produced a bespoke integration between the Mixmag’s website and Apple News. Mixmag’s website is powered by software called CraftCMS (Content management System) for which The Rye Agency are seen as one of Europe’s leading experts.

Mixmag’s Apple News integration was referenced on stage at the 2016 Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Although The Rye Agency manages large websites for well known brands like Mixmag; Mary Portas Pilot Love Ashford; Rocksound; and North London Cares, they spend the majority of their time and resources working with local companies making affordable websites to help boost Hastings’ digital economy.

“2016 has seen a seismic shift in how the web works and what people are expecting from it. Platforms like Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Google AMP are taking people away from traditional websites – and new devices like smart TVs and wearables are changing how we interact with the web at a fundamental level. The rise of these new technologies is rapidly changing how people use the Internet,” said David Roder, Director and Founder of The Rye Agency.

“As a town we’re starting to see real improvements – with the re-opening of the pier, new businesses opening up, and world-class spaces like the Source Park. We need to make sure our town is growing in the digital space too if we’re going to be able to compete in today’s economy.”

To help grow the local digital economy, The Rye Agency is holding a free workshop for local businesses to share expertise which business owners can use to improve how they use the web. The event will be hosted at The Creative Media Centre, Robertson Street, Hastings on Tuesday the19th July 2016. Entry is free but places are limited. Businesses interested should reserve their place by contacting David Roder at The Rye Agency.

For further Information contact David Roder, David.roder@rye.agency  01424 559 689 / 07974 941393

The University of Brighton, Hastings Campus are inviting people to go and see their final year undergraduate projects and learn about them from their creators.

Students from their BSc (hons) courses –  Digital Games Production, Internet Computing, and Computer Systems with Networking will be demonstrating their projects on themes including Augmented Reality, Data Visualization, Serious Games, Human Computer Interaction, Web Development, and more.

The event will be taking place on Tuesday 24 May at the Hastings Campus between 13.00-17.00.

For more information contact Jon Nicholson here

Hastings-based Hivac Engineering is a well-established specialist in the manufacture of ultra-high vacuum chambers and equipment used in surface science, semi-conductor and synchrotron particle acceleration. For the latter think CERN and the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, or closer to home Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

The type of work that Hivac Engineering undertakes, therefore, is generally low-volume, R&D, but to extremely tight tolerances on large components.

Many of the products manufactured by Hivac Engineering are welded assemblies, made up from a number of machined components, some of which are straightforward, others can be complex. This work is a mix of made to drawing and in-house design, where it employs 3D CAD and Finite Element Analysis. A common thread throughout, though, is the finished accuracy of the welded assemblies, which have to be finished machined, creating a requirement for large capacity, and accurate, machine tools. “Our investment in machine tools is driven by market requirements, if we need a machine we will buy it, but due to the nature of our work, the majority of it being stainless steel, but we also machine refractory materials such as tantalum, molybdenum and high temperature ceramics, such as Boron, Macor and Shapal. As a result we need robust machines that are capable of not only accommodating the parts we make, but also of being able to achieve the quality of machine finish that our customers and products require,” says Paul Lennard, Managing Director, Hivac Engineering.

Investment in machine capacity at Hivac Engineering backs up this point with a heavyweight XYZ 2010 vertical machining centre and an XYZ XL 1100 extra-large lathe being the most recent additions. Key to the decision to buy the XYZ 2010 VMC was its construction, which features a solid cast base, rather than a fabricated one. This 20,000 kg machine provides Hivac with a robust machining platform, added to which is the standard 1000 mm travel in the y-axis, which when combined with the 2000 mm and 800 mm travel in the x and z axes creates a large machining envelope, yet the footprint of the machine is relatively compact for a machine of this capacity. Hivac also took the 4 th axis option with the machine as well for even greater versatility. “We need machines that are capable of machining straightforward and complex parts, and with the XYZ machines this is what you get. This is helped by the use of the Siemens ShopMill 828D control system, which we find extremely easy to use thanks to the conversational programming and operators who are unfamiliar with it quickly get up to speed.”

Changes in personnel and production requirements were also a driver in the choice of the XYZ XL 1100 lathe that was installed in October 2015. Much of the large diameter turning work at Hivac Engineering had been done on manual machines and due to the skill requirement for this work this was becoming a bottleneck. This led to Paul Lennard looking for an alternative and the criteria for the lathe was much the same as for the machining centre, it had to be robust, easy to use and have a relatively compact footprint. “The XYZ XL 1100 met all those criteria as it is an 8000 kg machine, with a solid cast construction, with the bed length that we specified the footprint is only 3930 mm by 2300 mm by 2200 mm, but we can swing 1100 mm over the bed.”

The XL 1100 makes use of the Siemens 840D control, in this case with the ShopTurn variant. Both the ShopTurn and ShopMill controls make use of Siemens JobShop Concept that simplifies all of the on-screen prompts ensuring that programming is quick and easy.

Confidence in the resulting program is enhanced by Siemens’ Line trace graphics that allow the operator to view the program as it progresses through each stage of the cycle, with full 3D graphics assisting the process. “When it comes to investing in machine tools we generally know what we want and with XYZ Machine Tools we know what we will get. The machines are well constructed, the  service and support is excellent and we feel that we get looked after. We must do as these latest two machines take our XYZ plant list to nine machines now, a mixture of five CNC lathes and machining centres with the Siemens control and four ProtoTRAK controlled mills and lathes,” says Paul Lennard.

In October 2015 Helen Dawes and her daughter Rhianna decided to get busy and create their website The Very Distinguished Pug Company.

The idea for this happened after Helen decided to make a smart outfit for her pug Alfie for a pug meet up that they were going to.  Being a fan of the popular TV program Downtown Abbey this was the look that Helen went for.

When friends of Helens saw the photo’s, they asked her to make one for theirs and from there Helen decided to make up a Facebook and Instagram page to post photo’s of her friends dogs wearing the harness.  This has created a number of followers from all over the world and what gave Helen and Rhianna the idea to start up the Very Distinguished Pug Company.  Rhianna  who has a degree in media and journalism created the website and also looks after all the social media, marketing and PR.

Since the website has been made Helen has made harnesses, bow ties, bandanna’s collars and leads for pug owners in the USA, Europe and Australia.

Helen had to give up work due to a chronic pain condition and auto immune disorder that causes chronic fatigue. She used to work with children and young people with special needs and challenging behaviour. She was also in the previously in the Army and is a keen motorcyclist, and a marshal  at the Isle of Man TT, Moto Gp and British Superbikes, she likes to keep herself busy and hopes to expand by creating more designs and different items.

Check out these handmade outfits by Helen.


Check out the pictures that we managed to take today whilst at Hastings Pier.

Bringing a new modern vibe to the town.


Hastings design consultancy Wave have received a highly commended award from the Geographical Association for a site they have designed.

The print and web design company were asked to ‘make a dewave2finitive site that had up-to-date information, could be viewed on any device and has social media as part of its DNA.’

The Wave team came up with The Discovering Galapagos website.  Discovering Galapagos is a bilingual multimedia education resource from the Galapagos Conservation trust and the Royal Geographical Society.  The website designed is an expansive and engaging resource for anyone interested in this unique environment.