Books

peerlessPiers
Peerless Piers by Steve Peak

Peerless Piers by Steve Peak tells how and why Hastings Pier was built in 1872, and was to prove so successful that a rival pier was constructed in St Leonards nearly two decades later.
Hastings Pier began a new era in the history of British piers, being the first to have a grand entertainments pavilion as part of its design. When Earl Granville opened the pier in August 1872, he described it as being “a peerless pier – a pier without a peer!” It was a winner for over a century, attracting many visitors to the town, but the nearby St Leonards Pier, which started life 19 years later, was to be a financial failure. It suffered a serious fire in 1944, was never re-opened, and its remains were cleared away in 1953.
Hastings Pier began a long slow decline in the early 1980s, culminating in the major blaze in 2010 that wrecked much of it. But the Heritage Lottery Fund has provisionally awarded a major restoration grant that could create another ‘peerless pier’.
Steve’s book tells the story right up-to-date, describing how St Leonards and Hastings once had piers within a mile of each other, but nearly became pierless in 2010

Price (including postage and packaging) – £8.50

mugsborough
Mugsborough Revisited by Steve Peak

Mugsborough was the setting for Britain’s most influential working class novel, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, by Robert Tressell. He describes how ordinary people were forced to lead lives of poverty, exploitation and misery in a typical provincial English town in the early 1900s.
The book was first published in 1914, and was so moving and horrifying that it helped shape the welfare state set up after the Second World War and inspired much militancy in the Labour movement through to the 1990s.
But Mugsborough was not a fictional town. It was the depression-hit seaside resort of Hastings and St Leonards in East Sussex, as seen though the eyes of an Irish-born painter and decorator who moved to the town by chance in 1901/02. He worked for many local builders over the next eight years, and recorded the destitution and hardship that he and his workmates suffered. In 1910 he finished the manuscript of his story and tried to emigrate to Canada, but he died of tuberculosis on the way, at Liverpool on 3 February 1911.
Mugsborough Revisited chronicles in detail the life of Robert Tressell, and explains how his novel was in many ways a factual record of real places, people and events in a deprived and badly-run town.

Price (including postage and packaging) – £8.50

fisherMen
Fishermen of Hastings by Steve Peak

Two hundred years of the bustle and turmoil of Hastings Old Town life – ‘Fishermen of Hastings’ is the first full history of one of Britain’s oldest fishing communities, profusely illustrated with over 140 pictures, maps and drawings – many not published before.
‘This valuable and well-documented history … an excellent contribution’
– J Manwaring Baines

Price (including postage and packaging) – £10.50

hastings_papers
The Hastings Papers by Steve Peak

The unique story of the newspapers of Hastings and St Leonards. Local newspapers shape the public’s understanding of the town in which they live and help people feel involved in what is going on around them. The Hastings Papers tells the story of the rise of the Hastings Oserver and describes the fate of the many other papers that once challenged it!

Price (including postage and packaging) – £9.00

 

Scroll Up