Landmarks: Hastings Fish Market

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There has been a fish market on this site right from the beginning of the 19th century. The original octagonal building was demolished in the 1950s and replaced by a single- storey concrete structure, which was erected by the council with little or no facilities, the reason being that the borough council tended to look at the fishermen as 'that untidy mob in the old town'.

However, in 1990, we were asked to look into a replacement for the market. The building that was there was so derelict that it couldn't meet the 1992 EEC directive, in which environmental health had become a major issue.

The new building was opened by the mayor on the 28 August 1993 and it was about seven months being built. It is now the regional fish market for the south-east and is squeezed in between four net shops, tall huts about three storeys high and only 8 ft feet square, made entirely of timber. There are now 43 of these net shops, each one a Grade II listed building.

One of the main problems was finding funding. The fishermen were desperate to get a market ahead of Newhaven, and they had to depend entirely on loans. Unfortunately Hastings Borough Council are charging a thumping rate of interest on the loan, with the total cost of the building at about pounds 1m.

However, now that the fish shops are open and the sandwich boards are out, the place has truly come alive.

Ralph Wood is a partner in Le Fevre, Wood and Royle, 77 The Mint, Rye, Sussex

(Photograph omitted)