Hastings Bonfire 2008

On Saturday 18th October the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society will hold their annual torchlit procession and bonfire, followed by a spectacular firework display around the Old Town, Town Centre and Seafront of Hastings in East Sussex.

READ ON FOR PROCESSION TIMES, PROCESSION (PARADE!) ROUTES, PARKING INFORMATION, BONFIRE LIGHTING TIME, BONFIRE LOCATION, SAFETY INFORMATION AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT TRAIN INFORMATION!

Hastings holds one of the most traditional and what I would call “proper” bonfire nights in Sussex, with a large crowd always turning out.  They have a website, where more information can be found on the evening.

Having been an evening worker in Hastings for several years, this will be the first year that I have been able to visit Hastings Bonfire as a proper spectator, as well as a participant in the procession.

Parking is always a bit of an issue, as the town centre becomes very busy, but if you turn up early and are sensible, it shouldn’t be a problem.  Follow the signs for Priory Street (TN34 1EA) and/or Priory Meadow (Devonshire Road TN34 1NE or South Terrace entrances) multi story car parks, or find on street parking.  Beware the menace of the traffic wardens, although they don’t appear to operate on this evening in the same way as usual, but I wouldn’t take the chance: they do work until midnight!

The procession starts near The Stade at Rock-a-nor, which is where the A259 bends towards Rye, on the seafront, by the fishing huts, in the Old Town area.  The East Hill beacon is lit and then the fire is brought down to the seafront by the Hastings Runners, who light the procession and start it at 1915.  The procession then heads up the A259 towards Rye, before turning left to the top of High Street and then heading down High Street back to the seafront.  Visitors should note that “High Street” is not the town centre shopping area, but is in the Old Town!

The procession should reach the bottom of High Street, by the Dolphin Fish Bar at around 1945.

The procession will then walk along the seafront, past the firesite, which is on the beach, opposite the fountain roundabout by Iceland and turning right into Albert Road.  The procession will march up to the traffic lights at the bottom of South Terrace, before then looping back to the Town Hall.  They should arrive here at 2010.  There will be a set piece firework as the Mayor meets the HBBS chairman, the procession continues to the America  Ground memorial, where the America Ground declaration is read out by the town cryer and another set piece is discharged.  The America Ground history is quite interesting, and it would be well worth reading this website, to familiarise yourself with the whole reasoning behind the declaration.

From the memorial the procession will parade through Robertson Street around 2030 to the seafront and then left to the firesite, where the bonfire will be lit at around 2100.  Fireworks will be around 2130.

Hastings is well served by trains.  More information can be found at the National Rail Enquiries website or by calling 08457 48 49 50.  There may be changes due to bonfire or weekend engineering work, so it’s well worth finding out.

Please remember to follow the common sense rules for bonfire:

  • Don’t pick up discarded torches
  • Don’t discharge rookies or other fireworks in the street: it is illegal and you’ll go to jail!
  • Follow instructions of the marshals – they are there for your safety
  • Don’t climb over barriers or attempt to join the procession
  • Don’t do anything else stupid – remember, this is a family event in a public place and there will be children about!
  • Do enjoy yourself!

CLICK HERE FOR THE PROCESSION ROUTE ON GOOGLE MAPS

CLICK HERE FOR HASTINGS BOROUGH BONFIRE SOCIETY’S OFFICIAL SITE WITH LATEST INFORMATION

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