Sparks & Pilot – Hastings Pier 23rd Nov 1974





ad supplied by Sarah Harvey. Group photo: Sparks in AVRO’s TopPop (Dutch television show) in 1974. Source: Beeld En Geluid Wiki – Gallerie: Toppop 1974


Chris Meachen….The older brother in Sparks was just SO weird…. (In real life too, not just an act..) All I can say of Sparks is the taller one was the weirdest & most unresponsive individual I ever encountered backstage on the pier.. He just stared, without speaking,with a look that suggested you were something he just stepped in… Even backstage he maintained the emotionless, slightly manic stare that I’d imagined was just his public persona.. very creepy guy…

Alan Esdaile….Yes agree agree agree, one of the weirdest guys I ever met. The other brother was fine and had a good chat but when his brother appeared I spoke to him and all I got for a reply was an icy stare and his head moving from side to side, the same as he appeared on Top Of The Pops. Well creepy!

Mick O’Dowd….Biggest egotists going. Bomb scare half way through Pilots act(they were actually higher in the charts that week than Sparks) wouldn’t come back to Pier. Had to keep audience amused until they did. Very scary! Pilot were brilliant that night. After the bomb scare cleared the Pier Pilot insisted on finishing their set when play resumed,It gave time to coax the dynamic duo back from their hotel where they had been since the bomb scare was first announced.

Bernard Jeffery….I went to this gig I thought sparks were very ordinary, the support band was Pilot I think, they had a hit with January and were the better band. Magic! that was the single January was later

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The old trolleybus and the round the town open top bus by Geoff Lloyd

all photos © Geoff Lloyd.

shared from Hastings Trolleybus Group

Hastings Trolleybus Group… Some great photos taken in 1962 by Geoff Lloyd of the old trolleybus and the round the town open top bus. Thanks to Geoff for providing them.

Graham Sherrington… I do not remember the single decker but definitely the double

Peter Ellingworth… Remember them both…..when the Guy eight total open top t-buses were first introduced in 1928, my Mother as a working teenager travelled from the bottom of London Rd. to where she was working at the time at Hall’s Coal Merchants near to Bexhill Station on them – and told me there would be a near scrum for the enclosed lower deck in wet and windy weather.
Happy Harold is a lucky survivor- kept after initially in store at Bulverhythe depot as an overhead line maintenance and de-icing vehicle, it was decked out with coloured lights for the 1953 Coronation and subsequently as we know, then out on summer Sunday evenings for runs between the Old Town and Bathing Pool until the Hastings system closed in May-June 1959. It was also used a lot for enthusiasts’ tours of the system especially in the run up to closure. I remember local historian the late David Padgam telling me
he would be woken up about 5 am ( he lived in Sedlescombe Rd North near the former Silverhill Infant’s School), with vivid blue flashes when ‘H-H’ was passing by on pre public service bus de-icing duties. The Hastings Trolleybus Group are doing a great job in its upkeep and restoration. The ‘Round the Town’ tour bus went on until the early 70’s ?



Dimarco’s Hastings closed on the 9th February 1985

photo from Hastings and Area, Past and Present

HAPP…. 9th February 1985, Dimarco’s closed for good. This is a photo of DiMarco’s on the day they closed, sent by Ann Clifton. Ann added “The gentleman sitting in the right hand corner was the last ever customer, with Michael and Phil Di Marco, Lou and Emily DiPaolo, me and my brothers – Luigi Antonio Di Paolo”.

Dennis Torrance… Such a nice place happy memories there great food and ice cream and milkshakes . My mum worked in the one below St Mary in the castle in early 60s

John Gale… Knickerbocker glory land, loved it there and always welcoming by the Di Marco family , I met some of them at Hastings united games., always enthusiastic fans

Willie Wicking… Many a time spent in there can still remember that distinctive sound of the coffee machines & the blue smoke haze from cigarettes

Liane Carroll… I loved that place very much My Auntie Vera was a waitress there. It was so brilliant. Xxx

Jim Reilly… All us old hooligans used to love DiMarcos, and never misbehaved in there, coz we treated the staff the way the treated us, fairly. Grub was good and reasonably priced too.

Graham Matthews… We lived out in the sticks so school holiday treat was a bus trip to Hastings and lunch in Di Marco’s was always on the list in the 1960’s. Still used it after I left school if I came to town. Loved it.

Pete Houghton… One of my favorites! When i came over from Bexhill for the day

Chris Meachen… Some of my fondest memories are of my dad taking me in there when I was a tot. I used to have an egg & tomato roll (still my favourite filling to this day) followed by an ice cream scooped out of the tubs built into the counter.. I remember ‘Mr louis’ who seemed to know dad quite well. DiMarco’s was always a favourite place to eat, drink a delicious milkshake & meet up with friends, I miss it even now..

Helen Knight… Remember it

Carol Arnold… Loved Dimarcos

Alan Esdaile… Happy memories. Always found the staff friendly and polite.

Patrick Turner… Had many a knickerbocker glory in there

Gerry Fortsch… Welsh Rarebit every time?

Guestling Hall Youth Hostel Hastings – postcard

photo: Joan Hills 

Stewart Rockett… Yours truly (centre) trying to hide behind a twig, while working with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (now just the Conservation Volunteers) on the pond at Guestling Hall c.1995

Colin Jefferys… I was there. Left in 1980. Great times

Peter Ellingworth… Used to stay there a lot in the eighties when it belonged to the YHA ( Youth Hostels Association). The warden/manager was Barry and his wife from Liverpool, succeeded by Melanie Baker and her Dutch boyfriend. I remember Melanie saying she had a brother who had gone to either Priory Rd. or HGS ( can’t remember which off hand) , she herself the High School.
Great place to stay- sadly it closed in the 90’s, when the YHA due to financial restructuring sold off a lot of its hostels. I think Melanie and her boyfriend went to Holland or Germany and continued their outstanding work there. This was a great loss to Hastings and also left a big void in the YHA South East network. As mentioned previously, I contacted the then Hastings MP who rather curtly replied that no longer being a Hastings resident I was not in his remit, but my local MP Grant Shapps was the exact opposite and could not have been more helpful !



Who remembers Sainsbury’s in Wellington Place Hastings? (store photo is Peckham branch)

photo: Sainsbury Archive

Tony Court-holmes… early 50s? Nationwide is there now i wonder if the tiles are covered up behind the new walls

Jacky Mattelaer… I remember it like this in the 60’s, my Gran used to take me in there. I was fascinated by the way they rolled the butter on the marble counters. Great memories

Pauline Sims… Me too Jacky. I can just about remember the smell too when you walked in, mostly bacon – mouthwatering

Judy Atkinson… Not Wellington Place, that was later. This was the original shop in Castle Street where Nationwide is now. Remember going in there with my mum (early 60s) & buying bacon & butter. Beautiful mosaics & marble counters

Patrick Lewis… Remember it well from late 50’s into the60’s. Gala pie and patted butter.

Jackie Hersee… I remember it

Virginia Davis… I remember it from mid to late 60s like this

Gary Benton… I loved going to Sainsburys as a kid, the wonderful smell of cheese and smoked bacon as you walked in, the professional smart looking staff in their uniforms. Why did we ever loose amazing shops like this? I suppose its what they call progress, its very sad.

Claire Hamill… Oh wow! How could anyone get rid of something so glorious? Just think what the centre of Hastings would look like if we could have held on to those beautiful oldshops? And facades? Criminal decisions!

Bernard Goffredo… Definitely agree on that

Dave Boutwood… Yes, I (Wendy) worked there (Hastings branch) with my friend Kate. Must have been 1965-66. We worked Fri evening, after school for late night shopping and all day Sat. That photo brings back memories, we loved it there and had fun. Also, with our white overall, we had to wear a white headscarf (tied like Hilda Ogden’s), which was a bit embarrassing for us teenage girls!!! 😂😂😂 Great photo. Wendy xxx

Lesley Bowles… Dave, Wen, I remember all the lovely tiles and the great smell in there! Xx

Yvonne Cleland… Oh yes, exactly like my memories. My mum used to take me here when I was a toddler. How lovely to see it again!

Roy Marven formely Syrett… remember going with my nan to order her xmas turkey

Martin Richter… and not a self-serve checkout in sight

Peter Bridger… Oh yes, loved the tiles, and smell of raw meat, strangely!

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