HASTINGS NET SHOPS
As part of the research for the third in the DI Sonny Russell 'Blood' series of novel, provisionally entitled, Blood on the Strand, I needed to do some research into the Hastings Net Shops. These 50 or so unique listed buildings are an outstanding feature of the fishermen's beach at Rock-a-Nore.
Most are three stories high, with few only having two floors. They were traditionally used for drying fishing gear in the days when nets and ropes were made of natural materials which were prone to rot if left out in the open. The reason for their unusual dimensions is that space between the sea and the cliffs was limited so each shop could only have a footprint of about eight feet square, hence the need to build upwards. Originally, when the tide came in further, they were built on legs so the water could flow underneath, but later, when the shingle built up, some even had cellars.
After I had received some gentle criticism for not including more female characters in my book, I have introduced a WPC, Nettie Sharp, who has to interview some fisherman at Rock-a-Nore after a mysterious crate washes up on the beach. Also, you'll be pleased to hear, there is some love interest for Sonny Russell in book two, Blood on the Shrine, although not is all as it seems.
The header picture and the one below are of my model railway layout in a wine box, Castle Quay, which incorporates models of the net shops.