Long awaited, and a little more expensive than envisaged, Hastings Library has reopened. Located in the Brassey Institute in Claremont, the listed Victorian structure has been sensitively refurbished inside and out. Original features have been restored, stained glass repaired, and the central roof windows reinstated, bringing light into the middle of the building. Specialist plasterers were brought in from around the country to repair ornate interior mouldings while decorators stripped paint back to 1875 layers.

On the opening day the enthusiasm of staff and public for a building combining the best of traditional and modern design building was palpable. All four floors are now fully accessible and can be viewed from a glass-fronted lift, and there are toilets for persons with disabilities and a baby changing space. The children’s library, previously in a separate location, is particularly attractive and welcoming with a brightly coloured seaside theme, including an especially commissioned wall-hanging by Quentin Blake.

Wall hanging by Quentin Blake

Ranged across different floors are study areas, a reference library (with extensive local history shelves), papers & magazines, dvds, fiction and large print books. Free-to-use internet-connected computers can be found on every floor, supported by photocopying, scanning, printing and microfiche reading facilities.

Family history research, under fives activities and health and well being resources are among the services provided.

East Sussex Council, its architects and builders have given the town a library to be justly proud of. The only sadness is that its rebirth coincides with news that many libraries in outlying areas, including Ore, are scheduled to close as the County struggles with cuts in central government funding.


We hope you have enjoyed reading this article from Hastings Independent Press. The future of this volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.