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Hastings Tapestry

Hastings Tapestry

Last chance to see Hastings Tapestry

This weekend is your last chance to see the immersive exhibition showcasing the ‘Hastings Tapestry’, which has been commissioned for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Dominika Hicks writes.

This remarkable 275 ft long embroidery consists of 27 panels created by The Royal School of Needlework, showing 81 significant events in British History from 1066 until 1966.

This feat of artistic excellence has languished in storage for decades, although in previous years, it was exhibited at the original Hastings Pier.

The Tapestry Project


Immersive Hastings Tapestry Exhibition

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October

Open 11am to 3pm

Admission: Adults £3, children FREE

Tickets available online or on the door.

For more information  please visit Immersive Hastings Tapestry Exhibition.

Posted 16:44 Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 In: Arts News


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  1. Heather Grief

    It’s actually always been called the Hastings Embroidery, to distinguish it from the 950 year old Bayeux Tapestry (which is technically an embroidery but is a tapestry in the general sense of being a wall hanging); it was commissioned in 1965 by Hastings Corporation (the Borough Council is its successor, and the ‘guardian’ of it, on behalf of the inhabitants of Hastings Borough, who are legally the owners – or at least that’s my understanding of the law) to be the main ‘thing’ in Hastings’ 1966 900th anniversary of the famous battle.
    It is not on show in Hastings because in May 2001 the newly elected council (you can look up which political party was in the majority at the time) decided to take it off display (it was in the Sussex Room at White Rock Theatre) without there having been any mention of this in their manifesto; so much for democracy. For many years it had been only open on weekdays, no weekends or bank holidays, and was not advertised. Needless to say, after its move from the Town Hall to the Sussex Room, visitor numbers declined (2,000 in its last year) and the council justified the taking off display on these grounds, and on wanting to use the Sussex Hall for community events.
    Many attempts have been made to put it back on display in Hastings, all of them failing. HBC still insists that there is no viable way of doing this, unless it is ‘piggy-backed’ onto something else. I have been trying to get a 1066 Centre off the ground, that would house a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry as well as the Hastings Embroidery. HBC has stalled on the practicalities, though they say it is still ‘on the table’ as one possible option. Individual councillors tend to say that there is no interest in such works. They don’t seem to realise that a number of epic tapestries have been / are being made in recent years – Prestonpans, the Great Tapestry of Scotland, Stamford Bridge etc. – and that 400,000+ people visit Bayeux every year to look at the Tapestry.
    Unfortunately, the Hastings Embroidery is going back into storage at Momart, where it has been since May 2001 – the location information was obtained through a Freedom of Information request several years ago.
    At least proper photos have now been taken of it, at my suggestion. I’m hoping that HBC will allow the photos to be available in some form – they control all photographic images of the HE, though it was the Bridge Point project that organised and presumably paid for them to be taken by a professional photographer.
    I have recently been offered a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, which already exists and is in the main embroiderer’s home, but she’d like it to come to Hastings to be on show here. HBC declined it, on grounds of having nowhere to put it.

    Comment by Heather Grief — Monday, Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:52

  2. Erica Smith

    I went to see the Hastings Embroidery yesterday and I’m really glad that I did get to see it. It is beautiful – and has been beautifully preserved. Like Zelly, I am not an expert about the tapestry. I know from the guide book that I bought that it was initially displayed on the pier in a special dome. I’m assuming that displaying a textile on a pier where it’s vulnerable to salty water and wild weather is not an ideal long term solution, and a permanent, safe home could not be found.
    I know it was in storage for several years – in the same warehouses where the Saatchi collection was held, and we are lucky that it didn’t get burnt in the fire that destroyed Tracey Emin’s tent and the Chapman’s ‘Hell’.
    I can understand why Hastings Borough Council cannot afford to exhibit the tapestry in the town because Council funding has been so viciously diminished by the Conservative Government’s austerity policies. That puts us at the mercy of the benevolent rich.
    Personally, I’d rather have higher taxes on the rich and a bigger public purse to support the arts.

    Comment by Erica Smith — Monday, Oct 14, 2019 @ 13:06

  3. Ian Roberts

    I think we should all be grateful that a new arts organisation such as Bridgepoint which is financed by the generosity of private donors decided to display an important historical piece. There is no commercial chicanery, just a simple desire to support our arts and cultural heritage which is fast being cut from our children’s education and our daily life. I also hope that there is a permanent home for the Hastings Tapestry when its residency at Bridge Point ends. I look forward to Rye welcoming a continuing flow of arts and cultural exhibitions and events.

    Comment by Ian Roberts — Friday, Oct 11, 2019 @ 11:28

  4. Ms .Doubtfire

    Make a fuss – surely the Hastings online Times could make further enquiries about this one?

    Comment by Ms .Doubtfire — Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 @ 15:50

  5. Bruce Nicol

    For years, nobody seemed to know where it was. How can such a significant piece of national art simply slip into obscurity ? Who are these guardians who seem to have kept The Tapestry out of the public eye so effectively for so long ? Must I be forgiven for suspecting some kind of commercial chicanery ? Of course this historical piece, created by the Royal School of Needlework, should be on permanent public display in Hastings. How can this be done ?

    Comment by Bruce Nicol — Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 @ 14:39

  6. Zelly Restorick

    I’m afraid I don’t know. Best to contact the Tapestry guardians direct. Thank you for writing. Zelly

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 @ 09:57

  7. Sunbear

    Why is this tapestry not permanently on show in Hastings? Where is it going?

    Comment by Sunbear — Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 @ 23:43

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