The Queen's Hotel, And Carlisle Parade, East
Photographer: Frith, Francis (1822-1898)
Medium: Photographic print
“Of course you observed…upon the very beach, that unique collection of large black wooden boxes, or small black warehouses, which hold the nets, tackle, and other ‘findings’ of the sixty-six fishing-smacks constituting the fleet of this chief of the Cinque Ports. There is no harbour or pier; guide-books affirm the existence of the latter in the reign of Queen Bess – those queer, pointed, whale-tooth-like timbers which stick up on the beach at low water are pointed to as the foundation of the statement and the pier. I had the melancholy satisfaction of being at Hastings at a time when a collier of 150 tons, which had ‘beached’ to discharge her cargo, was caught in a storm and swashed [sic] to pieces in the surf.”
Descriptive letterpress by Francis Frith from his book 'The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings'
This view by Francis Frith (1822-1898) of the Queen’s Hotel and Carlisle Parade on the seafront at Hastings, East Sussex, with boats on the beach in the foreground, is one of sixteen photographs of views of Hastings, St Leonards, Winchelsea and Rye illustrating his book ‘The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings’, published in 1864. Frith was a pioneer in the field of travel photography, beginning his career with three trips to Egypt and the Holy Land between 1856 and 1860. In 1859 he founded his own publishing firm in Reigate, Surrey, which issued albums and postcards of views throughout Britain. The firm was very successful and became the largest of its kind in the 19th century, continuing to be run as a family business until 1971. In Frith’s first album, ‘Egypt and Palestine Photographed and Described’, he also wrote the text that accompanied his photographs and this form of dual authorship is continued in ‘The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings’. Its text is notable for the gently satirical attitude which Frith adopts in his travelogue of the 19th-century seaside resort and its sister towns.