New Hastings short story podcast

A new short story set in Hastings has been released as a podcast. Borrowed Ground by Robin Pridy is one of seven new works of fiction commissioned for Historic England’s High Street Tales, a new weekly podcast series and e-book inspired by local high streets. Robin was commissioned by writer development agency New Writing South.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 6:05 am
Robin Pridy Photo Sally Griffin

Spokeswoman Caoimhe O’Gorman said: “Storytellers have captured the everyday magic of high streets, working with local people to record local legends and create a set of short stories about today’s high street. High Street Tales is the first project in a £7.4 million cultural programme led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This programme of cultural activities is part of the £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme, which is currently working to breathe new life into 68 English high streets including Hastings, Ramsgate and Gosport.

“The cultural programme features new digital and physical artworks inspired by our nation’s high streets. It aims to make our high streets more attractive and vibrant places for people to spend time, work and live.”

In her short story Borrowed Ground, writer Robin Pridy has combined Hastings’ familiar places, sounds and smells with the stories and memories of local people, to turn the town’s Trinity Triangle into the backdrop for the life of her character, Jackie Brigham.

Robin wanted to explore how people were working and living around this part of Hastings, especially from the 1960s onwards. By speaking to people who had worked in the area or who had spent time there she began to build a picture of its colourful history from memories about the décor of the Spiritualist Church to a very public breaking of waters in front of what is now Debenhams.

Robin explained: “The Trinity Triangle area has a rich history, and there is still so much to be explored. Keeping this place alive feels very important right now. It is not just somewhere to shop but is and has always been a place for people to grow up, to grow old, to learn and to work. It is a place of refuge, of joy, of political beliefs and hopes for the future. I feel privileged to have heard so many heartfelt and original voices talking about their lives and memories in this place. I heard fantastic stories about life at the Hastings Observer, the greengrocers and the churches as well as several other shops that came and went. There were anecdotes about exotic fruit and barbers, small fires and games of whist, and I managed to learn a rude song to boot! I’ve written just one small story about this wonderful place, but there are many tales already told that are well worth finding. And I’m convinced there are so many more still to be written.”

“I really do believe that the future of the high street is in combining all these things – church, community buildings, libraries, housing, eateries and shops – into a thriving neighbourhood for people to live in again, to be a place where people’s essential needs can be met and where they can find almost all they could want to be happy in a place.”