Hastings Lighthouse is located at West Hill overlooking the harbour. It works in conjunction with the front range light.
Hastings does not have a harbour, so fishing vessels launch and land on the beach area known as The Stade.
The rear range light is a five-sided white-painted tower in West Hill Park with wooden boarding on top of a concrete plinth. The 20ft high tower has an elevation of 160 feet and displays a fixed red light through three windows.
On the west breakwater, the front range light is mounted on a 20ft high column acting as a leading light with the rear range.
Hastings takes its name from the famous Battle of Hastings, which occurred nearby in 1066. Later it became one of the medieval Cinque Ports. The Cinque was a confederation of five ports which included Sandwich, Dover, New Romney and Hythe.
From medieval times Hastings developed as a thriving fishing town. Hastings is a busy fishing port, and at The Stade is the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe.
The area was also a haven for smugglers, storing their illicit goods at St Clement’s Caves, close to the lighthouse on West Hill.
By the 19th century, with the arrival of the railway, the town had become a popular seaside resort.
There had been attempts to create a sheltered harbour in Hastings, which is often exposed to southwesterly winds. The sea often destroyed buildings, and the longshore drift caused the harbour to silt up, forcing trade along the coast to Rye and Winchelsea.
In 1896 a harbour project started, but structural issues and rising costs prevented this from completion. The damaged seawall is still evident, as is the Harbour Arm, which was also started but not completed.
Beyond The Stade is one of two funicular railways; the East Hill and West Hill Lifts. The West Hill Lift leads up to West Hill, where the rear range lighthouse can be found within the park, overlooking Hastings.