Jerwoodite or not?

Disclaimer: Any comments stated here which are not correct are due to the misinformation I have received and is a symptom of this. Since there is little to no information about Jerwood, I’m absolved of responsibility.

(Note: Hover the mouse over the pics for captions, if needed)

Who am I?

A typical bloke, wife, three kids (4, 9, 11) and live/strive in Hastings. Born in the old and long forgotten Buchanan Hospital in St. Leonards on Sea nearly 40 years ago, my kids attend their local state school, I work in various places in and around the town as a sole trader in the digital media sector and we all work hard to do the best we can as a family.

What is Jerwood?

An art gallery. The Jerwood Foundation is a charity which is responsible for over £100million worth of art, some of which is to be shown in the new Hastings Jerwood gallery should it materialise.

What’s all the kerfuffle about?

Whether having a Jerwood Art Gallery in Hastings will actually be of benefit to Hastings as a town, the people of Hastings in general and both the business and art community (note the separation) surrounding the proposed development.

The artists perspective:

Of course it’s important, it’s vital to the regeneration of Hastings. It will enrich all our lives with culture, children will learn more about creativity and visual art and it will attract many hundreds of high-spending tourists who will shower the surrounding businesses with cash. We’ll also be able to put our own works in the gallery as it’s part of a community project (citation needed) as well as an internationally recognised gallery. It will inspire us to produce great works too.

The business perspective:

The art gallery proposal is welcome as it attracts more people into the town, particularly high(er) spenders who will need to traverse the retail areas to get to the road and rail links. The direct beneficiaries will be the shops and services which support the tourism sector. It’s the towns biggest industry so this is a good thing.

Removing the coach park which can bring hundreds of people in big swoops isn’t a good thing though. The town is stitched up ‘parking-wise’ as it is and relocation will prove difficult if not impossible.

There’s also the debate about the target market demographic. If ‘high-society’ art connoisseur types with London salaries come to Hastings to visit Jerwood, are they going to get their chips from the Dolphin then nip in the Nelson for a couple of pints and a piss?

The ‘typical bloke’ perspective:

It costs money to get in so that’s me and the kids out. Maybe there’s some concession for locals, but it still costs so that’s me out. They prefer to go to swimming and karate anyway, not that we can really afford that either. In order to spend money I need to earn money and this new gallery doesn’t serve me financially in any way. I’m not cultured, I’m not creative and the only pictures on my walls are of the kids and the dog.

OK, so it doesn’t do anything for me, that doesn’t mean I oppose it, but from posts in various discussion groups (<cough>HCMC</cough>), it does. It appears you’re either ‘for’ Jerwood, or ‘against’ it.

Given that I ‘have’ to fall into one camp or another I’d say I’m ‘for’ it, purely because more money is being invested in Hastings and while aimless money spending serves little purpose, it does reverberate throughout the community and give everyone a feel-good factor.

When SeaSpace developed all these new office space buildings, technically, there was no, 0, zero demand to fill the space, not what’s happening though is it?. As far as I know, capacity is brimming. With investment comes ambition and this is the sole reason I’m ‘for’ Jerwood in Hastings.

If someone says to me, “poxy artists getting a gallery, where’s the money in that?”, I’ll find it hard to answer with a positive. After all, most artists I know are skint and rely on benefits, state grants and/or funding for social projects to cling to, others are part-time something else because visual art just doesn’t contribute to the economy on a local scale. Bohemian in every sense of the word. If I am to aspire to the typical working class family man which I simplistically believe to be ‘me, wife, kids, dog, estate car, a seaside holiday each year and a mortgage on a 3 bed terrace’, I need more than art to sustain me.

A major issue with this new gallery is the lack of information. This forces people to fill in the gaps and already I’ve heard people say, ‘fucking artists give nothing and get everything’. Well, I’m not so sure this is completely true but if the art community is serious about this then they want to be a little less self-serving in their opinions of people who oppose and perhaps give constructive opinion on how ‘Joe six-pack and his kids’ benefit instead. After all, it’s ‘Joe six-pack’ who works his arse off, shoves his taxes into the coffers which ultimately gets spent on art projects such as these, with little to nothing in direct return.

Since ‘Joe six-pack’ represents 40% of the Hastings community in that we’re economically positive to the town, our feelings matter. The other 60% who are remunerated via public sector, charity, grants, funding or other central Government funded projects do have a voice, but please do remember who’s paying for this and have a little more respect for their opinions.

A bloody Tesco Express in the Stade would generate more jobs and bring more people to the Old Town.

Typical Pro-Jerwood Quotes:


** Quotes removed as requested by those whom authored them **

In response:

I have been asked by the HCMC author to respect the privacy of members statements.

Everyone bangs on about open debate but when it really comes down to it, they want to hide behind closed doors. If they had any sort of conviction for their words, they’d stand by them, private list or not.

I have removed them, but here’s the caveat: If you’ve got something to say of point, SAY IT. Don’t double back because in hindsight it was a childish remark or had no value; that’s your problem. Else, zip it.

I’m fed up with the double standards of people, including the vocal minority on the HCMC list too. I’m ‘for’ Jerwood, my blog says as much, however I’m against, name-calling, snide-remarks, elitism and hypocrisy. I stopped that when I was 12. When will you?

Publishing these quotes fairly reflected the information I received and was not cherry-picked to make the pro-Jerwood crowd look elitist, they were cherry-picked to make the authors look childish.

If there’s a fundamental lack of respect when discussing the pros and cons of Jerwood then it’s a discussion not worth having. I am very disappointed in the opinions of seemingly intelligent people and since these remarks were made, respect was duly altered.


This doesn’t help the business case for Jerwood and is actually a symptom of the lack of information the Council, the Jerwood and the Art community are providing. To most people I ask about it, it’s a poncy place for ponces to ponce about in, and it’s going to cost a few million at our expense too. Again, when there’s no information, people are filling in the gaps.

With a looming recession, now more than ever, people are more interested in economy than culture, it’s a fact so get used to it. My problem with this is it seems the Jerwood gallery is an ‘art community’ offering when actually it’s a ‘Hastings’ offering so why the surprise when it doesn’t actually do a lot of good for an awful lot of people? As workers, due to the recession, we’re all heading towards the bread-line, as artists, most are already on the bread-line. With people financially going in different directions, it’s no wonder there’s polarised opinion.

Bring Jerwood to Hastings, but for gods sake, justify it, PLEASE.
(Or can’t you?)

– Thadius Harding


17 Responses

  1. What can I say – except how brilliant is this post! It sums up the confusion and yet the good will towards Hastings and positive change within Hastings.
    Speaking to some people in Tradepaints in the Old Town they pointed out that only about 40% of Hastings population pay local taxes…which is why they are so high. Closing down people’s work/income by removing the coach park is not going to improve that…IF indeed that is what will happen. Will Jerwood punters buy fish/chips and have a pint in the Nelson? Will locals be able to afford to visit the Jerwood? We need to find out more.

  2. The good news of the jerwood offer is £4million of inward investment in the town. Where cultural regeneration has worked elsewhere is evident in Gateshead Liverpool St Ives The De la Warr.
    The pro lobby has been a little intemporate about the burning of the effigy but we we’re furious at the town of Hastings being represented in such a way. Though it maybe a mistake to over estimate the size of the opposition. Our responce should be to argue the desirability of having The Jerwood for cultrural and economic reasons.
    People have said the crowd coming to the jerwood would not be our average day tripper. So this is new money coming into the local pubs cafes hotels and shops around the Old Town. These are people coming to an attraction in and out of the traditional seaside season. People pay £7.50 to get in the Blue Reef and £6.50 to get in the smuggerlers caves.
    £5 to get in to the jerwood is a bargian.
    No one is talking about closing down the coach park mearly relocating it.
    The tricky thing is how a pro lobby best facilitate the building of The Jerwood on The Stade and get people out to vote for the giratory system that allows the coaches to do the pick up and drop off’s. It is crucial they do so the project is feasable. But being pro a giratory system doesn’t light fires in peoples hearts. But thats the challenge we have.
    If the US of A can elect a black guy to the White House we can get a art house built in the Old Town.
    We just have to convince some people that the change is for the better.
    Have your say on and from Thursday 6 Nov

  3. I regret refering to the bonfire society effigy decision makers as ‘luddites’ – yes it was me – and I attempted to qualify my feelings in a later posting, as I reckon the bonfire boys do a huge amount towards the creative life of Hastings. I was actually astounded that they took such a stance, but I know better now. I’m not good at non-emtional responses, but will in future refrain from expressing my exasperation publicly.

    A rational approach is needed now. The Jerwood offers I think the best chance that Hastings has had yet, with a development that will financially benefit many local businesses and therefore many people dependent on them. However the best I could do with the picture framer in George Street – surely a beneficiary? – was to get him to place one of Ed’s ‘Jerwood: yes’ posters alongside the ‘Say no to the Jerwood’ one.

    I am an artist, a tax payer and I work very hard. As is usual amongst artists here my main source of income isn’t my painting. I don’t believe you are correct in saying that the Jerwood would exhibit local artists work, but I do believe that local galleries would feel the benefit of more visitors to the town.

  4. I posted this response on the Hastings Free Cafe (the companion site to Hastings Freecycle). I thought it would be a good idea to put it here too.

    I wanted to listen to other people’s opinions before jumping in on this one — and I wanted to go to the exhibition of proposals for road layouts, which I got to see yesterday (the last day of several different venues in several bits of the town). Incidentally, there was a big wave of ‘consultation’ about the Jerwood earlier this year (mid-May), so it’s taken this long for the wave of consternation to hit.

    First — I think this subject header is daft, because talking about the Jerwood isn’t off-topic at all (in my humble opinion). However, it’s worth remembering that apart from other people on this list, no-one reads these rants. If you care — either for or against — then contact the Council, the paper, the Jerwood. And do check out facts from direct sources rather than hearsay.

    Second — I think there’s been a lot of artist bashing (mostly from the same few people). I think it’s really important for people to realise that ‘the artistic community’ — if such a coherent body actually exists — was not directly upset with Sonrise Church for moving into St Mary in the Castle and therefore making an established local art gallery homeless. It was upset with Hastings Borough Council (HBC) for choosing to give Sonrise the lease without any consultation or competitive tendering! I think its terrible that members of Sonrise Church have allegedly had a series of hate crimes inflicted on them. But I don’t think it is fair to blame ‘the artistic community’ for that.

    Third — again, let’s not mix up bumbling attempts by HBC to (a) consult well and (b) proffer information such as “We are aiming for visitors in the £100,000+ income bracket to visit the Jerwood” with the intentions of the Jerwood Foundation itself. I’ve heard equally appalling presentations and it makes me cringe. It’s not fair to blame the Jerwood for HBC greed/desperation and false hopes for a miracle of wealthy visitors to the town.

    Fourth — whilst I heartily believe that existing buildings should be re-used rather than left to rot, I really don’t think it’s practical to house a valuable (in financial terms, even if not in everyone’s opinion aesthetically valuable) art collection in a leaky old under sea-level building like the old ice rink, or on a currently rickety and disputed pier, or even in St Mary in the Castle.
    What the Jerwood is proposing, and I think it’s a marvellous idea, is to build a state of the art building designed specifically to show off a collection of contemporary art with a fantastic seafront location. That’s so that even if you don’t like the art that much, you get to see it in context of the beautiful, fantastic, glistening sea that we all love. I’ve been to the Tate gallery in St Ives, and I’ve been to the Istanbul Modern which has giant boats moored bang up against the windows. It is fantastic to see paintings in the amazing seaside light, and it’s fantastic to see the sea glimmering on the other side of the windows. I think it’s really, really, really exciting to have the opportunity of a bespoke building for our town that is NOT going to be built ‘cheap and nasty’ like all the other rubbish we have palmed off on us (Priory Meadow, the new station, the plans for the Holiday Inn where the Observer building is etc. etc. etc.)
    In this instance, I would say that the Jerwood has a very clear vision about what it needs and wants, rather than accusing it of childish footstamping if it doesn’t get its way.

    Fifth — building on our seafront… This is something I am normally VERY against. I strongly opposed — and still oppose — the proposal for a Norman Foster ‘hotel and office block’ development on the seafront opposite St Mary in the Castle. I think it’s an absolutely appalling idea. That piece of beach is clear, and should be kept clear. Pelham Crescent was built there to engage with the sea — shoving 2 giant crystal maggots dedicated to high class hostelry and commerce smack bang opposite it is the nastiest celebration of Mamon I can think of.
    But I don’t feel the same about the Stade site. That part of the beach is already peppered by a mish mash of funny old buildings. I think it can only be improved by a new one! I absolutely love the netshops, and of course any use of the site should be most respectful of them. I can only assume that the Jerwood architects will have the nouse to do that.

    Sixth — all this fear-mongering about losing the public space and fish market / fish and wine festival… The whole point of this development is to make the most of that public space — use it for people and events, not for coaches and lorries.
    Community facilities have been proposed as part of the redevelopment, even if not part of the gallery building. And I’m sure the toilet block will be replaced. One of the most manipulative bits of disinformation I’ve heard in this whole debate so far is that people against any development on the Stade went round the Food and Wine festival this September getting people to sign their petition because they told them that “if the Jerwood goes ahead then there wouldn’t be another Food and Wine festival”. Given that the Food and Wine Festival is about the only Hastings Borough Council project that has unanimous support and approval from The People, there is NO WAY that they will let it fall by the wayside.

    Seven — what’s the Jerwood about? Well, it collects modern art, and that’s not going to suit everyone’s taste. If you go to their website — it immediately gives you a flavour of the different things it does from providing rehearsal space to offering grants and prizes in different areas of the arts from sculpture to performance, and it has a Community Foundation as part of its structure. I’m sure some of the art is elitist, but it certainly seems to try hard to have a broad base. It wants to house a *national* collection in Hastings, so there won’t be loads of opportunity for local artists to show their work — but it will encourage excellence in the arts, and hopefully some local artists will benefit from that, grow their careers and spend some of their money in Trade Paints along with the rest of us.
    The Jerwood is, to my knowledge, the only body apart from the Learning and Skills Council (funding the new college development at Station Plaza) who are interested in investing in Hastings. I know Hastings has a tradition of shouting NO NO NO to anything and everything, but I think this is one of the best offers we’ve had and I’m honestly surprised at the level of hostility that has arisen.

    Eight — back to the road proposals.
    Speaking as someone who is currently experiencing loud and bumbling roadworks right outside my front door, I fully understand the horror of Harold Road and other local residents at the ‘ambitious’ road proposals that have been on show this week. I don’t know why the coaches can’t just make sure they approach the Old Town from Old London Road when they do their drop-offs and pick-ups. A maximum of 44 coaches a day does not seem such a huge quantity to deal with. It feels like a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, and can only magnify any antagonism to the Jerwood.

    I could go on, but I’m sure that’s more than enough!

    Thanks to anyone who has got to the end of this post,


  5. I simply wish to congratulate Erica Smith -no relation -on her thoughtful contribution. Whilst I do not personally support the Jerwood proposals for the Stade, I agree with many of her reservations about the details. Unfortunately, the more you probe into the proposals and supporting arguments put forward by HBC, the more worried and concerned you are likely to become. Try, if you can, to get a sight of the HBC proposal document seeking funding of £3.55 million from CABE. It’s a very impressive publication – and so it should be, it cost local taxpayers £41K to produce it – and that is verified FACT. However, once you get past the glossy presentation, and it is very good, read the details. Then the concerns start to creep in. The document is not officially in the public domain yet; apparently it will not be released until CABE have made their decision on the funding application. Now that is exactly the kind of nonsense that annoys local people and makes them doubly suspicious of HBC and thus by association, the Jerwood Foundation. Sadly, there is a lot of wishful dreaming in relation to this project. Nothing wrong with dreams of course, but mostly you need to be realistic.

    It’s good to talk – remember that BT advert?


  6. Firstly – well done Erica, a thoughtful and well judged post, thank you.

    I have spent time in regeneration areas during the lengthy process of either rebuilding and refurbishment, including Brighton and Liverpool, and I can tell you first hand that the effects of schemes such as this are many and diverse – including the benefits to those who man never one visit the Jerwood.

    As just one example, I lived in Upper Market Street in Brighton for several years – at one end was a derelict Georgian Market hall, which was eventually refurbished into a music and theatre venue and fully restored. Although few, if any of my neighbours were interested in performance art and many have still not ventured inside – it was not long before people started putting up window boxes, stopped throwing their rubbish into the street and started taking care of their properties.

    The Jerwood will be something for everyone in Hastings to feel good about – regardless of their own interest ( or not ) in the content – it will be a huge benefit for Hastings, not only financially, but in the way people perceive the town.


  7. If Richard de Pesando ever bothers to leave his computer and come to Hastings Old Town he will cringe with embarassment.

    “It was not long before people started putting up window boxes, stopped throwing their rubbish into the street and started taking care of their properties,” he says, as if he is talking about one of the scruffiest streets in St Leonards or Hastings new town.

    It is not the proposed gallery that locals object to, Richard, it is the proposed site. The site is the much-loved, unique and extraordinary Stade in the much-loved, unique and extraordinary Old Town which is a conservation area in which every building is Grade 2 listed, carefully preserved, and probably more expensive than your home in Brighton, Richard.

    I’ve lived in Brighton on and off for 30 years and Lower Market Street has always been one of my favourite places. It has less character nowadays, as does the whole of Brighton and Hove. Don’t make the same mistakes that Brighton and Hove have made. Brighton and Hove have lost much of their character and sense of community. Hastings Old Town is still unique. Residents of Hastings Old Town, do all you can to keep it that way. The introduction of a Jerwood Gallery onto your fabulous working living Stade is a mindless idea and if it is forced through its introduction will destroy your greatest asset, which is your uniqueness. Galleries are two a penny nowadays. Even the fabulous de la Warr pavilion is scratching its head trying to work out how to get people to visit it. There is only one Hastings Old Town and only one Hastings Old Town Stade. Do not sell your soul – oh I forgot your local council wants to give it away – oh I forgot your local council wants you to pay the infrastructure costs of giving it away. Did I hear a rumour that some folks your way are calling some other folks dimwits?

  8. This is an email that I have sent to Kevin Boorman today.

    Dear Kevin

    I am writing to urge HBC to do the following things:

    1 Immediately announce a date on which HBC will release to the public ALL information about the Foreshore Trust, the full history of HBC’s involvement with it, the current state of affairs and negotiations between HBC and the Foreshore Trust, and all information about the current state of affairs and negotiations between HBC and the Jerwood organisations, including how much money HBC has spent on this proposal to date, and on what, and how much HBC plans to spend in future, and when and on what. This will also be an opportunity for HBC to put its hands up to past errors including its failiure to keep proper accounts in respect of the Foreshore Trust and its now admitted but still unpaid debt of more than £1.3 million to the Foreshore Trust. Only if HBC is honest about the past and forthright about how it intends to ensure that it gets things right in future will it gain the confidence of the people, which is at an all-time low.

    2 Immediately announce a date on which HBC will hold a public ballot of the following:
    a) “Do you want a Jerwood Gallery to be built on the Stade?”
    b) “Do you want to pay HBC employees to take over trusteeship of the
    Foreshore Trust or would you rather employ people independent of HBC to
    do this?”

    I am not involved in local politics in any way.

    I am one of the people most likely to gain from the presence of the Jerwood gallery if it goes ahead, as I am a professional sculptor who lives in the Old Town and if the Jerwood proposal goes ahead my sales might increase.

    I want Hastings Borough Council to succeed in being a good Council, and realise how demoralising it must be to be gratuitously and habitually derided, so I have always been careful never to do this and to praise HBC when I can. However, you have let us all down in your management of the Jerwood proposal and the Foreshore Trust. Your failiure to date to carry out steps 1 and 2 is unethical.

    I think your determination to push through the Jerwood proposal predated the public consultation process and has corrupted your management of this matter. As a result you have encouraged individuals to misrepresent the views of the organisations that they head, in order to mislead both funders and the Jerwood organisations.

    This has damaged many communities such as the fishermen and HOTRA. I know this because I have spoken with the fishermen myself and as a member of HOTRA I have spoken with the chair Dick Edwards who has told me that he has no idea whether the HOTRA members support the Jerwood proposal or not, but is proceeding on the basis that he personally supports it, and HOTRA hopes to receive some grant money for some HOTRA projects as a result. I understand Paul Joy has been pulled by similar strings. By managing the process in this corrupt way you are damaging your credibility with local people and, ultimately, with funders and potential partners.

    You have sought to invalidate those who oppose the proposal, for example by repeatedly describing them as “a vocal minority” and accusing them of “spreading misinformation”, when in fact it is you who has been organising a vocal minority to represent HBC’s views, and it is you who has been spreading misinformation to funders and to the Jerwood that has serious consequences for Hastings.

    You misled me at the initial consultation about the Jerwood proposal and as a result of your dishonesty I voted for it. You told me that the fishermen were 100% behind it, that HBC would ensure that it would involve no loss of residents’ parking in the short or long-term, and that entry to the gallery would be free. If you had not misled me I would have voted against the proposal. You also withheld from me the situation regarding the Foreshore Trust, which is inextricably linked. I don’t know you and I am an ordinary person, so I assume that I am one many.

    Because of the lack of information provided by HBC, when I came across the website, which is organised by SOS, I went to one of their meetings and examined the documentary evidence supporting the statements made on the website and found the statements to be accurate. HBC should be providing this information, not an unfunded group of people. Their professionalism and commitment to truthfulness puts HBC to shame.

    I urge all of you at HBC to get on with what we pay you to do, by carrying out steps 1 and 2 above without delay.

    Rachel Spring

  9. I would like to clarify re the above post that I wrote this email to Kevin Boorman as he is spokesperson for HBC. When I say “you” in the email I am addressing HBC.

  10. Today I received an email from HBC telling me that the email that I wrote to the spokesperson of HBC on 28.1.09 and posted onto this site is “potentially defamatory”. I would therefore be very grateful if the owner of this site would remove the email. Thank you. Rachel Spring

  11. This and any other local authority is prohibited by law from suing for defamation or libel any individual for expressing concerns as you have, whether through itself or its spokesperson. The Law Lords\’ reasoning behind this is that this prohibition is necessary in order to safeguard democracy. It\’s not difficult to see why. By implication, any threat to do so would also contravene this legal safeguard.

    By the way, in case you don\’t already know, your writing is extraordinary. I would go so far as to say brilliant.

  12. Local artists will benefit from a Jerwood project if they can show their work – but not sure if this will happen, however the attraction of the Jerwood may introduce visitors to the haven of small creative/retail outlets dotted round close by. Jerwood is a small step in Hasting’s development which has been kicking an screaming to remain untouched by the now ageing yuppie gloss of Brighton’s makeover which in my opinion has left the city dull and lacklustre. I like the edginess of Hastingstown, a town hard to pigeon-hole, good, bad or ugly it is a very cool seaside town – so a carefully considered project like Jerwood could just add another interesting facet but not overthrow the soul of Hastings.

  13. This is nothing to do with art it is about parking. It is just another attempt to remove more parking spaces from the town. This time its by taking spaces for cars for coaches. Anyway why don’t they put it on the Bathing Pool site to help regeneration in an area that needs it and that isn’t being used for anything else?

  14. As a new resident to Hastings, I feel I have come in with a fresh perspective on the town. Which I already feel at home in and am growing very fond of. While I have tried to understand the opposition to the Jerwood Gallery being built on the Stade. I can only see positives.
    It will bring people from all works of life as any centre for culture always does, whether it be art or music. People will be spending their money in any number of locations to eat, drink, shop etc. The Fishrmen should benifit from the town being busier. Which is an important part of Hastings life. And the coach park is not being taken away, but relocated.
    Why try an hold things back by opposing something so forward looking, and appropriate for a wonderfully cultural place like Hastings.
    The town has not had much positive publicity, I was asked more than once why go to live there. We should see this as an opporunity to put Hastings on the map as the happening place it really is.

  15. In response to:
    “If ‘high-society’ art connoisseur types with London salaries come to Hastings to visit Jerwood, are they going to get their chips from the Dolphin then nip in the Nelson for a couple of pints and a piss?”
    Speaking personally – highly likely, yes.

  16. […] to the arguments for and against the gallery there’s a WordPress blog by a Hastings resident here which has a series of comments afterwards which are equally […]

  17. ブランド激安メンズ 服コピーメンズファッションコピー メンズ洋-スーパーコピー服メンズtシャツ代引き,luxurybrandsale2019
    シュプリーム コピー 代引き

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: