Hastings. Brutal ground-level roof-top.

“Now THAT’S my kind of bench” exclaimed Alex as we walked towards these beauties/monstrosities (delete as appropriate).

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To be honest, I have no idea what’s going on here, or if these are even really meant to be benches. Well, that’s probably unfair. I think they are meant to be benches, but I wonder whether they were an afterthought or something which was considered from the very start of whatever this is.
What even is this?

It’s some kind of subterranean building, I think, although its roof also reminds me a lot of empty childhood seaside paddling pools, with it’s blue painted, slightly algae covered walls. I don’t think it ever was a pool though, I think it must be the roof of something hidden under the pavement. A short way prior to this there were staircases leading down to what looked like some now-defunct public toilets, but I’m not sure if this is too far along to be part of those.

Whatever, there was no obvious way of finding out, so we settled down to enjoy these lovely benches in their own right, for a moment.

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If you’re into concrete, these are a winner. While in winter, concrete benches suffer from a constant dampness due to their slow drying nature, in the summer, the absorb the heat wonderfully and make a toasty warm, dry, comfortable place to sit.

The back (where it exists) slopes at a pleasingly comfortable angle, and the overhang of the edge means that these definitely feel like benches, rather than just a concrete wall at just the right height for sitting on. In certain spots you can sit on the bench with your back against the backrest and your feet extended out in front of you, which is pleasing — and even have space to put your things down next to you/maybe have a little picnic with another person sitting opposite, which is very nice.

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In places, it looks like someone’s tried to pressure wash the benches clean, and in other places, there are these slightly mysterious spiralling patterns which have also blasted parts of the bench clean. They’re quite pleasing and I feel like it’s a great opportunity for someone to come and do some cool stencil pressure washing art.

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The view is lovely, sitting very close to Hastings Pier. I don’t know whether these benches ever get very busy — we were there on a sunny, summertime bank holiday weekend, and were the only people sitting here. Maybe no one’s sure if they’re *really* meant for sitting on. Maybe I’m not even sure.

Comfort of bench: 8/10
Capacity of bench: Loads. Like 30 – 40 or more people.
View from bench: 8/10. Pier!
Accessibility of bench: No problems at all here.
Adventure level: Around 10 – 15 minutes walk from Hastings Station, right by the pier. 3/10.

 

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