Crowds watching the 1917 Pier fire

The fire, was no doubt a welcome distraction from the 1914-18 Great War, which was raging at the time.
From late Victorian times onwards, picture post cards were an important and entertaining form of communication, and card collecting was very competitive.

No one was hurt in the fire on 15 July 1917, but it destroyed the ornate pavilion at the end of the Pier. The Canadian soldiers that were stationed in Hastings during WWI were enjoying a concert in the pavilion immediately before the fire, and it is thought that a discarded cigarette began the blaze, which was watched by large crowds, including many of the soldiers.

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