The winner on points was to be the out-of-town Pier and Harbour Company
, led by Britain's most prolific and famous pier builder, Eugenius Birch
Born 1818, Birch
was a doyen of pier engineers, and had been involved in railway and bridge works in his
first pier was Margate, built 1853-6.
By the time of his death in 1884 he had been the engineer of another 13 piers, including Brighton West, Eastbourne and Hastings.
In 1865 Birch
company produced a new proposal: to separate their two projects, with the pier being at White Rock and the harbour remaining at the Old Town.
They also drew up plans for a pier at Warrior Square, to be called the Alexandra Pier, but this was soon dropped.
The secretary of the Pier and Harbour Company
was Mr WH Simpson, a solicitor who was involved in several other piers, including Brighton West, of which he
was the sole promoter.
had lived in the Hastings area since 1839 and said he
wanted to benefit the town, but he
was seen by the local establishment as an outsider, acting for London business interests.
By 1865 he
was up against fierce opposition, and he
said "there was a great hostility to the plan amongst some members of the Council, because these gentlemen [councillors] wished to carry out a plan of their own".
Simpson's new company, called just the 'Pier Company', was backed by Birch
, and with national figures as directors had legal preference over the pier site, yet had little local support.
After two years stalemate and a tight money market, a compromise was reached in the summer of 1869, whereby Simpson effectively abandoned his plans, agreeing to hand over his Pier Company
to Howell and friends, on condition they kept Birch
as engineer and paid all the costs of creating the act and the company.
Howell first explained the background to the meeting and then Birch
outlined his design ideas.
had chosen the White Rock site because "the best foundation could be found there" - no rocks, and a thick bed of clay.
The working expenses of existing piers - eg, Blackpool, Scarborough and Brighton West - were met by income from refreshment stalls and toy shops on the piers.
had already employed them, including on Brighton West Pier.
The contract price was £23,250, and it was sealed on 9 December 1869.
The design of Hastings Pier
by the imaginative and highly competent Eugenius Birch
was seminal in some ways: it was the first British pier to have a grand pavilion, and the first to have it included as an integral part of the design.
Granville was followed by engineer Eugenius Birch, who tried to explain the long delay by Laidlaw, the contractors, in building the pier.