The Stade, in Hastings is one of the oldest continuous fishing sites in Europe. Dating form before 1066 (the word Stade is an Old Saxon term meaning landing place,). It also has the biggest fleet of beach launched fishing boats in Europe. This heritage is widely celebrated around the town, with museums showing both the history and the present of Hastings’s relationship with the sea.
The Stade is rare, if not unique in Europe in being a working beach. Small fishing boats, sometimes manned by just one person, come and go according to the tide. When boats leave, they are pushed out with tractors that are parked ashore. When boats return, they are winched with a mechanical pulley and by hand. Much of the catch is then brought up to the edge of the beach for gutting and selling in the market stalls just 10 or so meters away from the sea.
In March 2012, the Jerwood gallery opened in front of the Stade. Also there are apartments in the shape of the old netting shops being built. There has been protest about what is considered by many in the area as gentrification although this has not yet dented the unique, gritty character of the beach.