The creative haven of Hastings
We explore how The Yard, on Waterworks Road, Hastings, is a hidden gem of over 40 creative businesses, creating a haven and community for artistic and skilled people in the area.
Nestled down a quiet street, on the outskirts of Hastings town centre sits The Yard. It’s the kind of place you could walk past unknowingly, but hidden inside is a wealth of small businesses supplying a huge range of goods and services, all offered by a group of friendly and hugely talented individuals.
“The Yard is what small business centres realistically need to be. We are flexible, we are affordable for town centre space and amenable."Lucy GastallOwnerThe Yard
Historically this area was seen as industrial space, but over the last 5 years, it has developed and grown into a creative hub, with everything from jewellery makers, carpenters, metal workers, book binders, bakers, artists, boat builders and more. The Yard has always created a community that supports each other and takes time to learn from each other to move their individual businesses forward.
“We’re flexible, we’re affordable and as amenable as we can be. We pride ourselves on putting the needs of our tenants at the centre of what we do: recognising their individual requirements, making sure they’ve got as much practical help and support as they need, whether this be from us, other tenants or organisations like Let’s Do Business. We couldn’t be prouder of the sense of community within The Yard, this is something that’s happened organically, our tenants deserve all the credit for this, as without our their generosity and enthusiasm towards each other, The Yard wouldn’t be what it is”
Lucy Gastall, Manager, The Yard
Something that is unique about The Yard, is that tenants are encouraged to take ownership of their own space, fitting it out, decorating it and using it in the best way to suit their business.
“We don’t put restrictions on how a business can use their space, they can use it as they please, in the way that best serves them. That’s one of the reasons there’s such an eclectic mix of people in The Yard, as rather than having a formulaic approach, the spaces are flexible and ever evolving. Allowing people to make their space their own means they’re invested in it, and, more importantly, they’re proud of it”
Lucy Gastall, Manager, The Yard
As you walk around, it’s clear you are walking into a tight knit community. The space is buzzing with atmosphere, with tenants chatting outside their units, helping each other with deliveries and even making a fuss on an onsite dog! It’s something that fits so well in Hastings with its bohemian atmosphere and creatively inspired people.
“Hastings has the best community spirit I have ever observed or been a part of in my life. There is always something going on and to be a part of. It is one of the best seaside towns you could possibly live in. “
Tobias Cobrin, Owner, Over Wrought Forge, Yard Tennant
“What I love about it here is the community. It has really changed over the last few years, going from more industrial space, to more artisan. Everybody is really supportive of each other, and the management is really fantastic. I can’t say how highly I recommend Lucy and Henry in terms of being supportive and always being around for a chat if it’s needed. It’s a really fun, friendly and supportive place to be.”
Katja, Owner, Katja’s Cakes, Yard Tennant
“The great thing about the Yard is that they try and find people that fit. Not businesses that are all the same, but more so people with the same attitude.”
Geoffrey Wass, Owner, Ultra-light boat works, Yard Tennant
As more and more find this hidden gem, through word of mouth, their new regular markets and when visiting new addition Half Man Half Burger, I expect The Yard will become a must visit when exploring the sights that Hastings has to offer.
To find out more about what is happening at The Yard, visit their website https://www.theyardhastings.co.uk or follow their Instagram @theyard.waterworksroad
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Here are some of the businesses you will find at The Yard, Waterworks Road
A blacksmith and metal worker who on a commission basis creates items such as gates, railings, hooks, pokers, door knockers and brackets.
Upcycles furniture and home décor to give it a new lease of life, using eco-friendly mineral and milk paints.
Unit 33 is an independent artist-run contemporary book bindery and print studio producing high quality bespoke artist books, boxes, prints, portfolios, stationery, marbled paper and much more. They also run book binding workshops.
Makes furniture and home furnishings on a commission basis from reclaimed wood and materials. Visit the showroom Mon-Sat 8-5.30pm
Boat Builder, crafting lightweight eskimo kayak design paddle boats from steam bent bamboo. Geoffrey’s ethos is about providing accessibility to the water for all to enjoy.
An experienced cake maker who makes highly decorative celebration cakes and cupcakes using buttercream. With over 20 years of experience Katja enjoys playing with surface patterns and colour to make a cake worthy of your special day.
Sells indoor and outdoor plants, and offers creative workshops
Carola van Dyke is a textile artist who designs quirky, intricate cushions and textile taxidermy. Offering over 45 designs of cushion, she had supplied huge stores such as House of Fraser and Liberty London.
Clothing designer with a love for colour, and floral prints. Available to buy wholesale and online. Gabrielle has been designing clothes for over 25 years, and moved into The Yard 3 years ago after moving over from Brighton.
An artist who deals primarily with ceramics, sculpting using clay collected from the local area
Blacklands fire is a family run business that has been operating in the fire trade since the 60’s, supplying Fire Extinguishers, signage, hose reels and alarms at competitive prices.
Serving up fresh, locally sourced, beef and vegan burgers. Half Man Half Burger have a reputation for excellent food and a relaxed, creative vibe.
A sustainable, independent footwear and lifestyle brand driven by a true love for beautiful, handmade items and the determination to keep traditional crafts and manufacturing methods alive.