Hythe Pier Heritage Association

Heritage Day 2023.

There was a great turn out for Heritage Day 2023 to celebrate the history and heritage of Hythe Pier and Railway. There was lots to see and do, providing interest and entertainment for young and old alike.

On the pier there were displays of heritage artefacts and information boards plus a video presentation. For youngsters there was a fun Heritage Trail to complete.

Sarah Marsden’s History Walks and Talks, also proved popular, with her taking groups of people around the pier and village.

The pier workshop was open for inspection and HPHA volunteers were on hand to answer any questions.

Right next to the pier the ‘Hythe Shed at the Pier’ welcomed visitors and there was a model railway display and large scale model trains courtesy of Exbury Railway. Vintage vehicles were also exhibited at the event.

The Dutton amphibious car offered rides to give visitors the opportunity to take to the water.

An avenue of gazebo’s housed a variety of stalls including HPHA Merchandise, Book and Toy stalls, Teddy Tombola, Simon Chadwick Cartooning, and a ‘pop-up’ café provided much needed refreshments.

Local magician Roger Lapin kept folk entertained while New Forest Brass and the  Front Line Ukulele group supplied musical accompaniment to proceedings.

With great thanks to our event sponsors,

. . . . and all who attended, making the day a huge success.

Just over £3000 was raised to support the work of HPHA to preserve and restore Hythe’s historic Pier and Railway.

Photographs courtesy of John Greenwood, Elliott Hunter Photography and Tina Brown.

Rock the Pier 2023.

People turned out in their hundreds to enjoy the ever popular Rock the Pier music event.

With threatening weather conditions it was touch and go if the event would actually take place but GO, it certainly did.

The enthusiastic audience were treated to some great music from our rosta of bands, all who gave their time for free.

Getting the day off to an energetic start were the ever popular Trav Cats, closely followed by The Johnson Van Dykes, some of who’s members looked remarkably like some members of the Trav Cats 😉 Vision kept the entertainment going with their Brit Pop influenced set. Joining us again, REMbrandt continued the entertainment. A Rock the Pier newcomer, local indie band Stone Branches were a popular addition. Finally a much loved favourite, The Soulcatchers had the whole audience up and dancing to bring the show to a close. There was no let up in the entertainment at anytime, back by popular request our compere Byron Witchell and singer Rozzie Turner kept things going while the band change overs took place.

This event only happens due to the generosity of our event sponsors, the bands who give their time for free plus the HPHA volunteers who organise and run the event on the day. We rely on your donations to help run the event and fund the work of HPHA to preserve and restore Hythe Pier and Railway.

A big thankyou to The Scratch Project, The Lord Nelson, and Zilwoods for sponsoring us again.

We were pleased to have two new sponsors this year; New Forest Care providers of much needed care for children and vulnerable young people. Philpotts Fish & Chips who were pleased to serve tasty sustenance to a hungry audience.

The total amount of money taken through donations, sponsorship and merchandise sales at this year’s Rock The Pier was £9,000. A big thankyou to our audience for your enthusiasm and donations supporting the work of HPHA to preserve and restore Hythe’s historic pier and railway.

Rock the Pier 2021

After a 2 year break, ‘Rock the Pier’ returned to Hythe. This year for the first time in a new location on The Promenade, offering much more room for spectators who had a fine view of the stage from the tiered arena. Looking out onto the waterfront a wonderful vista over Southampton Water encompassing the full 640 meter length of Hythe Pier could be seen.

MC for the day Byron Witchell got the audience warmed up before duo ‘Wire JD’ took the stage, with REM tribute ‘REMbrandt’ next up. Lead singers Sarah and Alli from the Soulcatchers performed next as the duo ‘When Harri Met Alli’ followed by the popular local band Trav Cats. Bob Long played the blues to keep everyone entertained before ‘Soulcatchers’ got the audience up and dancing. Closing the day were local trio ‘The One Offs’. Thanks to all the performers for giving their time for free.

The day was a huge success raising £7000 towards the preservation and restoration of Hythe Pier, from donations, the Grand Draw and our event sponsors The Scratch Project, The Lord Nelson and General Estates. Thanks to all who made ‘Rock the Pier’ happen.

Back on Track

On Saturday May 29th 2021 Hythe Pier Heritage Association were delighted to welcome volunteers, members and visitors to the Pier for the first event in almost 18 months.

Back on Track saw the official launch of the lovingly restored Carriage 4, a very proud moment for HPHA and all those who were involved in the project. The project got under way early in 2020 when the carriage was taken out of service on the pier railway and gifted to HPHA by Lee Rayment of Blue Funnel Ferries. Coinciding with this, HPHA undertook a project with Hythe Primary School which highlighted the plight of the historic railway carriages. The school children wrote 90 letters asking for financial support for the restoration project to Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation followed up by a letter from HPHA. As a consequence a grant for £10,000 was awarded for the project.

The bulk of the work was completed by the members of Hythe Shed (at the Pier) supported by engineers from Blue Funnel and project led by HPHA board member Tina Brown. The restoration included new side frames, new safety glass and period electric lighting plus re-staining of the of the original seating. The restored Carriage 4 is now leased back to the pier operator and is in daily service on the Pier Railway.

Also part of ‘Back on Track’ was a naming ceremony for the railway tractor unit, now named ‘Gerald Yorke’ after the original consultant train engineer. HPHA were honoured to welcome Nigel Hasted and Sarah Richardson, grandchildren of Gerald Yorke, to cut the ribbon at the ceremony.

Rock the Train.

Hythe came to life over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July to celebrate the centenary of the pier train encompassing the ‘Rock the Pier’ music festival day.

The celebrations started with a short ceremony conducted by HPHA chairman Anthony Smith during which the 16307 locomotive arrived down the pier bang on time to join its visiting sibling loco 16303 (courtesy of the Amberley Museum) at the pier station. A birthday cake was cut and the crowd joined in with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. While ‘Rock the Pier’ got under way over on the Promenade there was plenty to interest visitors to the pier, including rides on the pier railway and historic Hythe Pier and Ferry artefacts. Adjacent to the pier at the Hythe Shed were exhibits from the Volks Electric Railway in Brighton, and the Romsey Signal Box. Also on display were vintage vehicles from the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu and the Waterside Christmas Fire Engine. A short distance away at the Community Centre the Romsey & District Railway Modelers Society set up an exhibition of working model railway layouts.