'Net Makers Under The East Cliff', 1864.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of men mending nets on the beach in the Old Town, Hastings, taken in 1864 by Francis Frith (1822-1898). This is one of sixteen photographs of Hastings, St Leonards, Rye and Winchelsea taken by Francis Frith and published in 1864 in his book 'The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings'. Here fishermen in distinctive oilskin smocks and tarred straw hats are mending their nets. Traditional trades continued to be practiced as Hastings grew in popularity as a fashionable resort. Francis Frith was a pioneer of travel photography. He was also one of photography's greatest entrepreneurs, founding a company that was to become the largest publisher of photographs in the world. Frith saw himself as a romantic adventurer in the mould of Byron. Between 1856 and 1860 he travelled and photographed extensively in Egypt and the Holy Land. His work was published in a variety of formats and editions and established his reputation as one of the finest travel photographers. But the venture tha