Henry Hayden – The first Worthing Pier Master

Harry, Katie and Jenny from the Youth Council interviewed Ryan Watson and his mother Kasia about his great-great-great-grandfather Henry Hayden  the first Pier Master of Worthing Pier.

Ryan a teacher in one of the towns primary schools and his mother who is also a teacher both live in Worthing today.

Below is a transcript of the interview that took place on the 10th August 2015.

RYAN: Henry Hayden, my great, great, great grandfather was born in 1810. He went into the navy and then later on in his life he took over from a Mr Parks who’d been the pier keeper. But then Henry Hayden was appointed as pier master so I don’t quite know what the distinction is there. But as far as I understand, the pier master’s job was to oversee, manage, look after the pier – kind of sit at the entrance, I think. I don’t think it was a particularly prestigious job. You just collected the money from the public at the pier entrance in those days

RYAN: Just having a look at a cutting from the Worthing Gazette 1968 and it talks about the chair he used to sit in, … and it looks like he is stood at the Pier entrance, so that’s a photograph of Henry Hayden

RYAN: and that’s the other photograph of him and his wife… They had fourteen children

Henry Hayden – Taken 1862                                     Henry and Anne Hayden

Henry Hayden 1862                 Henry and Anne Hayden


KASIA: And he came from Newport in the Isle of Wight, he wasn’t a Worthing person… And at that time he was in the coastguard… He was the coastguard, in charge of the coastguard he lived in the coastguard cottages down by the Seaview. There’s a little tiny lane down there and the little cottages there which still have shared front doors, because he was the captain of the coastguards, he didn’t have a shared front door.

KASIA: The paddle steamer that used to stop at Worthing pier to pick passengers up was owned by William Reid, who was the same generation, so my great, great grandfather, but on my nan’s side. Henry Hayden was on my grandad’s side, William Reid was on my nan’s side but of course at that time the families hasn’t come together by marriage so total coincidence that one of my great, great grandfathers was pier master and the other owned the paddle steamer. So their paths had crossed all those years before…

KASIA: they were Scottish, that side of the family, the Reids. And they were farmers. I don’t know how he went from farming to owning a paddle steamer.

JENNY: do you know how he became pier master?

RYAN: – well it says: on his return to service with the CG [coastguard] in 1856 he was stationed at either East Preston or Goring, and in 1869 he was appointed the first pier master of Worthing. There had been a Mr Parks who was the pier keeper before him, but Hayden was the first pier master appointed, who had a maritime background, a post he held until his death on the 24th September 1886. Henry was then living at 46 Market Street, and he is buried in Broadwater Cemetery – it’s even got the plot there – where his wife Anne is also buried. He died of cancer of the liver and inflammation of the kidneys.

The Hayden family history 1810 – 1898 (PDF)


Phil BracegirdleHenry Hayden – The first Worthing Pier Master